Haslett Mug - Race Report - April 2019

The status quo of catamaran dominance was challenged last Sunday up at The Haven as Clacton Sailing Club raced for the Haslett Mug.

Sailing - Haslett Mug

Race Officer Mike Suffield, himself a renowned dinghy racer, set an unusual upwind / downwind course that seemed to suit the monohulls.

Liam Wright would claim a thoroughly deserved win in his Laser One but not without an almighty battle.

Close formation

Starting in cold light to moderate onshore easterly winds the mixed fleet headed off in close formation on starboard tack along the coast.

Brian Allen & Rob Mitchell claiming start line honours in the F18 Edge knew they would have to sail well as their fast handicap catamaran would be penalised on time at the end.

Two Dart 18’s chased with Ian Wright and Christy O'Sullivan choosing to stay inshore whilst Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey tacked off for clear wind and headed-out early to make the most of the ebbing tide.

Tempting fate

Martin and Debbie Chivers in their Dart 16 completed the cat fleet and were heard to complain at first (tempting fate) there was not enough wind for their liking!

In the dinghies Liam Wright was closely chased and pressured by James Foxon making a welcome debut this year in his identical Laser. More powerful than Liam, James sailed the first beat fast and loose whilst Liam could only pinch & spill his way upwind to the first mark. James had to put in 2 extra tacks and Liam claimed water as they rounded and headed off together on the first of the long downwind legs.

Deep rolling swell

A  deep rolling swell meant that the downwind leg for the Lasers and for Dan Brzezinski sailing a club Topper this week would be a test of athleticism. Dan was the first to capsize but was soon up and back in the race.

James was working hard to over-take Liam, heading first upwind then, as Liam covered the manoeuvre, bearing off on a wave trying to pass. Big wave surfing in Lasers is one of the most exhilarating experiences in sailing but things can go wrong very quick and James soon found himself swimming in the chilly North Sea. Re-righting the dinghy and racing on, although never giving up he was never able to really challenge Liam’s dominance.

More wind

Another battle was going on between the Dart 18s with positions changing on each of the 4 laps. Towards the end Ian’s prayers for more wind were answered; A squall came through with winds of force 6 which could have whipped-out the fleet. Seasoned sailors everyone most chose to sail for safety hoping to hold onto their positions and remain upright till the wind and stinging rain would pass.

Ian and Christy however took their chance and pushed onwards to take 2nd place.

The Clubs rescue boat with Neil Warn and Cynthia onboard were kept busy having to rescue Liam who had broken his boom after the race was over in yet another spectacular Laser capsize. In these conditions it was all hands required to safely land the boats ashore before heading back to the club for hot showers and refreshments. Everyone had their own stores to tell of wild wind racing.

Sailing is a fun sport and can be sampled for free at the Clacton Sailing Clubs open day on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May and a full Introduction to Sailing course on each Saturday in June. Please contact the club for details

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