Shearwater Catamaran 2019 Results

 

63rd Shearwater National Championships at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan August 2019

 

The 63rd Shearwater Nationals kicked off in spectacular style at Brightlingsea Sailing Club, one of the natural homes to catamaran racing. The sailors are in anticipation for an exciting and excellent four days of racing.

Only the Shearwaters can turn up two days in advance of an event and this gave time for boats to be measured, fettling to take place and class training taken place ready for the assembled boats. The preparation did not count for all as a small collision between Jessabelle and Diligaf before the start took out both boats from the days racing resulting a missing transom. And this was before the race officer had fired a gun!

The first race as always in the one lap, shoot out practice race, held in 18knots of breeze with gusts into the 20s. Serial catamaran sailing legend and local hot shot Will Sunnocks sailing with Freddie White won the practice race and showed pace to the assembled class stalwarts. Sailing the oldest racing catamaran they were asking questions like, "why is the spinnaker pole not fixed on the centreline?" and "how do you gybe a symmetrical spinnaker?" Anyway this did not matter as they comfortably won the practice race sailing the boat F18 stylie!

With tonnes of testosterone flying the championship first race got under way. The fleet headed to the left side of the course, with breeze and tide helping the boats along the way. With a short chop created by the shallows of the Colne Estuary, towards the windward mark the boats needed to be sailed fast. At the top mark, Cajensa sailed by Sam Vaughan and Oliver Stuart led from Carbon Footprint sailed by Shaun & Alex Allen, the first reach was an exciting shall-we-or-shan't-we put the kite up. Of course one boat put the kite up followed by the rest, this meant that the first gybe of the championship was going to be big! Luckily all survived the gybe with some exciting puffs and waves to give the second reach a new level of excitement.

The second beat was a consolidation leg, with Carbon Footprint and Cajensa leading. The charge of Alley Cat sailed by Will Sunnocks and Freddie White and season inform boat Crowns, Nigel & Sarah Stuart pushing the leaders hard. On the second downwind, the fleet compacted and the tactics of the symmetrical spinnaker came into the fore, with different options on the run used. Some using the 180 highway others using the higher and faster option. The leaders remained in the same order, Carbon Footprint, Cajensa and Alley Cat. 

The final windward leg loomed and arms were tired from trimming for both helms and crews but the battle was to the finish. With some boats splitting left and right the leaders of Carbon Footprint and Cajensa led around the windward mark for the final time, Carbon Footprint using there lets not spinnaker gybe tactics pushed high with Cajensa, allowing Crowns and So Tango sailed by James Gibbons and Elizabeth Hill down the inside of the run. Carbon Footprint and Cajensa gybed and had a ding dong on the right side of the run, allowing the inside boats through to take the lead. Crowns won from So Tango and Cajensa in third.

Race two got away under very similar conditions with the additional lap to get closer to the 45 minute target time. Boats came off the line even and pushed left looking for favourable tide and more pressure. Cajensa led at the windward mark, chased by Carbon Footprint. With poles very firmly set on the forestay and trapezes on the reach been used, Cajensa extended there lead on the second part of the reach. On the second beat Cajensa and Carbon Footprint locked horns on the beat, for some very exciting close racing. Crowns and So Tango followed by Genesis sailed by Ben Farnborough and Jenny Allen chased hard to get close to the leaders. 

On the run the leaders got further away and a small collision between So Tango and Genesis added to the excitement and closeness of the racing. On the third beat Cajensa went left and Carbon Footprint right. Who would come out on top? Well at the top by two boat lengths it was Carbon Footprint. They held on the to the lead for the rest of the race followed by Cajensa in second and Crowns in third.

The fleet returned to the beach for licking of wounds and sharing the stories of the battles they had been involved in. the Shearwater spirit has come to light as the class are in a new battle to make sure all boats are on the line tomorrow for three more races.

A new day brings new opportunities for the Shearwater fleet at Brightlingsea Sailing Club; the breeze was down and the sun was shining.

The third championship race got away in 14-16 knots of breeze, the majority of the fleet headed left to look for more favourable tide, and a few boats that did not come off the line well went right. Mid way up the beat the breeze really started to build, as a squall came down the course bringing rain and lots of breeze. 

At the windward mark, So Tango was in the lead from Alley Cat and Crowns. Crowns hoisted there spinnaker for the reach and powered off hard to lead at the gybe mark. All boats gybed safely and all boats locked into the second reach for more exciting fast sailing. Crowns went for a drop and successfully managed to go for a swim, the last sound heard from Crowns was "Nige!" which is often heard amongst the fleet when Sarah would like Nigel to be in a little more in control. 

Sailing fast through the fleet were Cajensa who managed to single trapeze on all the reaches to great effect. Drops were completed in a tidy fashion, however the squall increased and the boats went into survival mode up the next beat. Carbon Footprint, Cajensa and Diligalf all went for a swim. So Tango continued to lead followed by Genesis and Airflow sailed by Chris Matthews and Nick Winram. These results held to the end.

Post the squall the course was reset and the fleet were set for Race 4. The breeze had dropped to 8 knots, and the sea state that was kicked by the squall made for interesting sailing and how boats would adapt to different modes needed. The fleet went right up the beat, Jessabelle sailed by Mark Norman & Rob Britton led at the windward mark from So Tango. 

On the run Crowns made there charge for the front and mange to get into second place. On the second lap So Tango wrestled to the lead followed by Crowns and Jessabelle. 

A special mention must go out to the father and son team of Shaun & Alex Allen sailing Carbon Footprint, they managed to successfully capsize in the first race, which is acceptable as it was 25+ knots, but in the second race they also managed to capsize in 5 knots - not acceptable, guys!

Race 5 was under way in more breeze as the worry of more squalls were coming. The fleet went left looking for the last of the favourable tide and Crowns, as they have done before led from start to finish and sailed a really perfect race. Carbon Footprint recovered for a second and Jessabelle was third.

Day 3 of the 63rd Shearwater Nationals dawned with a slightly grey outlook with rain in the forecast, but the assembled sailors were more excited by the time the boats arrived at the race course.

Race 6 got under way in 10 knots of breeze. Carbon Footprint led up the first beat with Jessabelle in close pursuit. The breeze built through the race and Carbon Footprint using there deck sweeper mainsail showed how fast it can be, extending their lead through the race. The tide became a factor on the second beat, and this allowed So Tango to catch back up with the leading duo. The final downwind leg loomed, and all was to play for as the leading three boats in very close contention. Varying options on the run led to the race been won by Carbon Footprint from Jessabelle and So Tango.

Race 7 with the breeze building, the fleet were away from the start clean, even with a very congested pin end. Crowns led from the pin and pushed left looking for the most favourable tide. Jessabelle and So Tango went off to chase the leader, pushing the lead boat hard. On the first reach, which was perfectly set for the conditions the leaders punched out to further into the lead. One of the most interesting parts of Shearwater sailing, is the gybing of the Symmetric Spinnaker. Technique and experience make for ease of gybing and was certainly seen at the gybe mark as all the boats gybed perfectly to extend there lead. The next lap came and the breeze freshened and that deck sweeping sail came to the front again on Carbon Footprint. They came through the fleet to get into the top three. On the final run Crowns fought back to the lead, followed by Carbon Footprint and So Tango.

Race 8 started in similar conditions and So Tango punched out ahead to lead at the windward mark. Carbon Footprint were showing even more speed than in the last race, to be in second. These two boats sailed round in close proximity to have a really close race. Just behind, two boats were having another battle for third, Crowns sailed by Nigel and Sarah Stuart were being very firmly tested by their daughter Chloe Stuart sailing Simsek with Darren Tulley. The two battles closed in on each other on the final run to see who would come out on top in this race. So Tango went right followed by Carbon Footprint, Simsek down the middle and Crowns left. Speeds were similar as they all converged on the last mark of the course, So Tango were ahead, followed by Carbon Footprint, Crowns and Simsek. This is how the race finished, as close as it started.

Going into the final day, all was to play for, with the top three boats all within three points of each other and anybody still with the chance of winning the nationals. The day dawned with beautiful sunshine, and what was going to be a day of champagne sailing.

Race 9 got away with 14 knots of breeze and Genesis leading up the first beat with Carbon Footprint hot on the heels of the leader. Jessabelle came through on the reach to interfere with the leaders, and this allowed Crowns to catch up and come to play in the fight for the podium. The next lap loomed with more breeze and a shift allowing the fleet to compress. Crowns read the course the best and managed to steal the lead from Genesis, and they went into a battle for the lead. The close racing between these two boats allowed Carbon Footprint to split the top two. On the final downwind, Crowns held the lead, second went to Carbon Footprint and Genesis in third and they finished in this order 

The final championship race of the series got away with all still to play on who could be the national champion. Crowns or Carbon Footprint who would come out on top. Jessabelle led up the first beat and had Genesis hot on their transom. Carbon Footprint were in the pack, and had a lot of work to do to come out on top. Crowns were in third, and this allowed Jessabelle to continue to lead from Genesis. The race continued in this way with the pack closing, Jessabelle managed to finish there series with a win, followed by Genesis and Crowns. This third place for Crowns and a fifth for Carbon Footprint allowed the championship to be sealed by Crowns.

Four fantastic days of sailing, with absolutely excellent race management allowed Crowns to win by four points in a hard fought championship with nothing been left on the table by any of the sailors. Thanks must got to the Race office and his team from Brightlingsea Sailing Club and the welcome and support from the club for the championship.

 

Overall Results:

1st Crowns

2nd Carbon Foot

3rd So Tango

 

Shearwater TT Round 6 at Weston Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 28-29 September 2019

 

Nine Shearwaters braved the wind and rain to compete in the final of the 2019 Travellers Trophy. With the top step of the podium filled, second through to sixth were very much available to be filled by the massed Shearwater family.

Weston SC did admit that on Thursday evening they were nervous that the event would even take place, and certainly the fleet rigging up on Friday evening were giving less than favourable noises about sailing on Saturday, So Shearwater sailors did what they do best after sailing and that is hitting the bar for some post working week relaxing drinks.

Saturday morning dawned and the wind was in. Well most of the camping masses knew this before getting out of bed as tents, caravans and campers were wobbling... a lot along with some legs.

The first race was under way in 20 knots with gusts of 25knots+. The fleet all punched out to the left hand side of the course. The shortness of the course allowed for the majority of the fleet to stay within close proximity of each other. SoTango sailed by James Gibbons & Elizabeth Hill were leading as they had done so many times before this year, in close pursuit were Cajensa (Sam Vaughan & Oliver Stuart) the leaders reached off to the wing mark and Jessabelle (Mark Norman & Rob Britton) following. The two lead boats kept a little higher to find a little more pressure with Jessabelle going for a more direct course closed the gap and managed to hoist earlier for a cruise down the rhumb line to the bottom mark. SoTango and Cajensa slid a gybe in and having sailed a slightly hotter angle arrived at little further ahead at the bottom mark. The short next beat did not allow for any place changing it was the downwind legs that allowed for the real gains to be made. On the next downwind SoTango managed to get further ahead with riding a big gust and held onto take the win followed by Cajensa and Jessabelle.

Race two, similar wind maybe more. To be honest it was bl**dy windy all day! The majority of the fleet punched left again as this had paid on the first race, National champions, Nigel & Sarah Stuart sailing Crowns went right. Did they have some local knowledge? Arriving at the first windward was SoTango with Crowns and Cajensa in quick succession. The top reach was fast, furious and crews really came into there own as water deflectors for the helms! Carbon Footprint (Shaun & Alex Allen) sailed a mighty reach to come into contact with the leaders, that deck sweeper mainsail again! If you have read the reports for the past events this year, you will know that Carbon Footprint can be mighty fast with their deck sweeper mainsail to much annoyance of the rest of the fleet! The downwind allowed SoTango and Cajensa to get away to the leeward mark. The following short upwind leg allowed the fleet to compact with some massive gusts that certainly shook the cobwebs out of any rigging. The final downwind allowed Crowns to catch up and take third place which they held to the finish, allowing Cajensa into second and SoTango the victory.

The final, or at least we thought of the day Crowns, Cajensa and SoTango were in close combat for the first beat, all arriving at the windward mark within a boat length of each other. The reach allowed a little more separation between the first and third. With SoTango getting slightly ahead followed by Crowns and Cajensa. The three boats sailed down the run in parallel with each other, matching speeds and angles and who would drop or gybe first. Watching out for a gust was key as this would push you well beyond the lay line. Cajensa dropped first and gybed allowing a nice approach to the bottom mark, SoTango followed with Crowns having pushed they lay line into third. The next upwind the trio in the lead pushed hard with Carbon Footprint and Airflow sailed this weekend by class legend and the tallest man to ever sail a Shearwater, Greg Wilcox & Nick Winram in close pursuit. The final downwind all the podium places were available for the taking, and SoTango held onto the lead followed by Cajensa and Crowns.

Now with heart rates high, and the thought of any more racing today firmly at the bottom of the to do list, the Race officer correctly called for a fourth race ahead of the doom which Sunday could bring, Again with a similar theme to the previous races, the fleet punched firmly to the left, Cajensa having started at the committee boat end, had a great leg to be ahead at the windward mark, with Airflow not far behind, Airflows, Greg the yacht sailor full time had not lost his touch he just needed to find it! Cajensa powered off on the reach to be ahead at the gybe mark, with a keep it simple approach the kite went up and the others followed, At the leeward mark, Crowns was tussling with Airflow and SoTango. The pressure had certainly boiled to a point with James & Elizbeth that they decided to allow SoTango to let them have a little swim, which turned into a big swim, which turned into a hull full of water due to a mis fitted hatch cover. Cajensa held there nerve seeing the carnage behind and held for the victory with Crowns into second and Foreigner sailed by Alex Wilcox and Elias Woodward into third.

With sailing done for the day, the fleet returned to the relative shelter of the beach to lick the wounds of the day and tell the stories of battle. And of course help James and Elizabeth bail there boat out. The evening, well actually late afternoon celebrations started with the 14th and 50th Birthdays of Hayley Britton and Lou Curry. With the first and many bottles of fizz opened the massed Shearwater family celebrated the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Class President Alan Howland to his wife Jan who both are owed a huge amount of thanks from all in the class. Firstly their three children are a huge part of the fleet who have produced nine grandchildren who are now helming Shearwaters, crewing Shearwaters or are aspiring to follow the footprints of there parents and cousins to sail Shearwaters. Secondly Alan for being Charmian for many years and now President for driving the class forward. Jan can not be forgotten in allowing many a parent to sail by watching children on the beach and campsite for many years. Jan could have been a top Shearwater crew herself if she had not jumped off Alan's Shearwater in Lagos many years ago... We shall never know! 

The Shearwater family celebrated into the small hours only to be woken by extreme wind and camping equipment shaking. Sunday dawned with much of the same, wind and lots of it with lashing rain too. The class elected to remember what a great days sailing yesterday had been and stayed on the beach, the other classes somewhat depleted decided to go for two short races, and with two dismastings and multiple capsizes the correct decision had been made. With the races technically ran, Cajensa came out on top, from Crowns and SoTango in third.

The 2019 Travellers Trophy Series is now complete, the winner clearly is Crowns sailed by Nigel & Sarah Stuart who have sailed brilliantly to win the Nationals too. Who fills the rest to the TT series remains a close secret until the Mid-Winter Dinner in February next year. Well Done to Nigel & Sarah.

If the joining the Shearwater family is of interest please contact us, a range of good boats are available for low prices and anybody is more than welcome to join the friendliest small catamaran fleet. If buying a boat is a stretch too much or you would like to have a go, there are always Helms looking for Crews or Crews looking for Helms, contact us and we can accommodate you!

Roll on 2020!

 

Shearwater TT Round 5 at Stokes Bay Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 31 August - 1 September 2019

 

A slightly depleted Shearwater fleet arrived at Stokes Bay Sailing Club for the penultimate TT of the 2019 series, with plenty of places up for grabs in the standings all was to play for.

With anticipation of a breezy day at fever pitch, the massed fleet were slightly disappointed when they launched with a 12-16knot breeze. It defiantly was windier on the beach. Race 1 got away with full wind against tide, and the standard Solent chop providing a challenge. Nigel & Sarah Stuart sailing Crowns lead up the first beat with Jessabelle (Mark Norman & Rob Britton) in hot pursuit, Foreigner (Alex Wilcox & Elias Woodward) were battling hard with Carbon Footprint (Shaun & Alex Allen) for third. Downwind the boat were playing the shifts in an effort to dodge the tide make some gains. On the final lap Crowns extended their lead to win with Jessabelle in second. 

Race 2, the breeze had built with gusts into the 20s, the sea state was even more confused, however the fleet had started to work out how best to deal with the conditions. The majority of the fleet went offshore looking for a the more favourable tide, Jessabelle elected to go closer to the beach and they came out on top after fairing better with a softer sea state. The downwind was exciting, and fast, with lots of surfing of the chop and plenty of exciting gybes. The second beat was as fast paced as the first, with an ever exciting bear away. All boats made it around, except Foreigner who went full bows down pitchpole. Alex & Elias survived as did Foreigner! Jessabelle came in first with Crowns second.

Race 3 on Sunday got underway with even more tide than the first two races of Saturday. A slight bias on the port end of the line gave the opportunity for a verity of starting strategies. Some boats started on port lost out to Jessabelle who started at the committee boat and tacked early and lead up the beat, down the run repeated this three times to win by a fair distance from Crowns. Carbon Footprint rounded out the podium.

Race 4, with boats ganging at the committee boat learning from Race 3. Some were OCS and one of these was Jessabelle. The fleet went left and after restarting Jessabelle went right and were a long way ahead, annoyingly at the windward mark. The fleet pursued and Crowns came to the front to challenge Jessabelle with Foreigner not far behind. On the second lap the fleet closed up and Jessabelle managed to stay ahead the battle was on for second and this was a battle that Crowns were not going to lose. And like many times this year they did not lose out and held out for second. 

Race 5 was more of the same, a bit more breeze the fleet all went up the beach and many tacks were used to dodge the sea state and find more favourable tide. Carbon Footprint sailed a really great race and led by a long way extending on every leg. On the final lap the breeze finally came in and both trapezes were finally utilised! Crowns were in second and Jessabelle in third. With Carbon Footprint a long way out in the lead they held out for the win.

Jessabelle took the top spot on the podium followed by Crowns and Carbon Footprint in third. Thanks must go to Stokes Bay Sailing Club for a great weekend.

 

Shearwater TT Round 4 at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 27-28 July 2019

 

Ten Shearwaters met for the fourth Travellers' Trophy of the 2019 season at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club in Suffolk. The greyest of dreary days met the sailors for the inevitable rig up in torrential rain with the occasional gust to show the crews what they were going to expect when they launched.

With a short delay following a slight hiccup with a committee boat running aground, the fleet mixed with other fast catamarans got away in 15-18 knots and rain. The early leaders headed to the right-hand side of the course in search of more pressure and looking for any positive effects of the ebbing tide. At the windward mark So Tango sailed by James Gibbons & Elizabeth Hill were in the lead with Crowns sailed by Nigel & Sarah Stuart in hot pursuit. The first run with pressure building brought Crowns to the front into the mix with So Tango. The second windward leg compacted the fleet which brought Cajensa, Sam Vaughan & Oliver Stuart into the mix by riding some pressure and a big left-hand shift. The front three battled along the remaining reach and run to the finish for So Tango to take the bullet.

The second race got away in similar conditions to the first, Crowns lead up the beat and comfortably held the lead for much of the race. However, the rest of the podium was up for grabs, and new faces came to the front. Mark Norman & Jenny Allen sailing Jessabelle were fighting hard with Carbon Footprint sailed by Shaun & Alex Allen, the deck sweeper mainsail showing how fast it can be in a straight line, chasing hard for second place with Jessabelle coming in third.

With the breeze building up to 18-22 knots with guests deep into the 20s, the fleet mingled at the pin end, and many tried to start on Port in race three. So Tango attempted to do this harder than most and managed to capsize on the line and managed to take themselves out of the race. Carbon Footprint showed even more speed with the deck sweeper mainsail to win the race. Crowns followed for second and Jessabelle third.

The fleet returned to the club for food and a topical catamaran-based quiz which of course the Shearwater fleet won and took the prize of a voucher behind the bar which was successfully consumed in a very short time.

Day two dawned with similar breeze to Saturday but thankfully no rain. Race four got away with a clean start with Crowns and Cajensa fighting for the lead on the first beat with So Tango chasing. On the first downwind Crowns and Cajensa engaged in a battle of who could do the most gybes with numerous happening. Crowns came out at the leeward mark on top. On the second windward leg, Crowns went for the middle and Cajensa went to the right and found more pressure to close the gap and take the lead by the windward mark. On the final downwind So Tango closed to the leaders, however Crowns and Cajensa engaged in more gybing battles downwind. Crowns came out on top taking the win, from Cajensa in second and So Tango third.

Race five started with a couple of boats starting at the pin and the remainder starting at the committee boat. Two boats that started at the pin were So Tango and Foreigner, Alex Wilcox & Elias Woodward. A large left shift came down the course with big pressure and boats that went left led at the windward mark, boats that went right had all the work to do and were chasing hard. Crowns, Carbon Footprint and Cajensa mad the largest gains, getting amongst the leaders, So Tango led down the final run to take the win, followed by Crowns who had overtaken Foreigner who held on for third. Carbon Footprint were forced to retire having sailed the incorrect course.

The final race arrived, with more breeze the fleet got away clean, So Tango led up the first beat with all the normal faces in pursuit. Foreigner were having another cracking race to be in the mix again. Cajensa had a BIG capsize downwind and managed to take themselves out of the race. So Tango claimed the win from Crowns and Foreigner.

Overall Crowns held on for first place overall, with So Tango in second carrying two RTDs and three race wins. Carbon Footprint rounded out the podium in third. A great weekend was had by all, with the inclement weather forgotten of Saturday forgotten by Sunday. The next event up for the Shearwaters are the 63rd National Championships, which will be held at Brightlingsea Sailing Club between the 17th and 20th August. Boats to borrow are available please contact us to be part of the friendliest small catamaran class.

 

Shearwater TT Round 3 at Stone Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 22-23 June 2019

 

The friendliest Catamaran fleet meet at Stone Sailing Club for the third TT of the 2019 season. The sun was out, breeze was in. With three races scheduled what more could be needed?

Race 1: With a light south easterly breeze and a course set perfectly to the breeze, Race 1 got under way. The aim of the day was to certainly beat the tide that was on full flood up the River Blackwater. Class veteran and legend Alan Howland sailing with Jenny Allen on Alley Cat led the fleet to the shore, where many tacks were needed to dodge the tide. At the windward mark Alley Cat was in the mix with Crowns sailed by Nigel & Sarah Stuart in hot pursuit. The first reach was slow and kites were hoisted at the gybe mark. On the second beat, the turbo chargers were switched on by James Gibbons & Elizabeth Hill sailing So Tango they came through to win the race.

Race 2: The wind was building and the day was building to be one of those just great sailing days. With a really tight first beat Mark Norman & Rob Britton on Jessabelle led the fleet. The hot pursuit was led by So Tango with many others in joining in the fun at the front of the fleet. On the first down wind leg, the Shearwater with its Symmetrical spinnaker really came into its own, some boats electing to hot up and sails some angles with other sailing down the 180 highway. At the bottom mark, both approaches work and the fleet had compacted. One boat had managed to wrestle its way to the front and it was Crowns who led to take the win from So Tango.

Race 3: Crowns are getting a bit of reputation of sailing off into the horizon and winning races by a country mile. This was one of those races! In the race for second which turned out to be a race within its self, it was Alex Wilcox & Lou Winram sailing Foreigner who came out on top from So Tango.

A new day dawned, with more cloud cover than Saturday. However with the breeze building throughout the day would some twin wiring action happen?

Race 4: With single trapezing the normal in the first race of the day it got away with more shore hugging taking place. The whole fleet were in the mix. The father and son team of Shaun & Alex Allen sailing UFO, led around the windward mark. Dion and Anna Allen sailing on Ruby were in pursuit of UFO, in this inter brotherly/uncle/auntie battle. The usual suspects on Crowns came though on the first downwind to take the lead. The next windward leg more of the same faces of the weekend came to the front, So Tango and now with UFO in pursuit. Crowns held on for the lead, with So Tango and UFO close behind with a really close finish between all three boats.

Race 5: The breeze was building and hulls were definitely popping up and the pace was on. So Tango were going really fast and lead for most of the race. The shore side of the course was definitely the side to go for, with many boats playing "How close to the mud dare you go" the closer you went the more gain you would get. UFO managed to go a bit to close and ran aground into the soft mud. This however did not hold them back, and managed to finish the race in 3rd place. The battle for the bullet was on between Crowns and So Tango, with Crowns being triumphant.

Race 6: The final race of a great weekends sailing, the breeze was in, Downhauls were pulled hard and twin wiring was on. The fleet still were keen on the shore side of the course, with more breeze and flatter water everybody headed for the right. So Tango, lead at the first windward mark followed by UFO, on the downwind, UFO suffered some gear failure and had to retire. Coming through the fleet fast were the teams on Ruby & Crowns, with Jessabelle in pursuit too. On the next leg, Crowns came through and had a real tussle for second between So Tango and Ruby. On the final downwind leg, super speedy down wind boat Foreigner came through to take third with So Tango in second and Crowns taking the win.

After six action packed races with plenty of place changing and the fleet getting more and more closer Crowns came out on top. This is their third TT win in a row. A great weekend on and off the water was had by all, superb race management from Wendy and the team at Stone Sailing Club.

At the half way stage of 2019 TT series Crowns sailed by Nigel & Sarah Stuart are comfortably in the lead, but the positions from second to seventh are close with all to play for with three TTs remaining. The fleet next meet up at Felixstowe Ferry SC on the 27-28 July.

Following this event our National Championships will be held at Brightlingsea Sailing Club between 17-20 August. Sailors that are keen to be involved in the friendliest Catamaran class are more than welcome to contact us, we have boats available to borrow for this event please contact us shearwaterttcoordinator@gmail.com

 

Shearwater TT Round 2 at Minnis Bay Sailing Club

by Sophie Vaughan 18-19 May 2019

 

For TT number two the fleet descended on a somewhat warmer Minnis Bay but unfortunately the wind gods were not playing ball. After a short postponement 12 boats made their way onto the water in a light north easterly breeze.

Race 1 - With lots of tide pushing the boats over the start line the whole fleet got away without any premature starters. Cajensa led up the first beat and were first at the windward mark followed by So Tango and Alley Cat. These places remained until the leward mark when on the second beat So Tango got ahead. The fleet bunched up a bit and on the downwind leg to the finish Alley Cat snuck into finish second with So Tango taking first place.

Race 2 - With the tide building some boats were more optimistic than others with their starting strategy and decided to visit the race officer for lunch. With some of the fleet caught up with this raft Jessabelle took the advantage and led to the windward mark. On the first beat Cajensa was moving up the fleet, it wasnt until over taking Foreigner that it was pointed out that Cajensa had came out badly from the carnage of the start with a hole in the port bow. At first thinking this was brotherly rivalry between the crews of the two boats Cajensa soon realised this was in fact true and had to retire to the beach. On the first reach Carbon Footprint was in hot pursuit with Crowns close behind. With close racing for the remainder of the course and many position changes Crowns got away to take the win.

Race 3 - With the breeze building race three got underway and saw a tight fleet with Ruby towards the front of the pack. Another close race with multiple place changes along the downwind leg saw Crowns take the lead and hold on for the victory. With the drama from the second race, Saturday evening saw the fleet rallying round to get Cajensa patched in time for the second day of racing. Once the few minor repairs were completed the fleet met in the car park of Minnis Bay for obligatory drinks and nibbles followed by the amazing food put on by the club members.

Some awoke bleary eyed on Sunday in the hope of sunshine, unfortunately the sound of rain was hitting the tents.

Race 4 - With the tide helping the fleet stay behind the line the start was clean for all of the fleet. All the boats headed along the beach to Margate to stay out of the tide and it was So Tango that blinked first and tacked for the layline. They judged this correctly and led around the windward mark in first place with Carbon Footprint in hot pursuit. Positions remained the same for the first two reaches until the second beat when Crowns went up the left hand side of the course sailing in clean air taking the lead from So Tango and finishing the race in first place.

Race 5 - After a non-dramatic start the fleet split with half going left and half going right. Carbon Footprint were in the group that opted to go left and this tactic played in their favour and saw them have a considerable lead for the whole race.

Race 6 - With a really short turn around between the races this caught some of the fleet off guard as watches had not yet been reset! The race got underway with the majority of the fleet going left looking for the change in tide direction. Jessabelle was first to the windward mark with Crowns and So Tango not far behind. With a new windward mark in place on a shorter course the fleet was compacted which saw plenty of place changing across the whole fleet. Crowns took the lead and saw this through to the finish.

A great weekend on and off the water at Minnis Bay Sailing Club!

Huge congratulations to Nigel and Sarah Stuart on Crowns for finishing in 1st place, James Gibbons and Elizabeth Hill on So Tango finished 2nd with Mark Norman and Rob Britton on Jessabelle finishing in 3rd place.

 

Shearwater TT Round 1 at Rutland Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan Apr 2019

 

A small dedicated fleet arrived at Rutland SC for the first TT of the year. After a winter of preparing boats the fleet were excited by the prospect of sailing there boats not preparing in the garage.

Race One: The new team of Chloe Stuart & Darren Tulley on SimSek were first around the windward mark in Chloe's first season as a helm. Mark Norman & Catherine Tulley sailing Jessabelle were in hot pursuit followed by Nigel & Sarah Stuart on Crowns. Jessabelle managed to get away on the second upwind, but unfortunately for Mark he could not count how many laps and decided to do an extra lap to allow Crowns through for the first win of the year.

Race Two: With an increased breeze and shifts to boot Crowns did to be honest a horizon job.... they lead from start to finish and sailed a really great race winning by a long margin. Not much more to say other than well done!

Race Three: The race where Chloe lost her pocket money for ever! In her third race of helming she and Darren dominated the start locking out Crowns (sailed by Chloe's parents) who needed to restart. Jessabelle tussled with SimSek and Crowns went hard right up the beat and managed to catch up. With increased an increased breeze which was now shifting around this caused lots of place changing. However a similar story at the end Crowns came out on top winning the race and the day.

Saturday night saw the fleet wowed by Magic Nick Winram, as he impressed with his card tricks. An intense 16 people game of spoons, where Nigel and Darren were left in the final. Who would come out victor, would it be Nigel like he was in races 1 - 3? After 59 seconds Darren was crowned the winner after bluffing Nigel for the victory!

A new day broke and wetsuits had dried in Rutland's warm changing rooms, which were definitely warmer than tents in the campsite!

Race Four: With a bitterly cold wind race four got under way. A port biased start meant Crowns and Jessabelle took full advantage and led up the first beat, followed by Sam Vaughan and Oliver Stuart on Cajensa. On the first downwind leg Crowns and Jessabelle tussled for the lead with Airflow sailed by Louise Curry and Nick Winram and SimSek duelling with Cajensa for third place. Following a close race Crowns took the win from Jessabelle.

Race Five: With an ever shifting breeze the majority of the fleet decided to start at the port end. The fleet headed for the right hand side of the course and the whole fleet were within three boat lengths of each other. The Rutland Belle provided an obstruction and this provided Jessabelle with the opportunity to get away. On the first downwind leg the fleet was close tussling for all positions. With a big left hand shift on the second beat, Crowns managed to take advantage and finish in first place.

With five wins to Crowns can they get a clean sweep of 6 race wins?

Race Six: After some buoy fiddling due to the shifting breeze, Jessabelle led for the majority of the race with Airflow in close pursuit. But where was Crowns? Up the second windward leg Crowns started to reel in Jessabelle. The downwind leg saw Jessabelle and Crowns constantly changing positions following the puffs of breeze as they came down the course. With one lap to go the place changing continued on the windward leg ending with Crowns taking the victory.

Well done to Nigel and Sarah on Crowns finishing first overall with 6 race wins! Mark and Catherine on Jessabelle finished in second place with new team Chloe and Darren on SimSek finishing in third place.

Fantastic first TT of the season with great entertainment on and off the water. Huge thank you to Rutland Sailing Club for brilliantly organised races and for making us feel so welcomed.

Overall Results:

1st Crowns, Nigel & Sarah Stuart

2nd Jessabelle, Mark Norman & Catherine Tulley

3rd SimSek, Chloe Stuart & Darren Tulley

The countdown is now on for TT #2 of the season at Minnis Bay on 18th - 19th May.

If anybody is interested in getting involved in the friendliest small catamaran class please contact us, boats are available to borrow or purchase!