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Dart 16 Nationals at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club

by Jacky Thomas 21 Jun 2008 10:42 BST 7-8 June 2008
Racing in the Dart 16 nationals at Eastbourne © Jacky Thomas

Sponsored by Laser and Marlow Ropes Ltd

The weekend started well, waking to sunshine and a fair breeze, certainly a good way to start a weekend of Dart sailing!

The race officer set a triangle and sausage course about one and a half miles offshore. The forecast was for around 10 knots of wind but in actual fact we started off on a strong outgoing tide and offshore wind of between 10-15 knots. The first race was a good warm up for the exhilarating second and third races!

The course was reset very smoothly after the first race by the slick race team as the wind had swung round to provide the classic Eastbourne sea breeze. We now had winds of F4-F5 and an increasingly choppy sea, which the Darts were bouncing through- perfect Dart weather and the sun, was still shining. The Grebers had good starts in all three races, but Nick and Tom’s combined weight was an advantage as the breeze kicked in and they finished first in all three races. Needless to say there were no Dart capsizes; just a few of the other cats went for a swim. There were a few retirements after the second race, cold was the main reason.

Once we had put the boats away, there was a warm welcome from the galley-home made dinner in the club house and a few pints of the local ‘Harveys’ bitter to consume. Liz and Lynn had even made ‘Toblerone’ and ‘Malteser’ brownies to weigh us all down the next day!

The forecast for Sunday had been for very little wind; however there was a light north easterly offshore breeze when we set off for the course at 10.20. The race was due to start at 11 but had to be postponed – the breeze had swung round to an onshore south easterly and again the course had to be reset. On the other hand, I did see the committee boat members tucking into a veritable feast of sandwiches as I cruised past- maybe the wind served their purpose for an early lunch. The pin end proved the preferred start and allowed us to get out of the worst of the tide for a while. At the second race more boats decided on that end and some chose to risk a port start which elicited some shouting and proved disastrous for the race leaders, Nick and Tom Hart, as they slipped to sixth place. However, they made it up by the end of the second lap to regain their enviable lead.

A couple of sailors had GPS on board, Claire Day recorded covering 30 miles on the first day’s sailing and 21.5 miles between launching and landing again on Sunday. Claire told me that their fastest speed was 11.9mph, ‘not as fast as others!!’

The prizes for the weekend were very generously provided by Laser and Marlow Ropes

Overall Results:

1st Nick and Tom Hart, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (DNC), 5pts
2nd Sebastian and Oliver Greber, 2, 2, 2, (5), 5, 1, 12pts
3rd Matt and John Wiseman, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, (4), 13pts
4th Rob Atkinson and Mandy Batchelor, (10), 4, 6, 3, 3, 2, 18pts

Nick and son, Tom Hart (Eastbourne Sovereign SC) are Dart 16 National Champions for 2008. Nick and Tom received the trophy and a brand new main sail from Laser, second place went to brothers Sebastian and Oliver Greber (Pevensey Bay SC) winning a new jib, Third place to Matt and John Wiseman from (Hastings & St Leonards SC) winning a quiver bag and fourth place went to Rob Atkinson and Mandy Batchelor (ESSC) winning a ‘goodie bag’ of bits for the Dart 16 courtesy again of Laser.

Marlow ropes supported the event with 7x8 meter lengths of their new high performance light weight jib sheets ‘Excel Fusion’. This generous support enabled us to provide a prize to seven participants from 11th place up. Additional prizes went to Alan and Aaron Agnew who are new to Dart sailing and have very little experience to date of racing! They did really well competing.

I suppose a reflection on the weekend and certainly from feedback is that the fleet is really friendly. I believe that everyone enjoyed the weekend and many of us learnt a lot from the experience.

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