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Shadows at the East Coast Piers Race

by Olly Harris & Robin Leather 21 Jul 2012 06:34 BST 14-15 July 2012

Shadow X's take 1st and 2nd in the Colne Point Race at the East Coast Piers Race. The weather proved to be much better than recent months would let us believe were possible.

On Saturday in light, shifty and patchy conditions, Paul Tanner won the first race (a long slow sail to Bradwell power station and back) with Rob Forrester second. Big loses were possible if you chose the wrong route down the river. Olly Harris selflessly discovered the wrong way so that others did not have to! Regardless, Paul and Rob showed the speed and competitiveness that the 'Shadow X' has in mixed handicap fleets. In the second race, Paul and Rob managed 5th and 7th which gave them 2nd and 3rd overall for the Saturday racing behind Oli Northrop's F18. A great result in a strong handicap fleet.

Amazingly, Sunday provided perfect conditions with course records expected to tumble. The wacky downwind starts on Saturday proved to be perfect practise for Sunday, with a nice force 3-4 blowing. Timing was crucial, with 40 boats on the line for the shorter Colne Point Race Olly popped his kite, accelerated with 30 seconds to go and shot off downwind with a 49er (monohulls are now allowed to take part in the Colne point race). The chasing pack was Rob and Paul, plus Paul Warren's Falcon F16 and a few F18s. At the Bradwell gate the 49er overshot and had to drop their kite, allowing Olly to take a clear lead, then on the leg to Colne, Paul's Falcon was handling the chop very well and he caught the lead up, trapezing all the way. Olly, Paul and the 49er rounded Colne together after an hour of racing.

The long beat back, in more wind at times, was hard work. After Bradwell, Olly's hopes of getting home first (and maybe breaking the course record) died as an F18 and Nacra 20 found more speed in the flatter water and pulled away. The Nacra 20 broke the course record which is now 2 hours 36 minutes. Olly's time was 2. 41 (same as the old record). Olly sailed 43 miles to complete the course.

Olly Harris won on handicap, with Forrester 2nd and Tanner finishing 7th, so an excellent result for the Shadow X.

It would be great if more can be there next year- it really is an excellent event and a very achievable challenge. This year there were more boats in the Colne Point fleet than the full ECPR, including about 7 fast monohulls.

The next event is at the Nationals in Brightlingsea (part of RegFest) Sept 28-30. The cat event not to miss.

Overall Results:

1st Olly Harris
2nd Rob Forrester
3rd Paul Tanner

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