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Shearwater TT Round 4 at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 31 Jul 2019 11:38 BST 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.

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