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TridentUK Dinghy Stacker For Towing - Laser or Topper

Clevedon Sailing Club Channel Race

by Martin Gibson 2 Sep 2019 05:57 BST 25 August 2019
Clevedon SC Channel Race © Mike Batchelor

This year's Channel race had picture perfect conditions of fine, sunny, warm weather and a F2-3 Westerly breeze - nowhere better to be.

The long distance race takes the sailors from Clevedon Bay up the Bristol Channel and past Portishead to go around Denny Island and then return. The skill of the sailors is choosing the best line and time to sail to maximise the use of the tidal flow and then of course the unpredictable wind may change during the race which, if it drops will favour those that started earlier. 9 Dinghies of varying classes took part all hoping to be the quickest around the course after corrected handicap and 2 to 3 hours sailing.

The 420 helmed by Anna Marriott crewed by Mark Houle was first away closely followed by the Vision with Chris Cooper and Trevor Baker.

Robin Goff in his Laser was away next, a few minutes later followed by the 2nd Laser of John Summers. Martin and Ella Gibson in their Tasar set off 17 minutes after the first boat with another Tasar of Anthony Rees and Kevin Watts following immediately. Another 16 minutes passed before Ian Hotchkiss with Andy Black decided that their timing was right with their large sail area of the 505 and shortly after the 2nd Vision to set off with Paul Hield and Amy Collins.

The last boat in the fleet set off 55 minutes after the first boat - a decision that Benedict Whybrow and Nathan Holmes were convinced was right for their Tasar - their tactics being to make the most of the ebb tide with the beat into wind.

The light winds made the race relatively uneventful and enabled the crews to sail their boats without being overpowered. The Vision of Cooper and Baker had overtaken the 420 on the run up to Denny Island and was the only change of position in the fleet up to that point.

With the change in sailing direction after rounding Denny Island the Gibson Tasar and Goff Laser started to reduce the gap with the leading Vision. With these 3 boats within easy sight of each other it was going to be a close finish once the times had been corrected for the boat's handicap. Just before the Avon Buoy the Tasar tacked towards the shore - too early, whilst the Vision continued to beat towards the buoy. The Tasar couldn't clear the Pier head and was tucked behind resulting in 2 extra tacks whilst the Vision using the ebb tide tacked and cleared the Pier Head in one beat. The tactics of waiting a long time before starting by Whybrow and Holmes in their Tasar didn't quite work out - handicap corrected time had them placed 3rd however, returning through the finish line in the wrong direction effectively meant that they did not finish!!

The Vision was first over the line 65 seconds ahead of the Tasar and 3 minutes ahead of the Laser. Handicap corrected times resulted in Robin Goff being victorious, Chris Cooper and Trevor Baker 2nd in their Vision and the Tasar of Martin and Ella Gibson in 3rd place.

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