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Stokes Bay Sailing Club Catamaran Open

by Dave Roberts 26 May 10:06 BST 22-23 May 2021

Stokes Bay Sailing Club hosted the multi-class Catamaran Open Meeting over the weekend of 22/23 May. Many people were eagerly anticipating the first major catamaran event in the UK for some time and despite a very bad weather forecast, almost 50 cats entered. Although some Covid restrictions still limited the on-shore facilities, the racing was very much 'as normal'.

There was class sailing for the Hurricanes, Sprint 15s, Nacra 20s and then Fast and Slow Handicap. In the Fast Handicap, there were F18s, Foiling A Class, Unicorns and the youth squad sailing Nacra 15s supported by their RYA coach, Nikki Boniface. The slow handicap fleet comprised of Dart 18s and Shearwaters.

The only thing that did not go to plan was the weather! On the Friday before the event, a storm passed through with sustained winds of 50 knots. For those driving to the event whilst towing a cat, this made for an exciting trip! It also re-shaped the beach to leave a 1 metre shingle wall and brought in a lot of seaweed!

Fortunately, the weather improved for the racing on Saturday. The weather was still unstable with heavy clouds and with passing fronts. The first race started in about 8 knots and built to around 12 - 13 knots. The second race saw some bizarre wind changes - starting in a steady 10 - 12 knots, the wind suddenly switched off at the windward mark and the rest of the race was held in about 5 or 6 knots! The opposite happened in the final race - starting in about 5 knots, the wind rapidly built to about 18 knots by the time the first boats reached the windward mark, and about 23 knots by the time the leading boats completed the first lap! A really challenging day for OOD Carl Downing and his team, who did a fantastic job.

Sadly, the strong winds returned for the Sunday, making further racing impossible. With a building forecast and already marginal conditions, two F18s tried to sail and proved that it was too windy to race!!

Photos of the event by Lotte Johnson are available for purchase at www.lottejohnson.com

Overall Results: (top three, 3 races)

Fast Handicap
1 - Will Sunnocks and crew, F18
2 - David White and crew, F18
3 - Tim Neal and Simon Farron, F18

Sprint 15
1 - Paul Grattage
2 - Chris Tillyer
3 - Jenny Ball

Hurricane
1 - Terri Hanmore and crew
2 - Doug Smith and Isobel Smith
3 - Adam Charlesworth and Richard Robinson

Nacra 20
1 - Kevin Dutch and David Oakley
2 - Grant Piggott and Jon Cotgreave
3 - John Tuckwell and Will Smith

Slow Handicap
1 - David Lloyd and Joanna Trafford, Dart 18
2 - Nigel Stuart and Sarah Stuart, Shearwater
3 - James Gibbons and Phillip Gibbons, Shearwater

Full results can be found at www.stokesbay-sc.co.uk/catamaran-open-meeting

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