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Shearwater TT at Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 29 Jun 05:50 BST 25-26 June 2022
Shearwater TT at Newhaven & Seaford © Shearwater class

Nine Shearwaters excited but apprehensive arrived at Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club for the third TT of the 2022 series. Apprehension was certainly in the air as the time for launching approached.

Sailors looked out to sea, on what had all the hallmarks of a great day on the water, Sun, 16-20 knots of breeze and an empty Seaford Bay. However, one fairly large stumbling block was in between the sailors and near perfect conditions. A large dump of waves that had been smashing Seaford beach for several hours that was going to make launching challenging. Whilst locals gave advice on how to get off the beach the most sensible route to the sea was a one-hour postponement.

Much tea and coffee were consumed in the hour, but after a reduction in the wave height, the fleet launched. The video on Instagram @shearwatercatamaran is well worth a watch, on how to get off a beach in a catamaran.

Race 1, got away in glamour conditions and Newhaven really did turn it on, 18knots made a for a challenge with the seaway running. New Flame sailed by Jamie & Philip Gibbons got away with Carbon Footprint out for the first time this year sailed by Shaun & Alex Allen. The first reach proved to be a wet affair for the crews with helms managing to be hidden by crews' legs. Third place was taken by Crowns sailed by Nigel & Ruben Stuart with the remainder of the fleet in hot pursuit.

On the second beat, New Flame consolidated their lead, until disaster struck, and their jib halyard snapped. With the jib halfway up the mast Carbon Footprint took the lead. On the final downwind, with in effect half a jib New Flame took the lead back and managed to hold on to the finish in first place from Carbon Footprint and Crowns in third.

Race 2, after a small wind shift and the course relayed to suit the fleet got away and similar faces lead at the windward mark, New Flame chased by Carbon Footprint. On the second beat, fresh faces to the top three emerged. Cajensa, sailed by Sam Vaughan and Oliver Stuart decided to join the party and fight it out at the top of the fleet. Sadly, this was to no avail and New Flame took the win from Carbon Footprint and Cajensa in third.

The final race of the day got away and arms, and bodies were now certainly aching. The fleet went left, with the strong tide making judging the lay line a tricky affair with a building sea state. What ever option the fleet took, the leaders managed to all arrive at pretty much the same time at the windward mark, however the top three remained the same New Flame, Carbon Footprint and Cajensa.

Whilst places changed on the downwind, mainly due to massive surfing available New Flame took a commanding lead to hold on to the win. Carbon Footprint and Cajensa took it on to sail two different styles of Shearwater downwind sailing. This is where the unique Symmetrical Spinnaker of the Shearwater comes into its own. Carbon Footprint went with a speedier reaching approach and Cajensa with a slower more direct route to the leeward mark. The answer was both worked but by result Carbon Footprint took second place from Cajensa in third.

The fleet arrived back on the beach, most with bruises and bumps of what had been a great day on the water. After a long pull up the beach the community started to trade stories of there days on the water this carried long into the evening with numerous BBQs firing across the campsite.

A new day dawned for the fleet for a second day of sailing, except the sea had built with a stronger wind overnight, with more advice from the locals it was suggested that the day was not going to happen anytime soon, with a later in the day high tide. So, the fleet made the tough decision to call off the day and have a leisurely trip home.

Overall New Flame took the win, with three first places, Carbon Footprint second with three seconds and Cajensa in third. A massive thank must go to the volunteers of Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club for running a great event in really tough conditions. We certainly want to come back next year!

The next event on the Shearwater calendar is the 65th National Championships to be held at Pagham Yacht Club from the 18th-21st August. Four days of great sailing, at a great club with great people.

What more can you ask for? Come, and find out more from the original catamaran racing class!

Overall Results: (top three)

1st New Flame, James & Philip Gibbons, 3pts
2nd Carbon Footprint, Shaun & Alex Allen, 6pts
3rd Cajensa, Sam Vaughan & Oliver Stuart, 11pts

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