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'Catch Me If You Can' at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Tom Dixon 24 May 2023 10:09 BST 20 May 2023
Isaly, the last boat away, in the 'Catch Me If You Can' at Royal Harwich YC © Andrew Ede

The first of the three hours pursuit events of 2023 took place on the 20th May in the Orwell and Stour. 19 boats had entered with 66 sailors afloat, ranging from 18 months old to a former Whitbread Round the World racer.

Not everyone had the new RYA YTC for 2023 which meant some judgement calls by the handicapping team.

With a blustery NN Easterly of up to 20 knots the smallest boat was Merry J, an Achillies 24 but the first boat way was Columbine, a Leisure 27 who had three hours to stay ahead of the rest of the fleet.

The fastest boat was Islay, a fully crewed Dehler 34 who started 41 minutes later while many of the fleet were just two up, and one, Gannett a Hanse 342, single handed so had opted for white sails only.

Our starter Bob Portway did a great job of getting everyone away whilst also handling repeated requests for the course over the radio.

Kalabash, a Rival 36 sailed by 23 year old Dan Patten with his father as crew started 15 minutes after the first boat and made excellent progress through the early starters to establish a lead she never relinquished, winning the 'I caught them' prize.

Morning Tide, a S&S34 and Nushaba, a Starlight 35 starting 24 and 26 minutes later respectively took up the chase of Kalabash and had a match race throughout the event. Nushaba was faster off the wind and got ahead on those legs, only to be overtaken again by Morning Cloud on the upwind legs. Morning Cloud was a few boat lengths ahead in second at the end.

Meribel a Hanse 311 was fourth with Entropy, a Corby 29 and one of the last starters very close at the 2pm finish time. Not much further back were Petra Ann and Islay (Dehler 34's) and Time Off II and Spree Three (Bavaria 37's).

In the club house the junior sailors had finished their Saturday session and were able to watch over half the fleet being tracked on the big screen - a trial that will be repeated.

The SI's allow handicap adjustments so Kalabash will have a harsher one next time on the 10th June while some of the fleet will be given more time.

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