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Comet Duo 2023 'Worlds' and National Championship at Cransley Sailing Club

by Nigel Austin 21 Aug 2023 09:56 BST 20 August 2023
Comet Duo 'Worlds' and Nationals at Cransley © Nigel Austin

The 7th Comet Duo Worlds and National Championships, held at Cransley Sailing Club, were once again a blustery affair due to Storm Betty. Force 4-5 winds were forecast and didn't disappoint for the first two races, slightly reducing for the last one.

The format was for three races with two to count, sailed with a greatly appreciated civilised break in between each one. This year we had 10 boats take to the water, (would have been 11 but yours truly was unable to sail on the day). We also had two new visiting boats in the fleet, which was fantastic - Andy & Chloe Gribble from Chew Valley and Malcolm & Bob from Attenborough.

As the original aim back in 2016 of holding the Worlds was to get young sailors to helm or crew these wonderful dinghies so they could tell all and sundry what they had done at the weekend, it was great that we did that with Aiyushi Patel, Harry Ambery, Chloe Gribble, Georgie Hinde, Charlie and Matilda Guyett. All the other competing boats had slightly older crews (is that politically correct?).

Race 1 saw the majority of the fleet cautiously make their way round a challenging course but there were three front runners who emerged - Hugh & Harry, Rob & Georgie and Charlie & Matilda. Although this was the order they finished in, there was some close racing between them, particularly the last two. Hugh & Harry however were too fast off wind with some sublime planing on the three reaching legs - Hugh was nearly out the back of the boat! Andy & Chloe, sailing with a reefed main, came in fourth and had the biggest smiles going!

There was inevitably some casualties in such winds with John Linnell & Peter Jackson capsizing and then going on a nature trail, Malcolm & Bob also taking a dip after showing early promise and David Hodgson & Aiyushi gradually filling up with water as they hadn't realised the self bailers needed to be pushed a bit further down...

However the remainder held on amidst one or two screams and nervous laughing (notably Edd & Lu Stevenson) to enjoy a sumptuous pasta bake lunch.

Race 2 saw no abatement to the wind and whilst the top three order stayed the same, John & Peter got their act together with a well deserved fourth. Everyone finished and it is rumoured there were no capsizes, although from the foreshore difficult to see what goes on up near the windward mark in the south arm.

Race 3 was a slightly less frantic race, however everyone was getting used to the starting and there was a deluge of Duos at the starboard end of the start line in close quarter. The usual three broke free halfway up the first beat and eventually Charlie & Matilda managed to pip Rob & Georgie, but no one was catching H & H.

David & Aiyushi eventually got their act together and stopped blaming the boat for their results in Races 1 and 2 to get a fourth, followed by Ian Pidd & Joe Riley who were consistent mid-fleet throughout.

The overall results do not reflect the closeness of racing (apart from Hugh & Harry who were in a world of their own), except if you look at the points score. However the prize for persistence and also for definitely getting closer to the pack goes to Edd & Lu for finishing each race, not capsizing, and grinning like Cheshire cats all day.

In fact it's a long time since I have witnessed a sailing event where all the sailors have gone out smiling, and at the end of the day are still smiling. The racing/sailing was fantastic and these Comet Duos are perfectly suited to these sorts of winds. It is great testament to Andy Simmons, the designer and builder, that all the boats remain competitive long since the last ones were made. Congratulations to Hugh & Harry - World Class!

Well done to those who travelled and the Cransley sailors for surviving, and to the whole team at Cransley - galley crew Sophie, Barbara and Rachel (legendary breakfast/lunch and amazing afternoon tea), the safety crew (Sue and Sarah) and race officer (Stuart)).

Already looking forward to 2024.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st103Hugh AmberyHarry AmberyCransley‑1112
2nd165Rob CampbellGeorgie HindeCransley22‑34
3rd73Charlie GuyettMatilda GuyettCransley‑3325
4th149Andy GribbleChloe GribbleChew Valley Lake45‑89
5th59Ian PiddJoe RileyCransley‑66511
6th121Mark ZealeyRuth ZealeyCransley5‑8611
7th90John LinnellPeter JacksonCransley & Hollowell84‑912
8th115David HodgsonAiyushi ModhaCransley(RET)9413
9th156Malcolm DavidsonBob CeurstemondAttenborough‑77714
10th116Ed StevensonLou StevensonCransley9‑101019
11th103bNigel AustinReuben StevensonCransley(DNS)DNSDNS24

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