Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Dart 15 Winter TT at Rutland Sailing Club

by Jenny Ball 13 Dec 2023 05:42 GMT 10 December 2023
Dart 15 Winter TT at Rutland © Jenny Ball

The second event of the Dart 15 Winter Series took place at Rutland Water on Sunday 10th December. Despite the 50 knot winds on the Saturday, there was a weather window in the forecast for Sunday which encouraged ten competitors to turn up and take part in the event.

The schedule was for three back to back races and, following a briefing from the Race Officer, the fleet set off in time for the scheduled 11am start. All the competitors were clutching a map showing the location of the club race marks which are many, varied and can be confusing to visitors. And also apparently the local sailor Steve Sawford who confessed he was also not sure which mark was which! So he Race Officer kindly stationed a safety boat at the first two marks to give the fleet a helping hand.

The breeze was much lighter than the forecast suggested, but certainly enough to race in. The rain forecast, unfortunately, proved completely correct with rain falling steadily across race one and two although thankfully the temperatures were milder than the preceding three week cold snap.

The first race got away with a clear port hand bias, courtesy of the wind shifting and the fleet set off to find mark 18, then 14, then 11 and then 10. Jason Clarke (Marconi) got a characteristically good start with Steve Sawford (Rutland) close on his heels and Jenny Ball (Marconi) and Jan Elfring (Draycote) all following on port. Jason rounded the windward mark first but Steve just brushed the mark causing him to have to do a turn on the next leg, letting Jenny and Jan through.

Having found mark 14 over towards Normanton Church, Jason led the way across to marks 11 and 10 and then back through the start finish gate. Jenny managed to edge past Jason on the second beat down to mark 18 and across to 14. Here the wind was particularly fickle as the mark was just off the lee shore. Jason managed to pick up an extra puff on the downwind leg to reach the third mark in front of Jenny and held on for the rest of the lap to take the win with Jenny in second and Steve had worked his way up to take third, with Jan fourth and Jeremy Franklin (Draycote) in fifth.

The Race Officer reset the start line and course to the now prevailing wind direction, although there were still plenty of shifts to contend with. The wind had also reduced further and so the course was shortened with mark 14 now being the windward mark, followed by a run to mark 12 and then across to mark 10 before coming back through the finish line. This time the fleet all started on starboard and began the fairly slow procession towards the first mark.

There was a wide split across the fleet as competitors opted to tack off onto port at different times, all hoping to pick up an extra zephyr or lift that might give them an advantage. It was a difficult call as the mark was under the lee of the shore so picking the "least worst" route into it was a challenge and at various points, different competitors looked like they would round in front.

In the end, Jason reached the mark first with Steve, Jeremy and Jon Pearse (Marconi) close behind. On the broad reach to the next mark, Jenny, Jan and Derek James (Draycote) managed to get an extra breath of wind which carried them underneath Steve, Jon and Jeremy who were just a boat length or two closer to the lee shore. Jan rounded the next mark in second place with Jenny close behind and Steve and Derek catching up.

The Race Officer shortened the course as Jason reached the final mark of lap one and he went on to take the win. Jenny ducked to get inside Jan ahead of the final mark of the course and a very close, if slow, five way race took place on the final leg. In the end, Steve got a slight lift which enabled him to cross the line without tacking and take second place, with Jenny in third, Derek in fourth, Jon in fifth and Jan in sixth place.

Race three saw the same start line and course coinciding with the rain easing up and some definitely stronger puffs of wind heading across the lake at long last. Jason and Jon got a strong start mid line with Steve up at the Committee Boat end. All three tacked onto port fairly early as the breeze looked to be slightly stronger coming across from the right hand side of the course. Jenny stood on further to the left and although the wind was slightly softer, there was more of a lift into the mark.

As with race two, it became clear that the pivotal point was the impact of the light and fluky breeze at the windward mark under the lee shore, even though the breeze out in the lake was much fresher. Jason looked like he would romp round the mark into a clear lead until he sailed into the shadow of the shore. He still managed to round the mark in front, but Jenny had managed to pick up second place with Steve in third.

As the rest of the fleet came round the mark in a bunch, there was some slight contact and turns duly done. On the run from the second to the third mark, Jenny got an extra puff which enabled her to round the third mark just ahead of Jason. The fleet were then able to lay the committee boat without tacking and enjoyed a strong enough breeze to even do a little hiking out! Jenny stayed right followed by Steve, whilst Jason tacked off to the left.

The same tricky conditions prevailed as they closed in at the windward mark, with Jenny managing to ghost round without an extra tack and with Steve managing to just get in front of Jason. The battle continued to be close fought for the third and final lap but Jenny managed to hold on to take the win with Steve in second and Jason in third. An equally close fought battle among the fleet behind them saw Derek take another fourth place with Jeremy in fifth and Christophe Clarke (Marconi) in sixth.

The fleet headed in having completed three competitive races in a variety of breeze courtesy of the Race Management team who ran a great event in less than easy conditions. And whilst the breeze may not have been as exciting as the forecast suggested, we were fortunate not to have had the very strong winds from the day before which would have cancelled it outright!

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClub
1Jason Clarke2037Marconi Sailing Club
2Jenny Ball2025Marconi Sailing Club
3Steve Sawford2033Rutland Water Sailing Club
4Derek James1940Draycote Water Sailing Club
5Jan Elfring2030Draycote Water Sailing Club
6Jeremy Franklin1930Draycote Water Sailing Club
7Jon Pearse2035Marconi Sailing Club
8Christophe Clarke1988Marconi Sailing Club
9Dave Clarke1776Marconi Sailing Club
10Lee Garton1759Marconi Sailing Club

Related Articles

Noble Marine Dart 15 Nationals at the WPNSA
A stellar weekend of champagne sailing at the home of British Olympic sailing A stellar weekend of champagne sailing at the home of British Olympic sailing - the 2024 Dart 15 Nationals sponsored by Noble Marine insurance really were a weekend to remember! Posted on 12 Jun
Dart 15 Southern Championship at Shanklin
A game of two halves 29 boats entered the second of the Dart 15 Summer Series events with six sailors coming from across the Solent. Posted on 22 May
Dart 15 Summer TT at Marconi
Racing on the beautiful River Blackwater on the Essex East Coast Having concluded a successful Winter Series, the Dart 15s held their first Summer TT at Marconi Sailing Club on the beautiful River Blackwater on the Essex East Coast. Posted on 24 Apr
Oldest videos of racing catamarans
We start in 1965, covering Hobie, Shearwater, Prindle and C Class, then the Worrell 1000 We delve into the past, and round-up all the videos which show racing catamarans, including Hobie cats, Shearwaters, Prindles and C Class, from the 1960s to the 90s. Plus some Worrell 1000 history. Posted on 7 Apr
Dart 15 Winter TT at Grafham
Fifth and final TT of the series, racing for the Chris Black Icicle The fifth and final TT of the Dart 15 Winter Series for 2023/4 was held at Grafham Water on Sunday 3rd March. Posted on 8 Mar
Dart 15 Winter TT at Datchet
Competitors delighted to arrive to a decent breeze and mild temperatures The Dart 15 Winter Series continued with its fourth Winter TT at Datchet Water Sailing Club. The February TT does not have a great track record - with several years lost to either Covid or storm force winds. Posted on 23 Feb
Dart 15 Winter TT at Stewartby
Hot competition in the variable conditions shakes up the status quo With a forecast of variable (5-10 mph) winds and sunshine, a pleasant day was on the cards for the nineteen entries to the first Dart 15 TT of the Winter Series. Posted on 12 Nov 2023
Gill Dart 15 Summer TT and Inlands at Grafham
A turnout of 19 sailors drawn by the sunny and breezy forecast Grafham Water Sailing Club hosted the Gill Dart 15 Inland Championship 2023 over the weekend of 14th & 15th October, with a turnout of 19 Dart 15 sailors drawn to GWSC given a sunny & sometimes breezy weather forecast leading up to the event. Posted on 18 Oct 2023
Dart 15 Sport Nationals at Shanklin
Started with a whimper and finished with a roar The first day of the Dart 15 Sport National Championship started in perfect sailing weather with a flat, dark blue sea, force 4 and wall to wall sunshine. Twenty-nine boats entered including eighteen from the host club. Posted on 25 Sep 2023
Dart 15 TT & Northerns at Carsington
Baking hot sunshine but with very light winds Eight Dart 15 travellers joined four members of the home club to compete in the picturesque setting of Carsington Water on the edge of the Peak District. Posted on 12 Sep 2023