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Dart 16 TT at Whitstable Sailing Club

by Dart 16 Class 20 May 2003 11:46 BST
The second Dart 16 Travellers Trophy of 2003 took place at Whitstable Yacht Club. The first day of racing on the Saturday was greeted with force 2 with small gusts of force 3 wind conditions, with a slight state of sea.

The event saw the first ever single hander using the class rule of 1 sail 1 crew and 2 sails 2 crew rule, established about 2 years ago. The first race saw half of the fleet go up one side of the first leg, the beat and half up the other side. The advantage went to the locals Tim & Chloe Bolton from Whitstable followed by single-hander Mike Ager where it obviously paid, then Daigneault third after the first lap. There became two clear battle's between Bolton & Ager out front , with Daigneault battling it out with Stacey for third place on the second lap. There was a controversial finish which saw Bolton miss the finish line and let Ager through, Bolton recovered to take 2nd, with Daigneault taking provisional third position. Only for both Ben Daigneault and Richard Stacey being disqualified for missing the spacer mark on the first lap. As Tim Bolton returned to the shore to get his young daughter Chloe warm. Disaster struck for Stacey & Pollard in between the first and second race. They were slowly making their way to have a look at the start line on starboard when a Dart 18 roared up on port. Firstly colliding with the hull then Richard Stacey who took most of the impact of the fibreglass hull hitting his back and knocking him over the other side of the boat and putting them out for the rest of the day's racing, courtesy of W.H insurance. The rescue boat was soon called and took him ashore and put on a crew for Mark Pollard to sail the boat in. Richard was very badly scarred, but stil showed his face at the social with a g&t in hand telling everyone his heroic sea tale.

In Race 2 with a reduced number of 2 the wind seemed to increase to a steady 3, it was Ben Daigneault & Graham Tomlin who took the line honours in front of Mike Ager. Race 3 saw the return of Tim & Chloe Bolton from Whitstable, with the increased it was much harder for Ager to catch up the top 2 but he did cling on to the back of them to finish 3rd with the bruises and exhaustion to show that he did find it tough all day. The battle for the front went to Daigneault from Eastbourne taking the victory from the local boy Bolton.

After the night's social the sailors had to be up bright and early for a 10.30 for start instead of 12.30 the day before. With anticipation still high that anyone in the top 3 could take the event victory. the day was greeted by very much the same as the day before. After lap 1 it was Bolton followed by Daigneault 2nd, Ager third and Stacey in fourth. After Stacey made a mistake letting through Ager. The wind dropped dramatically on the second lap's first leg at one side of the beat seeing Ager & Stacey catching the front two. Then the wind dropped down on the rest of the course bringing everyone to a holt. Then the front two got a gust and went round the mark and then the wind filled in again to see Ager & Stacey round the mark. It finished with Daigneault again taking a first place to add to his other two of the event. This meant Ben & Graham only needed to finish the last race to win the event. With the last race seeing a much shorter and change of course. With a stronger force 3-4 wind. Saw the crews getting some trapeze wire action. With a very close last race it saw Tim & Chloe Bolton take a well-deserved race victory after leading so much in the other races. Followed by Mike Ager in second, Ben & Graham third. I would like to say a big thank you from the association to Whitstable Yacht club for putting on a brilliant event yet again.

Overall places:

PosHelm (& Crew)Club
1stBen Daigneault & Graham TomlinEastbourne Sovereign S.C
2ndTim & Chloe BoltonWhitstable Y.C
3rdMike Ager (single-handed)Thames Estuary Y.C
4thRichard Stacey & Mark PollardDee S.C

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