Race reports and Results
We hosted the A Class Nationals over the weekend of the 17th and 16th June. This class is the fastest single handed catamaran class, with a split between “Classic” and “Foiling” boats the latter provide a spectacle as they sail on hydrofoils above the water. They are often referred to as the Formula 1 catamaran class as they have open design rules and are very fast. Most sailing classes are either one design or are restricted so there is no or only a little variation between the boats competing. The A Class boats are developed and customised by their sailors within a framework of the rules for the Classic and Foiling fleets.
Competitors started to arrive on Friday with Hugh Macgregor travelling down from his home club in Largs in Scotland to compete. Many of the club volunteers who helped set up the event enjoyed a BBQ with the competitors in the Evening. It was an early start for all on Saturday setting up the course to start racing at 12.30 in the 13 knot North Easterly breeze. This combined with an outgoing tide presented the competitors with challenging sea conditions. With sets of small but steep waves across the whole course. Two CSC members Peter Boxer and James Stacey were looking forward to sailing on their home spot against the visiting sailors who were a mix of sea and inland sailors.
The racing started shortly after 12.30 from a start line set in line with the Clubhouse which gave the club members spectating from the Club’s balcony and beach an excellent view of this critical part of the race. There was drama at the start of the first race with a competitor capsizing on the start line within the last two minutes of the pre-start sequence. They quickly recovered to not only make the start but to quickly take the lead in the race. The competitors hotly contested each of the three races. There were multiple position changes throughout each of the races. Each sailor chose to sail to their own strengths in the prevailing conditions resulting in a range of tactics. With some favouring going offshore upwind and close to the shore downwind and others doing the reverse.
Hugh Macgregor sailed consistently leading all the races and would have scored three wins except in the first race he made an uncharacteristic mistake that meant that he had to take last place points for failing to cross the finish line. Mark Rushton sailed consistently in all the races and scored 3 second places. Local sailor Peter Boxer sailed to his strengths and improved his position in all the races on most laps ending up a consistent 3rd in all the races. In the foiling fleet the single entrant was Julian Bosch who adapted his sailing style throughout the Championship. As he had to establish the best combination for foiling in the short choppy waves on the course. From being last in the first race he was second in the 3rd race and only a few boat lengths behind Hugh MacGregor. The stage was all set for races on Sunday to determine the outcome of the Class Championship. On Saturday evening the club hosted a curry evening for the competitors .
Sunday morning saw changeable weather, the competitors inspected their boats and assessed the forecast. Whilst on the water there had only been one retirement due to equipment failure. Close inspection of these complex and lightweight boats revealed that two further boats had suffered damage that would prevent them taking any further part in the racing. Balancing the forecast conditions which were forecast to be very similar wind strength as the day before but also with a shift to being more onshore which meant less shelter from waves launching and recovering the boats to the beach. It was decided by the class members that the series would only have the 3 races that were sailed on the Saturday.
The fleet is a friendly and close knit one and one of the factors in the collective decision was a feeling that the other competitors should not take advantage of this situation. In addition for some of the sailors the event was also a warm up for the next event. Who plan to sail in two weeks time in the Hellecat Summer A Class regatta across the North Sea in Holland.
This was a great event which both the competitors and club volunteers all thoroughly enjoyed and was rounded up with a Prize Giving in the Clubhouse