The inaugural World Championships were held at Cransley Sailing Club on Saturday 9th July for the Comet Duo. Whilst less than 200 were built and as far as is known most are still in the UK, the class were keen to welcome any visitors from around our planet!. Two visitors did travel – ok not quite from Australia or USA, but from Oulton Mere SC and Hawley Lake SC, to join 7 Cransley Duos for the largest gathering for a few years.
Race 1 – The wind was forecast to be 15 gusting 20-25 knots but the early rain dampened it to 10-12 knots for the first 2 laps of the Race 1. This allowed the fleet to bunch together and Peter Stein/William Grantham chased Nigel Austin/Emily Britton for the first half of the race, before the wind increased. Jane and John Townsend teamed up for the first two races (before putting Jane put her curlers in and dashed off to a party), were a constant threat to John Linnell (2015 champion) and crew, Caroline Hughes (who wasn’t expecting to sail), but couldn’t quite catch them. Nigel & Anne Ford, followed by Tony Hetherington/Julie Aves and Andrew Heald and Lesley Johnson finished but Stephen Linton who ventured out on his own was entrapped by the Cransley weed at the leeward mark and had to retire. Also Darrell and Ella Hutchings retired at the same location as they found sailing without the jib was quite a challenge when tacking.
Then all retired to the clubhouse for a civilised lunch break of pulled pork rolls and pasta – none of this 3 races back to back stuff!
Race 2 – saw a few crew changes, which meant that the previous race results wouldn’t count unless they reverted to Crew no. 1 in the 3rd race. Peter Stein signed up Elinor Pawluk and Stephen Linton and Darrell Hutchings teamed up. With the forecasted 20-25 knots materialising, the top five results were the same, however Stephen And Darrell pushed Tony and Julie down to 7th despite Darrell falling out the boat (!), with Andrew and Lesley bringing home the fleet.
Mid afternoon Tea and Homemade cakes followed!
Race 3 – only 5 of the original 9 started the last race, due to a combination of fatigue, high winds, too much lunch and tea!, those that did, had a change of course with a tricky dead run that saw Nigel and Anne swimming (however it meant Anne took some great pictures of the action, thanks). The top 3 were the same although a tasty battle emerged between Peter/Elinor and John/Caroline which lasted to the finishing line and was good viewing. Stephen and Darrell finished fourth without Darrell throwing himself overboard this time!.
Whilst the results are always of interest, it was the great spirit in which this championships was sailed which was the winner, and with all boats being double handed at some point with crews both young and old, experienced and not. The race officer and team produced good courses and the safety and catering crews were excellent. It was all agreed that we would be back next year and we would try to encourage more to come along – so the hunt is on to find the other 170 Comet Duos – wherever they are in the world!
Nigel Austin, Comet Duo 103
More photos to come and results.