Shustoke report and results

A small but competitive fleet of six, mainly comprising of home boats began their contest. Within the pack was last year’s winner Bob and Colette Horlock from Exe Sailing Club, which is the home to the strongest Comet Trio fleet in the country.

In the first race it was the “Bushwackers” with dad and son team of Stuart and Rory Bush who established a substantial lead to take the first race ahead of Adrian and Tracie Padro. Last year’s winner came in third.
In the second race Stuart and Rory were looking confident managing to stay ahead of the Adrian and Tracie and opening up a safe margin. With minds clearly elsewhere, probably contemplating that having had most of the winter off was a good thing, the Padro’s nearly took Stuart and Rory on the final two downwind legs. With Stuart and Rory now forced into defensive play, it wasn’t long before Adrian and Tracie were able to seize their opportunity and win the race. Third and fourth positions were equally hotly contested with a draw on the line between Tony Fulford and Bob / Colette Horlock!

Into the last race and for the decider….. Well it was certainly going to be a Shustoke boat home first, which was good to see given that in previous years both crews had been bridesmaids in this event.
It was at this point that it is rumoured that Adrian suggested that Tracie wore his lucky snood to keep her warm in the closing race. Tracie, always suspicious of a gift from Adrian, checked out the item of clothing and realised that the snood was branded “Calvin Klein” with an extra hole at one end. Despite Adrian trying to pass-off his undergarments as a snood Adrian and Tracie managed to win the last race snatching the victory from Stuart and Rory.

Final Comet Trio results:

1st – Adrian and Tracie Padro, 2nd – Stuart and Rory Bush, 3rd – Bob and Colette Horlock, 4th – Tony Fulford, 5th – Anthony and Carol Campion and 6th Chris Padro and Peter McDonald.

Alex and Bob’s Sailjuice success

Sailjuice 2017

At the CCCA AGM back in May 16 it was suggested that rather than spend money on a CCCA Stand at the dinghy show we could show off the Trio in other ways.  One way would be to enter big handicap events so that sailors who are not familiar with the Trio or only see it as a training dinghy at their local club could see the true capability of the boat.

So I hatched a scheme to take Trio 394 (16 years old and with 7 year old ‘best sails’) to the Sailjuice Series.  Alex would helm, I would crew and we would go and see what we could do.  The Sailjuice Series consists of 7 races from November through to February at the big inland water clubs around the country.  With 4 races to count we just picked the nearest 4 to Exmouth/Southampton (where Alex lives) and set off for some fun!

On the 19/20 Nov we made our way to Draycote Water near Rugby for the Draycote Dash.  With 101 other boats of many different classes also turning up, the event was a chance for us to line up against those who sail very different types of dinghies.  On Saturday the weather was cold and in a light F2/3 wind the race officer managed to get all 4 scheduled handicap races sailed.  With 3 races to count we had managed 8, 28, 11. The Laser of Craig Williamson was leading overnight.  Sunday was marginally warmer and initially a little breezier, F4 but this faded as the racing took place.  A single 120 minute pursuit race was staged with the slowest boats starting first in the better breeze.  Craig Williamson sailed off into the distance to win the pursuit race and the event overall but at the end of the 120 mins we had worked our way into 8th place leaving us 9th overall. With 10 different classes of boats in the top 10 places overall the organisers were delighted with the way the handicapping system had worked out.

The next race in the series took place at Datchet Water on 10/11 Dec.  Again the breeze was light with 3 handicap races sailed on the Saturday and a double points non discardable pursuit race on the Sunday.  With several of the top RS200 sailors taking part along with plenty of other class National Champions there was some excellent racing amongst the 105 entries.  The highlight of our Saturday racing being the 3rd place in Handicap race 2.  The pursuit race was as tense as ever as we caught the Enterprises at the last mark only to let them get in front again as we finished in 11th place. Once the results were finally sorted out we were 14th overall.  Buoyed by this we decided to enter the Bloody Mary and the Oxford Blue.

The Bloody Mary took place on the 7 Jan.  With 288 entries and 244 finishers, this was by far the largest pursuit race of the season.  It all seemed so promising as we were rigging up, a nice F3 was blowing and all was well.  We launched, the Toppers started and the wind decreased.  The Enterprises, Lasers and GP14s set off and eventually we started on an empty start line 3 mins in front of about 30 RS200s.  After about 15 mins the wind dropped to a F1 and we eased our way slowly round the course.  Catching the leading boats looked an impossible task and so it proved!  Only 1 RS200 overtook us and the only other boats to catch us were the Thames A Raters which looked like Americas cup yachts of the past as they sped by with 20 mins to go.  In the end we finished 24th well behind the Fireflies which held on to take the first 2 places.

The Oxford Blue took place on the 18 Feb, another 3 handicap races to be sailed by the fleet of 147 boats and light winds again! This time things didn’t go so well, starting in the last of the 3 fleets it was vital to get off the line in front of the pack.  This didn’t prove so easy with the Finns and RS200s taking the clean air.  Even once in clear water we were soon into the back of the Aero fleet which had started 3 mins in front.  Dirty wind in light shifty conditions is not good and we had fairly average results leaving us in 37th place overall.

Nevertheless with 4 solid results in our chosen 4 races we ended up a very respectable 9th place overall out of the 711 boats that had entered at least one race in the series.  Matt Mee and Emma Norris, the RS200 National Champions, showed the rest of us how it should be done with 4 fantastic results to win the series followed by Ben Schooling in his Musto Skiff and Craig Williamson in a Laser.

Already Alex is planning for next years Sailjuice series so if anyone else would like to come along and give a go it would be great to see you.




Bob Horlock


Versa Trio Duo and Zero Inlands 27/28 May 2017

Inland Championships 27th May – 28th May 2017

The 2017 Comet Inlands will be held at Burghfield Sailing Club over the late May bank holiday weekend, Saturday 27th May-Sunday 28th May. However, the Comet Duos will only race on the Saturday.

An eight race series (four races for the Duo) is planned, with the first start scheduled for 11am on Saturday. Full details are in the Notice of Race, which is available on Burghfield’s website.

Meals, including evening meals on the Saturday and Sunday, will be available at the club. Evening meals will need to be booked on the club website nearer to the event. The AGM will be held on Saturday evening. For camping nearby (including motorhomes), please contact the club manager. If you wish to leave your boat at the club on Friday please contact the Club Manager to ensure you know when the compound will be unlocked. Further information about the club is available on Burghfield’s website.

Entry is via Burghfield’s website, and closes on 21st May. Early entry, which attracts a discount, is available until 30th April.

The club manager can be contacted at:

The website address is:

The website address leads to Burghfield’s webcollect page where you can enter and find the Notice or Race, Sailing Instructions and other information about the club.

Duo World Championships hosted by Cransley

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.

Comet Duo Worlds

Peak Dinghy AGM Builders Report

Agm 2016 Cotswold SC 28th May

Poole Cruise July 2016