The 2022 National Championships were held at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club on August 20/21st as part of their club regatta. The club has a long standing affiliation with the Dart 16 class as it has 6 boats available to hire to its members and used as teaching boats as part of its RYA Training Centre.
The Dart 16s sailed as part of the handicap fleet and had their results extracted to form the National Championships series. Entrants to this years Nationals were FFSC club members, Alex Page (RS Feva Squad Coach) and visitors Jay and Aide from Thames Estuary Sailing Club.
The course was a left handed box identical to that used by the Sprint 15s for their National Championships. The main benefit of this is to include two reaches to allow for some speed and excitement on each lap. Average lap times were used to cater for the variety of sailor abilities and boat speeds. 3 races planned per day of approximately 45 minutes.
Saturday saw competitors arrive, receive their hire kit before being presented with a choice of Dart 16s for the event. First come first served however all boats had been checked and maintained prior to the event including rebuilt rudders and new UJs on the tiller conbars and extensions.
Following launching the fleet navigated their way across the Felixstowe Ferry Bar through the “Fisherman’s Cut”. Narrower but deeper than the main channel and a much shorter course to get to motor launch “Moonboom” which was committee boat for the event.
Race one saw a start at low tide with competitors bunching at the Committee Boat end. A port biased line however meant that starting mid to bottom of the line had its own advantage as well as some clean air. 2021 National Champions Sam Rowell and Lu Mustill led the fleet to the windward mark and on the first reach but were caught up by newcomer and race coach Alex Page and Harley Barkes. A tight battle ensued with only 11 seconds between them when crossing the line following 50 minutes of racing. Close fought battles would be a recurring theme for all subsequent races! New Zealander Mark Patterson and Sonia Hare followed the pair taking third place. The racing was tight with all boats coming into the marks within several seconds of each other. A fantastic spectacle!
Race Two saw the wind pick up with gusts of 21 knots. Unfortunately this took its toll on the fleet with two boats not finishing the race. For those who remained there was greater port bias on the line allowing some boats to achieve a port flyer. Chris and Tilly Jones joined the front of the fleet overtaking Alex and Harley to take second place. F18s capsized and there were a few tumbles in the 16s too! The top three boats again crossed the line within a minute of each other. Well done to Matt Barker and Jess Ellery who took 4th place but were the final Dart 16 to complete the race with Mark/Sonia and Jay/Aide retiring.
Race Three saw the strong winds remain. Following an upwind battle and down wind tactics Alex/Harley managed to overtake Sam/Lu and hold them off before taking the opportunity to pitchpole on the bottom reach of the course. Subsequent retirement resulted in only Sam/Lu and Chris/Tilly remaining taking first and second place respectively.
Saturday evening saw competitors enjoy an evening meal in the club. The Italian Buffet went down a treat and many thanks to the FFSC Galley team for laying on such a spread.
Sunday was forecast to be less windy but with the wind building progressively throughout the day. Committee boat “Moonboom” unfortunately suffered what can best be described as a “loss of buoyancy” resulting in the challenge of finding a replacement committee boat whilst competitors were ready and rigged on the beach. A new boat was found and heading out to the race area within 10 minutes resulting in only a delay of 30 minutes overall.
Race 4 started with 11-14 knots of breeze and all competitors out racing. Three boats managed to achieve a port flyer due to the bias on the line which was amplified by tide. The recurring theme of battles returned with Sam/Lu busy trading places with Chris/Tilly at the front of the fleet whilst Mark/Sonia, Alex/Harley, Matt/Jess and Jay/Aide were at war at the back of the fleet. Being brave, sitting forwards and surfing down the 6 foot waves was the name of the game. The front two boats finished within 6 seconds of each other with the final 4 finishing within 2 minutes of each other and two boats too close to call across the line.
Race 5 saw the return of six foot swell and plenty of wind. Determination to take out port flyer boats saw sailors move further down the line. Sam/Lu took this too far and due to the tide hit the pin end having to take a 360 later. Alex/Harley flew up wind closely followed by Chris/Tilly. Having completed their turn Sam/Lu took to the trapeze before a loud bang and the main halyard snapping resulting in Lu coming off the trapeze and the main falling 3 feet. Unable to sail they capsized their boat and managed to pull up the sail, potentially only minutes lost if they could put it off, however when tying the main up the main Sam became detached from the boat with the boat getting away from him as it blew down wind. Having been recovered by the safety boat and declaring retirement, repairs were made using the safety boat as platform. Several bits of dyneema later and a cable tie later the main was tied up, fingers crossed it just needed to hold out for the last race. Following hitting a groyne earlier whilst putting down a stuck rudder blade Sam/Lu had managed to shatter their tiller extension. It had survived the first race but the capsize was the end of it. The spare Class Association tiller extension was fitted before Sam threw the remains of the old extension to the safety boat, missing, followed by promptly sinking. Note to all, they don’t float! Jay/Aide battled with Mark/Sonia finishing within a minute of each other.
For the second year it all came down to the last race. Alex/Harley and Chris/Tilly on equal points for second place and Sam/Lu needing to come at least third to take the title – potentially a challenge given the state of the boat. The first beat saw neck and neck racing with some trading of places. Alex/Harley Sam/Lu split ways on the down wind both surfing waves. Harley was out on the trapeze relentlessly on the upwind and both reaches whilst Lu stayed firmly in the boat reducing any form of risk of the main falling once again. Alex/Harley took their third 1st of the event with Sam/Lu taking 2nd followed by Chris/Tilly taking 3rd. Another impressive race with the first 4 boats finishing within 2 minutes of each other.
With all boats safely returned home pack down began and prize giving took place crowning Sam/Lu the 2022 National Champions with Alex/Harley in 2nd and Chris/Tilly in 3rd. Wine all round with FFSC Mugs and sponsored prizes from Billie Box.
Dart 16 National Championships 2022
Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club
Results are provisional as of 9:49 on August 22, 2022
|1||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||2.0||1.0||1.0||1.0||(7.0 RET)||2.0||14.0||7.0|
|2||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||1.0||3.0||(7.0 DNF)||4.0||1.0||1.0||17.0||10.0|
|3||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||(6.0)||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0||3.0||17.0||11.0|
|4||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||3.0||(7.0 DNF)||7.0 DNF||3.0||3.0||6.0 DNS||29.0||22.0|
|5||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||5.0||4.0||(7.0 DNF)||5.5||4.0||5.0||30.5||23.5|
|6||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||4.0||(7.0 DNF)||7.0 DNF||5.5||5.0||4.0||32.5||25.5|
R1 – Sat 20 Aug at LW 11.59 1.09m
|1||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||1215||0:49:08||1.0|
|2||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||1215||0:49:19||2.0|
|3||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||1215||0:50:41||3.0|
|4||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||1215||0:52:40||4.0|
|5||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||1215||0:56:49||5.0|
|6||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||1215||0:58:43||6.0|
R2 – Sat 20 August at LW 11.59 1.09m
|1||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||13.30||0.40.03||1.0|
|2||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||13.30||0.40.40||2.0|
|3||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||13.30||0.41.50||3.0|
|4||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||13.30||0.49.59||4.0|
|5||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||DNF||7.0|
|5||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||DNF||7.0|
R3 – Sat 20 August at LW 11.59 1.09m
|1||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||15.05||0.41.24||1.0|
|2||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||15.05||0.44.33||2.0|
|3||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||DNF||7.0|
|3||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||DNF||7.0|
|3||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||DNF||7.0|
|3||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||DNF||7.0|
R4 – Sun 21 August at LW 13.10 1.15m
|1||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||11.00||0.50.25||1.0|
|2||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||11.00||0.50.31||2.0|
|3||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||11.00||0.54.14||3.0|
|4||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||11.00||0.55.05||4.0|
|5||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||11.00||0.55.53||5.5|
|5||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||11.00||0.55.53||5.5|
R5 – Sun 21 August at LW 13.10 1.15m
|1||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||12.15||0.40.39||1.0|
|2||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||12.15||0.41.09||2.0|
|3||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||12.15||0.45.46||3.0|
|4||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||12.15||0.38.30||4.0|
|5||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||12.15||0.46.38||5.0|
|6||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||RET||7.0|
R6 – Sun 21 August at LW 13.10 1.15m
|1||2011||FFSC||Alex Page||Harley Barkes||905||13.20||0.40.55||1.0|
|2||1872||FFSC||Sam Rowell||Lu Mustill||905||13.20||0.41.31||2.0|
|3||1941||FFSC||Chris Jones||Tilly Jones||905||13.20||0.42.05||3.0|
|4||2216||TEYC||Jay Denny||Aide Hopkiss||905||13.20||0.42.58||4.0|
|5||2292||FFSC||Matthew Barker||Jess Ellery||905||13.20||0.44.32||5.0|
|6||2359||FFSC||Mark Patterson||Sonia Hare||905||DNS||6.0|
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