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Laser 150 Challenge

It started with a 4 am Alarm and a 2.5-hour drive to Falmouth, like my day wasn’t going to be long enough already!

A reasonable forecast of predominantly NW F4+ winds, occasional F3, the bottom end of the acceptable wind range.

My Brother and wingman, Brian helping to set things up to get me underway.

I was equipped with solar-powered compass, digital battery powered speedo from Rooster and a GPS to do my own navigation, along with enough nutrients and fluids for 48 hours

The all-new ‘Allen’ blocks, tackle and lines were checked for smooth running. There really was no need to check!

09:10 and I was underway into the rainy Falmouth River. It wasn’t until clear of the estuary that the winds developed.

A relatively calm sail to the Eddystome Lighthouse took all day where the Navy were mid-exercise with their new aircraft carrier.

Past the Eddystone Lighthouse, I was graced with so many dolphins, all vowing for a place under the bow of my small dinghy!

I pushed my hand into the water with my GoPro firmly gripped, unsure of what I would capture……….

Into the evening and getting further offshore, the sea state increased as did the winds, giving speed surfing down a confused 6ft sea.

Given that I had been sailing deep downwind, the risk of capsizing in the dark was such that I opted not to maintain my South Easterly course and headed due South, keeping the winds safely just aft of the beam.

Although I was not cold in the crisp night air, I put this down to my Rooster base layer, hat and gloves. My safety team onboard the support vessel were never more than 100 metres away keeping a close eye.

As day broke, so the wind faded away. It was just unfortunate that I was upon the approaches to the Eastbound shipping lanes that had 5 large container ships inbound. Creeping along at just 2-3 knots, I broke out the paddle to increase boat speed and out of the path the never-ending stream of ships pouring into the channel.

It was good to be clear and with the sight of a squally rain cloud approaching. When it finally reached us, it brought just 20 knots but was truly exhilarating surfing a now 8ft rolling swell at up to 10 knots!

Alas, the winds faded again as the rain cloud moved away and never built above 8 knots which meant progress was slow with boat speeds only reaching 1-4knots and the use of the paddle once more as the speed dropped low.

My second day at sea was slow and long with winds lighter than forecast.

It seemed to take forever to reach the Hanois lighthouse at the South Western point of Guernsey as dusk drew in.

As night engulfed us for another time, the wind faded to nothing.

With just a couple of hours of favourable tide left, there was no possibility of reaching St Peter Port under sail for some time and the ebbing tide due to sweep us back West and further away from my destination. After 143.2 miles, I took the last resort of taking a tow to the finish, just 10 miles away.

The tow was interesting in that sleep deprivation had a strong grasp of me and it was a struggle to remain awake. Hallucinations were bizarre. Seeing cows and goats rolling in the wake of the towing vessel and then a cascade of glistening gold coins flowing from the towboat cockpit doorway where my Brother stood keeping a close eye on me, aware of my state.

Inside the harbour and close to shore, I cast the tow line and paddled to the creening hard, a place to beach. At 1 am there was a small gathering of friends and well-wishers.

I jumped off the boat and into the shallow water but could not stand, only stagger. I was assisted with beaching the challenge dinghy then promptly showered with bubbly to mark the achievement. It was done.

 

This discomfort of squatting in on the back quarter of the laser combined with sleep deprivation was considerable to the point that I vowed never to put myself through that again!!!!

However, a day later………..

 

I rigged the dinghy once more for press photos and thought to check and see how the ‘Allen’ gear had done. It was with no surprise, as new!

 

Currently, I have raised over 7k of charitable donations for Les Bourgs Hospice, to find out more please go to www.epicsailing.com

 

Best Regards

Dave Birch

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Allen Sponsored Supernova Nationals

The weekend of 6, 7 and 8 July 2018 saw 100+ Supernovas descend on the Plas Heli centre at Pwllheli for their National Championships. It was the third year in a row that the class has managed a 100+ entry maintaining the momentum in this exciting class.

Each arrival was greeted with a custom t-shirt for their buddy group where each group of four were provided with some excellent support from their Gold Fleet representative. Some of the discussions were informal, where as others included full checking and adjustment of rig setup.

The weather gods were kind with wall to wall sunshine at high 20s temperatures from arrival to departure. The wind even played ball (just) to allow us to get in the ten planned races. The format of the championship has been the same for a number of years and continues to be well regarded with a relaxed feel balanced with racing.

It was great to see a significant increase in the number of female sailors, up from three last year to seven, potentially due to the improvements in the official small sail (although no small sails were needed!). Great news for the Class and we hope for an even higher female turnout in 2019.

There was some uncertainty in the dinghy park as the fleet included four new members in borrowed boats. The Supernova Class has an excellent track record of these members going out to buy their own boat (for example defending champion Alex Horlock) after sampling the Supernova.

Day 1

Four races were held in a good F2/3 on the Friday afternoon and there were four different winners! Race 1 was won by Inland Champion and joint all time leader of the national championship table, Cliff Milliner. In the building wind, race 2 was won by the giant figure of Mark Hartley, also joint all time leader of the national championship table.

However, in race 3 there was a new name at the front, Sam Knight – he hadn’t been outside of the top three all day. Then a further new name at the front with Alistair Goodwin taking the fourth race.

Overnight leaders were Sam Knight, Ed Higson and Alastair Goodwin.

There was some excellent racing by all through the fleet and all of the competitors were smiling all the way to the bar in the evening. There was then a great social on the Friday night, with Class Chairman, Chris Hawley, hosting a fun game for the different buddy groups. Everyone was very included, even the “plus 1s” who were supporting.

Day 2

The plan for day 2 was four races, but that was not to be and just three were fitted in slightly lighter breeze.

It was Cliff Milliner again who was first out of the blocks winning race 5. Sam Knight struck back hard though win wins in races 6 and 7.

Alistair Goodwin had a great day with a 2, 3, 3 moving him to second overall behind Sam Knight. Ed Gibson slipping to overnight third place.

A further social was held on the Saturday night – a slightly smarter affair with great food, banter and sailing war stories.

Day 3

Those with sore heads were comforted that the 9am launch looked set to be deferred until lunchtime. However, the PRO got to the course on time and there was wind! Panic stations with everyone rushing to launch – one guy was seen launching whilst eating a bacon sandwich!

The wind held up for races 8 and 9 being won by Alistair Goodwin and Mark Platt. Race 10 saw a monster (65 degree) windshift mid way through, which some massive gains and losses – Sam Knight took the win.

Overall Sam had done enough to defend his overnight lead and finished on 20 points. Alistair Goodwin fought hard and finished with 27 points. Cliff Milliner made up the podium with 34 points.

In his victory speech Sam acknowledged the friendly nature of the Supernova Class and said he was made to feel very welcome from arrival and thanked all of the members for their support. We will see Sam again in the future, probably at Paignton on 28, 29 and 30 June 2019!

Some event photographs to purchase are available: greensea.zenfolio.com/p582618418 More photos will be available through our Facebook page in the coming days and weeks.

Team Prize – Bartley Sailing Club
Family Prize – The Critchley Brothers
Ladies Champion – Ellen Clancy (Cotswold) – followed by: Amie King, Serena Stewardason
Youth Champion – Ed Higson (Bartley)
Masters Champion – Mark Platt (Bolton) – followed by: Mike Critchley, Richard Pakes, Mike Gibson
Veterans Champion – Steve Mitchell (Hooe Point) – followed by: Bob Horlock, Tom Chadfield, Geoff Turner
Mark 1 Champion – Geoff Turner (Fishguard) – followed by: Clive Brown, Will Willett
Bronze fleet Champion – Warren Mitchell (Snettisham Beach) – followed by: Paul Bates, Rachel Vaughan Jones, Richard Hawson, Nigel Davies
Silver fleet Champion – Steve Mitchell (Hooe Point) – followed by: Ray Workman, Garry Butterfield, Ian Moodie, James Gerwat

As well as all 114 of our pre-event entries, thanks must also be provided to:

  • The event sponsors; Hartley Boats and Allen Brothers
  • The Plas Heli staff
  • The Pwllheli sailing club team
  • The Supernova Committee

To find out more about this exciting singlehander please visit our website: www.supernovadinghy.org
Or for the latest news follow us on Facebook (Supernova Dinghy Class Association)

 

Final Results here – https://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/207506/Supernova-National-Championships

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GPS Tracking at West Lancs YC 24 Hour Race

The West Lancashire Yacht Club 24 Hour Race, the UK’s No.1 dinghy endurance race, will provide live GPS tracking of each competing dinghy this year. WLYC has agreed to a joint exclusive sponsorship deal with GJW Direct, Allen Brothers and Precision Yacht Paint, to provide the SailRacer GPS Tracking System.

 

Throughout the 24 hours, competitors, team management, spectators and supporters will be able to follow the progress of all the dinghies online via the event website. It doesn’t matter where they are they can follow everyone or just a few select teams. They could be watching in the team tent, in the WLYC bar, back at their Sailing Club or even in a restaurant in Hong Kong!

 

Each Dinghy will have a GPS tracker attached, providing a wealth of detailed analytics such as lap times, speeds and VMG. The teams will have a valuable tool allowing a direct comparison across all competitors to help them understand their overall performance, not just their strengths but also where they can improve.  A powerful management tool!

 

For the Race organisers, the GPS tracking system will enable a constant monitor of the positions of all boats, particularly important during the hours of darkness or poor weather.

 

Race weekend 8th/9th September 2018

 

For further information contact:

Jerrold A Carr

Rear Commodore

West Lancashire Yacht Club

07752-829821

jerroldacarr@gmail.com

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Allen Endurance Series 1 – Solent Forts

The 2018 Allen Endurance Series kicked off over the first weekend in June at Hayling Ferry Sailing Club for the Solent Forts Race.

The entry list reads like a who’s who from the cat world, including Will Sunnucks, chairman of the UK Cat Racing Association competing in his high-speed foiling Vampire, crewed by Mark Self.  The strong F18 fleet included Grant Piggott and Simon Farren and National Champion Simon Northrop crewed by Caleb Cooper, who was looking to defend his Solent Forts title.  For the first time, fast dinghies were eligible to race, with top International Canoe sailors Gareth Caldwell and Phil Robin looking to give the cats a run for their money.

 

Saturday brought the best weather with glorious sunshine and 10 kts + of breeze.  Will Sunnucks and Mark Self in the Vampire took line honors and the highest recorded speed on the SailRacer GPS trackers, hitting over 18 kts on a sustained basis.

Sunday dawned sunny but windless, giving PRO Richard Golden no option but to postpone; after a great Saturday night Band on the Beach party,  most competitors were glad of a couple of extra hours to prepare.

With the tide flooding in at the start and only a light breeze, it was quite a struggle to get out of Langstone Harbour.  Gareth Caldwell (International Canoe) made good progress by creeping up the Hayling Shore and for some time was second on the water.  Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) led the fleet around Spit Sand Fort at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour and then back to the turning mark off the club at the entrance to Langstone Harbour.

First back were the International Canoes sailing the shorter blue course with Phil Robin taking line honours, after overhauling fellow classmate Gareth Cladwell.

With the wind building over the 7.1 mile downwind leg from Bembridge Ledge, the Vampires started to get into their stride and foiling, regularly seeing peak speeds in the upper teens on the SailRacer GPS trackers.  Kyle Stoneham and Ross Harvey (Vampire 11) managed to overhaul Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) to take the lead.

The fast cats were given another leg out to Winner South Cardinal, but with the breeze now falling, Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) managed to snatch the lead back again coming up to the finish to take line honours and a win on corrected time. Will Sunnucks and Mark Self managed to overhaul the other Vampire to take second place over the line from Kyle Stoneham and Ross Harvey.

 

 

Combining the results across both fleets using the SailRacer scoring system, based on GPS data and dynamic handicaps on a time on distance basis, the top three were:

 

Pos Class SailNos Helm Crew Club
1 F18 521 Grant Piggott Simon Farren Weston
2 Int Canoe 328 Phil Robin BCU
3 F18 1577 Tim Neal Bob Fry Parkstone YC

The 2018 Allen Endurance Series covers three of the UK’s long-distance races: Solent Forts, East Coast Piers and Round Sheppey. With racing covering over 120 miles, the Allen Endurance Series will challenge sailors over some varied courses to find the UK’s top long-distance racers this summer. All races will be tracked by SailRacer, allowing organisers and supporters to monitor boat positions, which will also provide a wealth of analytical data such as top speeds and distance sailed. Allen will be providing over £1,000 of prizes across the Series and individual events.

Series Website: http://allen.SailRacer.org

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Ben Hutton-Penman Wins World Championships

Teams Allen sailor Ben Hutton-Penman and crew Abi Jayasekara recently attended the first major RS Feva event to be held out of Europe, the Allen supported World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.

“The RS Feva world championships were very tough and competitive with a very large range of light and heavy winds throughout the week. The event did not start as we had hoped, we scored an 11th, 5th & 2nd. It was a very light wind day, not our favourable conditions, however, my coach told me you never win or lose an event on the first day.

Having not had the best first day we concentrated on the task ahead. After a few more disappointing races we then found our stride going into Race 6 and 7, at which point we had broken the ice and found our flow with 2 bullets.  Day 3 came around, again it was very light winds which we were not looking forward too. However, thanks to the Allen 60mm X2 AutoRatchet, which I have been testing, it made for perfect control of the mainsheet. It turned on and off just at the right moments depending on the pressure in the mainsail. This really helped us to get ahead of the competition and we managed to claim 2, 2, 1, which was so nearly two 1sts, going to a photo finish on the 9th race between us and Tom Story & Rupert Jameson.

Day 4 came around, bringing gusts of over 25 knots. Perfect for Abi and I. We managed to get 2 bullets in the first race’s of the day (race 11 and 12).  However, in race 13 we were lying second in the race but sadly we had spinnaker problems, we pushed through and still managed to get a 4th. Sadly not what we wanted that day.

Overnight we were 6 points ahead. We headed out on to the water for the last day of racing with very little wind. The race committee persevered to get the first start of the day away, we had an amazing start, top 3 off the line and gaining momentum. Tom and Rupert, who where lying second overall, did not have a good start at all tacking into a large group of boats. Annoyingly the race committee abandoned the race due to the lack of wind. A couple of hours later the day was abandoned and Abi and I were World Champions.”

 

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Megan Pascoe – Write up from Ruhr City Cup

You get a suggestion from time to time about an event to attend. Essen was one of them. Few turn out to be as good as people suggest but Essen didn’t disappoint.  The warmth from the hosts WSB 1919 on the Baldeneysee made up for packing the boats up in freezing temperatures in Frensham and turning up on Thursday to a wet murky Germany. 4 British boats, 2 Dutch and 1 Belgium joined a tough German fleet. A relaxed start time on Thursday allowed me to change my mainsheet block to the new Allen 45mm AutoRatchet and after tuning run with one of the Dutch, I re-rigged it to make the ratchet work the right way.

Wind Shifts, pressure patches and current were sailed to a tune of a music concert. The Brits were off to a good start with Steve Bullmore winning the first race, I was in second and Brian Harding 13th. Keith Gordon had to repair his boat in the morning but was racing by the 2nd race of the day. This race was no less shifty than the first and with a downwind against the current made these legs especially tricky. Steve managed to find a couple of holes which left him 6th. It was a close battle with the top 6 and somehow I found a good shift on the second beat to allow myself a little bit of breathing space downwind to finish 1st. It was becoming apparent that on these waters you could change your fortunes in a second, both in a good and bad way and it definitely wasn’t over until the end. The third race saw the music getting worse as did my starting ability. Up the 1st beat, all the Brits were hovering around mid fleet together. Jan Ten Hoeve was leading down the run but then the Dragon sailors of Ulli Libor and Ben van Cauwenbergh came through on both sides of the run. Ulli kept his lead till the end of the race with Jan holding off Ben to get 2nd. The Brits meanwhile weren’t having our best races but we all brought our places back to something respectable in the end. The fleet retired to the bar for beer, food and talking about the season ahead.

We woke the next morning to wind above the water but no visible wind on the water. It was also in the opposite direction to Friday. The fleet prepared not knowing who would get which shift in the day. The fire brigade were on the far shore with a water display, thankfully much quieter than the music. Eberhard Bieberitz made the early running in a massive left shift with the next 8 boats fighting close together. Biebe was becalmed at the bottom of the run which allowed the fleet to catch up. Jan took over the lead heading left as did three more of us. Three others including Steve and Ulli went right. About halfway up the sides came back together and the 90 degrees right shift changed everyone onto a reach. Steve, although the furthest right boat couldn’t capitalise on it due to a lack of pressure, slipped to 11th overall. Down the final run, I managed to hold off Ulli and Holger Humborg to finish second to Jan. After a long wait for wind and Hanns Hermann being rescued after falling out of his boat, we tried for one more race. The first beat was ok but as we beat down the second half of the run it was abandoned and we went in to enjoy the sunshine and waffles. Later the wind filled in further up the lake so off we went again. After a postponed start and a general recalled start the fleet was off although only those at the port end because the starboard end had no wind. After the 1st beat four of us had got away and I managed to pass Ben to win in what became a very light wind race.

After racing the German’s were running their Triple Match series that they run at every open. 4 heats of very short racing culminating in a final from the winners, with the first 2 going through to the grand finals later in the year in Berlin. Steve and I took part. I managed to win my heat, as did Ulli. Steve, unfortunately, lost to Biebe and the final heat was won by the Dutchman Dirk Jan Broertjes. It was too light winds for the finals so it was decided to run it in the morning. Much discussion took place that night over whether your phone would update the time automatically. There was no rush on that front anyway as Sunday brought no wind so after a short AP the fleet packed up for the prize giving. It was a nice start to the season and we are looking forward to our Queen Mary Open in April. I finished 1st, Steve 4th, Brian 14th, Keith 21st.

Full Results available at http://manage2sail.com/de/event/ERCC2018#!/

 

Megan Pascoe, 2.4mR

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New Allen Products at The RYA Dinghy Show

There are new product launches, personal appearances by Team Allen sailors and on-stand promotions for visitors to the Allen stand, C82 at this year’s RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show on March 3-4 at Alexandria Palace, London.

At 10:30am on the Class Association Stage in the Great Hall, the results of the 2017 Allen Performance Challenge will be announced as part of the presentation of the GJW Direct Winter Series and a new championship, the Allen Endurance Series will be announced.

At 3:00pm on Saturday 3rd, on the Allen Stand C82 in the Main Hall, Team Allen sailors who tested the pre-production prototype of the new A2345 and A2360 Autoratchet blocks will be describing how they perform. There will be three other products launched, the new A2020XHL and A2040XHL additions to the highly successful Allen eXtreme High Load (XHL) family and the new A5266 angled mainsheet jammer.

The new A5266 Mainsheet Jammer from Allen Brothers is an ingeniously simple solution to a common sailing problem. Most people who have sailed a dinghy with a centre mounted mainsheet system will have come across the age old issue of the mainsheet jammer not rotating to the correct orientation after a tack or gybe therefore causing the mainsheet to get wrapped or twisted. This hardware malfunction slows the manoeuvre and can lead to a lost race or, in rough conditions, a capsize.

Standard mainsheet jammer systems usually have the block centrally located above the swivel meaning there is no turning force to swivel the block and jammer to the correct angle. By moving the block outward from the swivel and angling it away from the cleat, the new A5266 mainsheet system creates turning force on the block and jammer meaning the cleat will always be forced to point away from the boom and towards the helm. This prevents the sheet from wrapping round the block and gives extra control for fast, smooth tacks and gybes.

“It is one of those ideas which is so simple you wonder why no-one else thought of it”, explains Liz Adams, Managing Director of Allen Brothers. “Our design team has been busy this year with a range of new products coming off the drawing board and into production.”

The Essex, UK based manufacturer will also be launching its eagerly awaited new auto ratchet blocks, the A2345 and A2360. Allen has redesigned the auto ratchet and the new range will be the first to use the “X2” twin locking pawls, the British company claims “it will combine outstanding holding power in strong wind conditions with exceptional light airs performance.”

The performance sailing hardware manufacturer’s design team has been working on the project for over a year and the prototypes have been tested by Team Allen sailors. In fact the prototype 45mm auto ratchet already has several world class wins to its credit.

Visitors to the Allen stand, C82 can enter a quiz to win a pair of Allen branded sunglasses. By simply completing the quiz, based on information in the Allen Performance Sailing Magazine inserted in the free show guide, each completed entry gets a cool pair of shades.

To find out more, you can follow Allen Brothers on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/allen sailing/ or you can go to the website www.allenbrothers.co.uk/dinghyshow