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Estimating Services Minquiers Cat Dash at Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club

by Gordon Burgis 25 Aug 08:21 PDT 22 August 2021

The Estimating Services Minquiers Cat Dash was held last Sunday 22nd August. Ten Hobie Cats launched from the Gunsite beach in bright sunshine on Sunday morning for the distance race to the Minquiers reef and back.

The fleet comprising of three Wildcats and six Hobie 16s started the race in St.Aubin's bay in a north westerly wind, 15 gusting to 18kts which was the top of their limit for this open sea race.

With six guard boats in attendance the Hobie 16s with several youth teams among them started first and blasted all the way to the Minquiers on a broad reach, the fastest point of sail for a Hobie 16, the boats virtually reached for the full 10 miles.

The first Hobie 16 to finish on the first leg was crewed by sisters Elsa and Chloe Swetenham in a fast time of 1 hour 3 minutes, just 4 minutes outside the record set last year by Leo Marshall and Chloe Swetenham in almost identical exhilarating conditions, the rest of the H16s came in within minutes of each other.

The Hobie 18ft Wildcats started 10 minutes after the first group, they finished in a similar time, unable to hoist their powerful spinnakers due to wind direction. Adrian Jesson crewed by Paul Martin were first to the reef just 1 minute ahead of Andy Hart and Rob McAllister with Steve Longstaffe and Leo Marshall following in third.

After a welcome break on the spectacular southerly reef and replenished energy from the food and beverage provided, the crews started the race back at 3:30pm, off a start line transit between the Committee boat and Jetee des Foantains de Bas pole.

The race back couldn't have been more different from the first speedy reaching leg, this time the boats were sailing back to Jersey upwind and against a strong tide, This is where the Wildcats came into their own with powerful sail area and long dagger boards enabling them to sail high and fast with the crews double trapezing all the way back into St. Aubin's bay and the finish off St. Aubin's Fort.

Even though Hart and McAllister crossed the finish line 1 minute ahead of Jesson and Martin in 2hours and 45mins it was the latter who won overall by just 19 seconds!

The Hobie 16 Fleet was a fair way behind, it was Ollie Voak crewed by Megan Roworth who set the pace upwind on the return leg establishing a commanding lead along with good tactics sailed into first position overall. The Swetenham team, Elsa and Chloe sailed a great race to place second with 8 minutes difference separating them from the winners.

Another female youth team, sisters Phoebe and Georgia le Marquand sailed well considering its their first season racing Hobie Cats and their first distance race, they placed a credible third.

At the late afternoon beach prize-giving, thanks and appreciation were extended to the safety boat crews, the race team and Estimating Services for sponsoring this special event for the second year running.

Hobie 16 Results:

1st Ollie Voak & Megan Roworth
2nd Elsa Swetenham & Chloe Swetenham
3rd Phoebe Le Marquand & Georgia Le Marquand
4th Tom Hunt & Megan McDonagh
5th Rachael Smith & Mike Dudek
RTD Miguel Arraya & Chloe Mattock

Hobie Wildcat Results:

1st Adrian Jesson & Paul Martin
2nd Andy Hart & Rob McAllister
3rd Steve Longstaffe & Leo Marshall

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