CLACTON Sailing Club proudly welcomed Hurricane 5.9SX catamarans for the third act of their Travelling Trophy.

It was the fourth time they had hosted the event, giving club sailors the chance to compete against some of the best in the country.

The Holland-on-Sea club’s reputation has spread and an impressive line-up of 17 boats travelled from as far as Devon.

They were sure of a warm welcome, an excellent sandy beach and the ability to lay a full course in unprotected coastal conditions, essential to allow these powerful cats to stretch their sea legs.

Fleet standards were uniformly high and the result was far from predictable.

Six races were held over the weekend, with four separate boats taking individual race-line honours, with the overall result not visible until the single discard had been considered.

Richard Hanmore, with Jack Tindale, sailing Cool Running, went onto claim the winner’s trophy after showing characteristic confidence in race one.

Having been advised they were early on the startline, they chose to race on, effectively using up their discard as a practice race.

John Ready, with Josh Hunt, sailed very hard into second place overall and absolutely revelled in the stronger winds, winning the last two races outright.

The Hurricane is known as something of a muscle boat, with high sheet loads from an over-powered rig, which makes it even more impressive to see mixed crews performing competitively.

The father and daughter team of Doug and Izzy Smith, sailing Ells Bells, claimed a bullet in race one and were never out of the top five, showing impressive consistency to finish third overall.

Conditions had something for everyone, with light offshore winds that veered 180 degrees on the Saturday afternoon, building to a solid F.4 north easterly on the Sunday.

A classic upwind/downwind course run from a committee boat startline with a downwind gate allowed up to five lap races within the target 45 minutes.

It meant close racing was guaranteed.

Mistakes were rapidly punished and positions changed frequently with crews and helms on the three sail, twin-trapeze boats enjoying a thorough workout.

Racing these thoroughbreds in fresh winds, with asymmetric kites up, meant capsizes were common, with the fleet of rescue ribs called into attendance as three boats went over as the same gust hit in race two.

Almost as a display of extravagance in the final race of the event, Paul McKay and Graeme Staddon, having already recovered from an inshore capsize with the kite up, went onto delight the cameraman, pitch-poling in the final leg to the finish line.

Typical of the duo’s attitude of never giving up, they recovered to finish the race with huge smiles of satisfaction.

Everyone agreed this was a fabulous event with a special mention and rousing cheer at the prizegiving for the youngest helm, 14-year-old Tensi, sailing with proud dad Bill King as crew onboard Stingray.

They claimed a very respectable 13th overall.