East Coast Piers Race

by Andrew Dowley
East Coast Piers Race - just some of the course map

This year we supported the East Coast Piers Race again. The event is run over two days at Marconi Sailing Club in Essex in aid of charity.

On Saturday two shorter courses are run and on Sunday sailors have a choice of three different race courses, either 48NM, 27NM or 13NM. You have to have a PY of 980 or faster to take part in the weekend.

It was great for us to be a sponsor of the event again, we were also working alongside Zhik and Allen Brothers - we obviously supply items from both of these companies so it's a perfect fit.

This year the event attracted an amazing 86 boats, this included fast dinghies and catamarans from around the country and also one entry from nearly Holland.

Saturday saw the usual breezy conditions, for us we sat this one out as I am heavily involved in the organisation of the event so I was needed onshore this year. The races took the competitors up stream in the River Blackwater towards Maldon, to a turn mark and then back down towards Bradwell. With a mix of boats taking part the racing was run on adverage laps. The moth took a clear lead in the first race and nobody was ever going to see him again, until the second race when he couldn't foil because the breeze dropped.....

On Saturday night Marconi Sailing Club always run the Sunday racing briefing, sometimes due to tides Sunday is an early start so it's best to make sure everyone is awake and listening, with a beer in hand of course. This was then followed by a BBQ and fantastic band playing until late.

Sunday morning came and we went through the checking gate to ensure we had all of our safety gear required as part of the notice of race.

The ECPR start was first up at 9.30am. We were sailing our Tornado catamaran which is one of the fastest so we chose to sail the full 48 mile course. This takes you out of the river then up the coast to Walton on the Naze and back again.

The Colne Point Race which now tends to attract more entries than the ECPR started at 9.45am and the Bradwell Race at 10am.

It was a reaching start but just a bit too tight to fly the kite off the line, most boats opted for a 2 sail reach which made it interesting sailing. We managed to hold this until the River got wider then we flew the kite and were twin wiring all the way out to Colne Point. Fantastic sailing! All the way we were holding the lead until the other Tornado slipped past. It was a game of cat and mouse all the way to Walton where we managed to round in second place, just behind the faster Nacra 20.

The way back was painful for us, we simply don't have as much upwind speed and we were struggling as the breeze was getting lighter.

In the end we had to tack out away from the shore due to a fishing boat having laid nets, this meant we just lost out to the other Tornado. They then managed to find some extra wind going into the River and pulled away, this is when the eventual race winners went past too sailing an F18.

We were 5th boat back and 5th overall - not too bad but a disapointment on the past two years when we've come second.

East Coast Piers Race Start - Dinghy Rope Tornado

Along with 5th place we also won some Allen Brothers vouchers for having the fastest speed out of all the boats, 26 knots!

Overall a great weekend which we would recommend for any fast dinghies or catamarans.

Although traditionally a catamaran race the fast dinghies are growing year on year, there were 19 this year - everything from Moths to RS800's to RS600's. Our sponsored sailor Andrew Whapshot even bought his 49er along for a blast.

Next years ECPR date is the 7th and 8th July - we hope you can come and join us for a great weekend of sailing and social.



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