Dieppe Dash 2018 – Pre-Dash meeting

As in previous years, we are holding an open meeting prior to the Dieppe Dash for those boats, skippers and crew who are contemplating or planning to participate in the Dieppe Dash 2018. This will be particularly useful for those who have not participated before or have limited experience in crossing the Channel.

The Pre-Dash meeting will be held on the evening of Wednesday 18th April in Brighton Marina Yacht Club. Turn up at about 7pm to meet and we will start at 8:00pm. And while you are there, have some food and drink at the yacht club!

The subject of the meeting will include subjects like safety, preparations, advice and tips on preparing the boat for the crossing, route planning, what it is like in Dieppe. We will try to answer any questions you have.

See you there!

SOSDAS and contact number change

To all 2018 Dieppe Dashers

SOSDAS (Sign On, Stand Down, Abandon Safe) forms the core of the Dieppe Dash 2018 Sea-Safety policy for all participating boats. Those of you who have participated before will understand how it works. Unfortunately, the mobile telephone number we have used in previous years has expired and cannot be used again. We will be getting a new number and publishing it in the week before the event, along with full SOSDAS instructions.

SOSDAS instructions with the old number were available for a brief time on the Documents page, but they have now been removed. If you downloaded or printed that version – please delete or destroy them and wait for the new version.

Dieppe Dash 2018 is open!

Online entry for the Dieppe Dash 2018 is now open. Click on the Online Entry link for access.

The Notice of Race is also available and can be viewed or downloaded from the Documents page.

For previous participants, we apologize for delay in posting information about this year’s Dieppe Dash. Some administrative changes meant that we were not able to confirm that everything required to run the event was in place until recently.

The date of the Dieppe Dash 2018 is 4th May 2018. The event itself will run over the weekend with social activities on the Friday and Saturday in Dieppe.

You may notice some minor changes from previous years. You can now pay for entries online at the same time using the link provided. We will no longer be using PayPal. The fee structure has changed slightly.

However, for those who enter early, the Early Bird price remains the same. But because of the delay on opening entries there is limited time for those early entries – get them in before the 19th March to save money.

As usual, more information will be posted here as it is available. We looke forward to seeing you again in Brighton and in Dieppe.

Dieppe Dash 2017 – summary

The seventh Dieppe Dash was the one most lacking in wind since the start of the event. Although 36 boats entered, six dropped out prior to the event, mainly due to lack of progress in getting the boat ready in time.

On the day, 30 boats set off from Brighton – 7 in the IRC race, 13 in the SCCH race and 10 cruising boats. The cruising boats chose their own start time, but the race started at 06:00 BST. The forecast was for a light north, north westerly wind to start with – downwind sailing. As the day progressed, the wind speed fell-off the bottom of the scale and many boats (both rally and racing) reported being becalmed mid-channel. 4 racing and 2 rally boats had a variety of problems and decided to turn back.

The first boat to arrive in Dieppe was Windsong who had set off around 20:40 hrs on the Thursday evening after listening to the weather briefing. The next boat to arrive in Dieppe was another cruising boat, Blue Heaven at around 12:15 BST having set-off at 04:00 hrs BST.

The race officer for the finish line found the harbour arm closed off with fencing since January due to the winter storms and it took time to negotiate access. The line was manned from about 12:30 hrs BST.

There was a lot of tide – wow! At high water the sea was licking under the wooden boards of the harbour arm. As the tidal height reduced, it was like watching a lift! …it seemed only a matter of minutes passing by as each successive level of holes in the structure of the harbour arm were revealed.

In the racing, line honours went to Tanga Langa, coming in nearly 7 hours later.

Well into darkness, boats were calling to retire; it seemed that as one boat retired, that encouraged two more to do the same. Nearer to the shore the approach to the finish was like a minefield of flags in the water, far more than previously, adding to challenge of crossing the finish in light winds and a strong incoming tide.

Temptation arrived at the finish area passing close to the pin-end. As fate would have it, they passed the wrong side of the mark – Oops..! By now it was low water; correction, Very Low water. In their attempts to get their spinnaker down they took their eye-off-the-ball and hit the beach! The beach is very steep at that point so they ‘bounced-off’ and managed to turn the boat returning for a second attempt at finishing. This involved going offshore outside the pin end then coming back in again; instead, Temptation went out between the pin and harbour arm. As they sailed around in the strong tide with little or no wind for the next 20mins or so, steadily making way north eastwards, they must have realised their fate was sealed – so close and yet so far away – they retired in sight of their goal.

A short while later Kokomo approached the line from the north and being carried easterly by the tide as they approached. Unfortunately, their calculations were slightly off it appeared their projected rhumb-line was pointing straight at the harbour arm rather than the finish. The race officer had a grandstand view looking down on Kokomo as they struggled to clear of the end of the arm and point in the correct direction, with the amazing view of them pointing forwards but travelling in reverse. Frustrated, they also retired and then as they passed by the ferry terminal the wind started to fill-in…

A few minutes later, boats that were visible on the horizon and had previously appeared stationary, were now some distance apart and moving in differing directions. Some wind had arrived and the game was on.

Silver Fox came in to the finish, following a path so close to the shore that she was parallel to and on the shore-side of the finish line and had to change course to seaward to be able to cross the line.

A few minutes earlier Kereru came up to the line square-on and crossed at the mid-point, a perfect finish. Those who know the skipper, Peter Whittle, will know that he is the person most likely to achieve this impressive feat.

In the end only 3 IRC and 4 SCCH boats managed to complete the race, with 24 arriving safely in Dieppe. The IRC race was won for the 3rd time by Matador skippered by Herve Barrat. Tanga Langa, skippered by Paul Tullett won the SCCH trophy and line honours.

What had earlier appeared to be an all-night vigil for the race officers quickly dissolved as the last few racing boats notified they were retiring from the race.

But the silver lining was the weather was good for the rest of the weekend and an excellent party was enjoyed on Saturday as usual. Our hosts as always made us feel welcome.

Dieppe Dash 2016 summary

For the sixth Dieppe Dash event, in the week before the event the organisers had concerns that the weather forecast suggested strong winds that might deter some participants, but also make starting the race of the event more difficult.

In the event, 38 boats entered although a number of boats withdrew even before the day of the event because of injuries sustained either by the boats themelves – or the skipper!

By the time of the skipper’s briefing, the weather forecast had improved though there was much discussion about whether the improvement was sufficient.  A few mlore boats decided not to risk it.  The worst of the weather was due to pass through before the start.  But there was likely to still be enough swell as the start to make sitting in a committee boat to start the race uncomfortable.  So for the first time in the Dieppe Dash, the decision was made to have a shore-based start.

In the end about 26 boats set out on the Friday morning and only 4 turned back. The rest all successfully arrived in Dieppe – 8 in the rally fleet, 9 in the IRC race and 5 in the SCCH race.  The wind forecast turned out to be correct with most wind in mid-channel – 25 knots gusting up to 30 – but then calming down towards the French side.  Fortunately it did not die completely so all boats arrived in a perfectly respectable time.  And the waiting organisers managed to leave their posts before darkness came – a bonus for them.

The first boat across was the first of the Prima 38’s Bare Knuckles from Eastbourne, skippered by Brian Tugwell, and finishing in 7 hours, 52 minutes and 45 seconds.   But it was not until the prize giving on Saturday that the rest of the awards were realized.

The IRC race was a French one-two with Matador, led by Herve Barret, winning first place and Bigaro, skippered by Christophe Malandrin, coming second.  In fact only 90 seconds separated second and fourth place.  Third was Bare Knuckles and just missing out on a podium place by only 39 seconds was Concession, a Contessa 26 owned by Graham Walton – the smallest boat in any of the fleets.

The SCCH race was won by Pleiades from Eastbourne, owned by Charles Erb.  And just to make it an extra special day, it was also Mrs Erb’s birthday – one of those important birthdays with a zero at the end.  Charles admitted before the race that the forecast was for the ideal conditions for his boat – a Westerley Ocean 43.  But when the result was announced he face told us that he did not believe he had actually won.  Second place went to another French boat, Foule Sentimentale led by Xavier Villain. In third place was Alan Salvidge on Ascent.

An additional prize was given – the Spirit of the Dash – to Stephen Pilkington of Luna Bay.  Stephen, based in Eastbourne, originally entered the SCCH race and attempted to get to Brighton on Thursday, in time for the skipper’s briefly.  But Luna Bay was one of two boats that did not manage to get around Beachy Head into the wind in sufficient time and had to turn back.  Instead he departed from Eastbourne as a rally boat – doing it single-handed – although motoring a fair way we hear.  But so glad that he made the effort and was rewarded for it.  All the other rally boats also found they had something to collect at the prize-giving.

Saturday in Dieppe was a beautiful day with glorious sunshine and then a great party with live music in the yacht club in the evening.  A number of boats left the following day attempting to sail back home in more sunshine – but quickly put their engines on as the wind did not pick up for a few hours.

Dieppe Dash 2016 photos posted

The photos that were taken at the Dieppe Dash 2016, including those that were shown at the prize giving, have now been posted on this web-site on the Gallery.

Dieppe Dash 2015 summary

46 Boats entered the 2015 Dieppe Dash, 21 in the rally (cruising) fleet and 25 in the racing fleets. Of these 40 actually departed for Dieppe.

The weather forecast was for winds of about 20 knots, lessening as the day progressed. And sure enough there was wind, though a little more than most expected. A number of boats turned back in the first 3 hours. But the majority carried on and were rewarded by the promised lessening of the wind.

Except that the wind died late in the day, on the French side, more than expected. The bigger faster boats managed to get to Dieppe with out stopping. But a number other boats encountered a near calm. For the rally boats that did not prove a problem. They just put on their engines and motored through to find more wind – or the harbour. But the majority of the racing boats were seeking a proper finish and sat it out, even when stationary within sight of the French coast. Eventually a little more wind arrived and they were able to limp across.

But the area of the finish was peppered with fishing buoys. To limit the risk of boats being caught up, the skippers had to keep a good look out. Also the buoy at the outer end of the finish line had to be brought nearer the west arm. In trying to cross the finish quicker, Kereru strayed too near the arm and entered a sheltered area, being overtaken by three boats just 100 metres from the line.

In the end, 10 cruising boats arrived safely in Dieppe, with Saga, the last to arrive, berthing up after a long day, near midnight. 18 racing boats completed the race, though a number of other racing boats did arrive after retiring from the race and putting their engines on. The line honors were claimed by Hurricane who completed in a creditable 8 hours, 32 minutes and 50 seconds. As in last year 3 French boats joined us in the Dash home.

On the Saturday night there was party with a live band, though a number of boats decided not to stay for it with a forecast for strong winds on the Sunday. But those who did stay had a great time.

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Dieppe Dash 2014 summary

6 hours, 51 minutes and 20 seconds!

Yes that was the course record set by Mad Max in 2014.

The 2014 Dieppe Dash was remarkable in a number of ways. And those who participated had a memorable time. A record number of boats entered the event with 50 boats signing on. Of these 49 actually departed for Dieppe and all of those arrived safely. Roughly half of them were racing and half cruising. And of the racing boats, 13 were in the IRC fleet and 12 in the SCCH. And this year 3 French boats joined us in the Dash home.

The weather forecast was for northeasterly winds starting at about 11 knots and building to 18 knots. The direction was correct but the wind speeds recorded by some boats reached 30 knots and this accounted for the remarkable sustained boats speeds achieved. It is unlikely that the record will be beaten for a number of years! And the last boat to arrive came in at about 10pm – fantastic start to the weekend.

The crossing was so fast that the race officers, Colin & Geoff, struggled to keep up. Having started the race in Brighton they caught the ferry but when they arrived in Dieppe around 4pm French time, more than half the racing fleet had already finished. Fortunately the advance party of Matt & Denise were able to monitor the finishing boats. But the finish line buoy only made it into position about half an hour before it was needed.

The president of the Cercle de la Voile de Dieppe (yacht club), Claude Weisang, was on hand with a camera and took some excellent photgraphs of some of the boats finishing and surfing through the harbour entrance. A number of these pictures were shown at the prize giving and are available on the gallery of this website.

As before the finishing boats were welcomed by a berthing party and a buffet in the yacht club. The buzz and excitement of the crews was obvious.

The weather on Saturday was glorious with all day sunshine. The prize-giving on Saturday lunch again had an amazing buzz. Each cruising boat that attended got a prize. The Line Honours trophy went to Andy Williams and Max Max, the SCCH trophy went to Margaret Hickmott-Stapley and Manic with the IRC trophy being won for the second year running by Mark Jephcott and his modified 1720 sportsboat Haras. The Sailing Book award, an award given intermittently to a boat that might wish to improve, has in the past been awarded by Peter Vaughan of Pean II who went on to win their class last year. This year the award was affectionately given to Roy Cleeter of Kirsty of Fisherow – a Macwester 28 – who arrived safely at the tail end of the cruising fleet.

On Saturday evening the Dieppe Dashers were treated to live music in the yacht club, courtesy of the Cercle de la Voile de Dieppe.

As has been the pattern in previous years, a number of boats and skippers used the Dieppe Dash for their first crossing of the English Channel. While I suspect they were hoping for less winds, they all coped fantastically. One important element of the Dieppe Dash is the camaraderie and support shared particularly by the cruising boats. When Kirsty of Fisherow finally arrived exhausted, they were guided into their berth and then fed an watered by the Jesstom crew.

So we look forward to see you all next year – and bring your friends as well!

Happy sailing.