Grafham Cat Open Traveller 14-15 October 2000

On the weekend of 14/15 October the Dart 15s met at Grafham for the last event of the traveller's trophy series. 29 competitors entered making the Dart 15s the biggest class at this popular event. On Saturday, race officer, Dave Duke and his team, set a trapezoidal course for the Dart 15s while the handicap boats on the same course had an up wind / down wind. The wind was a shifty, southerly force 2.

In the first race Peter Richardson was first to the windward mark closely followed by Sprinter, Steve Sawford. As the race developed Steve Hanby, Paul Smith and George Carter worked their way through the fleet making the sequence across the line, Hanby, Smith, G Carter, Richardson and Chris Black. In the Sprint group Sawford was ahead of Dave Stanbridge but they were well down on corrected times. Fortunately, the wind had freshened a little for the second race and a heavy port bias on the line caused a number of chancers to try their hand at a port tack start. The line was a little crowded for this tactic and the port tackers found themselves ducking most of the fleet. First to the windward mark, however, was (port tack starter) Stuart Snell followed by G. Carter and Bob Carter. Snell soon lost this lead when he took the leaders to the wrong leeward mark. Sprinter, Dave Stanbridge, had a brief spell up front but G Carter took the lead for the rest of the race. Second was Hanby from R Carter, Snell and Smith. At the end of the first day the Dart 15 fleet were bemused that the handicap boats (mostly Hobie 16s and Shearwaters) who were on the same race track but sailing an upwind / downwind course were given the outer leeward mark. This had caused them to force a number of the Dart 15s down to the further leeward mark, irrespective of the windward boat rule!

On Sunday, the wind remained southerly but had dropped to 5mph, only. In the morning the late starting handicap fleet members were still straddling the line 3 minutes after their start causing the Dart 15 start to be postponed at approximately the start time. This confused the fleet, half of which sailed off until called back. The fleet were clear away for the second start and soon caught the back of the handicap fleet, who started some 12 minutes earlier. The starboard starting boats made the windward mark first with the sequence being Smith, R Carter, Black and Steve Petts. The bellows of Black calling for water from Nick Dewhirst (erroneously, I believe) could be heard across the lake. On the second beat Dewhirst was the first to tack at the leeward mark into fresher wind and overhauled the leaders. The wind died before the finish and a frustrating time was had struggling to the line. Dewhirst won by a few seconds and promptly danced a jig on the trampoline to celebrate. R Carter was second followed by G Carter, Smith, Snell and S. Sawford. By this time the wind had died completely and the sailing for the day was terminated after a series of postponements. In the final analysis Hanby was the deserved winner with a 1,2 from G Carter (1,3) and R Carter (2, 3).

Bob Carter.

Overall Results
1st S. Hanby Beaver 3 pts
2nd G. Carter Beaver 4 pts
3rd R. Carter Grafham 5 pts
4th P. Smith Beaver 6 pts
5th S. Snell Grafham 9 pts
6th C. Black Grafham 11 pts

Sprint Format Results
1st S. Sawford Rutland
2nd D. Stanbridge Rutland
3rd G. Shrimpton Stewartby
4th R. Sawford Rutland
5th R. Gall Carsington

Longstaff Cup: R. Carter

Steve Hanby
Steve Hanby, winner of the Grafham open