Location: Beaver Sailing Club, Humberside.
The Dart 15 TT event at Beaver S.C. near Doncaster took place on 16th / 17th September, but only 8 home boats took part due to the fuel shortage, and so prevented any visitors from travelling, which was disappointing since this would almost certainly have doubled the numbers and made the competition even tougher.
Nevertheless the first race commenced at 12 noon in a good force 4 with some tricky gusts on top. Steve Hanby led at the windward mark, followed by John Postlethwaite, George Carter and Paul Smith, and these 4 held station for 5 laps until Postlethwaite moved up a gear and overtook Hanby on the gybe mark to eke out a comfortable lead which he held to the end. Carter made a late challenge on Hanby on the last beat, but was just held off at the finish, and also hit the mark, resulting in a penalty 360, but still just managed to cross the finish line before Smith followed through in fourth.
After a course change with the wind backing, the 2nd race got underway in a more manageable force 3 but still shifty, and this time John Postlethwaite struck out in front after gambling on a port start. However, before one lap had elapsed, Smith had passed him on the reach, and proceeded to pull out a good lead for a time. Hanby and Carter though had far from given up, and Carter almost caught Smith on the subsequent beat, but fell behind again as he had to keep a watching brief on Hanby and Postlethwaite who were still in contention. Ultimately Smith stretched his lead even further, and Hanby took an early gybe to pass both Carter and Postlethwaite later in the race, and that was the order they finished.
The third race on Sunday started in a pleasant force 2-3, and it was a mad scramble to the first mark, with Carter emerging in front, hotly pursued by Smith, Postlethwaite and Hanby. On lap two, Smith found a quicker way up the beat to pass Carter and take the lead, only to have the same manoevre played on him one lap later, so those two battled it out to the end with Carter taking line honours from Smith, and Hanby came through to take a comfortable 3rd.
The fourth race was sailed in a slackening breeze with holes and shifts a plenty. Hanby initially showed the way round for a couple of laps until Smith came through again and looked after his lead to the finish. Behind him, relentless pressure from Carter saw him also pass Hanby, and was only 10yds behind Smith as he crossed the finish line.
With very little in it, the last race was to decide the overall winner, but still with some fluky shifts about, a square course was set to try and encompass all points of sailing. This time Smith made no mistakes and led the race from start to finish, opening up over a leg lead from 2nd place Carter, followed once again by Hanby who was not enjoying the best share of the windshifts. Newcomer Elliott Gill showed promising form as he held off previous national champion Postlethwaite for several laps before finally being consumed by the pack.
Thus in the final analysis, with one discard, Smith won outright with 3 wins and a 2nd.