Southern Championships, Open Dinghy Club, 9-10 June 2001

Location: Open Dinghy Sailing Club, Near Angmering, Sussex.

Over the weekend of the 9 - 10th June, the Open Dinghy Sailing Club hosted the Dart 15 Southern Area Championships. 20 entries including 9 from the Isle of Wight (5 from Gurnard & 4 from Shanklin) who competed on a pleasant sunny weekend in force 2-3 winds. This was the third year the competition has been held at the Club, and the 14 visitors joined 6 local club sailors for four races and a Saturday night barbeque.

The ladies were well represented in the first race, by Jenny Clarke racing 2-up with her husband Paul, visitor Michelle Fisher, and a courageous effort by Sue Young, competing on behalf of injured Fred, who remained a spectator on the beach. 17 starters lined up to face a steady F3-4 from the South West on a rising tide. Bob Milton led home Phil Breeze and George Stephen. Local sailor Paul Craft earned a creditable 8th place. Dave Willerby trailed the field, after suffering gear failure.

On Saturday afternoon, the wind increased to make conditions more difficult. Weight and size were needed for the second race, and Bob Milton recorded his second win, ahead of Robin Leather and Carl Blenkinsop, whose partner Michelle put up a gallant struggle against the conditions, weighing in at just 9 stone. Local sailor Alan Welman recorded the second of a string of 10th positions.

As the breeze died in the evening, the visitors enjoyed a barbeque at the Club, with chef George "Smoke gets in your Eyes" Goldstone wielding the tongs.

Sunday brought new challenges, with the wind shifting round to the north, and gusting over the Downs. Race Officers Chris Rickard and Peter Harwood set a course with the line out at sea, and a long beat to the beach. The conditions suited Robin Leather, who led home Bob Milton and Laurie Gustar.

The final race on Sunday afternoon saw local sailor Paul Craft put in his best performance to take 5th place, behind Bob Milton, Laurie Gustar, and Carl Blenkinsop in pole positions.

The Gurnard Sprint team cleaned up with the first 4 places. Bob Milton made it look easy with 2 firsts and a second, but was helped by his team mates errors (Robin Leather, was OCS of the start of one race he should have won; Laurie Gustar failed to finish correctly in the same race and additionally mounted one of the buoys in another race and got it stuck between his hulls, much to the mirth of those nearby). Alan Welman got beaten by his old boat sailed by new owner by Paul Craft. Sean Stevens created a new record by travelling from the IOW early Saturday morning, buying a boat (1779) only advertised in that days Y&Y, and was sailing it in the event by 1.30 the same day!

Commodore Vic Smith congratulated the winners and presented the Southern Area Trophy to Bob Milton.

Author: John Hailstone

Overall Results
1st Bob Milton (sprint) Gurnard 4 pts
2nd Robin Leather (sprint) Gurnard 7 pts
3rd Laurie Gustar (sprint) Gurnard 9 pts
4th Carl Blenkinsop (sprint) Gurnard 11 pts
5th Gordon Goldstone Queen Mary 14 pts
6th George Stephen (sprint) Catamaran Yacht Club 17 pts
7th Philip Howden Grafham 17 pts
8th Paul Craft Open Dinghy Club 21 pts
9th Phil Breeze (sprint) Calshot 27 pts
10th Erling Homberg Shanklin 27 pts

Best local sailor: Paul Craft.