Inland Championships, Rutland, 19-20 May 2001

The Dart 15 Inland Championships were held at Rutland Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 19/20 May. There were 20 entries, which was below expectations, probably due to the sunny but windless forecast. Three races were planned for Saturday and PRO, Margaret Howe, set the favoured inverse 'P' course in a declining force 2-3 Northerly breeze. Fortunately, for chairman Nick Dewhirst, a short postponement had given him sufficient time to rig his boat and join the fleet before the first race. Race one started with a heavily port biased start line and the fleet was equally split between those chancing (and mostly getting away with) a port start and those preferring the starboard option. Defending champion, George Carter, led the port tack contingent closely followed by Bob Carter, Stuart Snell, Philip Howden and Steve Sawford. The starboard tack starters sailed into the lee of the wood on the North shore and were left with a gargantuan task to catch back from a big deficit, thus the first 6 boats to the windward mark were all those from the port tack start. On the second beat R Carter captured the lead, from Sprinter, G Carter. The race was finised at the end of the second run with the sequence of R Carter, S Snell, G Carter, S Sawford and Steve Hanby, who was the only starboard start boat to come back for a place.

A wind change to more NW caused the course to be relaid for the second race, which was sailed back-to-back with race 1. Once again there was a heavy port bias and the port starters went into an early lead. George Carter made no mistakes opening up a large lead which he maintained from start to finish. Sell and Sawford were second and third but Beaver light wind experts of Paul Smith, Peter Richardson, Steve Hanby and Austin Flather took the next places.

By this time the breeze was reducing to a F1-2, but the race team were concerned about the Sunday forecast of no wind and so proceeded to start race 3 back-to-back with race 2. A starboard biased line saw the whole fleet start in a line on starboard tack and Steve Petts led the charge from Nick Dewhirst, Simon Farthing and Dave Stanbridge. By the first mark, however, it was the boats which had tacked early to the favoured port tack side who had taken over the leading places. The wind continued to die and the race was terminated at the end of the second reach with the sequence of R Carter, S Hanby, G Carter, P Howden and Steve Sawford. The fleet retired, famished, to the bar.

On Sunday no wind materialized and by noon, Margaret Howe and her team called an end to the proceedings and the results were declared. In retrospect, the circumstances on Sunday made the decision to go for 3 races on Saturday look to be a masterstroke.

Thus, Bob Carter became the new Inland Champion with two firsts and George Carter was declared the Inland Sprint Champion.

Overall Results
1st R. Carter Grafham 2pts
2nd G. Carter Beaver 4pts
3rd S. Snell Grafham 4pts
4th S. Hanby Beaver 7pts
5th S. Sawford Rutland 5pts
6th P. Howden Grafham 10pts
7th P. Smith Beaver 12pts

Sprint Results
1st G. Carter Beaver
2nd S. Sawford Rutland
3rd D. Stanbridge Rutland
4th R. Gall Carsington
5th P. Berry Stewartby

The full results are available here