Nine different clubs turned out to contest the Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Northern Championship event held at Carsington reservoir on the 16th 17th September 2006, a special mention here for the rather nice new glass trophy organised by Paul Smith & Terry Postlethwaite that replaced the less spectacular tired old one, although on it’s maiden voyage it was almost wrecked by the Carsington SC Commodore during prize giving, thank goodness he is an excellent slip fielder!
The weather was bright & warm but disappointingly the wind was light 4–6 mph from the North East and very variable, despite this four Sprint 15s opted to sail in Sprint Sport mode, obviously praying for stronger winds, also an indication of the popularity of the twin sail trapeze format.
Race 1 started at 12 noon with the race officer Henry Wright setting an inverted P course which would be used for all four races on the Saturday. The majority of the fleet starting on starboard with a few helms trying port flyers and generally failing to get through the line of boats. Half way up the beat, "rookie" Robert England who had made a good start tacked onto port which paid handsome dividends as he comfortably rounded the windward mark in first position and never looked like being threatened, winning the race from Bob Carter 2nd and Paul Smith 3rd.
Race 2 saw several boats again attempting port flyers this time for those who got through the mainly starboard line were lifted towards the windward mark and clear water was established between them and the chasing pack. Bob Pearson emerged to threaten the leaders but a port / starboard incident put him into irons and put pay to a good position. A close battle ensued over the next few laps between Carter, England and Ray Gall sailing "sport" with the finishing positions on corrected time being Carter 1st, England 2nd and Gall 3rd.
Race 3 a starboard line saw coffin corner in use - Robin Newbold luffed up onto / entangled with the buoy attached to the committee boat, no damage done, but embarrassed looks as the fleet sailed past and up the beat. Five boats broke away from the pack and a close duel raged for three laps between England, George Love sailing "sport" Carter, Gall & Phil Howden. On the final run to leeward buoy Love made an error not rounding the ODM and almost sailing through the start line, this almost certainly cost him several places. The finishing positions on corrected time being England 1st, Carter 2nd Gall 3rd..
Race 4 started in dying wind, young Newbold got his own back on the fleet with an absolute flyer, sailing up the beat on port tack and in the conditions never looked like being headed, also a change in fortunes for Love who held off a strong challenge from Paul Smith. New boys Jim Bryce and Keith Bridger now locked in battle at the rear of the fleet finding the fluky conditions difficult. The finishing positions on corrected time being Newbold 1st, Smith 2nd and Love 3rd.
End of day one saw rookie of the year Robert England (see picture courtesy of Giles Barkley) leading the Northern Championship from Bob Carter, in the chronicles of Sprint 15 history it is rare to see a rookie win a TT race, exceptional to win one at your first attempt followed by another in your third race and be at the top of the leader board is something to be celebrated, with this it was time for dinner and refreshments and to convey exploits of the day at the renowned Bluebell Restaurant at Farnah Green. 24 sailors and their partners enjoyed the fine fayre and the company. Even frugal NewSprint editor, Paul, and wife Carol came for the first time as there were no takers for the spit & sawdust alternative. "Corr" said Carol, "we did not know what we were missing"
Sunday woke up to mist and a turn around of the wind direction, now coming from the South West at a giddy 6-8mph. The Race officer set a trapezoid course for the remaining two races.
Race 5 with the wind swinging it was a tight call for which tack to go with, however, several boats went for a port start, with seconds to go before the gun the wind swung making port the correct decision, this benefited Norman Grum, Love & Gall who made clear water on the starboard line. The wind shifted continuously which resulted in the middle order pack exchanging places between Steve Tunnacliffe, Erling Holmberg, Kevin Parvin & Darren Kiggins. The race up front now between Gall and Love who had clear water over Carter and Howden close behind. The finishing positions on corrected time Carter 1st, Gall 2ndand Howden 3rd.
Race 6 a starboard line by the whole fleet saw Carter to the windward mark first, closely followed by Gall. With the wind still swinging coming up the beat it again offered ample opportunity for places to be gained and lost, main winners out of the pack were Howden, George Stephen and Love. Up front Carter held off Gall to win the final race. The finishing positions on corrected time being Carter 1st, Howden 2nd and Gall 3rd.
1st Bob Carter - Una-rig
2nd Robert England - Una-rig
3rd Ray Gall – Sport
4th Phil Howden – Una-rig
5th Paul Smith – Una-rig
6th George Love – Sport
7th Steve Tunnacliffe – Una-rig
Windsport Catpart Vouchers
£15 Erling Holmberg, £10 Bob Pearson, £5 Steve Tunnacliffe