Southern Championships, Open Dinghy Club, 24-25th June 2006

Making a welcome return to ODC, seven Sprint 15ers travelled to East Preston in Sussex, to join nine boats from ODC for a weekend of sun, sea and sailing on 24/25 June. Despite gloomy predictions of no wind at all from usually reputable weather websites, Saturday arrived to brilliant sunshine and a gentle breeze. Demonstrating an unusual keenness to get on the water, the ODC crowd were all on the beach and rigged by 10.00am, allowing our visitors a modicum space in the dinghy park to unpack their wares.

Race officers Pete Roberts and Martin Solomon got proceedings away on time for Race 1 at 12 noon. In a gentle F2 wind, George Stephen sailing sport mode established an early lead and showed the rest of the fleet round the square course. Bob Carter closed the gap once or twice, with Trevor Bulmer-Jones also in Sport mode sniffing closely on his heels. Race 2 which followed, saw Carter lead the fleet around the windward mark, and off into the distance. A position he held until Phillip Howden found a way past on the last lap and pipped Carter to the line by some 30 seconds. The fleet returned to shore for a welcome food and drink stop, before returning to the water, and a rapidly dying breeze for Race 3. Sensibly the RO decided to shorten the course to 2 laps , and that man Carter chalked up another first place, followed by top ODC helm Paul Craft. The conditions which looked favourable for the sport mode boats in Race 1, now appeared to favour una rigged boats.

A somewhat sunburned fleet made it back to shore, and de-rigged with the aid of some ice cold beers. In a lovely sunny, balmy evening, ODC's chefs enhanced their reputations with a BBQ for all competitors and helpers.

Alan Welman
Alan Welman

Sunday saw the grim predictions of no wind come true. At 8.00am the sea was like a looking glass, then within an hour a light breeze filled in from the East, and there was definitely enough wind to attempt the 1 lap ProAm plus the final two races. The ODC Ams listened carefully to their traveler Pros, and the to the tune of discreet on water tuning hints, Trevor Bumer Jones lead the way to the windward mark, only to find that an unusually strong tide was taking him the wrong side of it. Putting in a swift tack, and not losing a place, as all the others following had to execute the same manoeuvre, Trevor lead the fleet home.

In a freshening F2 breeze, Carter took the final two races, leaving the ODC locals wondering where he had hidden his engine!

Sprint15's at Open Dinghy Club
Sprint15's at Open Dinghy Club

Scoring four firsts, Carter was the convincing winner, and new Southern Area Champion, followed by Grafham club mate Philip Howden in second place, and Queen Mary’s George Stephen taking third place. ODC's top scorers were Paul Craft in sixth place, followed by Chris Rickard eighth, and Alan Welman ninth.

The draw for the Windsport-Catparts vouchers, saw Phil Howden win the £15 voucher, ODC's David Murphy took the £10 voucher and "Golden Goldstone" won yet again taking the £5 voucher.

Keith Bartlett
Open Dinghy Club

For the full results, click here.