Inland Championships, Rutland, 13-14 May 2006

The Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Inland Championships were held at Rutland Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 13/14 May. The event was part of the Rutland Cat Open and race officer, Henry Wright, set the Sprint 15s a large trapezoidal course while the other classes were on an upwind-downwind course.

The Sprint 15s were the first start and got away cleanly in a 10mph NE wind. Paul Smith went into an early lead from John Postlethwaite and Kevin Kirby. At the end of the first lap as the Sprint 15s came to the gate the handicap fleet were just starting after a couple of general recalls and the line was completely blocked. Smith squeezed through on port a few seconds before the gun but the following boats of Postlethwaite, Bob Carter & Kirby got stuck in the dirty air of the starting fleet. This gave Smith a large cushion and he was not challenged until he took the gun. Carter was 2nd on downwind speed in the dying wind from Postlethwaite and Kirby.

The second race was led from start to finish by Carter followed by Postlethwaite, Smith and Kirby. For the third race the wind changed during the starting sequence fooling those who tried to take advantage of the (previous) port bias. The starboard starting boats got the benefit of a good start and the favourable (left) side of the course. John Postlethwaite led the way but was troubled by Sportster, Trevor Bulmer-Jones, who was getting to grips with the conditions, unlike fellow Sportster, George Stephen, who was struggling for boat speed. At the end of a 2-lap race Postlethwaite took the gun from Smith and Peter Richardson but Bulmer-Jones took a creditable fourth place ahead of Philip Howden.

The following day the wind had swung to the South East and the race team decided to use the west leg of the reservoir (left of the Clubhouse) as it offered a long beat and run. In race 4 Smith went into an early lead and Kirby, Postlethwaite and Carter jostled for second place. At the end of the first lap Kirby was in second and was challenging for the lead when he was called back (erroneously) for going through the gate correctly. He lost 100ft and, sportlingly, did not complain but he was soon back in contention showing excellent boat speed. After 4 laps Smith held on to take the gun from Carter, Postlethwaite and Kirby both Carter and Postlethwaite sneaked past Kirby on the last 100yds to the line.

The wind had died off somewhat for the 5th and last race. Carter led the charge from Postlethwaite, Kirby and Howden until the second beat when Carter, Postlethwaite and Ray Gall favoured the East side but Howden & Smith got a huge lift on the West side taking them into a big lead. The race was ended after 2 laps with Howden taking the gun from Smith, Carter and Kirby. Darren Kiggens put in a spurt on the last beat to displace Postlethwaite into 6th place.

Thus after a pleasant weekend in which all 5 races were sailed, Paul Smith was crowned the new Inland Champion based on a consistent performance throughout the weekend.

Overall Results: 1st P Smith (Beaver) 6pts, 2nd R Carter (Grafham) 8pts, 3rd J Postlethwaite (Beaver) 9pts, 4thP Howden (Grafham) 16pts 5th K Kirby (Marconi) 16pts, 6th P Richardson (Marconi) 21pts.

Overall Results
1st P Smith Beaver 6pts
2nd R Carter Grafham 8pts
3rd J Postlethwaite Beaver 9pts
4th P Howden Grafham 16pts
5th K Kirby Marconi 16pts
6th P Richardson Marconi 21pts

Sport Format: 1st T Bulmer Jones (Netley), 2nd G Stephen (Queen Mary)

For the full results, click here.