Grafham Winter Handicap Sunday 11th March 2007

Photo By: Mark Aldridge
Photo By: Mark Aldridge

Sprint 15s at Grafham – a day for the heavyweights.

On Sunday 11 March the final event of the Sprint 15 fleet winter series was held at Grafham. 11 visitors joined 14 sailors from the home club on lovely sunny day with a fresh Southerly breeze. The race officer, Alisdair James, set a trapezoidal course with tight reaches – just what the fleet like – and the first race was away first time. Stuart Snell was in pole position at the port end of the line but it was Charles Watson who was first to the windward mark, closely followed by Snell, John Keyte and Simon Farthing. Watson and Snell progressively opened out a clear lead from the chasing pack. Chris Black made it through to third place and then there was a closely packed group of about 5 boats. The second reach to the leeward mark proved to be very challenging in the gusts of up to 25mph where the bows would bury and several sailors found themselves taking a quick dip as a result. On the last lap both Farthing & Bob Carter found themselves swimming within sight of the finish line. The finishing sequence was Watson, Snell, Black, Erling Holmberg, Paul Tanner & Andy Chidwick.

After lunch the second race was started in similar conditions to the morning. Stuart Snell made no mistakes and led from Chris Black and Andy Chidwick. Frank Sandells was determined to recover from the setbacks of race 1 and was going well but series leader, Watson, had difficulty rounding the windward mark, dropped back and  subsequently went for a rare swim on the second reach. Black pushed Snell hard and once or twice led the proceedings but at the gun it was Snell from Black, Tanner, Sandells and Chidwick.

Thus after an exhilarating day Snell was the overall winner from Black and the Shanklin pair of Tanner and Holmberg.  Everyone enjoyed the sailing in superb conditions.

One observer said “ it was a good day for the heavyweights – it helped to get some lard over the side”
The fleet now rest for a short period until the Summer Traveller Series gets under way at Thorpe Bay on 29/30 April.

Overall Results: 1st S Snell (Grafham) 3 pts, 2nd C Black (Grafham) 5  pts, 3rd P Tanner (Shanklin) 8 pts, 4th E Holmberg ( Shanklin) 10 pts, 5th C Watson (Halifax) 11 pts, 6th A Chidwick (Marconi) 13 pts.

Full Results: Here