Local Press Coverage is available: here
The Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 National Championships were held at Saundersfoot Sailing Club on 15 -17 August in good sailing conditions, despite the poor weather forecasts for Wales and over 200 retirements from the Fastnet race. The racing was preceeded by several days of fun sailing by part of the fleet. The highlights were a sail by 18 boats to Tenby and then on to Caldy Island for lunch (courtesy of the Abbott) on Monday 13 August in bright sunshine and gusty F3 - 4 winds and a fiercely fought go-kart grand prix with 23 competitors. The go-karting is getting almost as serious as the sailing.
The racing proper started on Wednesday 15 Aug when after a practice race and a quick pit stop the Race Officer, Rolf John, set a large rectangular course in an off shore Westerly F4-5 breeze for the 54 entrants. In the first race George Carter led from William Tusting from start to finish. Sprint 15 prodigal, Paul Berry, started well and was third at the windward mark but Steve Sawford & Erling Holmberg sailed through the fleet to take third and forth respectively. Chris Black sustained a nasty cut on his hand at the final leeward mark, which was to cause him to retire from the subsequent race but he hung on to finish race 1. The next race was sailed using the same course and became a ding-dong between Carter & Kevin Dutch, who had found his boat speed and led at several points during the race but just missed out at the gun. These two were a huge distance ahead from Sawford, Carl Blenkinsop and Holmberg. After an exhilarating 2 races the fleet retired for a fleet BBQ to unwind and the AGM, which lasted some 6 minutes (not quite but almost a record for brevity). That evening the fleet were provided with the Pro-Am pairings where the experienced sailors are allocated an amateur to help for the rest of the championship – this is a regular feature of our championships which proves very popular with the novices.
On Thursday the wind was still from the West at about F3-4 with some tricky shifts plus quite a lot of sunshine and there were 3 races run, again using the rectangular course. In race 3 it made a big difference which side you went up the beat. Carter led the way from Sawford, Holmberg and Blenkinsop. As the race developed those that took the East side of the beat suffered from sailing into a header and lost out. From the leading pack, this included Holmberg, Les Horrell-Smith and Ben Saunders. In the end Carter prevailed from Sawford, Blenkinsop, Tusting and Dutch. Race 4 was sailed after a quick lunch break and class treasurer, Golden Goldstone, made no mistakes at the start after taking a port flyer and led the boats around the first lap. Many times past National Champion, John Postletwaite, sailing a recently acquired (but unsailed by him before the Nationals) boat sailed by on the second beat and led for a lap until Carter put in a spurt and took the lead just in time to take the gun. Postlethwaite took second from Blenkinsop, Dutch, Goldstone and Class Chairman, Nick Dewhirst, who was reveling in the tactical conditions. The fifth race followed immediately and at the windward mark it was Carsington teenager, Robin Newbold, and Geoff Howlett close behind Carter. The conditions were still tricky and the gusts could be quite strong. A big cheer could be heard from the fleet when John Postlethwaite took his first swim of the event – a pitchpole on the leeward reach showing that he is human after all. Meanwhile at the front Carter extended his lead to win from Holmberg, Howlett, Newbold and Chris Black. This concluded a very pleasant days sailing – leaving the fleet bemused that Paul Berry missed all 3 races as he took the dog for a walk to Tenby! The fleet retired for the evening and 94 punters, family members and members of the organising club attended the fleet dinner at the Coppett Hall Hotel. A good time was had by all.
The last day turned out to be the lightest winds of the championship (about a F2 from the NW) – it was a pity that this was the day that our photographer, Nick Champion, attended. He had been at Weymouth getting blown away at the Laser Nationals on Wednesday & Thursday. Rolf John set an inverse P course with a downwind gate to provide some variety. In race 6, Kevin Morris, Nick Dewhirst and Berry followed Carter round the windward mark after the first beat. Kevin Morris had benefited enormously from the hints and tips provided by his Pro (Erling Holmberg) and proved a force to be reckoned with after he had taken these tips onboard. This order prevailed for much of the race and the sequence at the gun was Carter, Morris, Berry, Dewhirst and Dutch. In the final race of the championship, Sawford & Berry crossed the fleet on port tack from the line and led the proceedings until Holmberg took the lead on the downwind leg. Carter and the Queen Mary pair of George Stephen and Pegum worked their way up the fleet on the subsequent beat. By the end of the race the top 2 places had a familiar look (Carter followed by Sawford) but the following places were taken by Stephen, Pegum, Berry and Duncan Macpherson – who was over from South Africa to take part in the proceedings.
Thus after the full 7 races had been sailed, George Carter (currently of the Moordale Sailing Club, Toronto) retained his championship crown with seven straight wins justifying his trip, but Steve Sawford and Kevin Dutch scaled new heights and took second and third respectively.
The fleet now look forward to next year when it is the 30th anniversary National Championships at Thorpe Bay Yacht Club where we are expecting a record attendance.
First Two-up: C Pierce & A Cavatuiti (Shanklin)
First Lady: M Fisher (Gurnard)
Youth Trophy (Under 19): 1st R Newbold (Carsington), 2nd B Saunders (Seasalter), 3rd C Pierce & A Cavatuiti (Shanklin), 4th W Baker (Shanklin)
Over 50s 1st E Holmberg (Shanklin), 2nd G Howlett (Shanklin) 3rd N Dewhirst (Whitstable).
Over 60s 1st E Holmberg (Shanklin), 2nd G Howlett (Shanklin), 3rd C Black (Grafham)
Heavyweights 1st K Ball (Grafham), 2nd R Rowntree (Grafham) , 3rd G Wood (Grafham)
Most Improved 1st K Morris (Grafham), 2nd Steve Sawford, 3rd K Ball (Grafham)
Teams Standings 1st Grafham (129pts), 2nd Shanklin (166pts), 3rd Carsington (243pts), 4th Queen Mary (271pts) 5th Seasalter (361pts), 6th Thorpe Bay (423pts),
Pro-Am Winners: K Morris + E Holmberg
Windsport-Catpart Vouchers: £15 B Saunders; £10 J Long; £5 K Parvin.
Go-Karts 1st K Dutch (Seasalter), 2nd M Smith (Beaver) , 3rd M Ellis (Thorpe Bay), 4th W Baker (Shanklin)
Treasure Hunt: 1st (joint) Isobella & Olivia Sandells 1st (joint) Shanklin Tractor Drivers Inc.
Sub-Competition Full results are available here
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions