Pictures by Mary Howie-Wood
The 2013 Sprint 15 Sports National Championships, sponsored by Wightlink Ferries and Windsport International were held at the Yaverland Sailing and Boating Club on the Isle of Wight. With a total of 28 boats taking part, racing took place in the English Channel just south of the Isle of Wight (well actually at the eastern end of Sandown Bay but technically in the channel), and featured winds of various strengths and likewise an assortment of directions which did manage to drain the colour from the race officers’ cheeks.
Fridays first race got away on time featuring a course ripped off by the events organiser from Carsinton Sailing Club. It consisted of a beat to the first mark, a run halfway down the course and then a triangle finishing with a beat back to the committee boat. Robert England managed to get a good start closely followed by Paul Grattage and Stuart Pierce, but with the wind fluctuating the second lap saw a complete change of position and finished with Sean McKenna first, Simon Giles second and Kevin Dutch third.
Fridays second race saw Brian Phipps get away with Paul Grattage and Stuart Snell following, but on the second lap Phipps and Snell sailed the wrong side of the finish line on the downwind leg leaving Grattage first with Robin Leather second, McKenna third and Paul Craft fourth.
Saturday started with the wind coming from just about every direction of the compass, and there was just over an hours delay whilst the race officers managed to come up with a course over which the wind didn’t vary to much. When the first race got under way it was round a square course with Dutch first around the windward mark closely followed by McKenna and Snell. These positions didn’t change over the first lap, however on the second beat McKenna managed to overtake Dutch to take the lead and held this until the finish. McKenna first, Dutch second, Snell third, Erling Holmberg fourth and Liam Thom fifth.
Saturdays second race followed back to back with the first race, once again the fleet got away first time with the fleet divided going up the first beat, with positions changing on the next two offwind legs it was Grattage who managed to lead up the second windward leg closely followed by Leather and Phipps, however Leather overtook Grattage before the windward mark to lead for the rest of the race. Leather first, Grattage second and Phipps third.
The fleet then went ashore for a well earned break and lunch but on resuming racing in the afternoon the wind had once again dropped leaving the race officers with a problem as to how to set up sensible beat to windward. When the race finally managed to get away Grattage made a perfect port tack start clearing the entire fleet and headed inshore to escape the incoming tide, several others followed only to find that they eventually ran out of wind, McKenna and Stuart Pierce elected to take the outside route against the tide but managed to keep the wind all the way to the windward mark, McKenna rounding first with Pierce second, the rest of the fleet were making their way slowly to the windward mark whilst the first two picked up the very light breeze and managed to open up a lead heading out to sea. On the next round of the course McKenna held on to his lead but Pierce was eventually overtaken by Snell with Leather fourth and Sam Heaton fifth.
Sundays racing was held using the old Olympic triangle/sausage configuration, with an equal split going up the first windward leg and no obvious advantage as to a favoured side. Phipps was first up the second beat followed by Dutch and Grattage, with Holmberg and England not too far behind. However, on the third lap Leather had worked his way to the front of the fleet with Phipps just behind him, Snell was third and Dutch fourth.
The results of final race were now crucial, if Leather was to win with McKenna fourth Leather would win the series and so Sean McKenna went into attack mode right from the start sailing Robin Leather out to the side of the course preventing him from tacking and then gybing. Leading at the end of the first lap was Stuart Snell with Paul Grattage close behind and Paul Craft in third position, McKenna was seventh and Leather eleventh. McKenna then attacked again sailing both himself and Leather (who has already won this event before and is known to be very fast in sprint mode) into the last positions in the race, both Leather and then McKenna retired on the next downwind leg, as did Holmberg who was observing the dual so intensely that he also ended at the back of the fleet. Final results for the last race were Snell first, Grattage second and Craft third.
A difficult event for all concerned, and lucky to be able to complete all of the races, final positions being first Sean McKenna, second Stuart Snell, third Paul Grattage, fourth Robin Leather, fifth Kevin Dutch and the “event organiser” Erling Holmberg sixth, I’ve included him to make him feel better.
Yaverland Sailing and Boating Club put on a really good weekend and many thanks go to all concerned especially Kran (Commodore), Steve, Tony and Tom for their excellent work out on the water and the kitchen staff who looked after everybody ashore.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions