The Sprint 15 Nationals took place at Pentewan Sands Sailing Club over the bank holiday weekend 25th to the 27th August. In total over 70 boats attended and many of the fleet are staying down for the remainder of the week for the fun events including the hotly contested go karting competition.
Pentewan Sands is a super venue and almost a second home for the Sprint 15's and has hosted many Sprint Nationals in the past. It is so popular amongst the fleet that it is intended to return again in the near future to take full advantage of the replacement clubhouse soon to be constructed.
The weather was kind giving mostly sunshine and, a must for all fair competitions, a mixture of conditions from 20 knot plus winds and waves on the Sunday making the most of the fleets submersive capabilities to very light shifty winds on a virtual millpond on the Tuesday when the ability to drift fast came into play. Naturaly the forcast stronger medium stregnth winds on the Tuesday came in precisely when the racing was over providing an enjoyable and fast sail back to the shore rather than the keenly anticpated champagne racing to complete the event.
In total seven races were held in addition to the practice race using courses expertly set and managed by Race Officer Michael Ward and his efficient on the water Team. The Team were kept busy on the first day dealing with breakages and the odd shunt but otherwise, having laid the customary sqauare courss, they took advantage of the conditions to sunbathe and hold a mackeral fishing competition. Their efficiiency was matched by those assisting on shore on the beach and in particular in the galley who provided full catering for the event 12 hours a day including a three course meal for 150 people on the Monday night.
The event was won for the second year running by Stuart Snell who, notwithstanding the fact that his lead was invincible at the end of day Two, went out on Day Three and increased it just because he loves his racing. Steve Sawford was second, Paul Gattage third, Mark Aldridge fourth and Paul Craft fifth. Fuller results and the prize winners including the many other categories will be available in the fuller Yachts and Yachting write up but the two up winners Sean and Daisy McKenna deserve a mention now.
The Association and the Sailing Club together with the wider sailing fraternity are of course still mourning the untimely passing of Nick Dewhirst who was, amongst other things, former Sprint 15 Association Chairman. Tributes to him from the Class and Club came forward at the briefing and AGM, through the use of a special flag incorporting his boat number in the place of the class flag, the renaming of a trophy in his honour,his boat being sailed by Kevin Dutch at the Nationals at the special request of Sissy Dewhirst and a one minutes silence on the water before the last race during which many competitors adopted Nick's famous stand on the forward beam stance when sailing directly downwind. The fleet and Committee all pledged to keep the Association going as a lasting tibute.
All in all a fantastic event both on and off the water which in keeping with the inclusive traditions of the Sprint 15 fleet will continue all week with the fun events all designed to include the families that attend. Next year the event moves to Thorpe Bay on the 11th to the 13th July and the firm intent is that when the number of travellers are added to the number of the home fleet to have at least 100 boats taking part. Roll on Thorpe Bay and the fun to come. Anyone who wants to sail in a competitive but very friendly fleet in a particularly versatile and value for money boat had better buy one quick.
Finally, as ever, thanks to Brian Phipps of Windsport whose sponsorship of and attendance at these events with his advice, spares and repairs services is always welcome.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions