Eight boats from the Stewartby fleet were joined by 16 visitors for the first event in the Sprint 15 Winter TT series. The weather forecast was for a stiff breeze rising through the day. Utilising the whole of the 220 acre lake, the race officer laid a large Trapezoid course and kicked off the first race bang on time!
There was a clean start for race one with the whole fleet strung-out across the line. A lone port-end flyer took advantage of a shift on the line and successfully shot across the fleet. But it was Thomas Sandal who made the best of the first beat to grab a lead that was unchallenged for the whole race. For the first two laps, Mark Aldridge managed to keep a small lead over Paul Grattage but by lap 3 Paul had the upper hand and steadily opened-up a lead over Mark.
The racing was keen through the whole fleet with some very close finishes as the race came to a close after 50 minutes. Thomas Sandal won with Paul Grattage second and Ed Tuite Dalton third.
The wind had increased by the start of race 2 and Race Officer Karl Pountney had postpone the start to address a drifting pin-end marker followed by a dragging anchor on the Committee boat. 20 minutes later, race 2's start was a fast close affair with Mark Aldridge playing the role of pin-end flier to great effect taking the lead around the windward mark.
The fleet's first lap was a hurried 10-minute blast with a small bunch flying down the back leg to the leeward mark at great speed. Ed Tuite Dalton's capsize at the mark was a quick flip which took Stewartby's Jon Finch by surprise and it was just luck that stopped him from pitch-poling his boat right behind Ed's. This race was marked by a large number of capsizes, a couple of collisions and the loss of a set of rudders by Chris Lawson.
But in the end, Paul Grattage managed to upgrade his race one place to a first, with Stuart Snell taking 2nd and Mark Aldridge 3rd.
Overall the event was won by Paul Grattage (Shanklin), 2nd place Thomas Sandal and 3rd to Stuart Snell.
First Stewartby boat was Robert Finch (5th Place).
The Winter TT Series continues throughout the winter months. The next event takes place at Oxford Sailing Club on 7th December.
Full Series Results available here