3 Days of Blasting were had at the Sprint 15 Nationals 2014
Over 30 competitors travelled to Instow, Devon for the Sprint 15 National Championships 2014 sponsored by Gill, Windsport and Doombar. Competitors have come from 15 clubs right across the country. Conditions brought easterly squalling gusts of 6-7 with meaty channels of wind funneling off the land.
The fierce off-shore wind and the flood tide made the start of the first race fairly challenging. The course was port rounding 5 laps of triangles & sausages. Many of the more experienced racers were on the money and field split quickly. The high winds brought many gear failures and retirements. Paul Grattage and Kevin Dutch were the two class acts and whilst most racers were in survival mode downwind the leaders streaked ahead. Paul took the win with Kevin 2nd and Steve Sawford 3rd.
The last race of the day had the field depleted down to 16 but the survivors battled round the 4 laps and this time Kevin Dutch managed to win, Paul was 2nd and pride of NDYC Fraser Manning was 3rd. The fleet retired to the bar and discussed the best pitch pole of the day. One sailed described his experience as being launched as if from a medieval catapult over a castle wall!
The tide has started to ebb and the fleet was pulled over the start line. It was recalled and started successfully with Kevin Dutch leading the way. Kevin needing to win this race to stay in contention for the championship. He was still in the lead until lap 3 when disaster struck, a shroud snapped and he lost the rig. The last lap brought 180 degree wind shifts and conditions ranging from force 1 to 5. Holes appeared in the wind and some leaders found themselves becalmed and then swamped. Paul Grattage powered his way through the fleet and took the win and the championship. Fraser Manning took a deserved 2nd and Robert England was 3rd.
Conditions for day 3 had increased and the wind was blowing SE 5-6. The race was delayed by 15 minutes to let the tide come in a bit more. The start was crowded as all the sailors had confidence in their ability from the last 2 days racing. All started cleanly and the fleet streaked to the windward mark. The 1st mark was reasonably close to shore and sailors were pinching up the beach trying to lay it. Many did not judge it correctly and found themselves aground! After 4 laps Kevin was 1st with Paul 2nd and Steve Sawford 3rd.
The results were tallied and Paul Grattage (Shanklin) was declared 2014 Sprint Nation Champion 2014. Kevin Dutch was 2nd (Seasalter) and Fraser Manning 3rd (NDYC). The Pro Am was won by Anthony Grey and Liam Thom. Stuart Snell won the veterans class.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions