Eurocat is held by Yatch Club Carnac over three days from the 1 May to 3 May this year instead of four in 2014 due to the day 1 May falls on in 2015.
This year 10 Sprint 15 sailors from the UK made the trip and one French Sprint 15 Roger Veaux.
Six sailors retuned this year, Brian Phipps, Jon Pearse, Stewart Pegum, Paul Craft, Simon Hare, Steve Sawford and Ray Gall who unfortunately did not sail; they were joined by four new sailors, Howard Hawks, John Manning, Richard Mole, Fraser Manning and Roger Veaux.
The fleet arrived at the Yatch Club on 30 April to wind and rain, boats were rigged and adjusted ready for three days of racing, Brian Phipps and Paul Crafter attended a meeting with a representative from FF Voile to try and understand the reason the Sprint 15 una-rig had been moved to C3 from C4.
The meeting was very productive and the representative was extremely friendly and very helpful, the full handy cap system was gone through, which is similar to the SCHRS system, to explain the change in handy cap, it became apparent that although the Sprint 15 and the Hobie 14 have the same handy cap that FF Voile had made a ruling that boats over 4.8 meters (Sprint 15) were enter into C3, Hobie 14 is under 4.8m so remains in C4.
Registration took place on the same day between 18.00 and 22.00 and was as usual a very relaxed process with everyone from the club and other competitors being very friendly. Fraser and Richard decide to sail Sport mode and Steve DX, the remaining sailors choose to sail una-rig. 56 boats enter C3 ranging from Hobie 16, SL16, Dart 18, Hobie Max twin trapeze and us along with a few other designs.
The day arrived wet and windy, 18 MPH gusting 23 MPH, the briefing was at midday and with three races scheduled the race officer for C3 and C4 set a square course with separate starts for C3 and C4 with inner or outer windward-leeward legs meaning that the C3 sailed the inner and C4 the outer so the fleets did not clash.
Race 1 got under way and with 56 boats on the start line of varying speed and helms ability made for and interesting start but all the Sprint 15’s got away.
The course was large and seeing the marks could be quite difficulty, Brian lead but changed places up the beat with Paul and then again on the run, on the final reach Brian sailed to the wrong buoy which allowed Paul to get the lead on the run and take the win. All the while Howard was chasing and closing the gap and took third, John Pearce sailed really well in very tricky condition and took 4 closely followed by John Manning who seemed to be really enjoying the conditions, Fraser was the first Sport boat home third on the water but seventh on handy cap, with Steve ninth on handy cap.
Race 2 the wind still had not dropped and the swell had increased with the rising tide so everyone was again in for a very bumpy ride, Brian lead up the beat and was eventual overhauled by Paul, Howard was even closer and Fraser was chasing hard but the swell seemed to stop the Sport boat driving on as it should, Stewart had a very close race with John Manning to take his best result of the event taking 5 followed by John Pearse closely flowed by a much improved Simon.
Unfortunately Steve sailed the wrong course and only realised after he was so far ahead and was wondering where everyone else was, so retired from the race.
Race 3 Brian stalled Paul on the line and Howard was off up the beat like a rocket chasing Brian hard, and getting away from the rest of the fleet, Simon was now getting the hang of the conditions and started to catch up with Howard who had slipped back behind Paul and Brian, they raced very closely until unfortunately Howard went the wrong side of the finish line which allowed Simon to take four over the line behind Fraser, Richard who later admitted he had only sailed the Sprint 15 a few times and only once in Sport mode was getting the hang of it with his best result of 8 in very tricky conditions, John Manning, and Stewart were racing very closely and it could have been either one of them towards the finish.
John Pearse was wondering why he was slowing down, this was realised when he returned to shore and found a hull full of water caused by a Hobie 16 cutting him up, this meant repairs were required that evening to get his boat ready for the next day as the sun had come out for a short time.
Roger Veaux had his mast come down and had to retire but a quick repair meant he was ready for the next day.
The day arrived again very wet and windy 28 MPH gusting 40MPH, this was supposed to be the day of the long distance race but at the briefing with the high winds and poor visibility the race organisers decided that is was not safe to run the race.
However they decided they would hold normal racing and held everyone on shore, the F18’s departed at around 12.00 and shortly afterwards the organisers cancelled all racing for all other fleets due to the high winds and big swells.
The day was not over as Cookie had organised a meal at the local pizza restaurant for 20 people so good food, company and drink made up for a day of no sailing.
The dawn of day was yet again very windy but not as wet, it was thought that there would be no racing due to the high winds, at the briefing the organisers advised there would be two races and held the fleets ashore until the wind dropped, at midday the wind had started to drop and by the time of the start of the first race the wind had dropped to 24 MPH.
Race 1 was again very close between Brian and Paul and Lord Howard (ask him in the bar) who was now sailing back in his rhythm and chasing very hard, John Pearse’s boat was repaired and he was building confidence in the repair, Fraser really had got to grips with the conditions and was getting away up the front, Stewart was having a battle with John Manning followed by Simon and Richard who got ninth on handy cap.
Race 2 the final race of the event and all the sailors in all the classes seemed to be getting more confident making the start line more compacted, Roger Veaux was being consistent in each race when his boat stayed together, Richard was starting and getting around the course with more confidence now and chasing hard, the tide had turn and this changed the swell into quite a big chop on the way out to the windward mark.
At the finish Howard managed to get third although he was chased hard by John Pearce who was fourth, John Manning sailed well to fifth with Fraser taking sixth on handy cap, Simon again doing well in seventh, Stewart brought his new found speed with him from Seasalter and was eighth which was his worst result and was chasing hard throughout all the races and, Steve was 17 overall on handy cap, Roger ninth and Richard 10, Paul second and Brian first.
At the end of the event out of 56 boasts the Sprint 15 again showed what a competitive and versatile boat it is, beating a lot of Dart 18,s, Hobie 16, SL16 and twin wire boasts not only on handy cap but also on the water, the look on their faces as we over took them as some were twin wiring was great, the final overall results were.
All agreed that they had had a great time and look forward to next year.
Over all Eurocat C3 results based on FF Voile handy cap, red is the discard.
The Sprint 15 Una rig and Sport results based on the FF Voile handy Cap system were.