Sprint 15 Sport Nationals at Yaverland
26th to 28th June 2015
Rival's mistake hands cup to defending champion
34 helmsmen were treated to 3 days of near-perfect sailing conditions at the Sprint 15 Sport Nationals at Yaverland Sailing and Boat Club on the Isle of Wight.
Race officer Erling Holmberg set a P shaped course on Friday afternoon with the wind blowing force 5 to 6.
Paul Grattage got away well in the first race ahead of Sean McKenna, Paul Chatfield, Simon Giles and Kevin Dutch. Unfortunately, Grattage’s trapeze wire failed him and he retired on lap 1 after a swim. McKenna led the rest of the race with Steve Sawford making gains up to third place before being overhauled by Dutch on the last lap.
Between races, Ian Wilkinson managed to get his sail crucified on the cross on the Yaverland post and was forced to retire but not before the paparazzi got to him.
Paul Grattage repaired his boat with some baler twine he found lying about the boat yard and led the second race from start to finish. Behind him, Kevin Dutch kept ahead of Sean McKenna for a lap, but McKenna overhauled him half way through the race to finish second. Dutch finished third ahead of Paul Chatfield.
The wind eased a couple of knots for the Saturday with glorious sunshine and the Round the Island Yacht Race taking place further out to sea.
A left handed trapezoidal course was set and in race three, Sean McKenna led his flock way past the far left lay-line for the first mark. This allowed Stuart Pierce, who had sailed the right side of the course, the rare pleasure of leading at buoy 1 closely followed by Simon Giles. Pierce led the race for 2 laps before Steve Sawford overhauled him on the downwind leg. Meanwhile Grattage had made steady gains through the fleet up to second on the last lap. Sawford finished first ahead of Grattage with Pierce being denied a podium finish when he was pipped on the line by Liam Thom.
Kevin Dutch and Paul Grattage continued to enjoy the strong breeze in race 4 with Dutch getting the early lead from Grattage, Sean McKenna and Steve Sawford. Meanwhile a Clipper yacht “Qingdao” had sailed very close to our course and was in danger of being called “starboard” on by 34 catamarans. Grattage got the lead on the second lap with McKenna moving up to second and the top 4 places remained stable for the rest of the 3 lap race.
Being in the financial services industry, the race officer clearly likes a “good” lunch and we were given a generous hour and a half off between races 4 and 5.
The wind was still a good steady force 5 with gusts of force 6 after the break and normal service was quickly resumed with Grattage leading race 5 from start to finish, this time with Steve Sawford, Paul Chatfield and Kevin Dutch behind him. Dutch made gains in the three lap race and finished behind Grattage and ahead of Sawford on the line.
On Saturday evening there was an excellent three course meal (or 7 courses in Paul Grattage’s case) in the club house including a raffle for a weekend’s sailing tuition at event sponsor Windsport: this was won by Wayne Silver.
On the Sunday morning there was much lighter winds and an alternating triangle-sausage course was set for the SSE force 2. Sean McKenna needed to win this race to keep in the hunt for the championship and he kept the lead from start to finish with Paul Grattage, Fraser Manning and Kevin Dutch keeping station in that order as the breeze developed.
The wind had shifted to westerly for the final race of the event and there was a delay while the course was moved and lengthened. Sean McKenna needed a first place to win the regatta while Paul Grattage just needed McKenna to not win. Grattage laid his cards on the table in the prestart and match-raced McKenna to the start where there was a general recall. At the second attempt the pair of them were both on the offensive and McKenna caught Grattage on port and forced a penalty. Fortunately for Grattage this start was also recalled and a black flag raised. The third start was successful and Kevin Dutch caused a traffic jam at the committee boat end by parking his boat inconsiderately. Further up the line McKenna got the lead and kept hold of it with Grattage and Fraser Manning behind him exchanging places. McKenna had one hand on the championship when he rounded the final windward mark in the lead, but then suffered catastrophic brain-fade and sailed the windward-leeward course rather than the triangle. Grattage had in the meantime overtaken Manning and crossed the line first to retain the championship. McKenna corrected himself to finish second in the race and the event.
Third overall was Kevin Dutch, ahead of Steve Sawford, Fraser Manning and Simon Giles. The first over 60 was Gordon Goldstone and the first junior boat was helmed by Tom Beasley with Henry Giles as crew. The Pro-Am Cup was won by Roger Bone and Simon Giles.
Thanks go to Windsport and Wightlink Ferries and to volunteers from Shanklin Sailing Club and Yaverland Sailing and Boat Club for their help with the event.
Report by Liam Thom. Photography by Alan and Mary Howie-Wood.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions