There was a fabulous turnout of 19 boats for the Draycote TT on Saturday 9th Sept. 9 Draycote SC boats were joined by 10 boats that travelled from as far and wide as Shanklin and Marconi SC to attend the event. It was great to see boats from across the country attending with some very welcome old and new faces (Yvonne Pike from Shanklin and Simon Ball from Draycote) racing at Draycote for the first time and they both did brilliantly! The wind conditions were good but shifty, wind strength 9 -11 knots, blowing from the West occasionally gusting to 15 knots. Wind conditions presented the race officers for the day (Tim Case and Richard Colwell) with some challenges. There was also a topper event on so the lake had to be split into two halves resulting in a short but challenging beat up to the windward mark. Tim and Richard set up a trapezoidal race course with a challenging start line, perfect for 19 boats but no room for error for those trying to squeeze in at the pin end of the start line!
The first race was hotly contested by the fleet hot shots who quickly worked out that tacking off late on the first beat paid off with boats coming up on the windward mark. Ed Tuite Dalton (Draycote SC) was first to the windward mark and tacked off close to the mark and quickly pulling away from the rest of the fleet on the ensuing reach, the run presented options for front runners Ed, Paul, Liam Thom, Stuart Snell (in his brand new boat) and Jenny Ball to head either straight up to the downwind mark or gybe off and run down on the opposite tack. The reach back up to mark 4 was tight and fast and Paul Grattage pulled away from the competition and went onto win the first race.
The first 3 races were closely competed and a clear pattern began to emerge with the first 3 places being taken by Paul, Liam and Stuart. Things were just as competitive at the back of the fleet with Phil Taylor, Stephen Pell and Simon Ball from Draycote fighting it out for runners up honours. Simon Ball from Draycote was competing in his first ever sailing event! He commented that " It was good to be overtaken by Paul because it allowed me to observe his technique which helped me greatly in subsequent races ". It was also in the very best tradition of Sprint 15 sailing that Simon also noted that " The fleet was very welcoming and friendly and I am looking forward to my next race "
In the fourth race Draycote hot shots, Dave Rowe and Jan Elfring, were competitive and Jan managed to be the first boat to the windward mark, he was so surprised that he asked the boats around him to note and record this as a stage victory, however things quickly unraveled as normal service was resumed as Paul, Liam and Jan competed for water at Mark 2 and the most talked about rule in sailing came into play, 3 boat lengths, overlap and water at the mark. There was much discussion in the bar afterwards between Jan and Paul about rights at the mark and what they would do differently next time. Pete Slater (Draycote SC) sailed in the event using a very old club boat with a borrowed sail, but nothing holds back a good sailor and Pete was competitive in all races and was cruelly denied a top placing in the last race due to a major northerly wind shift. Paul Grattage pulled away for yet another victory. Dave Rowe (Draycote SC) sailed competitively in all four races and was just pipped by Ed into 6th place on the last race.
To keep things exciting for the fleet and the race officers, Bill Hurr and Derek James decided to sail sport mode, a cunning and brilliant plan if the wind had been a few knots more, in the end Bill Hurr's superior boat handing skills gave Bill the honours in the sport mode competition, he actually managed to get out on the trapeze wire!
At the after race presentations, Paul Grattage, our winner, thanked all for attending the event and race officers, Tim and Richard, for doing such a great job at Grafham SC .....Paul was clearly thinking ahead for his next appearance at Grafham, the error was corrected and the call went out for the next event in 2 weeks at Newhaven and Seaford SC on Sat 23rd Sept . This will be their first hosting of a TT event so please come along and join them for what will be a first and I am sure a great event!
Sprint 15 - 1744
Full Series Results available here