Report by: Karl Pountney
Blue skies and a light variable breeze kicked off of the Sprint 15 winter series at Stewartby on Saturday 3 November. A total of sixteen boats from all over the UK arrived to do battle - of which, five boats were from Stewartby.
The first race, following a trapezoid course, started shortly after a large shift came down the lake virtually eliminating the beat to the windward mark. Local race officer, Karl Pountney and his team held their nerve and the oscillating shifts would ultimately decide places all around the course. The race was to be dominated by Steve Sawford and Robert England who swapped places throughout the race gambling at the leeward mark as to which side of the committee boat to pass. Racing was intense throughout the fleet with small groups vying for position ahead of the shorten course. On the line it would be Robert England, Steve Sawford, and Earling Holmberg taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Over lunch, the wind picked up and the course needed adjustment once more. However, moments after the fleet launched the wind fell-back and shifted again requiring yet more last minute changes to the trapezoid course. The second race started with a heavy port-end line bias, but a far better beat to the first mark. With lighter wind than the morning, fewer laps would be sailed but the racing was no less intense. A poor start for Robert England resulted in quite of lot of ground to make-up if he was to make a podium place. On each lap he picked his way through the fleet and although rewarded 3rd place it was not enough to clinch the two-race event from Steve Sawford who bagged 1st place. Philip Howden and Paul Croft took 2nd and 4th.
Retiring to the bar, the customary crates of beers were distributed to all participants and race organisers. The next Sprint 15 Winter event is at Carsington on 8 December.
Overall Results: 1st Steve Sawford 3pts, 2nd Robert England (Carsington) 4pts, 3rd Philip Howden (Grafham) 8pts, 4th Erling Holmberg (Shanklin) 8pts, 5th Paul Craft (Open Dinghy Club) 12pts .