The Sprint 15 fleet were delighted to be returning to Stewartby for the start of the 2021/22 Winter Series, having not been able to sail last winter. The forecast of fine weather, warm temperatures and a 9 mph westerly boded well for a good event.
It was great to see a local turnout of 8 boats alongside 11 visitors – so close racing was on the cards for the 3 race programme. The logistical arrangements all went to plan and the first race started on time with the others running to plan with no delays, false starts or collisions. The top line race by race report is as follows:-
The start line was busy at the Committee Boat end – but those who managed to start near the line at that end found themselves able to establish a bit of a lead from the rest of the fleet. The top three of Peter Slater (Draycote), Steve Sawford (Rutland) and Paul Craft (Worthing) jostled for the top three spots rotating positions at various points during the first three laps. The windward leg proved to generally favour heading right. The downwind leg was more variable with gains being made by boats going left or right on the different legs. As the race entered the last lap it was Peter followed by Steve then Paul but others were biting hard at their heels including local Scott Wilcox and George Love (Carsington). Jenny Ball (Marconi) had also steadily clawed her way back after a poor start at the back of the fleet. The final winner was Peter followed by Paul. Steve unfortunately had to take a turn at mark 3 which dropped him back to 6th place. Jenny tacked early for the finish line sneaking in to third place just ahead of Scott and George.
At the first mark all was set for the race to be dominated by the local Stewartby boats with Ian Pasquet 3rd, Gareth Farr 4th and Scott Wilcox 5th and Rob Finch 7th. (Ian joined the class three weeks prior and has sailed it only twice. First time suffering multiple capsizes and falling off. The second almost being lapped in the club racing). As the fleet passed through the line at the end of lap one it was Peter Slater followed by George Love (Carsington), Ed Tuite-Dalton (Draycote) and 4th Geoff Tindale (Stone). Where are the Stewartby boats you might ask, well that’s another story but the upwind and downwind legs saw lots of fleet place changes, making the racing very interesting. By lap three the leaders had settled into the order of Ed followed by Peter and George and this order was maintained to the end with Jenny a close 4th.
Peter was looking good at this point to win the event having posted a first and a second in the other races but, with a discard in play, Ed was also in contention with his race win. Ed started down towards the pin end and got a clean lane away from the start. Peter, unfortunately, got buried at the committee boat line and ended up crossing the line at the back of the fleet. Ed stayed out to the left hand side and managed to get round the windward mark in time before the majority of the fleet came in on starboard and rounded the windward mark in bunch. The downwind leg fanned the fleet out a little and the fleet split further on the upwind leg as competitors tried to find out if going right, left or up the middle would pay off! Jenny got a lucky break on the second upwind leg to pull into second place chased hard by the rest of the pack. As the race developed Ed maintained his comfortable lead to the end, with Jenny second, Steve third and Peter making an amazing recovery to take fourth.
The final result was determined by the discards with the two Draycote boats of Peter and Ed in top spots. After the discard was applied, congratulations go to Ed who took the top prize.
Report by Scott Wilcox
Full Series Results available here