The last regatta of the Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Summer traveller series was held at Grafham Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 18/19 October which was also the Inland Championships. There were 31 entries with 22 travellers and a slightly disappointing 9 locals which made the Sprint 15 fleet the second largest at the Grafham Cat Open narrowly behind the Dart 18 (also an Inland Championships) which had 32 entries.
Saturday was a lovely clear sunny day with a tricky F3-4 SW wind which was prone to changeable gusts. The Race Officer, Phil Laycock, set at trapezoidal course with a heavy port end bias on the start line. In the first race Mark Aldridge crossed the fleet on a port flyer to take a huge lead at the windward mark from Kyle Stoneham, Robert England, Martyn Ellis and Charles Watson. Over the next couple of laps both Stoneham and Kevin Kirby worked their way up the fleet so the final sequence at the gun was Stoneham, Aldridge, Kirby, Watson and Ellis
In the second race, newly married Steve Sawford ( just returned from honeymooning in Rio), who was sailing Sport Mode, led from start to finish. David Ball, Aldridge and Watson jostled for 2nd place but at the end Watson claimed second from Aldridge, Ball and Nick Dewhirst.
In the third race 5 boats crossed the fleet on a port flyer as the start line remained heavily port biased. Once again Sawford led the charge from Stoneham, Tom Gall (who had flown back from team Puma Volvo 70 duty to take part), and Ellis and these 4 maintained positions to the gun. That just left Peter Richardson & Kirby fighting for 5th place and Kirby just managed to prevail.
On Sunday the weather was a little more overcast and the wind had gone more Southerly but started lighter at force 2-3. Race officer, Peter Saxton, set a trapezoidal course and after the customary Dart 18 general recall the Sprint 15s race 4 kicked off. Grafham’s William Tusting got off to a cracking start and led the fleet around the windward mark. He was followed by Stoneham, Aldridge, Kirby, George Love and Chris Black who had joined the fray after missing the Saturday. The beat had become very tactical with the wind being quite shifty and much place changing occurred over the following laps. Sawford worked his way though to the front of the fleet, but he was unable to offset the Sport handicap and it was Tusting who took the gun. Stoneham was second from Kirby, Black, Sawford and T Gall.
Race 5 followed and the wind was picking up. Tom Gall led the fleet closely followed by George Love, Aldridge and Watson. Nick Dewhirst and Ray Gall had an unfortunate collision which resulted in them both retiring, hurt. As the wind increased Stoneham took on the lead for a spell but was overhauled by Charles Watson who took his first gun of the weekend. Further down the field Andy Phillips mounted the windward mark and had to take a turn. So at the finish Watson was followed by Stoneham, Aldridge, T Gall, Sawford and Gordon Goldstone, who was having a better day.
Thus at the end of a good weekends sailing new traveller, Kyle Stoneham, was crowned the Sprint 15 Inland Champion from Steve Sawford and Charles Watson.
Our thanks go to Phil Laycock, Peter Saxton and the Grafham race team who did a super job running such a busy regatta.
The Winter Series starts on Saturday 1 November at Stewartby
Full Series Results available here