The 2008 Sprint 15 Northern TT at Carsington Water on 6th December promised to be an interesting event. After a season of dull and wet sailing days, the sun shone out of a cloudless sky as eleven travellers joined four local boats in scraping the ice off hulls, covers and trailers. Although the 20kt gusts previously forecast by Windguru were nowhere to be seen, ten knots was reported at the start line in the morning so the conditions were set to be fair, if not hectic. Races were held back to back for the benefit of long distance travellers and this allowed those of advancing years to get onto the water in time to reach the start of the first race (which was a little later than originally planned). Others looked forward to the extra time afforded for packing away and time also for socialising over mince pies and mulled wine provided in the clubhouse after sailing.
Race Officer Ged Bellamy set a slightly port biased start line at the beginning of an inverted “P” course for both races. At the first start a group of port-hand flyers, led by S Sawford wove their way through the starboard tack flotilla led by C Watson, who charged down the line to cut off any advantage sought. It looked as though a long port tack to the lay line of the first mark might be a good strategy, but the left hand side of the beat gave more wind and better lifts allowing Watson to create a healthy lead to the first can, pursued by Sawford, E Tuite-Dalton and C Black with D James well in contention. As the race progressed the wind began to fade a little and the leaders held onto their advantage. Further down the pack there were some changes in order as the downwind/upwind characteristics of Sport and Una rigs came into play. After four laps Watson stayed ahead and on corrected time Black came second, Tuite-Dalton third and Sawford fourth.
After finishing, Ray Gall was to be seen creeping away towards the shore and he later appeared on the water shadowing the second race whilst trying out the new, experimental “DX” rig of which more will no doubt be heard in due course.
In race two the start was delayed slightly when the wind backed significantly, requiring the line to be re-set. This time the majority opted for a starboard tack start, looking for the favoured left hand side of the course. Tuite-Dalton was the most dogged of these, holding on almost to the lay line and keeping tags on Watson who was also using the same tactic. Others played with the middle of the course, including Sawford, P Slater and R England. The first downwind leg saw a tight formation approaching the starboard-hand mark but Watson again managed to hold onto the lead with Tuite-Dalton hard on his heels as they rounded mark four and greeted the rest of the pack coming along on starboard tack to cross and round the same mark. Comments were cordial, but heart-rates were slightly raised as gybes were completed in just sufficient time to avoid any warning shouts. R Newbold, Black, G Love and E Holmberg were all keeping up the pressure at beginning of the second lap and England was having a tussle with Slater, approaching the gate. Again the left side of the beat paid off but Sawford lost ground after a header on the lay line to the windward mark. This necessitated a penalty turn and allowed England to slip through into third place, followed by Slater. Newbold unfortunately lost ground owing to a lull in the wind on the right hand side of the course where he had unwisely ventured. The final corrected order was another definitive win by Watson with Tuite-Dalton hard on his heels. Slater and Black followed up with England relegated to fifth on handicap, followed by Holmberg who returned characteristically consistent results by coming sixth in both races.
At the prize-giving the receivers of nice wine and etched glasses were Charles Watson (Halifax) doing the winner’s speech, supported by Ed Tuite-Dalton (Draycote) in second place with Chris Black (Grafham) third. Fourth, fifth and sixth were Pete Slater (Draycote), Steve Sawford (Rutland) and Erling Holmberg (Shanklin).
This was the first Inter-Club friendly challenge between Carsington SC and Draycote SC. No matter what ingenuities were devised to “rig” the scores afterwards in the bar, it had to be accepted that Draycote had come off better and Carsington members are now keen to try and even the score during the next event at Draycote on 10th January.
Full Series Results available here