On the 18th and 19th July 16 Sprint 15s contested the third round of the 2009 Traveller Trophy series at Marconi SC on the River Blackwater.
In a gusty force 4, race 1 was set over an elongated triangular course producing an upwind-downwind contest. The first lap was closely fought with Jenny Ball (Marconi) eventually pulling out a modest lead from Gordon Goldtsone (Queen Mary). Jenny continued to extend her lead whilst equipment failure robbed Gordon of an almost certain 2nd place finish. Kevin Dowley (Marconi) took up the chase closing in on the final upwind leg, but Jenny had done enough to take the gun, followed by Kevin, James Tovey (Marconi) and Erling Holmerg (Shanklin).
Race 2 saw unchanged conditions but the race officer opted for a shorter beat and a close reach at the leeward end of the course. Lap 1 saw close racing with Erling Holmberg (Shanklin) leading around the windward mark with Howard Hawkes (Thorpe Bay) and David Ball (Marconi) in close pursuit. David caught the best of the wind shifts heading back up to the windward mark, rounding with a clear lead that he held to the finish. The tide and unpredictable breeze saw frequent position changes throughout the fleet, with Gordon Goldstone eventually taking 2nd, with Jenny Ball just holding Peter Tovey (Marconi) on the line for 3rd.
Sunday dawned westerly 4 and gusty again. The earlier start time and later tide saw race 3 away in choppy wind over tide conditions. A long-distance figure-of-eight course was set around Northey and Osea Islands. Approaching the western tip of Northey Island Peter Tovey emerged in first place, hotly pursued by son James Tovey in 2nd. Further back, David Ball, Kevin Dowley and Jenny Ball rounded just boat lengths apart. Peter and James extended their lead to finish 1st and 2nd. Jenny and David fought a close battle around the back of Osea Island, with Jenny briefly taking 3rd position 100 metres from the finish only for David to sneak back in front on the line. Kevin Dowley, somewhat bemused by the eratic course of the duelling siblings ahead came home in 5th.
Race 4 returned to the trapezoid course of race 2. The wind had eased after lunch but built again as the start approached – so much for a gentle finale. Once again, Erling Holmberg lead into the first mark with a chasing group including Howard Hawkes, Peter Tovey, David Ball, Jenny Ball and James Tovey not far behind. At the end of lap 1 Erling retained his lead from Peter Tovey with David Ball in 3rd. Into lap 2 the wind built further with David Ball taking advantage to slip through into 1st place at the windward mark, with James Tovey rounding a minute behind. The wind freshened further, resulting in numerous pitch-poles and capsizes. At the end of the downwind leg only 3 of 14 starters were still in the race. The race officer shortened course, and David Ball took the gun with Peter Tovey in 2nd and Kevin Dowley 3rd.
The Sprint 15 TT series is kindly sponsored by Windsport Catparts. Peter Tovey, Erling Holmberg and Fenella Miller were the fortunate names drawn from a hat to receive £15, £10 and £5 of Windsport vouchers respectively. All competitors from this and other Sprint 15 TT events until March 2010 also receive free entry to a draw to win a new mainsail and jib.
Full Series Results available here
Windsport Voucher Winners: