The second round of the 2009/10 Sprint 15 Winter TT series took place at Carsington Water on 5th December, which promised to be ideal sailing conditions with Windguru predicting sunny periods, 12-16 knots of breeze plus a few gusts to catch the unwary. Game on also for the much awaited “inter club challenge” round one between Carsington / Draycote. Our Race Officer, Dave Cattemole perplexed some of the visiting Sprint 15’ers (especially Draycote boys) when he announced that the courses for the day would be a “P” course followed by an inverted 'P' course. Much questioning took place and it was left to the knowledgeable person from south island, Erling Holmberg to articulate the blindingly obvious and call an end to the by now 30 minute briefing by stating that 'if you don’t know where your going then just follow me'!
Races were held back to back for the benefit of travellers this also allowed time for a comfortable late lunch and socialising over mince pies and mulled wine in the warmth of the festive decorated clubhouse.
Race One 'P' course with a starboard rounding of the windward mark saw all of the competitors anxious to make a good start and in no mood to take prisoners, with ten seconds to the gun, George Love seemingly about to end up in amen corner when frenzied activity saw a plethora of boats accelerating / much shouting and evasive manoeuvres, chief protagonists of this were; Ray Gall, Robin Newbold, Stuart Snell, Steve Sawford and pretty much the majority of the fleet not surprisingly the RO raised the recall flag much to Ed Tuite Dalton’s dismay who had made a cracking start and was some way up the beat before his race hopes were dashed, closely followed by 'get out of jail' expert; Love. Much to everyone’s relief no boats were holed and only superficial gel coat repairs required.
The restart saw a well disciplined fleet [all on starboard tack] get clean away from the line and leading the fleet up the beat was Sawford, Snell and Holmberg. Half way up this beat, Peter Lea was caught unawares by a strong gust and capsized and on righting his boat he was hit by the underside of his hull on his forehead (a là Keith Bartlet), causing severe bruising which caused him to retire. First to the windward mark was Sawford from Love sailing Sport closely followed by Snell and Newbold. As the race progressed all had found the way around the “P” course and seemed to be enjoying the reaches where places were being traded in the middle of the pack between Holmberg, Peter Slater and Gall sailing Sport and then Dalton. Other battles ensued and close sailing between Goldstone who got the inside lane after rounding the wing mark caused some consternation with Robert England, further back and trying to make progress through the fleet was Derek James sailing Sport from Chris Black and local rookie Chris Hodges. As the race progressed, Love passed Sawford and continued to build a convincing lead and after six laps the race results [after corrected time] was 1st Love, 2nd Sawford, 3rd Snell.
Race Two inverted 'P' course with a conventional port rounding, again saw all of the fleet starting on starboard tack and quick to make a good start was Sawford, Snell and Newbold, also making a good start was Love who half way up the beat decided to throw himself inexplicitly off his boat (some overseas betting scam was mentioned, or just simply failed to hook on!) putting paid to a good result and a podium finish. Meanwhile first to the windward mark was Sawford from Snell who were to pull away from the fleet and have a very close fought battle for the duration of the race. In the middle of the pack and battling hard for places was Dalton, England and Holmberg closely followed by James and Gall who were at each other’s transoms and trading places. Further back Goldstone, Black and Slater pulled away from Hodges but fight back of the day belonged to Love who had by now righted his catamaran and was hauling himself back fast into the race and making up places. The two reaches on the inverted “P” course were an absolute delight bringing a smile to all competitors. After five laps with Snell at his heal it was Sawford who hung on to take the race win from 2nd Snell and 3rd Newbold.
Prizes awarded to the first six places
Inter Club Challenge (round one)
Full Series Results available here