On Sunday 21 March the final event of the Sprint 15 fleet winter series was held at Grafham. 16 visitors joined a (slightly disappointing) 6 sailors from the home club on a bright day which started off sunny with an absolute calm. The race officer, Phil Bevan, postponed for half an hour after which a slight and variable South wind kicked in and so he set a square course and got the proceedings under way.
At the start of race 1 both Steve Sawford and Simon Farthing were over the line and had to return and restart. The fleet split but those that tacked early to try the right side of the course sailed into a hole while those who held on the starboard tack sailed into freshening wind and were lifted. At the windward mark Robert England led the charge but was soon overhauled on the first reach by Stuart Snell. As the race progressed the wind improved to a force 2/3 but there were big swings in direction making it very tactical. Frank Sandells made good use of the conditions to grab the lead after a lap from Snell. Farthing had recovered to third from England, Ray Gall (sailing Sport mode) and Sawford. These 6 had opened out a huge gap from the rest of the fleet. Sandells hung onto the lead for a couple of laps only to surrender it back to Snell. On the final run after 4 laps Farthing passed Snell and took the gun at the finish from Snell, Sawford and Sandells. Leading Sportster, Ray Gall, sailing his sonís boat was next and Richard Philpott closely followed.
After lunch the course was swung to adjust to the wind direction, which was now more a South Westerly. The line was a well set with a slight port bias and the fleet filled the line cutting out any options for the single port tack chancer who had to duck the fleet.
Thus after what turned out, after a slow start, to be a nice days sailing in force 2/3 winds and brilliant sunshine Snell was the convincing winner from (son in-law) Farthing, Philpott and Slater. It was great to see many new faces and also that Stewartby had a team of 3 boats (Mark Norman, Robert Finch and Jon Finch) as well as Dracote (4 boats), Carsington (3 boats), etc.
Full Series Results available here