Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Sport National Championship 2007 Gurnard Sailing Club, Isle of WightReport by: Carl Blenkinsop Picture by: Paul Wyeth
The 2007 Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Sport National Championships were hosted by Gurnard Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight on the 15-17th June.
32 boats entered which was a bit down on past years, mainly due to the lack of the Bob Carter effect. The visiting competitors came from seven different clubs with the usual good turn out from North Devon and Carsington and a couple of new faces from Queen Maryís. Due to Bobís illness, his son and present champion George was not attending meaning that a new champion was to be crowned.
Racing started on the Friday in a fresh breeze, and Robin Leather made his intentions clear as he comfortably led the fleet around a choppy Solent. He was followed by experienced Dart 18 helm David Lloyd from Stokes Bay in second and Kevin Dutch from Seasalter in third. Hobie Tiger Sailor, Dougie Wright, in a borrowed boat had his moment of glory in race 2 when, after a perfect start he found himself first at the windward mark. It didnít last and the same boats finished in the top two places but this time with Tom Gall from Carsington in third. In similar conditions on Saturday the course included a wonderful reach across the Solent and back, and Gurnardís Carl Blenkinsop built a massive lead. However, his boat began to suffer gear failure and he was pipped on the line by Robin Leather with another local Ed Low in third. The wind increased for race 4 and Race Officer Steve Cole reverted to a more inshore upwind downwind course. Once again Leather won, this time followed by Laurie Gustar and Kevin Dutch. Whilst the fleet was ashore having lunch the wind increased to force six and the tide turned causing the Solent to become very interesting. The number of participants for race 5 was reduced but capsizing was inevitable making it a great spectator sport. Gustar and Blenkinsop led the way out into the rough stuff whilst other helms opted for the safer inshore route. Only fourteen boats crossed the finish line with Carl Blenkinsop taking line honours with Laurie Gustar second and Kevin Dutch again in third.
There were lighter winds for the last 2 races on Sunday and in a strong flooding tide the fleet beat up the shore. Laurie Gustar, Tom Gall and Robin Leather reached the windward mark ahead of the pack and after turning down tide they pulled away and kept their positions over the finish line.
For the final race Steve Cole set a longer beat and a fetch out to the middle of the Solent to allow room for the club racing. Laurie Gustar and Tom Gall again pulled away but were hunted down by Robin Leather who took them on the final mark to enable him to record an unbeatable five firsts. The podium places were filled with Gurnard Sailors Ė with Robin Leather first, Laurie Gustar second and Carl Blenkinsop third.
At the prize giving the Class Association trophies were awarded along with four prints from a local artist of Gurnard beach scenes. WHIC Insurance man David Lloyd finished fourth overall and took home a picture.
The Pro-Am competition was won by Robert Way and Laurie Gustar. Laurie, wanted a cup so badly, he ensured that he had a DNF on the first race to make him an Amateur. The Windsport vouchers went to Tom Gall and Robert England from Carsington and to the boat Borrower Dougie Wright.
At the Saturday evening meal, Robinís wife Boo arranged a raffle, with donations from local businesses and the unwanted present cupboard. This provided great entertainment and £90 for the RNLI.
All competitors agreed that the weekend was a huge success. Much praise was aimed at the GSC race officers, the hospitality of the newly opened Outlook Cafť at Gurnard Marsh and to Mother Nature for finally coming up with perfect sailing conditions.
The results from the event are listed here:
There were TWO discards for the event indicated by ().
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions