This is the short version of the report a longer one will be available soon.
9 travellers & 15 home boats met for the Seasalter TT in brilliant sunshine. A delayed Saturday start allowed the NE sea breeze to overcome the prevailing SW winds providing steady F4 winds until the last lap of the second race of the day. Square / trapezoid courses were set with committee boat start for each of the four races over two days.
In race 1 local sailor Kevin Dutch (1938) took an early lead that he maintained until the finish. Eamonn Browne 1861,Marconi) kept the pressure on Dutch initially but was slowly falling behind, taking 2nd at the finish. Third place was hotly contested between five boats and, with a straight windward leg, there was little to choose between port or starboard track to the windward mark. Local tidal flow knowledge may have helped local boats keep in the fore but Erling Holmberg (2007, Shanklin) and Nick Dewhirst (2006, Whitstable) were on a mission to keep in the fray. At the end local John Long (1133) managed to hold off Holmberg by 6 seconds for 3rd place.
Race 2 saw Holmberg take the lead over Dutch with Mark Hollis (1206, Seasalter), Gordon Goldstone (2004, Queen Mary) and George Stephen (1594, Queen Mary) in contention at the end of the first lap. Goldstone managed to pass Dutch but was retaken later on the windward leg. A mistake by Holmberg lost him the lead which was then contested by Dutch (1st) and Goldstone (2nd) for the rest of the race. Stephen had been avidly following the front runners, only seconds behind, and with dying wind on the last lap he managed to make up the gap and take 3rd clear of Holmberg. A sudden loss of the sea breeze as the first finishers crossed the line saw a wind change of near 1800 and the remainder of the fleet found the reaching finish change into a near beat – with the nearby sea wall ‘effect’ adding to the confusion..
After a warm social evening and night, Sunday began overcast with the forecast SW F3-5 in full swing, with strong gusts out of the Swale Estuary. Only 17 boats chose to race and a good start saw Holmberg (2007) get clear away of Dutch, Hollis, Goldstone and Dewhirst. Hollis capsized on lap 5 losing both rudders and tiller overboard letting Goldstone and Dewhirst through to challenge Dutch. This time Goldstone was not to be outdone and pulled ahead to take 2nd behind Holmberg, 1st, with Dutch 3rd. Dewhirst was caught by a gust pushing him onto the mark at the last turn mark and let Stephen and Seymour (1923, Seasalter) through whilst doing his penalty.
With strengthening gusts and a windshift to W the final start was delayed - resetting the line. A ragged start saw Dewhirst, Stephen, Holmberg and Hollis get an early lead over the fleet. With a number of capsizes, and Sales (1868, Seasalter) retiring with his mainsail torn after capsizing in front of a close chaser, the gusty conditions proved tricky but provided exhilarating sailing on the falling tide. Dewhirst and Holmberg tussled throughout the race and the finish saw a 12 inch margin between the boats with Holmberg bearing away for speed at the line – Holmberg 1st and Dewhirst 2nd.
Overall winner was Kevin Dutch (1938, Seasalter) with Erling Holmberg (2007, Shanklin) 2nd and Gordon Goldstone (2004, Queen Mary) 3rd. Sole Sport mode competitor was Martin Searle (1803, Seasalter)
For a number of helms this was their first event outside club racing and it was pleasing to see that they both enjoyed the friendly attitude of the more experienced competitors (both and off the water) and could improve their sailing over the course of the event. We hope that more club sailors will join in the TT events where they get the best opportunity to improve their sailing performance and pleasure of sailing their Sprint 15s. Youngest competitor was 10 year old Georgia Crowhurst crewing for Joan Willis (842, Seasalter).
Ray Gall (DX 1914, Carsington) joined the event sailing the experimental DX powerhead sails in Sport Mode to help compare their performance against current class sails. For Race 4, having won the TT event in three races, Kevin Dutch (DX 19) used a spare set of DX sails as well. Throughout the event the DX sails proved to provide a significant performance increase and the lap times recorded during the event will be used to start to develop a PY number for this type of sail in both standard and sport modes. Ray, a mid field competitor with normal sails, was first or second over the finish line in each race, with Dutch marginally beating him on the last race in standard mode.
Full Series Results available here