The Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 National Championships were held at Netley Sailing Club on 13 -15 Aug. The entry was 61 boats from 21 clubs and Netley had a surprise 5 boats taking part (we did not know that they had such a fleet). On the Friday there was a Northerly force 3 breeze but several rain squalls passed through causing much more at times! The race officer, Andy Chapman, set a rectangular course along Southampton Water with the wind coming from the preferred direction. A practice lap and 2 championship races were run back-to-back.
In the first race many got caught out at the favoured starboard pin end of the line by the deceptively strong ebbing tide between the 2 high waters and could not cross the line on starboard. Keith Newnham was first to the windward mark but was overhauled on the run by Stuart Snell. On the second beat Newnham missed his toe strap in a squall and capsized, as all could see with his luminous green rudders pointed skyward. Snell made no such error but defending National Champion, Kyle Stoneham squeezed by to take the lead. At the gun it was Stoneham from Snell followed by Robin Newbold, insurance man, David Lloyd and Frank Sandells. Mark 2 was moved downwind to prevent the first reach being a fetch and then the second race got quickly underway. It followed a similar pattern to the first. Snell led the way only to be overtaken by Stoneham. As the squall came through the beats became highly tactical with many places changing hands. This was particularly apparent on the last beat from the leeward mark to the finish. Once again Stoneham took the gun but Lloyd snatched second place from Snell who retained 3rd place ahead of Sandells and David Ball while Paul Roberts opted for a swim.
Saturday started misty and windless so the fleet sat around waiting for something to happen. After a 40 minute delay a slight breeze had settled a little East of North and a similar rectangular course was set with the windward mark close to the Eastern shore near Western. In race 3 it was the boats that tacked to port early and stayed to the eastern side of Southampton Water who prospered. Newnham was again first to the windward mark closely followed by Snell, Stuart Pierce, Robin Newbold, Steve Sawford and P Roberts. Snell took the lead on the run and was never seriously challenged to the (inaudible) gun at the end of the second lap. Newnham hung on to take second from Steve Sawford, Ball and Stoneham, who was playing catch up from a bad start. The wind dropped further for the fourth race which was so light it was only just sailable. It was the 2-up boat of Simon & Lily Giles, which showed the way to the windward mark by sailing free and using the jib as a wind indicator. They led from Chris Black, John Manning and Gordon Goldstone. This order prevailed until the second beat when Goldstone used all of his innate cunning to take the lead. Behind him places were changing wholesale as each breath of wind came from a different direction. At the whistle it was Goldstone from Giles, Sawford, Ball and Snell. Tellingly, Stoneham had sailed into a hole mid-fleet and retired without holding on for a finish exposing his Achilles heel in light winds. With no discards after 4 races this left Snell in the lead at the end of the second day.
On the last day the wind took a little while to stabilize but then filled in as a force 2-3 from the East. A trapezoidal course was set for race 5 with a short beat towards the Clubhouse on the Eastern shore. Stoneham realizing he had it all to do, took pole and was first to the windward mark a short distance ahead of Snell. This order prevailed until the finish with Stoneham building up a huge lead from Snell. Behind these two the minor places were taken by Newbold, Martyn Ellis, Ball and Manning, respectively. Thus with just one race to go and only one discard in play both Snell and Stoneham were tied on 8 points so it was all to play for. Race 6 followed a similar pattern with Stoneham taking the whistle by “a country mile” from Snell, Jeremy White, Newbold, local sailor Keith Pollitt and Erling Holmberg respectively. It turned out that there was a protest against Stoneham which was upheld and Stoneham was disqualified in the last race, leaving Snell to take the Championship for the first time since he crewed for Linda Moss when they won the Championship 2-up in 1989.
The Sprint 15 fleet would like to thank the Netley Sailing Club for running an excellent National Championships in an efficient and friendly manner.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions