The fourth Sprint 15 TT of 2010 took place on 25th&26th September at Carsington Sailing Club in Derbyshire. Competitors arrived to clear blue skies which deceptively masked the chill of the strong north wind. Some testing conditions were forecasted over the next two days with wind strength predicted to be between F3 - F5 with some big shifting gusts.
Race officer David Cattermole set an “inverted b” course for race 1. Erling Holmberg & Ray Gall (sailing DX sport) braved a port tack start which saw them reach the windward mark first. They immediately pulled out a big lead on the chasing pack of George Love, Charles Watson, Robin Newbold closely pursued by Gordon Goldstone. On lap 2 and whilst tacking for the windward mark, Robert England was caught by a strong gust and capsized. Further back places were being won and lost in the troublesome shifting breeze. Picking the correct side of the beat was proving difficult. George Stephen, Eamonn Browne, George Wood and Jonathan Finch all traded places over the next three laps. At the gun and after handicap adjustments, honours went to Holmberg with Newbold 2nd and Love 3rd.
For race 2 the RO set an “inverted P” course. The majority of the fleet elected to start on starboard and the leading group from the line comprised Love, Watson, Newbold, Holmberg and England. Love (sport) broke free and built a sizeable lead but was unable to shake off Newbold who had forced his way clear of Watson & Holmberg. Meanwhile England was soon to drop back after a mistake during tacking. Caught in a savage gust, he capsized for a second time. It was clearly not his day! Sailing well and fighting his way out of the mid order pack was Finch revelling in the gusting conditions. Love took line honours but on corrected handicap it was Newbold from Love & Watson.
For race 3 the RO retained the “inverted P” course which saw a starboard line of boats approaching the start. With just seconds to go the race was suddenly aborted due to a drifting ODM. At the restart the majority of boats opted for a port start which proved the right call with Newbold storming up the beat from Love, Holmberg & Watson. Meanwhile, scrapping for mid-fleet places was intense between Browne from Stephen, Goldstone and Finch who were enjoying a battle royale in the lively conditions. A bad start by Wood & England saw them opt for the early bath (or bar) option retiring from the race. Newbold was never to be headed and won convincingly.
The strong north wind chill had taken its toll and by now all competitors were happy to head for the beach and seek comfort in a hot shower and a warm clubhouse. On the Saturday evening 34 sailors and spectators enjoyed a superb 3 course dinner prepared by the Galley during which stories of the day were retold along with friendly banter at others expense! Sunday morning and tired sailors were greeted by more white crests on the water and some very interesting strong gusts ready to catch the unwary!
Race 4 “inverted P” course set saw the fleet split equally on a starboard / port start. But those who went for the left hand side of the course soon benefitted with the leaders of Watson & Newbold comfortably rounding the windward mark from chasers Love, Holmberg, Goldstone & Stephen. During the briefing the fleet were informed by the RO not to go through the gate on the downwind leg.........several sailors failed to observe this rule, most notably Love who was in third position at the time and others who made the same error included Browne & Finch. The wind was now top end of F5 with heavier gusts. The gybe on the wing mark was proving interesting for all competitors but everyone had big smiles enjoying some sensational reaches. On the fourth lap Gall whilst tacking to go through the start line was hit by a massive gust sending him for a swim , this to the amusement of all those on the committee boat. By this time Newbold had powered away from Watson and, revelling in the conditions, took another the victory sealing his new status as Sprint 15 Northern Champion.
For the final fling and Race 5, the RO set a trapezoid course which saw the fleet starting on starboard. Love was first to the windward mark and led the fleet over the next three laps to the line. But new champ Newbold wasn’t backing off. He was glued to Love’s transom and sailing superbly well. Just behind, Watson, Holmberg and Goldstone were pressing hard for the runners-up slots and eager to take advantage of any mistake by each other whilst trying to overhaul Newbold and Love. But Newbold was having none of it. His combination of superb speed, strategy and a cool head under intense pressure to the end saw him take the final win from Love and Watson with a perfect score after one discard. He had been untouchable for the whole event, a deserved winner and our 2010 Sprint 15 Northern Champion.
Full Series Results available here