The Northern Championship and penultimate round of Sprint 15 summer TT of 2011 took place on 24th&25th September at Carsington Sailing Club in Derbyshire. A magnificent turn- out of 28 boats which included 21 boats from visiting clubs and a very special mention for newcomers to the TT circuit Mark Davies, Douglas Rankin from Blithfield Sailing Club had also turned up to join in the fun. Competitors arrived to overcast skies and a light south westerly breeze 7-10 mph which was predicted to strengthen on the following day, with this in mind five boats decided to sail sport mode.
Race officer John Poulson set an Olympic course for races 1, 2 & 3 and on race 1 it was defending Northern Champion Robin Newbold (sport) and club mate Ray Gall (sport) who braved a port tack start although the line of starboard boats soon had them tacking as there was no way through the field. First group of boats round the windward mark was Stuart Snell, Howard Hawkes, Robert England, Peter Slater and Gordon Goldstone. During the briefing the RO had highlighted that an off-set mark would be used after the windward mark, several helms including Gordon Goldstone forgot this was a mark of the course and sailed inside the off-set mark, after shouts on the water Gordon and several other boats about turned which ended any hope of a good position. Robin Newbold fought back over the next few laps to close the gap on the leading bunch, final positions 1st S Snell, 2nd R Newbold, 3rd Howard Hawkes.
For race 2 all of the fleet elected to start on starboard and the leading group from the line comprised Holmberg, Stephen (sport) Snell and Love who broke free with the chasing pack of Craft, Paul Roberts, and Healy swapping places particularly on the wind shifts. Also making up places was debutant Carsington helm Mick Steer who was picking the wind shifts and eventually finished 4th. Stephen ahead of Snell who both continued to build a sizeable lead and were never to be headed and on corrected handicap it finished 1st Snell, 2nd Stephen, 3rd Holmberg.
Race 3 and again all of the fleet started on starboard and boats that tacked early on to port soon gained dividends over the rest of the fleet, the group first to the windward mark consisted of Holmberg England, Snell, Craft and Newbold with Roberts & Healy chasing. As the race continued picking the correct side of the beat was proving difficult and in the middle of the pack Jon Finch, Rankin, Rob Finch, Steve Roberts and Harrison all traded places over the next three laps. But it was Newbold who pulled out a big lead to win from Snell and 3rd Holmberg.
Racing completed for the day the majority of the racers/partners/ friends (58) attended the Carsington evening dinner and enjoyed a superb three course meal prepared by the Galley which was followed by the usual friendly banter at others expense, the celebrations continued late in to night, and Sunday morning came all too early for some with a 10:00 race start scheduled and the predicted 15mph breeze gusting 20mph had also arrived.
Race officer John Poulson set a windward / leeward course for races 4 & 5 and on race 4 with the breeze picking up it was the overnight front runners of Snell, Holmberg, Craft and Newbold setting the early pace, with the gusts now picking up ready to catch the unwary places were being traded particularly on the downwind leg as scrapping for mid-fleet places was intense between Ian Parkhurst, Healy, Goldstone, Hawkes and Holmberg. Another local Carsington debutant having his best race of the weekend and enjoying the conditions was Andrew Mcleish who finished a creditable 8th. Newbold took line honours but on corrected time it was 1st Snell, 2nd Newbold, 3rd Slater.
Race 5 and the breeze now at its strongest saw an orderly starboard start by all of the fleet and out in front was Newbold needing to win this race to have any hopes of saving his title, but it was Snell who tracked him from start and never allowing a sizeable gap to open. Also revelling in the conditions was Neil Parkhurst & son Tom sailing 2-up who bagged their best result of the weekend finishing a notable 8th place, meanwhile at the rear of the fleet there was a battle royal in the lively conditions and places being traded on different legs between Gary Burrows, George Wood, Simon Hare, Douglas Rankin & Mark Davies. Meanwhile up at the front the leaders favouring the port side of the beat were being pressed all the way by Paul Roberts and Hawkes. Newbold again took line honours but on corrected time the final placing’s were 1st Stuart Snell, 2nd Robin Newbold 3rd Howard Hawkes
Full Series Results available here