The last regatta of the Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Summer traveller series was held at Grafham Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 20-21 October, which was also the Inland Championships. There were 33 entries which comprised 6 from the home club and 27 travellers. This made the Sprint 15 fleet more than half the entries at the Grafham Invitation Cat Open.
The Sprint 15s and the medium handicap fleet sailed a rectangular course with tight reaches while the fast single-handed catamarans sailed a windward-leeward course with separate and more distant windward and leeward marks. On the Saturday the wind was a light Southerly breeze and the race officer, Peter Saxton, got the proceedings off on time. The Isle of Wight traveller, Simon Giles, was the first to the windward mark followed by Thomas Sandal, Stuart Snell and Simon Miles. The fleet quickly spread out in the light breeze but Snell and Robin Boardman made no mistakes and made progress on the second beat. The race was shortened to 2 laps, but at the gun the race team were unable to separate Giles and Snell and so it was deemed a tie. Boardman was third and Sandal was an unlucky 4th as he lost his tiller on the second lap whilst in the lead and dropped several places as a result. Whilst the race team reset the course for the next race (due to a 45 degree change in the wind to the east) Sandal returned to get a replacement tiller. Sadly he failed to fasten his boat whilst ashore and it sailed off without him causing him to miss the start of the second race. In the second race Snell made no mistakes and led from start to finish. Boardman, sailing a boat he had just bought that morning, was clear second from the Thorpe Bay sailors of Steve Healy and Howard Hawkes who were third and forth. The third race got away after another course adjustment to the east. Snell got a bad start and Boardman capitalized by stretching out a good lead. By the second lap the wind was dropping and the proceedings were slow. Boardman held on to take the gun from Giles, Miles and Snell who had recoveded from 17th at the first mark. Events Secretary, Erling Holmberg showed his consistency by recording his third consecutive fifth place. As soon as the third race had finished the wind completely died so the fleet returned to the bar grateful to have got 3 races in – especially considering the poor forecast.
On Sunday the wind had picked up to the delight of the fleet and was now from the North, by way of a change. Boardman picked up where he had finished and opened out a big lead on the first lap from the chasing pack. Snell closed up on the second lap but was unable to catch him so Boardman won from Snell and Sandal, but now that the breeze had freshened, a new group were putting the leaders under pressure. This included Neil Parkhurst, Simon Farthing, Kevin Dutch and Kevin Kirby who were 4th to 7th respectively. To prove the point N Parkhurst went straight into the lead of the fifth race with last year’s champion Kevin Dutch in hot pursuit. On the beat Snell passed Dutch by pointing high but N Parkhurst maintained his nerve and the lead. George Love made big gains as he began to master sailing without the jib, which is his usual format. N Parkhurst took the gun at the end of the second lap from Snell, Dutch, Boardman and Paul Craft who was also enjoying the fresher breeze. After 5 races just half a point separated the leaders of Snell and Boardman. Once again a huge wind shift caused the course to be adjusted 45 degrees to the East for the final race. Sandal got an excellent start and rounded the windward mark first ahead of Craft and Snell. Craft squeezed by to take the lead on the run from Sandal and the usuals but Jon Finch was having a much better race moving up to fifth place. Snell took the lead on the second lap and held on to the finish after 3 laps from Sandal, Boardman and Craft. Thus Snell secured the Sprint 15 Inland Championships to add to his National Championship and Northern Championship crowns. The Fleet went away happy after a weekend of slick race management that resulted in all 6 races being completed with minimal delays between successive races despite large wind changes.
This event concluded the Summer Traveller series but the Winter Traveller Series kicks off at Stewartby on 3 November.Full Race Results
Full Series Results available here