The Sprint 15 winter traveller series was concluded at Grafham on Sunday 21 March on a bright sunny day with a 22 boat entry. All 5 event of the winter series were completed mostly in light winds (we seemed to get an anticyclone for each event) and a record number of 15 entries qualified for the series with 3+ results.
We moved on to Carsington in December and 17 boats (inc 5 locals) took part on a bright day with a force 2-3 breeze but also with the odd tricky gust coming over the hills. Team Carsington were out in force to repel the challenge of Team Draycote who had 4 boats at the away match. After a general recall in the first race sportster, George Love flew away to win the first race from Steve Sawford and Stuart Snell but the second race was back to normal with Sawford and Snell from local hot-shot Robin Newbold.
It was impossible to sail at Draycote on 9 January as the pond was frozen but the event was moved to 23 January and we shared the pond with the Supernovas. It was a murky cold day with only a light breeze. 14 travellers joined 4 local sailors but the competition was hot. Erling Holmberg won a race as did Sawford but it was consistency that caused Snell to win the event from Sawford, Holmberg, Robert England and Sportster, Derek James.
At Queen Mary on 20 Feb it was icy cold, brilliant sun with hardly a breath of wind which greeted the 19 contestants. Undaunted, the QM race team ran two races and each consisted of just one lap! The first race took 90 minutes and each leg of a square course turned out to be a beat. The tension in the air was electric with concentration. To the spectators it was like watching grass grow.
Even so at the end of the day the same two names were at the fore. Sawford won from Snell but third and forth were taken by Chris Black and Tom Gall who was having a break from big boat sailing in warmer climes.
Thus after 4 events Sawford and Snell each had two firsts and two seconds with 3 results to count in the series. It could not have been closer. So it all had to be settled at Grafham on 21 March. It was sunny and mild for a change but once again the competitors found themselves waiting for wind. Fortunately the wind got up to a force 2/3 after a half hour wait, but not before a few impatient contestants had left. Never-the-less 22 sailors did battle in pleasant but tricky sailing conditions due to the variable wind swings and the close proximity to the Grafham Flying Fifteen fleet! The racing was tight with 8 different sailors in the front during the 2 races. Finally Snell won from Simon Farthing, Richard Philpott, Peter Slater and Frank Sandells sot it was Snell who retained the Winter Series Trophy with (1,1,1) after the closest winter series in the history of the class. Sawford (1,1,2) retired to a beer and to dream of what might have been.
The fleet rest for a few weeks now before the summer series kicks off at Herne Bay on 24/25 April
Final Results Summary:
Overall TT Series Top 5 Places: 1st Stuart Snell (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 3 Pts , 2nd Steve Sawford (Rutland Water Sailing Club) 4 Pts, 3rd Erling Holmberg (Shanklin Sailing Club) 12 Pts, 4th Peter Slater (Draycote Water Sailing Club) 12 Pts, 5th Robert England (RYA) 17 Pts
Una and Two-Up Fleet Top 3 Places: 1st Stuart Snell (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 3 Pts, 2nd Steve Sawford (Rutland Water Sailing Club) 4 Pts, 3rd Erling Holmberg (Shanklin Sailing Club) 11 Pts
Sport Fleet Top 3 Places: 1st Derek James (Draycote Water Sailing Club) 5 Pts, 2nd Ray Gall (Carsington Sailing Club) 5 Pts, 3rd George Love (Carsington Sailing Club) 11 Pts
Full Series Results are available here
Total Number of Individual Competitors who attended at least one event: 36