Carsington Cat Open, 18-19th September 2004

The picturesque setting of Carsington Water played host to the seventh and penultimate round of the Dart 15 Traveller TT Series on the 18th and 19th September.

Wet, miserable conditions carried on a force 3-4 ahead of an approaching cold front greeted a fleet of 17 boats on the start line of a square course. With over a third of the competitors from Carsington, local fleet captain, Ray Gall, had done a fine job in rallying the home crowd, particularly two of the clubs new recruits to the 15 fleet, Steve Mitchell and Mike Tyldesley, competing in their first ever race.

Race 1 quickly turned into a closely fought duel with Steve Hanby (Beaver) putting the first marker down ahead of a chasing pack led by Charles Watson (Halifax), Paul Smith (Beaver), Bob Carter (Grafham). Phil Howden (Grafham) and Gordon Goldstone (Queen Mary).

As the cold front passed over, the conditions brightened but the wind veered and dropped for the final three races of the first day. The battle for line honours in a steady but shifty force 2 saw Steve Hanby triumph over Bob Carter and Paul Smith posting two firsts and a second to well and truly stamp his mark on the event after four of the six scheduled races.

Behind the front runners, the placings swapped and changed with Phil Howden, Matt Smith (Beaver) Paul Craft (ODC), Pete Richardson (Marconi), Ray & Tom Gall (Carsington) making showings in the top six.

Sunday dawned bright, sunny and decidedly breezy as the fleet lined up for the final two races. Conditions were near perfect in a brisk force 5-6 with the odd sneaky gust to delight the watchful and catch the unwary. Steve Hanby, Bob Carter, Paul Smith, Charles Watson and Gordon Goldstone lead the way to windward and across a screamer of a white water reach to the jibe mark pulling out an early lead over the chasing pack. Local sailor and youngest competitor Robin Newbold (15) was revelling in the conditions mid fleet and pointing the way to quite a few older and wiser helms whilst breathing down the transom of Bob Carter.

First of the unwary to go was home man George Love who flew through the air with the greatest of ease as his boat nose dived and catapulted much to the amusement of chasing fellow club mates Ray & Tom Gall who carefully picked their way around the impediment.

A further half dozen capsizes and pitch poles provided the fleet with various obstacles to negotiate whilst striving to maintain positions. With nearly half the fleet opting for an early bath and a well-earned brew, nine boats lined up for the final fling. Steve Hanby, once gain, took the bullet over Charles Watson with Paul Craft, Gordon Goldstone and Tom Gall posting their best results in hot pursuit to end a memorable event.

The 15's travel to Grafham on the 16th and 17th October for the last round of the series.

George Love
Carsington Water

Overall Results
1st Steve Hanby Beaver 8 pts
2nd Bob Carter Grafham 8 pts
3rd Charles Watson Halifax 11 pts
4th Paul Smith Beaver 11 pts
5th Tom Gall Carsington 23 pts
6th Matt Smith Beaver 24 pts

For the full results, see the series results tables.