Traveller, Grafham Cat Open 16-17 October 2004

On the weekend of 16/17 October the Dart 15s met at Grafham for the last event of the traveller's trophy series. 24 competitors entered (including 11 Grafham boats) but on the Saturday we waited around for 2.5 hours until there was (just) enough wind to set a course. At the start of the first race on a port biased line, first a stalled Spitfire impeded the fleet in the middle of the start line and then the boats at the committee boat end got a huge lift turning the line into a starboard bias. Andrew Hannah was quick to adapt to the wind shift, tacked away and was the first to the windward mark by a large margin. He was followed, at some distance, by Philip Howden and John Keyte. Steve Hanby worked his way into the lead in the two lap race, but Howden and Keyte hung on to take second and third.

The second race was sailed back to back with the first and Bob Carter took a port flyer and crossed the fleet into an early lead. At the windward mark, it was Chris Black from R Carter and George Carter. Several competitors failed to notice that the course had been extended leaving Black and R Carter to extend their lead. R Carter took the lead on the run and maintained the position to the gun. Black held on to second until 6 feet from the line when Paul Smith, pointing highly, stole second place by a foot.

With the sailing over for the day the Dart 15 fleet and some partners (22 in all) dined at the Lion Hotel, Buckden to avoid the (noisy) disco, which Grafham Sailing Club had organized at the request of some of the other fleets. The discussion was on life of the Dart 15 after the separation from the Laser Centre and the status of appointing a new builder for Britain's most popular single-handed catamaran.

On Sunday the wind was much better. It was force 3-4 from the west and race officer, Mike St Paer and his team, set a large trapezoidal course for all 4 starts and ran 3 races back-to-back in ideal conditions. These conditions brought the heavy weather specialists to the fore. In race 3, G. Carter went straight into a lead from Hanby and Smith and these three held these positions to the gun. Black took forth placefrom Steve Sawford and Howden both of whom were enjoying the fresh conditions. Black was first to the windward mark in race 4 but it was not long before G Carter had recovered to lead the charge. It was G Carter from Hanby and Black and Keyte who took the honours. Race 5 was to be the decider. G Carter was once again clear ahead but it was second place which was the key. Smith held on for much of the race, but Hanby edged ahead towards the end of the race. Then on the last run Smith regained second place and held on to the finish. This move changed all 4 top places. Hanby lost the top spot to G Carter and Smith took 3rd from Black. Exciting stuff!

Thus after an exciting days sailing the results were as follows:

Overall Results
1st G. Carter Grafham 8 pts
2nd S. Hanby Beaver 8 pts
3rd P. Smith Beaver 14 pts
4th C. Black Grafham 14 pts
5th R. Carter Grafham 20 pts
6th P. Howden Grafham 24 pts

For the full results, see the series results tables.

Longstaff Cup: G. Carter