Isle of Wight Championships, Gurnard IOW. 5-6 June 2004

Gurnard Sailing Club, on the Isle of Wight, hosted a Dart 15 open event, which took place on the Weekend of the 5-6 June. The event included a Dart 15 Association Travellers Trophy meeting and the Isle Of Wight Dart 15 Championships, contested between Shanklin Sailing Club and Gurnard Sailing Club.

Local ferry company Red Funnel and yacht brokers AAA Marine International provided sponsorship for the event and Red Funnel also provided a reduced crossing fee for mainland visitors.

The weather was hot with brilliant sunshine and light variable winds, to make sure the 24 competitors all got a tan.

The majority of sailors opted to sail the Dart 15 in Sprint format, with jib and trapeze, the "Sprinters" having to give time to the Uni-rig sailors when the handicaps are calculated.

For the 2 back-to-back races on Saturday, the race office set a course in the picturesque Thorness bay. After a long delay waiting for some consistent wind to build, a square - sausage course was set.

The majority of the fleet started on Starboard by the committee boat and then tacked immediately out to sea to get into the strong favourable tide. At the first mark, local sailor Ed Low headed the fleet followed by Robin Leather and Bob Carter. The following reach and run bunched the fleet. The early leaders lost out to the rest of the fleet who sailed closer to the shore, in less wind but avoiding the tide. Finishing the first round Erling Holmberg headed the leading group that also included Roger Bone, Matt Smith and Paul Tanner. The sausage increased the gaps that had been created. The final positions were Tanner, Holmberg, Bone, Smith and Leather.

Race 2 was sailed over the same course. Following a port flyer, first to the windward mark was Robin Leather followed by Carl Blenkinsop. Once again, the early leaders lost out on the run, this time by going in shore for the run. Roger Bone led a group that stayed out in stronger breeze and made large gains crossing in front of the leaders. With a dying wind, the Race officer decided to shorten the course at the leeward mark. Leather managed to regain the lead. The whole fleet crossed the finish line in a large bunch with the finish gun sounding constantly. The close finish benefited the Uni-rig sailors Steve Cole and Phillip Howden who took first and second on handicap followed by Leather, Bone and Holmberg.

Sunday morning brought calm conditions. If the conditions stayed the same, the overnight leader, Erling Holmberg would have won the TT event and the coveted Isle Of Championships.

A very light breeze started to fill from the West, the race officer decided to set a course in Gurnard Bay, using the club start line. The first race was abandoned, as the competitors failed to make a windward mark against the tide.

The second race was a short inshore upwind downwind course over two laps. From the start, a lead group including of Roger Bone, Laurie Gustar, Ed Low and Robin Leather broke free. While Low led up to beat on the final lap, he and Gustar overstood the mark allowing Leather to take the lead and the win. Low headed Gustar home. With Holmberg and Bone far enough behind, Leather took the series win. The final race was not sailed due to time constraints.

Robin Leather, Winner

Robin Leather Gurnard SC.

Overall Results
1st Robin Leather Gurnard SC
2nd Roger Bone Gurnard SC
3rd Steve Cole Gurnard SC
4th Erling Holmberg Shanklin SC
5th Philip Howden Grafham Water SC

Click here for the full results table.