Southern Championships Seasalter Sailing Club TT : Summer Series
Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th June 2017

Under lightly overcast skies, and with F4/5 W/SW winds gusting F6, sixteen Sprint 15 travellers joined seven local boats for the 2017 Sprint 15 Southern Championship TT at Seasalter Sailing Club in north Kent.

Paul Grattage (2018) and Kevin Dutch (1938) opted for racing in Sport mode (PY 894) with the rest of the fleet sailing in Standard mode (PY 931). John Bainbridge and Karen Baker made up the only ‘two up’ pairing for the weekend.

Saturday’s course was set as a port rounding triangular course following a single short beat leg from the extended club start line. Unfortunate siting of the windward mark led to some interesting action on the first tack – with the turning boats, now on starboard, racing back into boats being forced up windward on the start leg. Grattage made it clean away with Dutch chasing and a three boat tussle between Liam Thom (1957),  Jon Pearse (1988) and Chris Tillyer (1953) following.

By the end of the first lap Grattage held a 300m lead over Dutch which he continued to draw out through the race to take first place, with Dutch second.  Thom pulled clear of the following group whilst Jenny Ball (1917) and Robert Finch (1990) joined Pearse and Tillyer, with Ed Tuite-Dalton (1940) side by side with Erling Holmberg (1211). With winds gusting to the top of F6 David Oakley (923) retired with a broken tiller UJ.

Grattage and Dutch finished after lapping about a third of the fleet. Thom took third with Ball and Rob Finch following. Tuite-Dalton came through to beat Tillyer on the line.

The second race started in squally conditions with Dutch and John Bainbridge/Karen Baker (1742) away first, however Dutch promptly capsized after 100 metres – following breakage of the trapeze adjuster rope as he took to the wire. Grattage, Pearse and David Groom (1714) quickly moved to the fore followed by Steve Healey (1921) and Bainbridge/Baker. As the race developed Groom held a slight lead from the main fleet with Grattage clear ahead. Tuite-Dalton and Thom  led Pearse and Healey and then Tillyer. With wind shifts and gusts playing their part the close quarters pairing swopped through the race, Alex Betts (585), at his first event, capsized but managed to recover to finish. Simon Rous (1263), Roger Baker (1406) and Paul Shields (1644) passed the wrong side of the outer mark of the line and were DNF.

Tuite-Dalton came through to second place with Thom, Groom and Tillyer behind. Close finishes continued with Robert Finch just pipping Jon Finch (1890) and Holmberg and Ball closed behind.

The Sprint 15 Events team had arranged a post sailing/pre dinner shoreline walk from SSC to The Rose in Bloom pub, a couple of miles towards Whitstable. This may have been a tactical attempt to tire the fleet for the following day, and possibly make them miss dinner, as on return there were mutterings of ‘forced march’ activity. The evening was spent enjoying a hot buffet meal and drinks in the SSC bar – also celebrating Paul Grattage’s birthday.


Sunday started with similar conditions, with the wind pretty steady at F4 WSW and occasional gusts to F5. The course was set with a starboard rounding triangular course, with a line gate near the leeward end of the windward leg and a much longer starting leg than the previous day. The start was over a line from the club with only an inner distance mark.

From the start the fleet split with 6 boats sailing on starboard towards the shore, the rest opting for a port tack towards the Swale. Thom, Grattage and Tillyer pulled out an early lead, Bainbridge/Baker retired with a broken mainsheet block shackle. Jon Finch led Tuite-Dalton with Ball, Dutch and Groom close behind, Dutch tacked early to go through the line gate close to the outer mark and moved through to the lead that group. Meanwhile on the beat Tillyer tacked inshore with Grattage and Thom opting for offshore, and a sudden windshift left Tillyer slightly behind at the windward mark.

Choice of when to tack for the line gate and the inshore/offshore tacks on the main beat was crucial – but varied with the wind shifts and gusts to F6. Baker caspsized and retired ashore, with Jane Bainbridge (1206) also retiring. Grattage maintained a clear lead to the finish, whilst Dutch managed to pull clear of the following boats for second on the water he had not obtained the necessary handicap lead. Thom, Ball and Tuite-Dalton came through on handicap.

Race 4 started with freshening winds and collision on the line. Grattage was called up near the inner distance mark pole and with nowhere to go collided with Bainbridge/Baker who were forced onto Ball – causing her to capsize. Betts was forced out of the end of the line and had to come back around. Grattage and Bainbridge/Baker took penalty turns behind the line as the fleet sailed away and Ball was attempting to right her boat.

Tuite-Dalton got clear away to the windward mark chased by Dutch and Thom, with Dutch pulling ahead on the run. Groom and Tillyer were followed by the Finchs , Steve Healey (1921), Steve Roberts (1910) and Rob Bailey (1755). Ending lap 1 Tillyer tacked early for the gate nearly catching up on Tuite-Dalton and passing Groom. Grattage was pulling back up the fleet joining Healey, Thom and the Finchs.

On the next lap Grattage was up behind Dutch with Tuite-Dalton close behind, Thom was being chased by Groom who was beating higher with good speed in a windshift. Dutch led Grattage for most of the next lap but as they crossed the gate, both flying hulls, Grattage took the lead up the beat, Tuite-Dalton maintained 3rd with Thom and Tillyer now ahead of Groom.

From the windward mark Grattage maintained port tack whilst Dutch turned onto starboard and made good ground, Grattage turned to starboard two thirds of the way to the leeward mark but it was too late and Dutch rounded that mark just ahead and they both came into the tail enders but Dutch got clear ahead and finished the race ahead by 14 seconds. Tuite-Dalton had sailed clear all the way and finished 13 seconds behind Grattage to take 1st place on handicap. Thom led Tillyer to the bottom of the windward leg but Tillyer tacked early for the finish line gate and came through to take 4th place ahead of Thom.



So after four races with one discard Paul Grattage was 1st overall, and retains the Southern Area Championship, with Ed Tuite-Dalton 2nd and Liam Thom 3rd. John Holmes, Rear Commodore SSC, made the glassware presentations for the event.

Chris Tillyer, Sprint 15 Association Chairman, made the presentation of the Speedy Marine Sprint 15 TT award, graciously donated by Steve Sawford, to Steve Healey (1921) for his entertaining hop, skip, jump, splash attempts to get on his boat leaving the beach – to the great amusement of the fleet. Alex Betts was awarded the SSC perseverance award of a bottle of beer for his valiant sailing in his first event.

As RO my thanks to all those who attended the event and all those from SSC who helped both on and off the water, not only at the event but also in preparing beforehand. During sailing the timing team had no breaks, the mark spotters had a cold time on the balcony and the patrol boats were kept busy. The galley and bar teams excelled and by all accounts all the competitors had a good time – that is what we are there for.

Steve Willis

Commodore SSC


      R1P R2P  R3P  R4P Total Discard Place
2018 Paul Grattage (Sport) Shanklin 1 1 1 3 6 3 1
1940 Ed Tuite-Dalton Draycote Water 6 2 4 1 13 7 2
1957 Liam Thom Shanklin 3 3 2 5 13 8 3
1938 Kevin Dutch (Sport) Seasalter 2 24 5 2 33 9 4
1917 Jenny Ball Marconi 4 12 3 7 RDG 26 14 5
1953 Chris Tillyer Marconi 7 5 6 4 22 15 6
1990 Robert Finch Stewartby 5 9 7 6 27 18 7
1714 David Groom Christchurch 12 4 10 7 33 21 8
1921 Steve  Healey Marconi 10 6 9 11 36 25 9
1988 Jon Pearse Marconi 8 8 13 9 38 25 10
1890 Jon Finch Stewartby 13 10 8 8 39 26 11
1755 Rob Bailey Thorpe Bay 11 7 11 10 39 28 12
1211 Erling Holmberg Shanklin 9 11 12 22 54 32 13
1861 Eamon Browne Creeksea 16 13 14 14 57 41 14
923 David Oakley Seasalter 24 16 15 12 67 43 15
1742 John Bainbridge Seasalter 15 15 20 13 63 43 16
1910 Steve Roberts Dee 14 14 16 19 63 44 17
1978 Robert Smith Seasalter 18 18 17 17 70 52 18
1644 Paul Shields Seasalter 20 24 18 16 78 54 19
1406 Roger Baker Isle of Sheppey 17 24 24 15 80 56 20
1263 Simon Rous   22 24 19 18 83 59 21
1206 Jane Bainbridge Seasalter 19 17 24 22 82 60 22
585 Alex Betts Seasalter 21 19 24 21 85 61 23
Pictures by David Cramphorn.


Full Series Results available here

Two Up Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
John Bainbridge and Karen Baker1742Seasalter Sailing ClubTwo Up1614
Una Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
Ed Tuite Dalton1940Draycote Water Sailing ClubUna Rig21
Liam Thom1957Shanklin Sailing ClubUna Rig32
Jenny Ball1917Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig53
Chris Tillyer1953Thorpe Bay Yacht ClubUna Rig64
Robert Finch1990Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig75
David Groom1714Christchurch Sailing ClubUna Rig86
Steve Healy1921Thorpe Bay Yacht ClubUna Rig97
Jon Pearse1988Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig108
Jon Finch1890Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig119
Rob Bailey1755Thorpe Bay Yacht ClubUna Rig1210
Erling Holmberg1211Shanklin Sailing ClubUna Rig1311
Eamonn Browne1861Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig1412
David Oakley923Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig1513
Steve Roberts1910Dee Sailing ClubUna Rig1715
Rob Smith1978Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig1816
Paul Shields1644Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig1917
Roger Baker1406Isle of Sheppy Sailing ClubUna Rig2018
Jane Bainbridge1206Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig2119
Simon Rous1263RYAUna Rig2220
Alex Betts585Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig2321
Sport Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
Paul Grattage2018East Down Yacht ClubSport11
Kevin Dutch1938Seasalter Sailing ClubSport42