North Devon Yacht Club: Sport Nationals
Saturday 1st - Monday 3rd October 2022

Forty-Four Sprint 15 sailors registered to race and gathered at the home of the North Devon Yacht Club at Instow on Friday the 30th September for the Sport Nationals – the three day regatta for single-handed Sprint 15 catamarans with main, jib and trapeze.

This was the highest turnout in over 14 years for the Sprint 15 Sport Mode Nationals, with 4 youth sailors taking part.  As the boat is to be rebranded the Dart 15 for 2023, the health and quality of the fleet is in good shape looking forward.

Due to an early tide, the first race was set off promptly just after 9:00am by race officer Jonathan Miles in a blustery force 4-6 westerly, with a ‘P’ course in a swelling estuary.  With most of the sailors half asleep still or wary of the conditions as a squall came through, the race gun went off with three quarters of the racers hanging back off the start line.  Paul Grattage (Shanklin) led the first race from start to gun, Sam Heaton (NDYC) and Hector Bunclark (NDYC) were fighting it out for second and third.

With more competitors on the line, Sean McKenna (Shanklin) got the best of the starts in the second race and although Grattage lead the majority of the race, McKenna snook past on the last run to take the line honours. Heaton again was in his element taking 3rd place. With over half the fleet capsizing as the wind speed increased and with three masts coming down the race committee decided it was time to head in for the day.

There was an excellent, very well-attended meal on the Saturday night, with a photo slide show on the big screen of the day’s carnage. Overnight positions were; Grattage first, McKenna second and Heaton in third, all separated by just 2 points.

Sunday arrived with less wind than forecast, with a north westerly force 2. After an hour's delay caused by lack of and shifting winds, it was McKenna who capitalised on the tricky light winds in race 3 to take the bullet. Richard Chidwick (NYDC) had his best result at a National Championship, finishing 2nd place, showing superb boat speed with Angus Cook (NDYC) finishing 3rd.

In race 4, Angus Cook (NDYC) completed the Holy Grail of racing - a port flyer. He lead the first lap, followed by Fraser Manning (NDYC) and Liam Thom (Shanklin), with Manning choosing to go left up the 2nd beat and Cook deciding to cover, Thom sailed over to the right hand side, together with McKenna, and they were never caught. The race finished with Thom 1st, McKenna 2nd and Manning 3rd.

With racing delayed and light winds the race officer sent the competitors ashore.  With Grattage having a bad day at the office (8th & 6th), McKenna was now comfortably leading the regatta overnight. Much talking in the bar that night was about who could catch him!

Monday morning was another light wind day with max force 2 winds from the south.  Race 5 was where the battle for the title really mounted amongst the top 6 sailors. Manning & Steve Sawford (Rutland SC) built up a big lead by staying in the current, with Sawford delivering under pressure to take the win, Jenny Ball (Marconi SC) comfortable took 3rd place.

In the 6th race, the race committee laid a triangular course.  In the light winds, clean air and not falling foul of the current was again the key.  Thom got clear and Hector Bunclark continued to be consistent with a well-deserved 2nd place and Sawford was third.  After a great start, Charles Watson (Halifax SC) sailed fantastically to finish 4th.

Thom was in-tune with his boat and skillfully sailed through the fleet to finish 1st comfortably, to put serious pressure on McKenna’s title hopes. McKenna who was licking his wounds from a 14th place in race 5, was one of those to suffer and could only finish 13th place.

The Race Committee changed the course for the final race with an upwind and downwind modern Olympic sausage course with a devilish windward mark in the back eddy of Appledore, which caught almost everyone out with some taking 3 attempts to get round it. Too many tried to find a gap coming in on port and if ever a race mark became Piccadilly Circus, this was it!

Thom shot off from the middle of the line and could not be caught by a frantically chasing McKenna. Manning finished 2nd in the race and for McKenna 3rd place was too little too late.

The last day had shuffled the overall scores, With Thom taking the title, knocking Mckenna into 2nd and Hector Bunclark into 3rd. Grattage just missed out on the podium, finishing fourth.  

Having been very ill for a year and still in recovery, previous champion Fraser Manning’s 5th place achievement was exceptional and with Liam Thom also winning the Una Rig Nationals, 2022 will certainly be a year to remember for him.

Thom Britton (NDYC) was the new winner of the Youth National title with a creditable 28th place overall, Jenny Ball was first lady and our Chairman Ed Tuite Dalton (Draycote SC) was the first over sixty helmsman. The heavyweight Champion was Paul Grattage.  Steve Sawford and Ian Mounce (NDYC) took the Pro-Am trophy. 

Report by Fraser Manning and Liam Bunclark.

Pictures by Roy Broad, Andy Mellors and Maria Slough Photography


Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions

Competitors Races - 7 of 9 Sailed (No. of Discards: 1) Event Placings
Name Sail ClubRace 1Race 2Race 3Race 4Race 5Race 6Race 7Race 8Race 9Points Place
Liam Thom2034Shanklin Sailing Club44 DNF6 4 1 8 1 1 --211
Sean McKenna2018Shanklin Sailing Club4 1 1 2 14 13 3 --242
Hector Bunclark1951North Devon Yacht Club3 4 19 7 6 2 7 --293
Paul Grattage458Shanklin Sailing Club1 2 8 6 18 6 8 --314
Fraser Manning1977North Devon Yacht Club15 5 5 3 2 17 2 --325
Steve Sawford2033Rutland Water Sailing Club6 44 DNF12 10 1 3 4 --366
Angus Cook1989North Devon Yacht Club20 13 3 4 4 16 5 --457
Jenny Ball2025Marconi Sailing Club14 12 6 11 3 7 9 --488
Richard Chidwick2004North Devon Yacht Club6 8 2 12 11 10 28 --499
Sam Heaton1972North Devon Yacht Club2 3 11 13 7 15 15 --5110
Ed Tuite Dalton2023Draycote Water Sailing Club13 14 9 15 17 8 6 --6511
Charles Watson1237Halifax Sailing Club25 11 13 17 9 4 12 --6612
Mark Aldridge2027Grafham Water Sailing Club11 10 24 8 15 14 10 --6813
Chris Murphy1927Shanklin Sailing Club5 7 17 16 21 27 16 --8214
Eric Evans1200North Devon Yacht Club10 19 20 19 16 33 14 --9815
George Love2019Carsington Sailing Club44 DNC44 DNC7 9 12 5 23 --10016
Jon Pearse1988Marconi Sailing Club18 15 18 20 13 32 17 --10117
Jes Firth1615North Devon Yacht Club44 DNF44 DNS15 5 5 24 19 --11218
David Grant1943North Devon Yacht Club8 22 22 26 31 25 13 --11619
Joe Mellows1500North Devon Yacht Club24 20 10 34 24 22 20 --12020
Alex Raymont525North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC27 22 10 9 11 --12321
Derek James1744Draycote Water Sailing Club22 17 14 30 22 21 30 --12622
Keith Heason1424North Devon Yacht Club9 23 33 14 44 DNC26 24 --12923
Simon Fleet1936North Devon Yacht Club19 16 31 32 23 20 25 --13424
Jan Elfring2030Draycote Water Sailing Club16 9 26 25 33 36 29 --13825 ¹
Ian Mounce1908North Devon Yacht Club26 21 28 33 19 23 21 --13826 ¹
Ray Gall2028Carsington Sailing Club44 DNC44 DNC30 18 20 11 26 --14927
Thom Britton1545North Devon Yacht Club44 DNS24 34 24 27 12 32 --15328
Keith Chidwick2016Queen Mary Sailing Club23 44 DNF36 28 26 19 31 --16329
Liam Bunclark1932North Devon Yacht Club17 44 DNF16 36 29 28 44 DNF--17030
Peter Sherwin2017Stone Sailing Club27 44 DNC39 29 37 18 27 --17731
Ben Penny1912North Devon Yacht Club12 44 DNC25 31 32 35 44 DNF--17932
Yvonne Pike1965Shanklin Sailing Club44 DNC44 DNC32 21 28 34 22 --18133
Donald Sloan1896Brightlingsea Sailing Club44 DNF18 23 23 44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC--19634
Andrew Heath1893North Devon Yacht Club21 44 DNC21 27 44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC--20135
Wayne Silver1841North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC40 37 44 DNF31 18 --21436
Samuel Wood1914Carsington Sailing Club44 DNS44 DNC37 35 44 DNC30 33 --22337 ¹
Jonathan Kilham1396North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC35 38 34 37 35 --22338 ¹
Colin Sibthorpe1256North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC41 40 36 29 34 --22439
Toby White94North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC29 41 30 44 DNF44 DNF--23240
John Bowler1297North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC38 39 38 38 44 DNC--24141
Nick Pulman1877Carsington Sailing Club44 DNC44 DNC44 DNS44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC--26442
Stephan Comut1906North Devon Yacht Club44 DNC44 DNC44 DNF44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC44 DNC--26442