The Sprint 15 winter series kicked off at Stewartby on 2 November with 8 locals and 16 travellers) on a breezy autumn day. In the first race Thomas Sandal led from start to finish and Paul Grattage progressed though the fleet to take second from Ed Tuite Dalton, Stuart Snell and Mark Aldridge. In the windier second race there were a number of capsizes including Tuite Dalton but Grattage made no such error as he took the gun from Snell, Aldridge, Sandal and Robert Finch. So Grattage won the day from the Grafham trio of Sandal, Snell and Aldridge. Robert Finch was top local in 5th place.
The second event was held on 7 December at Oxford Sailing Club, a new venue for the Sprint 15s. A decent force 2-3 breeze enabled the 23 entries to complete the normal 2 races back to back. Snell made no mistakes in the first race from Sandal, Liam Thom and Robert England. Grattage spoiled his chances by being caught OCS on the second race leaving Sandal to take the gun from England, Erling Holmberg and Simon Farthing. Sandal won the regatta from England and Snell. The fleet went away happy that they had discovered a good new venue for the winter traveller series.
The Draycote open on 11 January had an attendance of 26 boats (including 11 locals showing how strongly the Draycote fleet is growing) and there was a nice westerly F3 breeze in bright sunshine. In some tight racing National Champion Snell won the event from Grattage on shortest aggregate time as they both scored a first and a second place. Similarly Sandal beat top local Pete Slater on countback as they both had 8 points.
The Fleet were scheduled to make their first return to Datchet for more than 20 years on 8 February but sadly the gales caused the event to be cancelled. We hope to have better luck with the weather next year when we plan to visit Datchet again.
Going into the last event of the series at Grafham, any one of Snell, Thomas or Grattage could win the Winter Traveller series in the final showdown. This event was cancelled last year due to snow but this year on 16 March we had no such worries and got a mild sunny day with a westerly force 3-5 wind. Just what the fleet ordered! Sandal led the first race from start to finish and was looking good for the series until a stray Phantom took him out in the second race. Paul Craft (3,1) won the day on countback from Grattage (2,2) with some consistent sailing and Snell was third from Farthing and Sandal.
So the new Winter Traveller Dewhirst Cup (in memory of our chairman, Nick Dewhirst, who sadly died last year) went to Paul Grattage from Thomas Sandal in second and Stuart Snell in third place.
Our Winter series continues to go from strength to strength with 18 sailors qualifying with 3 or more results and all venues getting 21 or more entries. We lost just one event to the weather and some excellent sailing was to be had around the inland clubs.
So the Fleet now move on to the Summer Travellers Series which starts at Marconi on 12/13 April
Final Results Summary:
Overall TT Series Top 5 Places: 1st Paul Grattage (East Down Yacht Club) 5 Pts , 2nd Thomas Sandal (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 6 Pts, 3rd Stuart Snell (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 7 Pts, 4th Paul Craft (Worthing Sailing Club) 15 Pts, 5th Steve Sawford (Rutland Water Sailing Club) 17 Pts
Una and Two-Up Fleet Top 3 Places: 1st Paul Grattage (East Down Yacht Club) 5 Pts, 2nd Thomas Sandal (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 6 Pts, 3rd Stuart Snell (Grafham Water Sailing Club) 7 Pts
Full Series Results are available here
Total Number of Individual Competitors who attended at least one event: 44