Please select your home edition
Crewsaver 2015 Lifejackets

Sprint 15 Winter TT at Carsington Sailing Club

by George Love on 4 Dec 2011 3 December 2011

What’s that expression about mad dogs...? Is there a similar one for mad cats? If there isn’t, there should be after the second round of the Sprint 15 Winter TT series held at Carsington Water in Derbyshire on Saturday 3 December. This series is becoming a firm favourite with the hardened cold weather sailors with its quick-fire format of two back to back races.

Seventeen visitors joined the two home boats of George Love and James Scott. They were joined by a further three home boats (Ray Gall, Tom Gall and Mick Steer) and one visitor (Steve Sawford) sailing in DX mode on a separate start to make a total attendance of 23 protagonists. Team Draycote were out in force, fielding the six boats of Jan Elfring, Pete Slater, Ed Tuite Dalton, Derek James (Sport), Phil Warner and Ian Hope. Stewartby SC, a club very much in the ascendancy within the Class, comprised the four helms of Jon Finch, Robert Finch, Karl Pountney and Andrew Bunyan.

The relative calm under a bright winter sun of the windward shore boat park belied conditions out on the course. Race officer, Ged Bellamy did, however, give the competitors a hint of what awaited them as he returned ashore for the briefing after setting a tight trapezoidal course around the drought affected waters. “It’s looking quite lively out there!”, he ventured in understated style. He was not wrong! With an average wind speed of around 20 plus knots with gusts in excess of 30, his initial appraisal was on the button. The conditions were to test the sailing (and swimming) skills of all.

With the combatants fuelled and fortified by bacon and egg buns, Race 1 was soon underway and it was Mark Aldridge (Grafham) who made clear his intentions by charging off the line closely followed by master tactician Stuart Snell (Grafham) in hot pursuit. (Believe me, there’s money to be made if this guy’s technique can be bottled!) Ed Tuite Dalton, Jan Elfring, Pete Slater and Jon Finch led the chasing pack closely followed by gentle giant Simon Hare (Oxford) who put his stature to good use. He put the hammer down and revelled in the wild conditions. Further down the field, the lighter helms were in survival mode, opting for trying to stay upright and pick up places by overtaking the swimmers. It seemed to work as there was quite a lot of swimming going on. The jibe mark was the place for this as Simon Hare found to his benefit on almost every lap. The venomous gusts were scything through the field, snaking across the lake like a nest of wild sidewinders. The unwary were to be caught out on many an occasion and the safety crews were kept busy attending to those who had opted for an exciting pitch pole on the hairy downwind leg. Derek James was one of those who chose to lose his tiller extension in the process. Some thought that it was a misguided tactic to shed weight for even more speed. At the gun, Mark Aldridge was never to be challenged despite the best efforts of the ten finishers out of the starting line-up of nineteen. Stuart Snell, Jan Elfring, Ed Tuite Dalton and Jon Finch completed the top five slots.

Race 2 and the wind chose to increase another few notches. The nest of sidewinders had mutated and grown. The truly wicked gusts were now topping out at just below 40 knots and slamming into the fleet with increasing regularity. Quite a few sailors opted for an early (hot) bath and only two thirds of the fleet lined up to join battle. Once again, Mark Aldridge and Stuart Snell set the pace with Jon Finch, Pete Slater and Jan Elfring sailing out of their socks on the screaming reaches to keep pace. Halfway round and it was Mark’s turn to take a dip in the boiling waters and watch Stuart cruise past at close quarters in unruffled style. The red mist came down and Mark soon had his boat back on the rails to take up the chase. He was not to be denied and took the bullet a few seconds ahead of Stuart in a hard fought contest to the line. John Finch got the better of Pete Slater to take third, who in turn squeezed out Jan Elfring at the last mark to complete the top five.

With two firsts, Mark Aldridge was presented with the victor’s spoils which included champagne courtesy of Steve Sawford of SS Marine who also sponsored the DX prizes. There was general consensus that all those whom had taken to the water, regardless of the final standings, were just slightly unhinged but all agreed it had been a superb day out in bracing conditions and at the top end of just sailable – testament surely to their consummate skills and the superlative quality of this sturdy and evergreen little boat. One competitor was even overheard to say – “I’ve only just started to sail this boat so am still getting to grips with it. I think I’ve learned to really sail it today. Such a pity we couldn’t have had a third race because I’m sure I’d have nailed it!” What was that about MAD Cats? I’ll wager there were a few helms who didn’t need much rocking on Saturday night.

The next event of this hotly contested series is at Draycote on Saturday 7 January. Why not shake off those Christmas excesses and join the party? You know it makes sense!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoTypeHelmClubPYR1R2Pts
119Una-RigM AldridgeGrafham917112
21982Una-RigS SnellGrafham917224
31890Una-RigJ FinchStewartby 917538
41913Una-RigJ ElfringDraycote917358
51627Una-RigP SlaterDraycote9176410
62004Una-RigG GoldstoneQueen Mary 9178614
71970Una-RigS HareOxford9177815
81918Una-RigS PegumQueen Mary 9179716
91940Una-RigEd Tuite DaltonDraycote91742024
101939Una-RigI HopeDraycote91720929
111825Una-RigG LoveCarsington SC917102030
121054Una-RigP RobertsDee917202040
121289Una-RigA BunyanStewartby 917202040
121494Una-RigK PountneyStewartby 917202040
121643Una-RigH HawkesThorpe Bay917202040
121838Una-RigR FinchStewartby 917202040
121756Una-RigP WarnerDraycote917202040
121833Una-RigJ ScottCarsington917202040
121744SportD JamesDraycote886202040

Related Articles

Sprint 15 TT at Draycote Water
Fabulous turnout of 19 boats There was a fabulous turnout of 19 boats for the Draycote TT on Saturday 9th September. Nine Draycote SC boats were joined by 10 boats that travelled from as far and wide as Shanklin and Marconi SC to attend the event. Posted on 13 Sep
Shanklin Regatta 2017
26 boats race with the prospect of silverware The prospect of some silverware usually entices a decent number of boats onto the water at Shanklin and the regatta day was no exception with twenty-six boats lining up on the start in a sunny force 3. Posted on 22 Aug
Sandown Regatta 2017
Returning to its traditional start line off Sandown Pier Sandown Regatta returned to its traditional start line off Sandown Pier in 2017. 9 Sprint 15s, a Dart 16 and a Challenger trimaran ignored the forecast for no wind and were rewarded with a steady 7 knots of breeze from the North East. Posted on 16 Aug
Sprint 15 National Championships
60 cat sailors aged between 13 and 73 at Thorpe Bay Thorpe Bay, Essex, hosted 60 entrants for the Sprint 15 National Championships sponsored by GJW Direct Insurance and Windsport. Entrants came from far and wide including Isle of Wight, Wales, Devon, the North and the Essex area. Posted on 25 Jul
Sprint 15 Southern Championship
TT at Seasalter Sailing Club 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. Posted on 27 Jun
From Thai boxer to Moth sailor
We speak to Kyle Stoneham Kyle Stoneham is one of the real characters on the International Moth circuit. Having recently sold his business, Kyle is able to spend more time on his foiling sailing, so we caught up with him to find out more... Posted on 21 Jun
Plymouth Dinghy Regatta
Bumper entry of 65 boats The 2017 Plymouth Dinghy Regatta saw a bumper entry of 65 boats, covering a diverse range of classes and speeds, from a foiling Moth through to Toppers who were also contesting their South West Championships. Posted on 15 Jun
Sprint 15 Sport Nationals
Racing at the Isle of Wight The 2017 Sprint 15 Sports National Championships, sponsored by Wightlink Ferries and Spinlock were held at the Yaverland Sailing and Boating Club, under the organisation of Shanklin Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight on the 19th to 21st May. Posted on 27 May
Sprint 15 Summer TT at Marconi
An impressive home turnout of 14 boats 29 competitors took part in the first 2017 Sprint 15 Summer TT at Marconi SC on 8th and 9th April including an impressive home turnout of 14 boats. We were pleased to welcome a number of new faces who had participated in the Association Training Day. Posted on 10 Apr
Chris Black Sprint 15 Icicle at Grafham
Concluding event in the Winter Series The Grafham Sprint 15 Icicle traveller was run on 19 March and undoubtedly the strong winds forecast put off a number of travellers. In the event 13 travellers joined 4 locals for some good sailing in a South Westerly force 4/5 breeze gusting to force 6. Posted on 20 Mar