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Sprint 15 Catparts Summer Series 2016

by Bob Carter on 3 Nov 2016 3 November 2016

A total of 67 competitors took part in the Sprint 15 Summer TT series of 5 events with events at Marconi, Seasalter, Thorpe Bay, Draycote and Grafham. All events were well attended with 16 – 31 competitors, only Thorpe Bay had below 20 competitors and that was attributable to a very light wind forecast deterring the punters.

The Series kicked off at Marconi on a weekend in April with strong Northerly winds and 15 visitors joined 6 locals for some exciting sailing. The popular long distance race around Osea and Northey Island took place on the Saturday was a blast in the fresh winds. Paul Grattage narrowly won from Kevin Kirby and Stuart Snell. On the Sunday the wind got even fresher with gusts to F6 and the competition was hot. Grattage won decisively with 4 first places from locals, Kirby and David Ball. Travellers Snell and Liam Thom took fourth and fifth places.

Next in May came the Southern Championships at Seasalter on a weekend which started on Saturday with a fresh Northerly breeze but on Sunday the winds were light and variable. This made it an event of two halves for the 24 sailors (including 9 locals) who took part. Grattage made few mistakes and clocked up another victory with 3 guns and a second but local hot shot, Kevin Dutch and Robert Finch took two second and third places respectively on the Saturday but were 'out to lunch' in the lighter winds of Sunday. This left Snell to take second from Thom, Chris Tillyer and Erling Holmberg.

In July the fleet moved on to Thorpe Bay on a weekend which was forecast to be great for sunbathing but dire for sailors as high pressure was established across the country. Local man Steve Healy posted to no avail that Thorpe Bay had a local micro climate and predicted that a fresh sea breeze would make for excellent sailing. Sadly few believed him so only 16 sailors took part despite the fact that the Club has a huge Sprint 15 fleets and other fleets are close by. It turned out that Healy was right and the fleet sailed 5 races in good sea breezes which increased throughout each day to about 20mph. Some tight sailing resulted in a close completion but David Ball did enough to take 2 guns and to win the event. Healy was second and took 1 gun and Kirby and Tillyer were third and fourth. Also worthy of mention are George Love and Howard Hawkes both of whom notched up race wins (Love's was his first in 20 years of sailing).

The Northern Championship at Draycote in September was a bit of an experiment as it was just a one day event on a Saturday (the fleet usually do 2 day events in the summer and 1 day events in the winter). 12 travellers joined 11 locals and the club packed in 4 tactical races in light conditions. Grattage made few mistakes with 3 guns and Love clocked up his second career race victory and took second place overall at the event. The next places were taken by Tillyer, Thom, Steve Sawford and Jim Bowie. The top placed local sailor was Ed Tuite-Dalton in eighth place. The fleet were disappointed not to have got more wind but the one day format seemed to meet general approval.

The finale was at the Grafham Cat Open in October and 31 sailors took part in the Inland Championships and dwarfed all other classes at the Cat Open. Sadly there were just 3 local Grafham sailors and all these came from one family. Grattage took an 'away day' as he had already won the series but the competition for second place and the Inland Championships was hot. 6 races were run in a F2-3 northerly breeze on Saturday which increased to F3-4 on the Sunday but both days the wind direction was swinging 30 degrees or more which added to the challenge. Local sailor, Snell, dominated the event with 4 first places and 2 seconds and Kirby was second. Andy Webb sailing two-up with his 12 year old son, Finley, at their first Sprint 15 event took a very creditable 3rd place. It is good that this format is again showing the flexibility of the class – especially since the National Championship was won by Sean McKenna and his eight year old daughter, Sophia. Jenny Ball took fourth place from Holmberg, Tillyer and Thom. Jason Clarke was the winner of the new Youth trophy.

At the end of the Summer TT series 18 helms qualified with 3 events or more to count but Grattage retained his TT crown. Snell had beaten off the opposition to retain runner up slot from Kirby, Tillyer and Thom.

This year there was a new trophy for the top club team of 3 sailors. Team Shanklin were the first with 33 points from Marconi (44) and Thorpe Bay (54).

The fleet now move on to the Winter Traveller series which kicks off at Stewartby on 5 November.

Final Results: (top 10)

TT Series Overall
1st Paul Grattage (Shanklin) 3pts
2nd Stuart Snell (Grafham) 7pts
3rd Kevin Kirby (Marconi) 8pts
4th Chris Tillyer (Thorpe Bay) 11pts
5th Liam Thom (Shanklin) 12pts
6th David Ball (Marconi) 13pts
7th George Love (Carsington)16pts
8th Steve Healy (Thorpe Bay) 21pts
9th Erling Holmberg (Shanklin) 21pts
10th Jim Bowie (Thorpe Bay) 22pts

Traveller Champion & Standard Mode Champion: Paul Grattage (Shanklin)
Traveller Team Champions: Shanklin (Grattage,Thom & Holmberg)
Southern Champion: Paul Grattage (Shanklin)
Northern Champion: Paul Grattage (Shanklin)
Inland Champion: Stuart Snell (Grafham)

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