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PRATT Racing Series at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club - Finale

by Gary Smith 4 Oct 2013 22:53 BST April - September 2013

There was a distinct change in the mood for the final Pratt race of the series. The scores were tight, every place in the top ten was up for grabs and there were still a couple of Jokers to play that could knock the hell out of the leader board.

Nervous Pratts furtively shuffled around the clubroom wearing their unique Rooster tops complete with Pratt handicap number for the night, trying not to look at the table groaning with prizes. Not the usual prizes of a set of screwdrivers and the 'one minute of courteous service at the galley voucher' (still not redeemed from 2011) no there was heaps of great gear from Crewsaver, Gul, Harken, International Paint, Navigators & General, Noble Marine, Ovington Boats, Rooster Sailing, Seldén Masts and Wildwind and the title of 'Utter Pratt 2013' up for grabs!

People were taking it seriously, after quickly scoffing the pre race scone and tea, sailors were rigged in good time for the early last race start.

The seasons favourite evening meal was simmering away filling the club with a fishy pong that wafted onto the patio and out to the beach.

News of the final showdown, the prizegiving and the return of the Sussex Smokie Supper drew the biggest crowd of spectators seen all season.

The race coaching seemed to be paying off, not only was virtually every Pratt on the start line at the gun but at the favoured end as well!

After the ensuing chaos with 25 boats going in different directions the race was on. In the light force 2 wind Mick Whitmore (+5) sneaked into the lead by the first mark. Having won several races of the series on the water Mick had been unable to lower his handicap and only had an outside chance of nabbing second overall. Despite all the sailors sporting their personal handicap number It was impossible to tell who of the following pack was leading. Novice sailor Keith Vercoe (-1) was looking good, Bobby Eldridge (-5) had borrowed a newer boat in a last ditch attempt to break into the top 10 and Ben Daigneault was cursing his luck that it wasn't a force 5. You cant put an old head on young shoulders it is said but Harrison Bassett (+2) had clearly worked out his race plan. He needed to score reasonably well and beat Ben to take the title. This he did by tucking in behind Mick and shadowing him upwind and down. Having removed the doubt of which way to go he could concentrate on boat speed and count enough points to deservedly win the series by 8 points. Ben Daigneault (+3) was series runner up and Roger Green (-2) jumped up to third at the last moment. Mick Whitmore (+5) was fourth. Dave 'Liberace' Vercoe (0) fifth. Keith Vercoe (-1) sixth. Tasha Bell (-1) first lady Pratt seventh. James Powell Cullingford(+1) eighth. Simon Tuck (0) ninth and Mark Smith (0) tenth.

The top 10 were awarded overalls as it was the overall prizegiving but thankfully the prizes were for a change actually worth winning.

Thank you #GetOutAndSail! In its 7 year history this had been the best series by far.

Plans are underway for May and Pratt 2014, but like Fight Club the first and second rules of Pratt Racing are...

The PRATT Racing Series was the first winner in the #GetOutAndSail initiative. The October winner has just been announced.

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