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Sprint 15 Catparts Summer Series 2015

by Bob Carter 5 Nov 2015 07:13 GMT 5 November 2015
The Grafham Cat Open 2015 © Nick Champion /

National Champion Paul Grattage had wrapped up the Sprint 15 Catparts Summer TT series before the final event at Grafham so Paul went mountaineering on the Grafham weekend leaving the rest of the fleet to scrap for the minor places. Paul's task this year was made easier by injury to his closest competitors. Stuart Snell missed events due to arm/shoulder injury and boat damage and Kevin Dutch fell over and broke his arm during the summer.

The Series kicked off with the Southern Championships at Seasalter on breezy weekend in April where 16 visitors joined 9 locals for some exciting sailing. On Saturday there was a stonking Northerly wind gusting to over 30mph which caused a big onshore swell. Paul Grattage won both the races on Saturday hotly pursued by Keving Dutch, Robert Finch and Mark Hollis. On Sunday the Northerly wind dropped through the day and the races were won by Paul Grattage and Chris Tillyer, who found the lighter conditions very much to his liking. So Grattage (1,1.1) became Southern Champion from Tillyer (4,2,1) and Dutch (2,3,6). Hollis, Steve Healy, Robert Finch and Jon Finch took fourth to seventh places respectively.

In the first weekend of May ten Sprint 15s from the UK travelled to take part in Eurocat at Carnac once again being the biggest UK Class contingent. This year it did not form part of the Summer Traveller Series and it is reported elsewhere.

The Northern Championships were held at Rutland in mid-May but the lack of a home Sprint 15 fleet and the reluctance of the Northern fleet to travel meant that the event was just attended by 11 travellers. There was a decent wind and the fleet were dismayed when the race officer postponed the first race by an hour due to a 24 knot gust (just the conditions our guys enjoy). Once the event got underway, Grattage won quite easily with 5 guns from Tillyer (15 points), Erling Holmberg (17.5) and Paul Craft (22). Sadly, Stuart Snell suffered being ' T' boned by a (windward) A Class boat. One hull of Snell's boat was written off leaving him to wait some months for a replacement hull.

The Sport mode National Championships were in June at Yaverland (34 entries) and the Sprint 15 Nationals at Netley (47 entries) were in early August and so* the next traveller event was at the Stokes Bay Cat Open in early September where 12 travellers took part (7 from Shanklin and one, Mike Gough, from Yorkshire Dales S.C. – well done Mike). It was a light wind weekend but once again Grattage won with three guns from Snell (2,1,2) who was sailing with a borrowed hull. Jim Bowie was third from Liam Thom who both had 10 points and David Groom took fifth place.

* The Sprint 15 Association target to have one traveller every month of the year.

The next traveller was (perversely) in late September at Marconi. This date did not seem popular as 8 travellers joined just 4 locals at a club where there is a big local fleet. Once again it was a light wind weekend and Grattage won (again) with 3 guns from Craft and the locals of David Ball and Kevin Kirby. It is traditional that we hold a long distance race at Marconi which is usually a figure of eight course around Northey and Osea Islands. This year we went out to sea to round the Ross Revenge – better known as the home of Radio Caroline – currently moored in the River Blackwater. It made a pleaseant change. Kirby showed the fleet a clean pair of transoms to win the Long Distance Cup from Craft and Grattage.

The final event of the Series was at the Grafham Cat Open in mid October. Grattage was off mountaineering but 29 helms slogged it out for the Inland Championships and second place in the Summer TT Series. Saturday was just what the fleet wanted – a stiff Northerly Breeze which resulted in some challenging sailing. The prodigal Thomas Sandal (who has not sailed this year), showed that he had not lost his Mojo by leading the first 2 races from start to finish. By the third race on Saturday Sandal was weary and Kirby won to become the narrow overnight leader from Steve Sawford and Sandal. On Sunday the wind had dropped a couple of notches and other sailors came to the fore. Notably Snell took 2 guns and Jim Bowie took 2 seconds before Sandal recovered his composure to take the final gun in race 6. It was very close at the top but Snell took the Inland Championships from fellow Grafham sailor, Sandal, with Bowie and Sawford in third and fourth both on 20 points.

In the Summer TT Series no one could beat Grattage but Snell overtook Tillyer (who was having an uncharacteristic poor event) for second place.

The fleet now move on to the Winter Traveller series which kicks off at Stewartby on 7 November.

Final Results Summary:

Overall TT Series
1st Paul Grattage (Shanklin) 3pts
2nd Stuart Snell (Grafham) 8pts
3rd Chris Tillyer (Thorpe Bay) 9pts
4th Paul Craft (Worthing) 12pts
5th Jim Bowie (Thorpe Bay) 14pts
6th Erling Holmberg (Shanklin)
7th Stuart Pegum (Oxford)
8th David Groom (Netley)
9th Gordon Goldstone (Queen Mary)

Traveller Champion & Standard Mode Champion
Paul Grattage (Shanklin)

Southern Champion
Paul Grattage (Shanklin)

Northern Champion
Paul Grattage (Shanklin)

Inland Champion
Stuart Snell (Grafham)

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