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Sprint 15 Summers Traveller' Series Round 1 at Marconi Sailing Club

by Jenny Ball 17 Apr 2018 06:59 BST 14-15 April 2018
Marconi Sprint 15 TT © Oliver Southgate / OJSPhotography

27 competitors took part in the first 40th Anniversary Sprint 15 Summer TT at Marconi SC on 14th and 15th April including an impressive home turnout of 13 boats. We were also pleased to welcome Nigel and Fiona Denchfield as guest Races Officers for the event.

In addition to the racing, we welcomed the winner of our competition at the RYA Dinghy Show for a cat coaching session with Brian Phipps from Windsport International.

As forecast, there was no wind in the morning but with a light breeze forecast for later in the afternoon it was decided to postpone racing for an hour. With the AP dropped ashore, the fleet headed out to the race area off picturesque Osea Island in a pleasantly mild afternoon with a light breeze.

With the ebb now running, a number of the fleet managed to get caught in the "coffin zone" behind the committee boat, but with the breeze strengthening, the fleet headed off to the windward mark. Paul Grattage established his lead at the first mark which proved unassailable. Meanwhile, Liam Thom, Chris Tillyer, Stuart Snell, Jenny Ball and David Ball battled it out for the "next" positions. Chris only managed to knock into Jenny's shiny new boat once and Liam only managed to slightly insult Jenny by comparing her to the age of the Thames Sailing Barge that sailed by during the race. As a result of which, whilst Stuart came second, Jenny made sure that Liam and Chris came 4th and 5th respectively behind her.

Race 2 saw a number of boats get pushed over the line by the ebb tide. All but one (Jenny) re-cleared the line to continue the race. Uncharacteristically, Paul managed to knock the windward mark and had to do a turn. Jenny, David, Liam and George battled round the course with David taking the win (due to Jenny's OCS) followed by Liam, George and Stuart. Meanwhile Jon Pearse had endeavoured to sail the race with a broken universal joint on his tiller extension which, even with the aid of some string from Chris, did not prove sustainable – but did earn him the GJW Direct Insurance spot prize – see below.

By Race 3 – a sea breeze was starting to build – unusual in April but reflective of the cold water and unusually warm air temperature which was, frankly, a welcome return after the cold and wet winter/spring we have all endured! Any original planning thoughts of deferring race 3 to Sunday were re-evaluated and it was decided to stick with the original NOR plan. Which proved to be the right call as a decent breeze accompanied the race. Stuart and Paul broke away with Stuart building enough of a lead to take the win. David. Jenny, Liam and Kevin Kirby battled out behind – who managed to hold off Ed, Jim Bowie and George snapping at their heels.

The fleet headed in for a well deserved dinner – accompanied by champagne and cake as the Events Assistant had managed to coincide the event (at her home club) with her birthday.

On Sunday morning, the forecast was for a decent breeze coming in at about 12 noon As such, the plan was to fit in a "round the cans" race from about 11 – and then the legendary figure of eight round the islands race to follow. The weather decided to continue its fickle record this winter/spring by providing lots of mist, although this had cleared by the time the fleet launched mid-morning. Patiently expecting the forecasted 11 knot breeze, the fleet sailed about but the winds remained fickle and not possible to race in for a further hour. Eventually, a light breeze came in and, with a slight tweak to the marks, the Race Officer set the fleet off. In a fluctuating breeze of anywhere between 2 and 7 knots, the fleet set off round the course. Some had been delayed getting to the course, having opted to park on the beach and some got delayed by the strong tide. Andy Perks led round the first mark, pursued by Paul, Stuart and Nigel James – with a group of Jenny, David, Kevin, George, Jim Bowie, Will Harrison and Jon Pearse battling out behind. The wind held out enough to complete a proper two lap race with Paul taking the win, followed by Stuart and Nigel and Andy putting in really impressive third and fourth place results given they both only recently joined the fleet.

As a result of the delay, but with the light breeze holding, the fleet decided to go ahead with race 5 but a shortened version of just Osea Island, (rather than the full course including Northey Island). given the state of the tide. With an interesting downwind start (!), the fleet headed diagonally across to Osea Island. By now punching an ebb tide – it was an interesting decision whether to hug the Osea shore out of the tide but risk an element of wind shadow by doing so. Chris managed to do this successfully whilst Liam headed out into more breeze / more tide and the pair converged ahead of the rest of the fleet just before turning at the head of the island. As the fleet reached the turning point, the wind filled in with good strength creating a fantastic beat behind Osea Island. Those who stood on further to the Goldhanger shore benefitted those who had tacked earlier but it was a great beat to the turning mark at the end of the island. At this stage, Liam had consolidated his lead to take the win, followed by Ed Dalton, Paul, George, Jenny, Jim, Stuart and David.

The fleet headed home after a great weekend of sailing! Big thanks go to the Race Officers, Race Committee and Support boat crews who had to set up and deliver 5 races in some unpredictable conditions whilst we all waited for the wind.

Congratulations to:

  • Jemma Clarke – Marconi new comer to the event – and it was only her second time on a Sprint 15!
  • Jason Clarke – second place youth entry
  • Will Harrison – Youth Trophy winner and 12th placed overall
  • Jon Pearse – winner of the GJW Direct Insurance spot prize for sailing 1.5 races with a rope rigged broken tiller extension.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st2018Paul GrattageShanklin SC1‑72137
2nd2022Stuart SnellGrafham WSC2412‑79
3rd1957Liam ThomShanklin SC425‑12112
4th1923David BallMarconi SC6137‑817
5th2025Jenny BallMarconi SC3(OCS)46518
6th2019George LoveCarsington‑12398424
7th2021Jim BowieThorpe Bay YC8‑1575626
8th2020Kevin KirbyMarconi SC786‑9930
9th2023Ed Tuite DaltonDraycote Water1768‑22233
10th1953Chris TillyerMarconi SC5910‑171236
11th2015Nigel JamesMarconi SC9‑161431541
12th1942William HarrisonMarconi SC14101311‑2048
13th2004Gordon GouldstoneQueen Mary SC13111513‑1652
14th1339Jason ClarkeMarconi SC191311‑231154
15th1921Steve HealyThorpe Bay YC10512(DNC)DNC55
16th1755Rob BaileyThorpe Bay YC1114(OCS)201762
17th1211Erling HolmbergShanklin SC161716‑181362
18th1428Andy PerksMarconi SC‑20202041963
19th1988Jon PearseMarconi SC18(DNF)OCS101066
20th1551Keith PersinThorpe Bay YC15‑1919161868
21st1579David ClarkeMarconi SC21181714‑2370
22nd1872Antony BaileyMarconi SC‑242321211479
23rd1983Peter RichardsonMarconi SC251218(DNC)DNC83
24th1521Jemma ClarkeMarconi SC‑262122192183
25th2026Simon HareOxford SC22‑2524152485
26th1840Keith ChidwickQueen Mary SC23‑2423242292
27th1966Robert WilsonStone SC2722(DNS)DNCDNC105

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