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Sprint 15 Inland Championship at the Grafham Catamaran Open

by Bob Carter 23 Oct 2018 20:03 BST 20-21 October 2018

28 Sprint 15s took part in the Inland Championship at the Grafham Cat Open which happily (after the storms of last year) took place on a sunny weekend in a force 2-3 light Southerly breeze. Marconi fielded a strong team of nine boats, there were four boats from Grafham and both Shanklin and Thorpe Bay fielded teams of three.

Each day there were 3 races back to back and on the Saturday race officer, Nigel Denchfield, got proceeding off to start on time. Jim Bowie raced to an early lead in race 1 closely followed by Kevin Kirby, Jenny Ball and George Love. Bowie led the fleet around for 2 laps until the end of the second run when both Jenny Ball and David Ball sailed by with superior downwind speed. J Ball opened out a big lead on the third lap and took the gun from D Ball and Bowie. Defending Inland Champion, Thomas Sandal (18th) was decidedly rusty after a year's layoff and recently returned Carsington sailor, Ray Gall, had to retire with a rig failure.

In the second race Ed Tuite Dalton was first to the windward mark chased by Liam Thom, Stuart Snell and Christian Mash. Thom took the lead on the second beat and Sandal, who had by now recovered his mojo, followed. Over the next 2 laps Thom and Sandal sailed away to take first and second from a distant Snell and D Ball.

In the third race J Ball was first to the windward mark closely followed by D Ball and young Jason Clarke making it a Marconi 1,2,3. J Ball extended this lead and Sandal worked his way up to second. At the start of the 3 beat J Ball had some hundred metres lead and elected to take the LHS of the course while the chasing pack all went right and benefitted from a big lift. Hence Thom took the lead and subsequently the gun but J Ball salvaged second from Snell, Sandal and Jason Clark. So as the fleet headed to the bar on Saturday evening Thom was carrying a useful lead aided by J Ball not covering him on the last beat.

On the Sunday the conditions and wind direction were a replica of the previous day. Thom was over the line (U Flag) and had to retire from the race 4. The race was dominated by J Ball and Snell who were trading places at the front with J Ball having the edge upwind but could not hold Snell downwind, So each lap Ball led at the windward mark and Snell at the leeward mark. In the chasing pack D Ball, Sandal, Jon Pearse and Bowie were tousling for third place. After 2 laps Snell took the gun for the race from J Ball, Sandal and Bowie.

Race 5 followed and there was a big lift at the start on starboard and Bowie made no mistakes, leading from start to finish and progressively opening up a huge lead before taking the gun. D Ball likewise retained second place throughout the race. Mash and Clarke, the younger, were also on a charge taking third and fourth places respectively giving the race a fresh look. So after 5 races the result was still very much in the balance as any one of 5 helms could win.

On the first beat of race 6 the fleet split with 2 of the main protagonists sailing on opposite sides of the course – J Ball to the extreme left and Thom to the extreme right. They arrived at the windward mark together but Thom was on starboard and took the lead from Steve Healey, J Ball and Nigel James. Thom extended his lead on the run where he had a significant boat speed advantage. On the second beat Thom extended his lead further while D Ball and Bowie established themselves in second and third. The top 3 held these places for a third lap and to the gun. Snell and Mash caught back to take fourth and fifth.

Thus in the end Liam Thom was the clear winner from David Ball and Jenny Ball. The Youth trophy was retained by Jason Clarke who was often in the leading pack and was 8th overall. The other youth taking part, Rhys Atkins, also sailed well and was keeping up with many experienced sailors. For other results see below.

This event concluded the Summer Traveller series and the fleet move on to the Winter Traveller series which starts at Stewartby on 3 November.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2018Liam ThomShanklin Sailing Club411(UFD)6113
2nd1923David BallMarconi Sailing Club246‑82216
3rd2025Jenny BallMarconi Sailing Club1622‑14617
4th2022Stuart SnellGrafham Water Sailing Club6331‑7417
5th2021Jim BowieThorpe Bay Yacht Club3‑9741318
6th1982Thomas SandalGrafham Water Sailing Club‑182435923
7th1939Christian MashGrafham Water Sailing Club579‑133529
8th1917Jason ClarkeMarconi Sailing Club8115144‑1642
9th2019George LoveCarsington SC95‑119101043
10th2020Kevin KirbyMarconi Sailing Club10‑1912612747
11th2023Ed Tuite DaltonDraycote Water1288119‑1348
12th1921Stephen HealyThorpe Bay Yacht Club710(DNC)1213850
13th1755Robert BaileyThorpe Bay Yacht Club(UFD)141010151160
14th1957Paul GrattageShanklin Sailing Club‑2113152081268
15th2015Nigel JamesMarconi Sailing Club20‑22135161569
16th1983Peter RichardsonMarconi Sailing Club1117‑2316111469
17th1988Jon PearseMarconi Sailing Club1718(DNC)7232287
18th2004Gordon GoldstoneQueen Mary SC1912201917‑2387
19th1428Andrew PerksMarion Sailing Club15‑271617221888
20th1955John ManningBeaver22161715‑242090
21st1220Yvonne PikeShanklin Sailing Club1420‑2518182191
22nd1240Donald SloanFelixstowe Ferry Sailing Club2315142220‑2594
23rd1133Rhys AtkinsGrafham Water Sailing Club13262126(UFD)17103
24th1339David ClarkeMarconi Sailing Club162422‑251924105
25th1744Derek JamesDraycote Water Sailing Club24231821‑2519105
26th2008Dave Warnock 252119(DNC)DNCDNC123
27th1914Ray GallCarsington SC(DNF)2526242127123
28th2026Simon HareOxford SC26‑2824232626125

Top Grafham Boat: S Snell
Top Youth: J Clarke (Marconi)

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