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The Catamaran Book by Brian Phipps

Sprint 15 Summer Series 2018

by Bob Carter 12 Nov 2018 08:00 GMT
The Sprint 15 Summer Series visited Marconi © Olly Southgate

The Sprint 15 Summer Traveller series has a new name on the trophy this year as Liam Thom of Shanklin Sailing Club sailed a very strong series to take a well-deserved win.

The series comprised of 5 events around the Country and was well supported as usual. The events were at Marconi (Essex), Rutland, Draycote, Royal Western (Plymouth) and Grafham, and mostly took part in light winds.

The Series kicked off at Marconi on a weekend in April and 14 visitors joined an impressive 13 locals. After some waiting around for the wind to materialise racing was possible on both days in a light breeze and five races were completed. Paul Grattage won the event from Stuart Snell and Liam Thom. Top locals were David Ball, and Jenny Ball who were fourth and fifth respectively. The popular long distance race had to be shortened to a circumnavigation of Osea Island and was won by Thom from Ed Tuite Dalton.

Next in May came Rutland and the forecast for a sunny weekend with virtually no wind clearly depleted the numbers. Never-the-less 12 sailors took part in racing which was just possible both days. On the Saturday just two races were run and it took dedication to paddle to and from the race area to achieve this. On the Sunday a little more wind, but still only around 5 knots, enabled a further four races to be run aided by slick race management. Light wind expert Snell won from J Ball and Chris Tillyer. Next came George Love, Gordon Deuce and Kevin Kirby who took fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

A one day Northern Championship event at Draycote was next up in July and 14 visitors joined nine sailors from the home club. After a delay to await some wind the club managed to run four races in conditions which remained light and fluky all day. Thom (4,1,1) won from Snell (2,2,3), J Ball (1,5,5) and Grattage (9,1,3). Top local was Peter Slater in fifth and new Class Treasurer, Nigel James, was sixth.

In August the fleet visited a new venue at Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth, encouraged by the emergence of a new fleet of young Sprint 15 sailors who mostly sail the more exciting Sport mode. We were rewarded with the best winds on the series with a SW force 3-4 and choppy seas on the Saturday and force 4-5 on the Sunday. Four races were completed on the Saturday and a further two on the Sunday. The racing was exciting and Thom, who was testing a fast borrowed boat, made no mistakes winning the event by taking five successive guns. Tuite Dalton was second which made up for his disappointment in his performance at Draycote and Jon Pearse, who was revelling in the strong conditions, took third. Yvonne Pike was top lady in an impressive fifth place and top local was Jamie Ward who was sixth even though it was his first sail in a Sprint 15.

The finale was at the Grafham Cat Open in October and 28 sailors took part in the Inland Championships and once again dwarfed all other classes at the Cat Open. Racing took place over two days on warm sunny days in a light force 2-3 breeze. Thom wanted to leave nothing to chance so had smooth talked his friends in lending him the fast boat he used at Plymouth. Racing was tight throughout the weekend and the result depended on the final race. In the end Thom won the event (4,1,1,6,1) and became new Inland Champion by a clear margin. Marconi sailors, D Ball and J Ball, were second and third respectively and Snell was fourth from Jim Bowie in fifth place.

Thus Thom became the new Traveller Champion from Snell (second) and J Ball (third). In total 51 sailors took part in the series and 16 sailors qualified by sailing three or more events. The Sprint 15 fleet have now moved on to the Winter Traveller Series which kicked off at Stewartby on 3 November.

Series Overall:

1st Liam Thom (Shanklin) 3 pts
2nd Stuart Snell (Grafham) 5 pts
3rd Jenny Ball (Marconi) 8 pts
4th George Love (Carsington) 14 pts
5th Paul Grattage (Shanklin) 19 pts
6th Ed Tuite Dalton (Draycote) 19pts
7th Kevin Kirby (Marconi) 24 pts
8th Nigel James (Marconi) 26pts
9th Jason Clarke (Marconi) 33pts
10th Jon Pearse (Marconi) 35 pts

Traveller Champion & Standard Mode Champion: Liam Thom (Shanklin)
Traveller Team Champions: Shanklin (Thom, Grattage & Holmberg)
Southern Champion: Liam Thom (Shanklin)
Northern Champion: Liam Thom (Shanklin)
Inland Champion: Liam Thom (Shanklin)
Top Youth: Jason Clarke

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