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Sprint 15 TT & Northern Championship at Carsington Sailing Club

by George Love 7 Sep 12:31 BST 3-4 September 2022

Fourteen travelling competitors from far and wide and ranging in age from 10 years old to 70 plus joined the one home boat of George Love to compete a six race card over two days at the idyllic setting of Carsington Water in Derbyshire.

Like many reservoirs around the country, the tide has well and truly gone out creating a very large and muddy beach. But there was still plenty of water to play on with access via a very long slipway that the club had constructed during the last major drought year. So, it was game on thanks to the pre-planning of previous years and some recent hard work by club management to ensure the event could happen.

The nationally acclaimed home club race management team comprising PRO Henry Wright and ARO's Keith and Liz Appleby ably assisted by the superb mark laying/safety team of Dick Dalton, Dave Curran and Mick Steer laid a trapezoidal course for both days.

A gentle and shifty south easterly breeze, overcast skies with very brief spells of sunshine greeted the sailors as they headed out to do battle on Day 1. It was to be a day of snakes and ladders with big wind shifts, calm spells on parts of the lake whilst, at the same moment other areas had lively zephyrs topping out at 13 knots. Big gains and big losses were to be had depending upon one's position was at the time.

Race 1 and the battle at the front of the fleet quickly developed into a two boat race between former national champions Stuart Snell (Grafham) and David Ball sailing two-up with 10 year old son, John (Marconi). They eventually pulled out a reasonable lead over the rest of the fleet and traded places with Stuart taking the win. The following five or six boats of Ed Tuite Dalton (Draycote), Derek James (Draycote), Jon Pearce (Marconi), current National Champion Liam Thom (Shanklin), Scott Wilcox (Stewartby), George and Jenny Ball (Marconi) were also in a trading places battle with Ed, Liam, Scott and George finishing in that order behind the lead two boats.

Race 2 saw Ed nail the start and by the end of lap 1 had established what would turn out to be an unassailable lead at the finish. Behind Ed a battle ensued between David & John, Charles Watson (Yorkshire Dales), Jason Clarke (Marconi), George, Jenny, Liam and Stuart.

The last run was to be the decider with wind on one side of the leg and little on the other. George rode his luck on the former (no good judgement involved!) whilst the others opted for the latter side and much to the others' consternation overtook them to finish second. Third to sixth were David and John, Jason, Stuart and Liam.

Race 3 and Scott was the early leader after one lap with Liam, Jenny, Ed, Charles and George snapping at his transom and each others. Further back Stuart had got off to a poor start but we all know how quickly he can work his way through the field. At the finish Liam took the gun from Jenny followed by Jason, Scott, Stuart and David and John.

The fleet retired to the clubhouse for a well-earned and hearty meal washed down with refreshment and lively banter.

Sunday dawned a little brighter than Saturday with a fresher breeze with gusts topping out around 20 knots with the potential to catch the unwary. But such is the skill and expertise of the sailors all across the fleet that the safety boats were never to be troubled by swimming helms or crew.

Race 4 and Day 2 saw current National Champion Liam get into his usual stride. There had been some speculation that on Day 1 he had been suffering a bout of altitude sickness on account of being so far north from his home waters on the Isle of Wight! That said he wasn't to have it all his own way. He took the honours in Race 4 but was pushed all the way by Jenny, Stuart, David and John, Scott and George.

Further down the field and only by a small distance, the racing was just as competitive, not least in the family father/daughter rivalry between Dave and Jemma Clarke (Marconi) with Yvonne Pike (Shanklin) and Andy Bunyan (Stewartby) battling just as much as the front runners and all of whom finished each race within one or two minutes of each other.

Race 5 and from the get go, Stuart pulled out a huge lead over the chasing pack of Jason, Ed, Liam, Dave and Jenny. He kept this all the way to the line with Liam, Jason, Jenny, Ed and Dave completing the top six places in that order.

Race 6, the final fling and it was still all to play for. Liam was on his mettle but pushed hard for the first lap by George and Jenny with Derek, David and John, David and Yvonne within shouting distance. Liam slowly crept away on the first downwind leg with George and Jenny trying to keep pace but locked in a battle of their own. Jenny got the drop on George at the leeward mark but he quickly returned the compliment on the next upwind leg to find Stuart had worked his way through the field from a less than perfect start and was catching them fast. Jason and Ed had also made good progress through the fleet after finishing the first lap in 10th and 11th place respectively.

Liam took the gun with George, Jenny, Stuart, Ed and Jason following.

A prize-giving in the clubhouse recognized the overall top six finishers of Liam, Stuart, Jenny, Ed, David with young son/crew John and George. A couple of spot prizes were awarded to the good sports of namely Dave Clarke and Jon Pearse for their special brand of 'on the water entertainment'!

The race management team was thanked by way of some appropriate libations and they noted how competitive the racing had been across the fleet with only a few minutes between the first and last boat to finish each race. And it was great to see the younger sailors who represent the future of this long established class competing with such skill and determination.

Congratulations to Liam Thom as the 2022 Sprint 15 Northern Champion. Not bad for the lad from South Island (Isle of Wight). But he is our well-deserved 2022 National Champion too!

A note of thanks goes to the Carsington Club Waterside Manager Wil and his superb shore team for staging the event in difficult drought stricken times. And a final note of thanks goes to Pauline Love for her superb photographic record of a very enjoyable weekend on the water.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2034Liam Thom 4‑611219
2nd2022Stuart Snell 1‑5531414
3rd2025Jenny Ball ‑107224318
4th2023Edward Tuite Dalton 316‑85520
5th1923David BallJohn Ball23747‑823
6th2019George Love 62‑969225
7th1917Jason Clarke ‑134393625
8th1359Scott Wilcox 5‑144581133
9th1521David Clarke 12‑158106945
10th1744Derek James 713‑151211750
11th1237Charles Watson ‑148107131250
12th1965Yvonne Pike ‑15121211101055
13th1339Jemma Clarke 1191113‑141357
14th1899Andy Bunyan 811‑1414121459
15th1988John Pearse 91013(RET)RETDNC66
16th1635Russell Briggs (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC85

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