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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

Dart 15 Southern Championship at Shanklin Sailing Club

by Liam Thom 22 May 11:47 BST 18-19 May 2024

A game of two halves

29 boats entered the second of the Dart 15 Summer Series events with six sailors coming from across the Solent.

There were very light and shifty winds for the first race which started just after noon on Saturday the 18th. A right handed rectangle course was set by race officers Keith Newnham and Alan Howie-Wood which became a running start as the fickle breeze shifted round. Those sailors who chose to start on the left hand, shore side of the line were rewarded with their own zephyr whereas those by the outer mark were left stranded in no wind.

Sean McKenna had the best start of all and he led from thereon despite his zephyr fading half way to the first mark, allowing the dawdlers to catch up a bit. Sean led Jason Clarke, Jenny Ball, Hector Bunclark and Yvonne Pike on the beat out to sea while Liam Thom tacked off to the right at the first opportunity, making up for a dreadful start.

Jenny got ahead of Liam and Hector on the run with Sean taking the win ahead of Jason.

The course was reversed for the second race with a short southerly beat as the first leg. There was a bit more breeze and boats were able to lift a hull very briefly. The start was more even this time but Sean was first again to the windward mark ahead of Stuart Pierce on his borrowed boat "Poisoned Chalice", ahead of Mark Pritchard and Liam. The wind faded as the leaders were heading for the club finish line but a late shortening would have disadvantaged those who were sailing for the next buoy rather than the finish so the race was allowed to continue to the next buoy. Sean took the second race win ahead of Liam, Stuart, Mark and sprightly octogenarian John Shenton.

It looked like there would be no further racing that day and most of the early finishers came to shore. However, the wind filled in again from the south and race three was started in a force 2. Sean was again first to the windward mark but Jason and Liam were right up with him at the leeward mark after a long downwind leg. The beat up to the finish was a tack along the shoreline amongst the groins, with helms opting to stay out of the tide. Sean kept his lead but Jason overtook Liam and Jon Pearse lost fourth position to Jenny on the final tack.

Sean has had just about a perfect day. He had started well, sailed fast and chosen the correct side every time.

The sun came out properly the next day and there was a bit more breeze, this time coming from a bit east of north.

Race four looked like it would go the way of the first day's racing with Sean just ahead of Liam and Jason at the first mark but Sean then decided to miss out mark two and Jason ignored advice not to follow him. Liam and Stuart took advantage of this largesse and maintained a good lead for a lap until the starboard rounding course caused mayhem at the second mark. Stuart should have had the lead but Liam had right of way on starboard causing Stuart to tack - and then mess Jenny's race up - who then messed up Yvonne. As all the dominos fell, Mark weaved his way through to take the lead which he held until the last reach when Liam edged ahead. Liam took the win ahead of Mark, Jon and Stuart.

The wind was veering more towards the east and the previous windward buoy was removed from the course for race five. Sean and Jason chose the leeward end of the line which looked a brave decision. Those on the right hand side of the start line prospered better and Liam, Jon, Jenny, Stuart, Yvonne and Bob Baker rounded the first mark at the front of the fleet. Liam maintained the lead to the line ahead of Jon and Jenny with Stuart just losing out to Sean on the finish line for fourth.

Sean had started the day with a six point lead but he was now ahead only after countback. He needed to beat Liam in the last race with a fourth or better. The wind had shifted further east and the course was changed so the first leg was a short reach followed by a long beat.

Sean was not taking any chances at the start and pulled off a brilliant manoeuvre to hold Liam and half a dozen others by the outer mark. He did, however let many others get away and he needed a good score to win the series. He rounded the first mark only in 6th which was not enough for the regatta win. Jenny and Jason held the lead for the next leg with Sean making his way through the fleet past Stuart, Chris Murphy and Yvonne. Sean caught up with Jason on the first lap run but Jenny managed to stay just ahead for the two lap race to take the win ahead of Jason, Sean and Stuart.

Sean took the Southern Championship win by a single point after a first day's light wind masterclass.

Our thanks to all the volunteers in the club including safety boat crew (Les Kay, Ian Bolton, David Sanchez, Jon Moram and Paul Knights), race officers (Keith Newnham and Alan Howie-Wood), catering (June Kay, Ian Wilkinson, Mary Howie-Wood and Ian Bolton), and Tina Lavender helping people launch and recover boats.

Overall Results:

1stSean McKennaShanklin Sailing Club11184310
2ndLiam ThomShanklin Sailing Club42311511
3rdJenny BallMarconi Sailing Club37453116
4thJason ClarkeMarconi Sailing Club282711221
5thStuart PierceShanklin Sailing Club123745423
6thJon PearseMarconi Sailing Club895321227
7thMark PritchardShanklin Sailing Club9462141031
8thChris MurphyShanklin Sailing Club2268138641
9thYvonne PikeShanklin Sailing Club61110186841
10thBob BakerShanklin Sailing Club13109107743
11thTony MurrantShanklin Sailing Club14.51211991655.5
12thHector BunclarkNorth Devon Yacht Club520206181362
13thKeith ChidwickQueen Mary Sailing Club7131517131965
14thDavid ClarkeMarconi Sailing Club18181412101165
15thKevin EllisShanklin Sailing Club10161314201871
16thJames PikeShanklin Sailing Club19DNF1215121573
17thIan WilkinsonShanklin Sailing Club16DNF291115975
18thJohn ShentonShanklin Sailing Club2451623192184
19thKarl NaumannShanklin Sailing Club21141820291487
20thJamie LavenderShanklin Sailing Club11192125222093
21stPascoal FernandesShanklin Sailing Club14.51517DNFDNF29101.5
22ndAndrew DeanShanklin Sailing Club232122192422107
23rdBob MarksShanklin Sailing Club1729DNF212329115
24thRichard PhelpsShanklin Sailing Club292929241717116
25thLewis CouchShanklin Sailing Club292929161629119
26thTodd MurrantShanklin Sailing Club2629DNF222129123
27thGeoff LeatherShanklin Sailing Club201729292929124
28thJerry RobertsonShanklin Sailing Club25291926DNF29126
29thJohn MoramShanklin Sailing Club292929292929145

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