The Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 National Championships were held at Netley Sailing Club on 19 -21 Aug. The entry was 64 boats (but 63 attended). After a practice lap on the Saturday two races were sailed back-to-back after lunch. The wind was a brisk force 3-4 South Westerly straight across Southampton Water and race officer, David Henshall, set a large trapezoidal course with a beat across to the shipping channel and long reaches. First to the windward mark was George Carter followed by Stuart Snell, William Tusting, Richard Whitelock & (insurance man) David Lloyd. Lloyd hit the windward mark and had to do a 360. The reaches were long and exciting and with the second one skimming along the shoreline a large audience gathered in the Victoria Country Park. Big lifts were to be had on the beat and as the race progressed Charles Watson, Bob Carter and Erling Holmberg worked their way up the fleet. G Carter hung on the win from Snell, Watson, R Carter & Holmberg. The second race followed and this time Snell was first away and held the lead throughout to win from G Carter, Watson and R Carter. "Tippy" Tom Gall won the scrap for fifth place with Lloyd along the last reach of the race.
On Sunday the wind had swung towards the WNW and this enabled an inverted P course to be set with a long beat towards Southampton and the first reach along the edge of the shipping channel. The wind was a steady force 3 for the third race but the strong tide and heavy port biased line caught out many of the top boats who failed to cross the line on starboard at the pin end and had to tack/gybe back and weave their way through the fleet on port. No such problems for Lloyd and Steve Sawford who made dream starts and were first to the windward mark followed by Richard Philpott, Holmberg and Kevin Dutch. The rest were in catch-up mode. Fortunately, the wind out towards the channel was fresh and big gains were to be made by beating up the middle away from the shore. G Carter & Snell worked their way through the fleet and by the end had got back to first and third, but Lloyd hung on to take second. Holmberg snatched forth from R Carter with an early tack on the last leeward mark. Race 4 followed lunch and after being caught out by the tide and the heavy port biased line a big group tried port fliers – mostly successfully but for one unfortunate who was pushed over early and had the return to re-round the end. The wind had dropped a little for this race and as the fleet approached the windward mark on each lap the port tack boats got headed in some tricky disturbed air which made the last part of the beat very tactical. The race developed into the usual ding-dong between Snell & G Carter. The final order was G Carter, Snell, Lloyd, R Carter and Dutch. The 5th race followed and G Carter had to take a 360 after an infringement with T Gall when attempting a port flyer. So Snell & Gall were first to the windward mark & Snell subsequently opened out a huge (2 leg) lead from the chasing pack. Competition was hot behind Snell with Gall, Sawford, Dutch, Holmberg and the Carters playing catch-up. By the end G Carter and Gall had closed up to a few feet of Snell but Snell hung on to take his second gun and keep his title challenge alive.
Thus with all to play for on the Monday morning race 6 was set with a fresher breeze (F3-4) in the same direction (WNW) with a inverse P course again. Lloyd showed how line shy the fleet can be by reaching along the length of the line across the bows on the fleet in the 20 second before the start. First to the windward mark was Sawford followed by Snell & Lloyd. After a while the leading four boats were sailing around in pairs a long way ahead of the fleet. Snell was leading being chased by G Carter and the some way back Sawford was being hounded by Lloyd. This order and formation prevailed to the last leeward mark before the finish. Then Snell got an unexpected gybe when sailing by the lee which gave G Carter room to round inside to take the gun (and the title) & then Lloyd took third place from Sawford with a starboard advantage on the finish line. Race 7 took place in even more wind and once again the start line was heavily port biased. Fatigue and some boat damage had set in with a number of the competitors not starting. With the championship sewn up G Carter made no errors and led throughout. At the gun Lloyd was second from Snell, Sawford and Chris Black, who was by now revelling in his favoured strong winds.
Thus after an excellent 7 race championship, George Carter (1,2,1,1,2,1,1) was the winner from Stuart Snell (2,1,3,2,1,2,3) and David Lloyd (7,6,2,3,8,3,2). Jeremy and Rebecca White won the two up competition and Robin Newbold was the first youth with an excellent 24th place. Team UKIDA won the team trophy with 3 places of the top 7.
After the championship racing the fleet moved on to a 2 day fun programme which included a cruise to Hill Head for lunch at the Osbourne View pub, a Go-Kart Competition and a cruise to Gurnard Sailing Club for lunch. The class would like to thank the Netley Sailing Club for their hospitality and running an excellent Championship Event.
Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions