Location: Gurnard Sailing Club, Isle of Wight.
A fleet of 27 Dart 15's assembled at Gurnard Sailing Club on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of July for the Red Funnel sponsored Dart 15 Southern Championships. Five sailors travelled from mainland clubs and three made the short trip from Shanklin SC.
Racing took part in light force 2-3 breezes. With strong spring tides and a light wind local knowledge and consistency were to be key factors.
Race 1 was a complex in shore course which was judge perfectly by Bob Milton.
In Race 2 the fleet was sent to the channel marker East Lepe. Getting through the strong mid channel tide effectively was the key to this race. Carl Blenkinsop, Robin Leather, Laurie Gustar and Bob Milton all led at one stage in a fascinating tactical battle. The old maestro Milton finally prevailed and looked well set to dominate the series as he does so regularly at Gurnard.
The day's events were discussed over a fantastic supper organised by Gurnard Sailing Club on Saturday night with the famous Gurnard sunset capping off a great day's sailing.
In Race 3 Bob Carter and Blenkinsop got away well and had a fair lead as they turned at the windward mark to try and beat the tide downwind. First time Dart 15 sailor Pete Newlands in the following pack noticed the wind shift first and made the second mark in the lead followed by Milton. By the 4th mark Newlands, Carter, Milton and Blenkinsop had opened up a lead and it was at this point Milton effectively lost the competition when he missed a mark and then retired due to gear failure. Newlands won the race followed by Carter and Blenkinsop.
Race 4 - Following a wait for the afternoon sea breeze the final race started. Again Milton, Carter, Newlands and Blenkinsop were fighting for the lead and the race was decided when Newlands found himself on port with Blenkinsop bearing down on starboard. Milton went on to take line honours followed by Blenkinsop and Carter. The winner on handicap was a very pleased Nick Dewhirst.
Carl Blenkinsop was the series winner with a solid set of results (4,6,4,3) with Laurie Gustar second (2,5,10,6), Bob Carter third (16,3,2,4) and Robin Leather forth (5,2,9,10). The unluckiest competitor was Bob Milton, who got two firsts and a second but had to carry a DNF after retiring with gear failure. As ever Gurnard sailing club did a great job of hosting this event. Special thanks should go to the race officers (Steve Cole & Co), safety boat crews and kitchen helpers. Thanks also to Red Funnel for their generous support with both prize money and reduced travel costs.
|3rd||G. Goldstone||Queen Mary|
First Lady: M. Fisher (Gurnard),