Grafham Winter Handicap Sunday 1st April 2001

Location: Grafham Water Sailing Club, Near St. Neots.

On Sunday 1 April the Dart 15 fleet visited Grafham for the final event of the winter series. The event had been postponed by a few weeks for the foot and mouth problem but it did not deter the intrepid Dart 15 travellers with an entry of 19 boats. Race officer, Roger Driver, set an inverse 'P' course for the first race in sunny conditions with a force 3 south westerly breeze. The start was clean with only Steve Sawford over the line (OCS) but an over enthusiastic rescue boat driver caused great confusion by waving back (unnecessarily) half of the fleet. The race continued, however, as the committee boat signals were clear. Stuart Snell was first to the windward mark (about the same time as class chairman, Nick Dewhirst, - well known for late arrivals - was rigging his boat). Snell was chased by Bob Carter, Philip Howden and sprinter, Steve Sawford. As the race developed R Carter took over at the front until sprinter George Carter powered through after recovering from the confusion at the start. The finishing sequence on corrected times was R Carter, G Carter, Snell, Howden and Mark Aldridge.

After lunch the course was changed to a trapezoid. The line was short and a number of the fleet were caught out by a sudden wind shift to favour the port tack and many of the starboard starters failed to get across the line at the 1st attempt. No messing for G Carter who was first to the windward mark, followed by Snell, Aldridge, Chris Black and Steve Hanby. On the next lap Black went for a swim and Aldridge was involve in a crunch, which unfortunately finished his days sailing. The corrected finishing places were G Carter, Hanby, Snell, Hampshire & R Carter. S. Sawford was sixth and chairman Dewhirst, who by now had rigged his boat, came in seventh.

In the last race Snell was off like a bat out of hell and fended off the sprinters of G Carter and S Sawford for much of the race. Hampshire controlled the chasing pack while R Carter & C Black fought for 4th & 5th. The finishing sequence was Snell, G Carter, Hampshire, R Carter, Black, Sawford & John Keyte.

Thus at the end of the day G Carter cleaned up (2,1,2) from Snell (3,1,3) and R Carter (1,5,4). This concluded the Dart 15 winter circuit and the Dart 15s now look forward to the summer circuit of 2 day events which starts at Swanage on 21/22 April.

Overall Results
1st G. Carter Beaver
2nd S. Snell Grafham
3rd R. Carter Grafham
4th J. Hampshire Carsington
5th S. Hanby Beaver
6th S. Sawford Rutland

Sprint Results
1st G. Carter Beaver
2nd S. Sawford Rutland
3rd R. Sawford Rutland