Grafham Winter Handicap Sunday 10 March 2002

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

On Sunday 10 March the Dart 15 fleet visited Grafham for the final event of the winter series. The weather forecast was for gales, but despite this and the severe gales the day before, there was an attendance of 14, which comprised 6 travellers and 8 from the home club. Race officer, Ian Walters and the RS600 fleet crew, set a large trapezoidal course with long square reaches just what the Dart 15s had ordered. The first race got off in a force 5-7 Southerly blow. George Carter crossed the fleet on port, closely followed by Stuart Snell and Steve Sawford. Chris Black was the leading starboard starters followed by Bob Carter and Philip Howden. At the windward mark it was G Carter from Snell, Sawford and Black, but by this time there had already been a number of capsizes and retirements. On the run Mark Aldridge pitch-poled and then Black had the same problem on the second reach. After 1 round it was G Carter, Snell, Sawford, R Carter and newcomer to the Dart 15 traveller circuit, Paul Craft. On the second beat the wind strength increased to gusts of force 8/9 and a series of further capsizes and retirements took place. Sawford could not tack until he ran aground on the distant shore, when he walked it round and set off again! Craft made steady progress and was up to second place at one stage. The race officer was requested by rescue to shorten the race due to the worsening conditions. G Carter took the gun by a large margin and then after some distance came Snell, Craft and Sawford in rapid succession. Barrie Hoggard was loving it and came in 5th followed by Nick Dewhirst who had made up for a late start. Craft, Sawford, Hoggard and Dewhirst were the only sailors of the 8 finishers who avoided capsizing. R Carter was the most frequent swimmer!

At lunch, with the wind gusting to force 9, the Race Officer asked the fleet to abandon the second race and so for the second event of the winter series the results were decided on a single race.

Bob Carter

Overall Results
1st G. Carter Grafham
2nd S. Snell Grafham
3rd P. Craft Angmering
4th S. Sawford Rutland
5th B. Hoggard Beaver
6th N. Dewhirst Whitstable
7th G. Goldstone Queen Mary
8th R. Carter Grafham

Dart 15 Winter Series

The Dart 15 winter traveller series was concluded at Grafham on Sunday 10 March. All 5 events were sailed, but some severe weather was experienced and both Grafham and Rutland were confined to single races with many retirements. The events were at Stewartby, Beaver, Rutland, Queen Mary and Grafham. A total of 30 sailors took part but only 7 qualified with results in 3 or more regattas the low number was on account of the heavy winds for the second part of the series spoiling many-a campaign.

George Carter retained the series with 1,1,1 from Stuart Snell (1,2,2) and Bob Carter (2,3,3)

The fleet now rest for a few weeks until the Summer Series kicks off at Marconi on 13/14 April. We are planning to combine this opening traveller series with a bit of training using the popular Grafham Pro-Am formula. That way we hope to give the less experienced Dart 15 sailors a kick start at the start of the season.

Series Results
1st G. Carter Grafham
2nd S. Snell Grafham
3rd R. Carter Grafham
4th S. Sawford Rutland
5th G. Goldstone Queen Mary
6th C. Black Grafham
7th P. Howden Grafham