On Sunday February 10, the Dart 15 Association held the 4th of their one day Winter Series at Queen Mary Sailing Club. Fortunately for the competitors, they also managed to pick one of the better days in amongst the recent gales. However, the recent severe weather did manage to take a toll on this years entry list, and only 8 boats turned up to race. This was a great shame as the day’s racing took place in near perfect conditions, with a gusty force 3-4 wind blowing all day.
Race officer Paul Schroeder set the fleet a trapezoid course on the Eastern side of the reservoir. At the start George Carter, starting on port, leapt into an early lead and quickly established himself at the front. Behind him, Stuart Snell and Bob Carter were battling for 2nd place, but neither could make any impression on the leader. In the mid-fleet, Nick Dewhirst, Phil Howden, Paul Craft and local man, Gordon Goldstone were having a good tussle, with places changing on every lap. The gusts were regularly sweeping down the water and using them to good effect was vital. At the finish, Grafham’s George Carter was some way clear, followed by Snell and Bob Carter. The mid-fleet battle finished with Phil Howden in 4th followed by Goldstone, Dewhirst, and Craft. Queen Mary sailor, Keith Chidwick finished in 8th place.
The 2nd race in the afternoon followed much the same pattern. Once again George Carter shot off into the lead, followed by Bob Carter and Stuart Snell. This was the order for 4 laps until Snell, making good use of the gusts, managed to take 2nd place.
The battle for the other places was fierce, with Dewhirst, Goldstone and Phil Howden yet again swapping places throughout the race, and Paul Craft and Keith Chidwick not far behind them. On the last lap Goldstone attempted to pass Dewhirst on the penultimate leg of the race. This developed into a huge luffing duel, which allowed Phil Howden to catch up 50 yards and pass the pair of them and take 4th place. Dewhirst held off Goldstone to the line to take 5th.
After a hard days racing it was once again, National Champion George Carter who demonstrated the quality of his sailing skill to take top prize. Stuart Snell was again a worthy second place, and Bob Carter took 3rd. Phil Howden was a clear 4th and Gordon Goldstone just pipped Nick Dewhirst for 5th by virtue of equal points but a lower aggregate time over the 2 races.
|5th||G. Goldstone||Queen Mary|
|7th||P. Craft||Oxford SC|
|8th||K. Chidwick||Queen Mary|