It was ideal sailing conditions at Stewartby on Saturday 10 November - clear blue sky, sunny, mild with a pleasant force 2-3 SW breeze. Not bad since it was snow and biting cold just the day before! 12 travellers joined the 6 locals to make an entry of 18 Dart 15s. The first race kicked off with a figure of eight course, a short heavily starboard biased start line and the windward mark (to starboard) less than 100 yards away which could be laid on starboard tack without tacking! Unsurprisingly, the starboard end of the start was crowded and the turn at the windward mark was chaos with a number of infringements/ collisions. Bob Carter was clear away followed by Steve Sawford and Stuart Snell - many of the other top sailors were stuck in the mêlée for some time. Through the race the Beaver sailors, Paul Smith and Steve Hanby, made up ground but Smith could not penetrate the close covering of Snell and the finishing sequence was Carter, Snell, Smith, and Hanby. A number of sailors scored "dnf" due to missing our the gate - this included Gordon Goldstone (much to the amusement of arch rival, Alan Welman), Henry and Oliver Clark as well as locals Mark and Neil Rushdon.
By the afternoon race officer, Neville Solerburg, moved the start line to correct the bias and moved it further away from the windward mark, which considerably improved the situation. Paul Smith took full advantage of the first beat and led the whole race by an increasing margin. Local Sprinter, Robin Hall, sailed very fast to sail through the fleet to be second on the water, closely followed by Chris Black and Steve Hanby. Snell was held back by a couple of incidents with the novice contingent and did not show his full potential.
Thus after a pleasant days sailing, Paul Smith won by a narrow margin from Bob Carter and Chris Black.The next winter TT is at Beaver on 8 Dec so don't miss it.
1st Sprinter: R Hall (Stewartby)
1st 2-up: H & O Clark (Swanage)