Grafham Cat Open, 19-20 October 2002

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

On the weekend of 19/20 October the Dart 15s met at Grafham for the last event of the traveller's trophy series. 33 competitors entered (including 14 Grafham boats) despite of a forecast of light winds for the weekend. Race officer, Mike St Paer and his team, set a trapezoidal course for all 4 starts which included Vortexs, Hobie 16s, Shearwaters (with the catamaran handicap boats) and the Dart 15s. In the first race in a light westerly breeze Philip Howden was clear away from the pack and was first to round the windward mark, followed by Stuart Snell, Paul Smith and George Carter. By the run, George Carter, who was one of just two competitors sailing Sprint mode, had taken the lead from Snell and Smith. By the next beat Bob Carter led from Smith and new comer, Robin Boardman as the earlier leaders were headed on the shore side of the beat. On the final round P. Smith got away to take the gun from Snell, R Carter and Boardman. The wind had filled a little for the second race on Saturday, and the reaches were tightened up, which enable the Sprint boats of G Carter and Bill Tusting to make more progress through the fleet. G Carter led from start to finish followed by Snell and Smith. All the place changing was taking place behind these 3 and involved the likes of Tusting, R Carter and Alistair Dean, who had woken up after a lay-in. At the end, G Carter was not far enough ahead to beat Snell who took first from G Carter and P Smith. The fleet retired to the bar to enjoy the meal and disco, which was organized for the occasion by the Grafham Club.

On Sunday the wind had swung to the east, but to the dismay of the fleet was even lighter than the day before. G Carter was first to the windward mark followed by Snell, Boardman and Matt Smith, who was getting the hang of the light conditions. G Carter and Snell pulled away and were never seriously challenged but the fight for third place was intense. In the end Snell was again close enough to take the honours on handicap from G Carter, R Carter, P Smith and M Smith who came 5th to make it a family affair!

By the last race Snell could not be beaten, so he was not shattered to find he was over the line for the 4th start. The race became an obstacle course of stalled Dart 16s, Hobie Dragoons, etc. in the light wind for the experienced Dart 15 fleet to pick their way through (some did not make it and got seriously held up), but G. Carter was not troubled and extended a massive lead by the finish to take his first gun of the weekend. George Stephen and Boadman found a big lift on the shore in the second beat and claimed 2nd and 3rd places. Newcomer to the fleet, Nathan Cooke eased into forth place ahead of R Carter and Steve Hanby, who was having an uncharacteristically bad weekend.

Thus after a tight weekends sailing the honours went to Stuart Snell (2,1,1) who was master of the light winds from George Carter (2,2,1) and Paul Smith (1,3,4).

Click here to view the full results table.

Overall Results
1st S. Snell Grafham 4 pts
2nd G. Carter Grafham 5 pts
3rd P. Smith Beaver 8 pts
4th R. Carter Grafham 10 pts
5th R. Boardman Halifax 13 pts
6th G. Stephen Queen Mary 17 pts

Sprint Results
1st G. Carter Grafham
2nd W. Tusting Grafham

Two-up Results: 1st W. Edwards & F. Towell (Grafham)

Longstaff Cup: S. Snell