Dart 15's at Stokes Bay, 1-2 June 2002

On Jubilee weekend (1 & 2 June) the Dart 15s traveller circuit visited Stokes Bay for the first time in some 10 years. The thought was that if we held an event on the Solent then some of the Isle of Wight Dart 15s could sail across, without the need to pay for a ferry. The plan did not work out, however, as we had just 8 mainlanders and none of the IOW boats made the trip. This was a shame as it was a gorgeous sailing weekend with 2 sunny and windy days.

The event was part of the Stokes Bay Jubilee Regatta which had more than 120 entries ranging from Toppers to 49ers and from Dart 15s to Tornado Sports. This gave race officer, Mike Rayden, a problem tailoring for the various needs of the classes. The fast handicap asymmetrics, and large cats were given long upwind- downwind courses, while the slower boats did a shorter beat, a reach and then a couple of sausages to the shore side of the main course. The Dart 15s were on this shorter course together with Toppers, Lasers, and Hobie 16s and Hobie Dragoons. The Dart 15s shared a start with the Hobies.

On Saturday 3 races were sailed back to back in a pleasant force 3-4 Easterly breeze. The trio of Steve Hanby (2,1,1), Bob Carter (1,2,3) and Paul Smith (3,3,2) shared the first 3 places on the Saturday with the major challenge being fighting for water and wind at the start with the Brian Phipps' Hobie squad, who seem to favour barging the line from a reach. The 4th and 5th spots were hotly contested between Will Edwards, Gordon Goldstone and Paul Craft. Surfing down the swell was a delight on the runs. On Saturday the courses proved too short and the Hobies and Dart 15 were finished in 30minutes or so and then had to wait 40-50 minutes for the fast cats to finish racing and for the next race to get underway.

By Sunday the courses were adjusted in size and more laps added such that shortening was possible to match the race times of the fleets. Once again 3 races were sailed back to back. The next two races followed a similar pattern to the Saturday with Hanby and Carter sharing one apiece. In the last race Gordon Goldstone tacked off early into the middle of the Solent for tidal advantage and was first to the windward mark followed by Hanby. These two were clear away and Goldstone extended his lead on the run. On the next beat Smith and Edwards spotted an advantage up the shore side due to a favourable lift and flat water and sailed into first and second places, which they retained to the finish.

Thus, after a pleasant weekends sailing, in the final count up, Hanby won by a clear margin from Carter and Smith who were second and third on equal points. Thus Hanby extends his lead in the series with 3 straight wins.

Overall Results
1st S. Hanby Beaver 8 pts
2nd R. Carter Grafham 10 pts
3rd P. Smith Beaver 10 pts
4th W. Edwards Grafham 20 pts
5th G. Goldstone Queen Mary 22 pts
6th G. Stephen Queen Mary 30 pts