Stewartby Winter Handicap Saturday 9 November 2002

On Saturday 9 November 18 Dart 15s took part in the first event of the Dart 15 winter traveller series at Stewartby. Boats came from as far a-field as Doncaster, Worthing and there were even a couple of travellers who had to catch ferries to attend (from the Isle of Wight). Most sailors elected to sail una-rig in the light breeze but there were a couple of Sprinters, Steve Cole and Robin Hall, who chose to use the jib.

The wind was a NW force 2 which was straight along the lake, and race officer, Neville Solerburg, set an inverse 'P' course, which is a favourite of the fleet. Proceedings got underway in the morning race with a bunched fleet at the starboard end due to a heavy starboard bias on the line. Steve Sawford took advantage of the clear air further along the line and sailed into a clear lead from Stuart Snell and Paul Smith. This order prevailed for a lap or so but the sprint boat of Hall caught up on the downwind legs. By the end of 4 laps the finishing sequence was Smith, Hall, Snell, Sawford and Philip Howden, but the unfortunate Hall, had evidently missed the gate on a previous lap and was not given a finish. A total of 6 boats had made the same error, which in a two race series with no discards, turns out to make recovery impossible.

After lunch the wind had dropped and in the second race it was Steve Cole who was first to the windward mark by sailing up the middle of the lake sailing free. Cole was followed by Snell, Hall and Bob Carter. This group led the proceeding down the second reach but on the run a slight breeze from the rear brought the next 4 or 5 boats into the pack and 7 boats arrived at the leeward mark together. "Water for 6 boats" was the cry. This jam caused the order to be reversed and it was then the familiar sight of Snell leading from Smith, Howden and Sawford. The race was shortened to just 2 laps in a dying breeze and on the last reach Sawford saw an opportunity to steal the lead by gybing into a gap at the inner mark, but then at the end the sequence was Smith, Sawford, Snell and Barrie Hoggard, who had closed right up with the leaders towards the end.

Thus last year's winner, Paul Smith, repeated his success with two first places closely followed by Steve Sawford and Stuart Snell who each scored a second and third.

The next winter TT is at Beaver on 7 Dec so don't miss it.

Overall Results
1st P. Smith Beaver 2pts
2nd S. Sawford Rutland 5pts
3rd S. Snell Grafham 5pts
4th P. Howden Grafham 9pts
5th C. Black Grafham 11pts
6th B. Hoggard Beaver 12pts

1st Sprinter: S Cole (Gurnard)

For the full results click here for the series table