Dart 15 Nationals 2003 Pentewan, Cornwall 24-26 August

The 25th Anniversary Dart 15 National Championships were held at Pentewan Sands Sailing Club in the week of 24-30 August. A record 86 entries (up from the previous record of 67) attended this special, Silver Jubilee, championships which was run at the Dart 15s favourite venue and sponsored by the Laser Centre. The programme was to the traditional format with 3 days of racing followed by 3 days of fun events and 53 boats stayed on for the full week.

Nationals 2003

The proceedings got under way with a short practice race on Sunday morning. Race Officer, Brian Goodman, set a trapezoidal course and the race started in a very light Easterly wind but with little progress after 40 minutes the race was abandoned. The fleet returned for a lunch stop and the first race was postponed for a spell but eventually got started soon after 3pm. The wind was very light and with a heavy port biased line more than half the fleet failed to cross the line in the prescribed 5 minutes. First to the windward mark was Ian Fraser, closely followed by Laurie Gustar. The race was shortened to a lap and the finishing sequence was Fraser, Geoff Howlett, Gustar and Carl Blenkinsop. The second race followed and by now there was a force 1-2 easterly wind and a clean start was achieved. Most of the fleet maintained the starboard tack to take the left side of the course but it was the few boats that took the right side who were first to the windward mark. Phil and Sam Neal led from Steve and David Littlejohn and Jim Jeffrey but the unfortunate Jeffrey was obstructed by a boat tacking in his water and was driven onto the mark. Bob Carter and Fraser made ground on the downwind leg and after a lap the sequence was Carter, Fraser and the Neals. On the second beat however Fraser really got into gear opening up 100 yard lead showing how a Dart 15 should be sailed in light wind and a chop (fast and free). Thus after 2 laps Fraser took his second gun of the day from P & S Neal, R Carter and S & D Littlejohn.

Sadly, the next two days saw strong on-shore force 4-6 Easterly winds diving up a big swell and surf which resulted in a series of postponements and eventually the championships being abandoned as only 2 races had been completed. Results were calculated and alternative prizes were awarded based on the 2 races but the 2003 National Championships will be rerun later in the season. Thus based on the two races sailed class founder, Ian Fraser, sailing a Dart 15 for the first time in 24 years showed the fleet the way with two first places and won the special trophy. Laurie Gustar of Gurnard was runner up with 11 points and Steve and David Littlejohn were third overall and first two-up boat with 14 points. Ironically the ?Crews Race? was held in an ideal force 3 easterly wind on the Wednesday. Three laps of a triangular course were completed with 20 boats, mostly helmed by novice members of the fleet. Jacob Aldridge was clear winner from Linda Littlejohn and Phil Morran. There followed a programme involving fun races, go-carting, a treasure trail, cruises to Polkerris and Goran Haven , a sell out (150) championship dinner, Barbeque, and fish and chip supper. Mark Aldridge won the raffle of a new mainsail, kindly provided by our sponsor, the Laser Centre.

Thus the fleet returned home after having a good time despite the failure to complete 4 championship races. The favourite venue for the rescheduled championship is Grafham at 11-12 October, but arrangements have yet to be agreed.

Overall Results
1st I. Fraser Restronguent 2pts
2nd L. Gustar Gurnard 11pts
3rd S. & D. Littlejohns Swanage 14pts
4th G. Carter Grafham 18pts
5th J. Jeffery Sandwich Bay 22pts

1st E. Buckels Thornbury

1st S. & D. Littlejohns Swanage
2nd N. & M. Grum Carsington
3rd M. & E. Sanders Herne Bay
5th J. Jeffery Sandwich Bay 22pts

Crews Race
1st J. Aldridge Grafham
2nd L. Littlejohns Swanage
3rd P. Morran Beaver

OTT Trophy: C. Blenkinsop (Gurnard)

Click here to view the full results table.