Southern Championships, Open Dinghy Club, 7-8th June 2003

Over the weekend of the 7 - 8th June, the Open Dinghy Sailing Club (Angmering-on-Sea, West Sussex) hosted the Dart 15 Southern Area Championships. 21 entries including 2 from the Isle of Wight (Shanklin), 10 locals and Jeremy Evans from Multi-Mad of Yachts and Yachting, who came to report on proceedings.

On Saturday 2 races were sailed and race officer, Vic Smith, set a square course in a force 3 Southerly breeze. In race one Bob Carter led the way, followed by Philip Howden and the Sprint boats of George Stephen and Phil Breeze. At the finish the corrected sequence was Carter, Howden, Chris Rickard and Paul Craft with the sprinters 5th and 6th. In race 2 the Sprinters, Stephen and Breeze, charged off into the distance finding the reaches very much to their liking and were not seen again by the fleet. Howden led the way for the standard format boats followed by Nick Dewhirst, Craft, Rickards and Stuart Pierce. The race was shortened after 3 laps when a sea mist descended suddenly and reduced visibility to less than 100 yards. Stephen narrowly took the gun from Breeze and then after a long gap it was Howden from Carter and Craft. Proceedings were wound up for the day on Saturday evening with a BBQ and social with the ODSC regulars.

Sunday started wet with little wind but by race 3 the wind had filled to a southerly force 4 and there was more to come! Les Wearn had taken over as race officer but stuck with the trapezoidal course. At the first mark it was Carter from Howden, Dewhirst and Craft. After a lap Craft had overtaken Dewhirst, only to capsize and let the class chairman regain 3rd place. As the race developed the wind built to a force 5 making surfing down the swell a delight on the runs. This was very much to Dewhirst's liking and by the finish had closed to second behind Carter and ahead of Howden, Craft and Pierce. The wind continued to build over lunch as the Sun came out and by the time of the last race was a force 6 gusting force 7. This caused quite a few to "stand down" but 6 boats made the effort. After a lap race 4 was shortened due to the deteriorating conditions and only 2 boats were left. Newcomer to the Dart 15 travellers circuit, Kenny McGouran, from Pagham took the gun from Stuart Pierce, wrapping up an entertaining spectacle.

Thus Carter (1,1,4) became the new Southern Champion from Howden (2,3,3) and Craft (4,4,5). Further down the places local fleet captain, Alan Welman (8th), was delighted to have beaten sparing partner George Wood by a point.

The next event in the TT series is at Shanklin, next weekend.

The overall places were as follows:

Overall Results
1st Bob Carter Grafham 6pts
2nd Philip Howden Grafham 8 pts
3rd Paul Craft Open Dinghy 13 pts
4th Phil Breeze (sprint) Calshot 15 pts
5th Stuart Pierce Shanklin 15 pts
6th George Stephen (sprint) Queen Mary 16 pts

Best local sailor: Paul Craft.

For the full results, checkout the results for the series so far.