Inland Championships, Rutland, 17-18 May 2003

The Dart 15 Inland Championships were held at Rutland Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 17/18 May. On Saturday Race Officer, Ralph Tingle, kicked off with race one using the favoured inverse 'P' course with a force 3-4 South Westerly breeze. The Sprint boats of Bob Carter and Steve Sawford led the way for the whole race but, at the gun ex-National Champion, John Postlethwaite, was only a minute behind and took first place on corrected time from Carter and Sawford. After lunch the "Round Rutland" was staged with all classes of catamarans taking part for the special trophy, presented by SS Marine. The course turned out to be more of an upwind - downwind course than a "Round the Cans" but the wind increased significantly through the race causing a large number of capsizes and retirements among the bigger cats. No such problem for the Dart 15s - as the wind got up (gusting to force 6 or 7) Steve Sawford went faster and opened up a huge lead from Postlethwaite and Carter. The unfortunate Paul Craft, caught a gust when coming up to the committee boat and crashed into the transom of the committee boat resulting in damage to both craft (but fortunately, not Paul!). The finishing order at the end was Sawford, Postlethwaite, and Carter followed at some distance behind by Paul Smith and Gordon Goldstone. Steve Sawford (of SS Marine) was so far ahead he beat all other classes to win the trophy his company had sponsored.

The racing on Sunday reverted to the inverse 'P' Course for another 3 races and started off in a force 3-4 breeze. Race 3 was led by Sawford and Carter until Carter pitch-poled as the wind strength built on the first run. Heavy wind expert, Postlethwaite, got by Sawford, who furled the jib in the force 6 gusts, and the sequence at the gun was Postlethwaite, Sawford, Craft and the two up boat of Alastair and Morven Dean in forth place. Race 4 and 5 were sailed back to back after a quick lunch stop. The wind picked up again after a short lull at lunch and was back to a force 5 gusting 6 by the start of race 4. The two up boat of the Deans made no mistake and led from start to finish followed by Postlethwaite, Barrie Hoggard and Paul Craft. This group had established themselves as the heavy weather specialists of the event. The final race followed straight on and Postlethwaite made no mistakes, but was pressed to the end by the Deans and new-comer to the fleet, Charles Watson of Halifax, who sailed an excellent race to take third place in tough conditions.

Thus at the final reckoning the Inland Championship went to John Postlethwaite with an impressive 1,1,1,2,2 tally in tough conditions. Steve Sawford won the Sprint Inland Championship and the S.S. Marine "Round Rutland" trophy.

Inland Champions

Overall Results
1st J. Postlethwaite Beaver 5pts
2nd S. Sawford Rutland 11 pts
3rd A. & M. Dean Grafham 15 pts
4th P. Craft Angmering 17 pts
5th B Hoggard Beaver

Sprint Results
1st S. Sawford Rutland
2nd R. Carter Grafham

Round Rutland Trophy: 1st S. Sawford