On Sunday 18 January the Dart 15 fleet visited Rutland for the third event of the Dart 15 winter traveller series. There were 14 travellers who joined the sole Rutland Dart 15 sailor (Chris Barrow) with 2 from the Isle of Wight, 2 from Queen Mary, 3 from Beaver and 7 from Grafham. The weather was clear and cold with a force 2 westerly breeze and the race officer (aided by Rutland Dart 15 sailor, Dave Stanbridge, who had damaged his boat and could not sail) set an inverse "P" course. At the first start George Stephen fluffed an attempt at a port start and found himself doing penalty turns for impeding the starboard tack boats. The fleet converged at the windward mark and the sequence was Bob Carter from George Carter, Steve Cole and Chris Black. At the wing mark an out-of-control 49er had a go at taking out the leading Dart 15s but fortunately succeeded in only hooking the mark while the Dart 15s escaped unscathed. The Carters progressively extended their lead but the race for third place hotted-up on the second beat with Paul Smith joining the fray and by the run on the second lap there were the 4 boats of Smith, Cole, Black and Richardson side by side. The race shortened at 2 laps and was won by R Carter from G Carter and then after a little gap came Smith, Black and Peter Richardson. Significantly, Shanklin sailor, Erling Holmberg, made up 2 places by taking the run to the left of the committee boat, which showed a few the way to be used in the second race. The unfortunate Cole was disqualified for going though the start line in the downwind direction.
The second race was sailed back-to-back with the first race and by now the wind had filled in a little making for pleasant sailing conditions. After a clean start, Peter Richardson was first to the windward mark from R Carter, G Carter and Paul Smith but by the end of the run G Carter had taken control from R Carter, Richardson and Smith. This was the sequence that prevailed to the gun at the end of the second lap and Black, Philip Howden and George Stephen followed soon after.
Thus, after a pleasant days sailing, the leaders were tied on 3 points. The tie-brake rule for the Dart 15 Winter series is on the lowest aggregate time and there was just 5 seconds in it after 95 minutes of sailing, showing how tight the competition is!
The next event in the series is 15 February at Queen Mary Sailing Club.
Thanks to George Stephen for scanning & converting the full results sheet.