Traveller & Southern Championships, Netley Sailing Club 16-17 July 2005

The Sprint 15 Southern Championships were held at Netley Sailing Club on the weekend of 16-17 July in glorious sunshine which created a real "feel-good" factor to the proceedings. Eight Sport format boats sailed across the Solent from Gurnard which boosted the attendance to 24 boats, 10 sailing in Sport format and the others were una-rig. The in-form Gurnard sailor, Robin Leather, was the emphatic winner with 5 first places and was never challenged throughout the weekend. But competition for the minor places was tight.

Saturday was hot and sunny with a pleasant light NW breeze. Race Officer, Jeremy Parsons, set a square course to the north of the Club but the start was delayed for a short while to allow the Gurnard sailors time for a quick comfort stop after their 3 hour crossing against the tide. In race 1 the Gurnard trio of Robin Leather, Laurie Gustar and Carl Blenkinsop went straight into an early lead which they just extended throughout the race. Further back the sailors were experimenting which way to go up the beat - it turned out it always paid to take the inshore route irrespective of the tide as the flat water and a favourable wind bend proved to be the dominant factors. Erling Holmberg took forth some way behind the Gurnard trio. After a lunch break races 2 and 3 were sailed back-to-back. In race 2 Leather was followed by Paul Airey, Philip Howden and Bob Carter. The wind died right off for a spell and made the run against a rising tide a matter of patience punctuated by the occasional tsunami created by a passing sea cat ferry. At the finish only Leather had kept the Sport format boat to the fore and the final order was Leather, Carter, Howden and Tom Gall, who by now was getting back into the swing of things. In race 3 the wind picked up a little and Alan Welman and Paul Craft followed Leather around the first mark - Craft had got the bit between his teeth after he "gave himself a talking to" for his poor showing in race 2. As the race developed Leather disappeared (again) and Gustar took second from Carter, Craft and Howden.

On Saturday night some of the Gurnard Fleet got a ride home on the QE2 of RIBs while the rest of the fleet enjoyed "60s night" courtesy of the Netley Sailing Club.

Sunday was another hot and sunny day which was initially windless, but as the time for racing approached a pleasant SE breeze set in enabling the race crew to set a small square starboard hand course to the south of the Club. In Race 4 Leather was followed by fellow Gurnard Sportster, Pat Moore, who sailed a brilliant race to hold on to second by a large margin from Tippy Tommy 2 (Tom Gall) and Laurie Gustar. For race 5 the building breeze enabled the course to be extended to a large rectangular course with long beats and runs. The sailing conditions were the best of the weekend with a force 2-3 breeze enabling the Sportsters to trapeze and the una-rigs to hike. Leather crossed the fleet on a cheeky port tack start and local sailor, Trevor Bulmer-Jones, also sailing in Sport mode was second to the windward mark - "what do I do now, I have never been here before?" he said to the chasing boat. The long run against the tide proved to be the telling feature of the race with Carter, Gall and Goldstone fighting for second place in una-rig mode. The corrected sequence for race 5 was Leather, Carter, Gall, Goldstone and George Stephen.

Robin Leather
Robin Leather, Sprint 15 Southern Champion

Thus after a dominant performance Leather was crowned the new Southern Champion from Carter, Gustar and Gall. Prizes were awarded down to 9th place and the fleet returned home happy to display the newly acquired suntans and trophies.


Overall Results
1st R. Leather Gurnard 4pts
2nd R. Carter Grafham 12pts
3rd L. Gustar Gurnard 15pts
4th T. Gall Carsington 15pts
5th P. Howden Grafham 24pts
6th E. Holmberg Shanklin 25pts
7th C. Blenkinsop Gurnard 27pts
8th G. Goldstone Queen Mary 27pts
9th G. Stephen Queen Mary 37pts

1st Lady: M Fisher (Gurnard) 37 pts

For the full results, see the series results so far, click here.