Inland Championships, Rutland, 14-15 May 2005

The Sprint 15 Inland Championships were held at Rutland Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 14/15 May. Fifteen travellers took part but sadly no local boats (although some were known to be put off by the stiff breeze on Saturday).

The fleet arrived to find a complete lake of white horses as the stiff force 5 NE breeze blew straight down the length of the lake. The sight put off quite a few of the competitors of all fleets from starting in the first race. Race officer, Nick Clarke, set the Sprint 15s the preferred inverse P course which happily was at the Club house end of the lake and made the racing much better for the spectators in the Clubhouse. The start of the first race caught out a number of the competitors as it seemed to be 6 minutes earlier than the race instructions inferred, which made it a bit of a catch up challenge for a number of the boats. George Carter led the charge from Bob Carter and Charles Watson. The reaches were very exciting on this well-set course and the waves were big enough to surf down on the long run to the leeward mark, which was just off the clubhouse. The gybe at the leeward mark was a challenge and Charles Watson capsized there on the first lap - much to the delight of the spectators in the Clubhouse. He did impress them, however, with his slick righting technique, which was the envy of a few of the watching sailors. This capsize, however, gave Andy Chidwick and Paul Craft the opportunity to pass Watson. Chidwick, who revels in these conditions, almost pitch-poled at the gybe on the wing mark but just recovered, showing his improved technique since the Queen Mary winter TT event. At the gun it was G Carter from R Carter, Chidwick and Craft.

The second race was sailed back to back with race 1 and G Carter and Watson quickly opened out a big lead from R Carter and Gordon Goldstone. As the race progressed Steve Hanby (who had missed the first race, sleeping in the car after a heavy night the evening before) progressed through the field. R Carter suffered a near pitch pole at the leeward mark and missed the mark, which let Hanby through to third place. G Carter took his second gun of the day but on the line Watson just held off Hanby to take second place by about 2 seconds. The third race followed immediately and R Carter led from G Carter and Gordon Goldstone. The Carters opened up a big lead over the rest of the fleet, until on the second run G Carter fell off his boat leaving the boat to sail on alone, thus G Carter was forced to retire for receiving external assistance. R Carter had a sizeable lead until a rescue boat impeded his tack to cross the line giving the chasing pack the opportunity to close the gap. On the final beat Hanby and Watson both sailed past Carter on a lift and Goldstone, Chidwick, Craft and Robin Newbold were all in close contention just behind in the tightest racing of the weekend. At the line it was Hanby from Watson, R Carter and Craft. Goldstone took 5th from Chidwick and Newbold but, by his own admission later. was 'out of gas' after a heavy days sailing! The fleet retired to the Clubhouse to exchange war stories (many of which involved a poorly sailed Shearwater, which seemed to have impeded many of the competitors) tired but happy after a good days sailing.

On Sunday there was just a light breeze first thing which promptly died as the competitors set out for the first race. A series of postponements followed until racing was abandoned and the results declared on the results of Saturday. This unfortunately meant that 5 of the 15 Sprint 15s who entered but did not sail on Saturday did not get the opportunity to sail, but it was the right decision because there was no consistent wind all day. It also meant that there were no discards, which cost both G Carter and Hanby dear (Carter lost a race for the external assistance and Hanby slept through the first race).

Thus after an exciting day on Saturday, Charles Watson was crowned the new Inland Champion from Bob Carter and Paul Craft.

Overall Results
1st C. Watson Halifax 9pts
2nd R. Carter Grafham 9pts
3rd P. Craft Open Dinghy Club 13pts
4th A. Chidwick Marconi 16pts
5th G. Goldstone Queen Mary 17pts
6th R. Newbold Carsington 22pts

Round Rutland Trophy: Not Sailed

For the full results, see the series table here.