Queen Mary Winter Handicap Sunday 12 February 2006

On Sunday February 12th the Sprint 15 fleet visited Queen Mary for the fourth event of their Winter Series. Last year's event was sailed in a fearsome 35 m/hour gale, thankfully, this year conditions were more manageable. The weather forecast for the day was for a moderate wind, but also persistent rain and it was freezing. Even so, there was a good turn out of 16 entries, including a commendable 5 from Queen Mary and 4 from Shanklin on the I.O.W.

For the event, race officers Martin and Joan Pride set the fleet a square course on the eastern side of Queen Mary reservoir. It was greatly appreciated that the race officer postponed for 10 minutes whilst the fleet assembled. The first race was sailed in quite strong 15 to 18 m/hour wind. At the start, Grafham's Chris Black was away like a rocket, closely followed by Queen Mary sailor Ian Curd, who made a brilliant start at the port end. Bob Carter led the chasing pack, and they were not far behind. By the crucial first mark, Black was clear ahead from Carter, Frank Sandells and David Casale who was sailing in Sport mode.

By the 2nd lap, Chris Black and Bob Carter were some distance in front, but behind these two the race was hotly contested, with Gordon Goldstone, George Stephen and Paul Craft all coming up fast. Behind them, Erling Holmberg and John Shenton, both from Shanklin, had a bit of a lead over their fellow club mates, Paul Tanner and Stuart Pierce. Chris Black had led the race all the way, but on the very last leg with 50 yards to go, Bob Carter at last got past him and held it to take the win. Gordon Goldstone came through to take 3rd, closely followed by George Stephen who was half a half a boat up on Paul Craft. Erling Holmberg was 6th ahead of Frank Sandells in 7th. In the battle at the back of the fleet, Adrian Brunt did well to get ahead of Ian Curd and Keith Chidwick.

By the time of the 2nd race, the wind had dropped a bit. Chris Black again demonstrated his outstanding start technique, but again, Bob Carter was there on his heels. Keith Chidwick pulled off a good move by tacking off early and into that vital clear air, whilst his brother Andy on 1946 was stuck in the pack.

At the first mark, Carter had got to the front. Chris Black was 2nd, Trevor Bulmer-Jones (sailing Sport) 3rd and Paul Craft 4th. There were problems behind as boats came in on port at the congested mark and George Stephen was forced to take a penalty following a near miss with Erling Holmberg as the gap he was aiming for filled up at the last moment.

All the congestion helped the leaders get away, and Carter was pulling out a big lead, with Chris Black the only one near. Another incident on the next lap saw 3 of the Queen Mary sailors come together, Ian Curd lost a lot of ground after he bumped together with David Casale and Keith Chidwick. As the race progressed, Carter pulled out an unassailable lead from Black who was secure in 2nd place, but behind these 2 the positions were changing. Trevor Bulmer-Jones dropped back when he pinched too hard to make the mark, this let Gordon Goldstone and Erling Holmberg come past. It got even worse as David Casale having shrugged off his previous incident also went past.

At the finish, Bob Carter was well clear from Chris Black. Next were Paul Craft, who just managed to hold off David Casale (Sport) and Gordon Goldstone. Holmberg was 5th from Stephen and Sandells. The other Shanklin sailors filled the middle order, with John Shenton coming in ahead of Paul Tanner and Stuart Pierce. At the back, Andy Chidwick just managed to stay in front of his brother Keith and Adrian Brunt.

In the final reckoning, Bob Carter was a deserving winner, with Chris Black a secure 2nd place, and local man Gordon Goldstone 3rd.

The final event of the Sprint 15 Winter series takes place at Grafham Water on March 12th.

Overall Results
1st Bob Carter Grafham
2nd Chris Black Grafham
3rd Gordon Goldstone Queen Mary
4th Paul Craft Open Dinghy SC
5th George Stephen Queen Mary
6th Erling Holmberg Shanklin

For the full results, click here.