Stewartby Winter Handicap Saturday 5 November 2005

Saturday 5th of November saw 14 travellers joined by 4 home sailors for the annual Stewartby open.

Although the forecast 20mph winds failed to materialise there was at least a steady though rather gentle F3 which ensured that all boats were able to make reasonable progress around the trapezoid course set by RO Nev Soderberg. Unfortunately, the number of competitors was reduced by one after a pre-start collision split the bow of one of the visiting boats. Once the race started the first boat around the windward mark was Paul Smith who then caught a gust on the following leg and went on to establish an enormous and unassailable lead. Although Paul stormed off the remaining places were more closely contested with Steve Sawford, Chris Black and Bob Carter finishing within a minute of each other for the following positions.

The fireworks were reserved for race 2 when the race officer set a heavily biased port line which had the desired effect as the fleet were really caught in two minds with half deciding on the risky favoured end and half playing safe. The port tackers however may well have regretted their decision when previous race winner Paul Smith came storming along the line on starboard, timing his arrival at the port end to cause total mayhem. A couple of port tackers managed to sneak through, among them Bob Carter and Steve Sawford. The battle for the first three positions was a much more closely fought affair with Bob and Steve holding off Paul for most of the race. The home boat and only sprinter in the race of Robin Hall hung grimly on to the three leaders and at times seemed to be on the verge of getting past. Bob Carter appeared to have the race in the bag until the last leg when Paul sneaked through to take the win by 5 seconds.

The event was won overall by Paul Smith after his two wins with second and third going to Steve Sawford and Bob Carter respectively. The beauty of the Stewartby event is that all competitors "win" a case of beer and even the rescue crews got in on the act, scrabbling amongst themselves for the remaining cases!

Graham Shrimpton who has organised the event since time immemorial is having to pass over the reins to another in future due to the onerous duties he now has in his position of Commodore at Stewartby. Hopefully this will not detract from future events and may even improve them!

The next event in the winter TT Series is at Beaver on 3 December.

Steve Ivory
Stewartby Water Sports Club

Overall Results
1st P. Smith Beaver 2pts
2nd S. Sawford Grafham 5pts
3rd R. Carter Grafham 6pts
4th C. Black Grafham 9pts
5th G. Stephen Queen Mary 9pts
6th E. Holmberg Shanklin 13pts

1st Sprinter: Robin Hall - Stewartby

For the full results, click here.