Stewartby Water Sports Club TT : Winter Series
Saturday 7th November 2015

Stewartby Sailing Club was the setting for the first event of the Sprint 15 Winter Series. 10 visitors arrived early morning to be greeted with wind and rain. At 10:00am the briefing was held to decide on the day’s events as the weather reports were discussed.

It was on. 8 out of the 10 visitors decided to race, together with 5 home club boats making a total of 13 boats for the start line.

The gun went at 11:00 am sharp and the race had started with winds in the mid-20s and gusts hitting 30, Robert Finch from Stewartby got to the windward mark first closely followed by his younger brother Jon, and hot on his heels Steve Sawford. The cats raced around the course, some capsizing as they went. Amazingly, Mark Norman managed to lose his boot only to pick it up on the next lap as he sailed by. Race positions changed through the pack with Steve Sawford getting past Jon Finch and eventually Robert Finch by the fourth lap. The rest of the race was about avoiding capsized boats and capsize. The race was over and 12 boats finished, all sailors either grinning with excitement or grimacing with pain. First was Steve, followed by Robert and then his younger brother Jon.

Race 2 was to start within a few minutes, but with the wind was steadily increasing reaching 30 knots and gusts hitting 40, the committee boat drifted off two minutes from the gun. Postponed and once re-positioned the race was on. The cats powered over the line, this time there were 10. First mark honours went to Steve Sawford, followed by Robert Finch, Paul Craft and Erling Holmberg. Liam Thom took a tumble early on and unfortunately stayed that way for the rest of the race. Robert closely followed in the second lap and was seen doing a back flip with twist off the back of his boat or was he baling out?, (we will never know). With ever increasing winds and boats dotted around the lake upside down, Paul Craft, Jon Finch, Mark Norman & Erling tussled for positions behind race leader Steve Sawford. Then it was over. The race officer shortened the course and finished the race early to avoid any mishaps. First place went to Steve, closely followed by Jon Finch and Paul Craft who lost out by a dodgy tack to take him over the line.

A total of seven heroes finished the race and headed back to the shore. Best capsize award was a split decision between Andy Bunyan, Paul Craft and Mark Hollis all earning high scores for technique, posture and difficulty level.

Overall the event was won convincingly by Steve Sawford with an impressive two firsts. The next traveller meeting is Oxford Sailing Club on the 5th December.

Jon Finch


Pictures by Alan Howie-Wood, Rob Love and Valerie Anthony

Name Sail Club Race 1 Race 2 Points Fleet Place
Steve Sawford 1733 Rutland Water Sailing Club 1 1 2 1
Jon Finch 1890 Stewartby Water Sports Club 3 2 5 2
Mark Norman 1431 Stewartby Water Sports Club 6 4 10 3
Mark Hollis 1980 Seasalter Sailing Club 5 6 11 4
Erling Holmberg 2007 Shanklin Sailing Club 7 5 12 5
Robert Finch 1838 Stewartby Water Sports Club 2 11 DNF 13 6
Paul Craft 1928 Worthing Sailing Club 11 3 14 7
Liam Thom 1957 Shanklin Sailing Club 4 11 DNF 15 8
Jon Neale 879 Stewartby Water Sports Club 10 7 17 9
Stewart Pegum 1918 Oxford Sailing Club 9 11 DNF 20 10
Gordon Goldstone 2004 Queen Mary Sailing Club 8 14 DNC 22 11
Andy Bunyan 1281 Stewartby Water Sports Club 12 14 DNC 26 12
Paul Shields 1644 Seasalter Sailing Club 13 DNF 14 DNC 27 13




Steve Sawford
Steve Sawford
Paul Craft
Paul Craft
Jon Finch
Jon Finch


Full Series Results available here

Una Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
Steve Sawford1733Rutland Water Sailing ClubUna Rig11
Jon Finch1890Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig22
Mark Norman1431Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig33
Mark Hollis1980Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig44
Erling Holmberg2007Shanklin Sailing ClubUna Rig55
Robert Finch1838Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig66
Paul Craft1928Worthing Sailing ClubUna Rig77
Liam Thom1957Shanklin Sailing ClubUna Rig88
Jon Neale879Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig99
Stewart Pegum1918Oxford Sailing ClubUna Rig1010
Gordon Goldstone2004Queen Mary Sailing ClubUna Rig1111
Andy Bunyan1289Stewartby Water Sports ClubUna Rig1212
Paul Shields1644Seasalter Sailing ClubUna Rig1313