On 4th November 11 visitors from as far away as the Isle of Wight and Cheshire joined 7 Stewartby helms for the first round of the Sprint 15 Winter TT Series.
Boats were rigged in torrential rain and little wind but as the start of the first race approached the rain eased and the wind picked up to a steady F2 –F3.
After a short briefing from the race officer for the day Nigel Denchfield, proceedings got underway with the first of three back to back races.
The first start saw Paul Grattage over the line and having to double back, despite this he chose the right hand side of the course to round the first mark in the leading bunch of boats including Liam Thom, George Love, Steve Sawford and Ed Tuite Dalton. By the second lap Paul Grattage had established a commanding lead which he maintained to the finish. Second was George Love showing excellent speed in his first race back from the summer Nationals, third was Liam Thom with Steve Sawford in fourth place.
After a minor course adjustment by the race team the second race was quickly underway. Paul Grattage remarkably led at the first mark despite having to perform a 360 penalty soon after the start following a port starboard infringement. Ed Tuite Dalton and Simon Miles rounded just behind Paul. Paul Grattage maintained a healthy lead which he held to the end of the race. Ed Tuite Dalton, Simon Miles and George Love had a close race with Ed finishing second George third and Simon fourth.
The third race started in a freshening breeze and after a clean start and to no surprise Paul Grattage once again led from start to finish. Paul was pursued by Ed Tuite Dalton. A close battle ensued between the following 6 boats. Liam Thom managed to perform a quick capsize and recovery demonstration alongside the committee boat, dropping to an eventual 8th place. Scott Wilcox in the Stewartby Sprint 15 (527 VERY OLD) was heading for an excellent 6th place until he unfortunately sailed the wrong side of the committee boat. Final finishing order was first Paul Grattage, second Ed Tuite Dalton, third Steve Sawford and fourth John Pearse.
As is now customary at Stewartby SC all competitors received liquid refreshment prizes from Stewartby SC Commodore Gerry Howcroft . Overall Paul Grattage was first, Ed Tuite Dalton second, George Love third and Steve Sawford in fourth. Leading Lady was awarded to Heather Knowles from Shanklin Sailing Club. First Stewartby member was Simon Miles in sixth place.
Thanks to Nigel Denchfield and rescue crews for the excellent race organisation.
The next Sprint 15 Winter TT event is on Sunday 10th December at Rutland Water sailing Club.
Report - Simon Miles - SWSC
Images – Nigel Denchfield and Alan Howie - Wood
Full Series Results available here