The scene was set: Sunny, mild, force 3 to 5 and twenty three Sprints eagerly heading for the committee boat for the first start.
Race One : After a clean start Paul Grattage (Shanklin) led the way at the first mark followed by Ed Dalton (Draycote) and Jason Clarke (Marconi). The first two held their positions for the first three laps with Paul creating a comfortable gap behind him. Second to fifth positions were hotly contested with Ed, Robert Finch (Stewartby), Liam Thom (Shanklin), Jon Pearse (Marconi) vying for places. Jenny Ball (Marconi) however, progressively gained places lap-by-lap to take second behind Paul, followed closely by Liam.
Race 2 : The wind was up and Robert Finch started well and accelerated away from the fleet leading by a good margin at the first mark. After lap one, Stuart Snell (Grafham) was in second place followed very closely by Jenny Ball, Liam Thom, George Love (Carsington) and Nigel James (Marconi). Robert was in a race of his own out in front, whilst the followers fought tooth and nail for their places. Paul Grattage, mid fleet at the first mark kept gaining places as the race progressed. Then in lap four he overhauled Liam Thom for second. With the wind dropping, Robert no longer had the superior boat speed and Paul started to close in. The last lap was a nail biter for Robert with Paul hot on his tail. Then within yards of the finish, Paul nosed in front of Robert to take the gun with Liam third.
Race 3 : The wind shifted just prior to the start giving the line a strong port bias. A few boats arrived a little early causing some re-rounding and a deal of chaos up the line. Despite the start line fun, Paul Grattage was fastest after lap one followed by Robert Finch, Liam Thom and Jenny Ball. The gusts and shifts led to lots of place changing across the fleet but Paul and Robert held their top two places for three laps. Lap four however, saw Jonathan Finch (Stewartby) find his form, coming from 14th in lap one to over-haul Robert for second. Jonathan was unable to make-up ground on the leader but successfully held-off the strong competition to maintain his second place behind Paul, followed by Stuart Snell in third.
Stewartby Water Sports Club ensured no competitors left empty handed so all went home happy and hopefully looking forward to next year’s event. Thanks are due to Nigel and Fiona Denchfield for their excellent running of the races.
Report by Scott Wilcox. Pictures by Nigel Denchfield.
Full Series Results available here