Sprint 15 Southern Championship at Shanklin Sailing Club
Sponsored by Spinlock and Goddards Brewery
21st – 22nd May 2022
The forecast of sunny force 4s and 5s managed to lure eighteen Shanklin boats out of the boat park to join the three travellers from the north at the first Sprint 15 Association event at this end of the bay since 2011.
A course was set to create a reaching start based on the expectation of a south westerly breeze developing. As it was, the force 3-4 southerly wind filled in literally just in time to make the first leg a perfect beat away from the fixed club start line.
Despite splitting on the first leg, Paul Grattage, Jenny Ball and Hector Bunclark rounded the first buoy in the lead and continued in that order for the remainder of the first lap. It looked like four of the second flight of boats had made massive gains after the fourth mark but it transpired they had missed out the last buoy and were forced to retire and watch the racing from the shore. Hector had good speed but was unable to point as high as Liam Thom or Simon Giles and they both overhauled him on the one sided beat that made up the last leg on the first lap. Positions did not change in the next two laps and Paul finished ahead of Jenny, Liam, Simon and Hector.
Race officer Keith Newnham changed marks 3 and 4 for race two to allow a better beat and this time Paul hit the outer mark and allowed Jenny, Hector and Liam to get away. However, Paul did a rapid penalty turn and was scything his way through the fleet to cross just ahead of Liam in third at the end of the first lap. Simon and Mark Pritchard made up ground on the second upwind leg and finished third and fifth with Paul overtaking Hector (fourth) to take second place behind Jenny.
There was a decent force 5 for the start of the third race. Hector was over the line but Paul got away cleanly and despite ducking several boats on the first half of the first leg he rounded the first buoy in the lead ahead of Liam and Simon. Yvonne Pike had a good first lap and rounded the outer mark in fourth ahead of Jon Pearse. Paul maintained a good lead over Liam for the second and final lap and Liam finished just ahead of Simon with Jenny working her way up to fourth ahead of Jon and Mark.
The wind had been gusting force 6 in race three and several sailors and boats had had enough racing for the day including one boat that had its mast stuck in the sand. However a fourth race was fitted in, in expectation of marginal conditions the following day.
The tide was still flooding towards the north but not as strongly as before and both start buoys had drifted back on to the course side of the start line transit. This may have caused the subsequent two general recalls before race four got underway with just the one boat OCS.
Normal service was resumed and Paul again led from start to finish ahead of Liam, Mark, Jenny and Simon. Jenny worked her way up to second as the wind was slackening off and becoming fluky and Hector also made gains to finish behind Liam.
At the end of a just about perfect day’s sailing Paul had already done enough to win the Southern Championship and Jenny could not be knocked off second place.
Early next morning there was a sea mist rolling around in Sandown Bay without a great deal of breeze. However, despite an AP flag being waved before the scheduled start time, the racing marks suddenly appeared out of the whiteness and a countdown was started only a few minutes late.
The first leg was a one-sided beat out to sea and those that managed to start closest to the outer mark managed a much better angle to the wind than those that started nearer the shore. Paul got away well but had to tack three times to get to the second buoy which allowed Simon to take the lead as they bore away downwind to mark three. Hector was close behind them with a sizable gap to Mark, Ian Wilkinson, Jon, Stuart Pierce and Chris Murphy. The final leg was just about a fetch with a small amount of tide against and Paul managed to get marginally ahead of Simon until he ran aground just shy of the finish. He turned the boat around and jumped back on to finish second behind Simon and ahead of Hector. Simon’s race win secured him the third step on the podium.
Paul retained the Southern Championship cup that he won last year at Stokes Bay although we didn’t allow him to take it home with him on his battered old kayak.
At the prize giving on the club garden there were some excellent prizes donated by Spinlock and all competitors received beer donated from local brewer Goddards.
Pictures by Mary Howie-Wood
Full Series Results available here