Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Traveller at Grafham
The last regatta of the Windsport Catparts Sprint 15 Summer traveller series was held at Grafham Water Sailing Club on the weekend of 24/25 October which was also the Inland Championships. There were 38 entries with 30 travellers and a rather disappointing 8 locals which made the Sprint 15 fleet more than twice the size of any other fleet at the Grafham Cat Open.
Saturday was forecast for heavy rain and a strong Southerly wind but it started as misty/murky with a 12 mph light shifty South wind and was like that at the start of proceedings. Race officer, Peter Saxton, set the preferred trapezoidal course with tight reaches and a port biased start line. Race one got underway with Brian Phipps taking the lead on the pin end from Tom Sandal and David Casale while Mark Aldridge and Steve Sawford took a dodgey port flyer. Meanwhile Nick Dewhirst was just launching his boat at the start so was treating race 1 as a practice race. Sportster George Love worked his way into the lead for the second lap chased by Sandal, John Postlethwaite, Phipps and Kevin Kirby. It was tight between the top 4 boats for the next 2 rounds but the corrected sequence at the gun was Sandal, Phipps, Postlethwaite and Love.
The murky shifty conditions continued into the second race. Once again Phipps lead off the line and at the windward mark it was Phipps from Love, Sandal, Steve Sawford and Richard Philpott. As the race developed Phipps stretched out a huge lead by working the shifts upwind and Charles Watson and Neil Parkhurst also progressed through the ranks. Phipps won the race from a distant Watson, Postlethwaite, Parkhurst and Love.
By the time of the third race the weather was clearing and wind was building and had swung 20 degrees to the West necessitating the course to be relaid. This caused an unfamiliar sequence at the start of the third race as many failed to spot that the windward mark had moved. So Postlethwaite led from Gordon Goldstone and Mark Aldridge after the first beat. These 3 led the charge whilst the likes of Phipps, Sandal and Erling Holmberg played catch-up. There was no catching Postlethwate who extended his lead to the gun but Phipps worked his way into second from Aldridge and Goldstone.
By contast Sunday was bright and sunny with a warm(ish) gusting force 3-4 SW wind. It was a superb sailing day and the forth race was the most closely contended. With big wind swings the beat became very tactical and each lap had a new leader. Phipps, Watson, Sandal and Sawford (by now he had remembered how to sail) all took their turn but at the line it was Sawford from Phipps as Watson had to take a turn before finishing third. Stuart Pierce had his race and weekend spoilt when a Grafham Laser 2000 sailed though his boat leaving a large hole.
The wind continued to build to force 4 gusting 5 for race 5. Sawford made no mistakes and led from start to finish. Postlethwaite Aldridge and Watson followed respectively but further down the fleet quite a few swimmers were noted. These included David Ball, Jacob Aldridge, Neil Parkhurst, Rob Bowen, Robin Newbold and many more. Some even claimed they needed to wash the salt off their boats.
Thus after an exciting weekends sailing Brian Phipps was crowned the new Inland Champion after a display of consistent performance throughout the weekend.
Overall Results: 1st B Phipps (Restronget) 7pts, 2nd J Postlethwaite (Beaver) 9pts, 3rd S Sawford (Rutland) 16pts , 4th C Watson (Halifax) 18pts 5th T Sandal (Grafham) 19pts, 6th M Aldridge (Grafham) 22pts, 7th K Kirby (Marconi) 29pts, 8th E Holmberg (Shanklin) 35pts, 9th D Ball (Marconi) 37pts, 10th G Love (Carsington) 42pts
Sport Format: 1st G Love (Carsington), 2nd D James (Draycote) 3rd R Gall (Carsington).
Top Grafham Boat: T Sandal
Full Series Results available here