Report By Karl Pountney
November 6th: A bright autumnal Saturday greeted 23 helms at the first of the Sprint 15 Winter TT events at Stewartby Water Sports Club in Bedfordshire. With 8 boats from the home fleet and 15 visitors, all that was needed was the breeze to hold up.
At the briefing Chris Black provided a gloomy afternoon weather forecast and, with a quick show of hands, the fleet elected to take both races back-to-back.
The first race started on a congested start line and plenty of shouting at the committee boat end. Race Officer Simon Witham posted the ‘X’ flag and 3 or 4 helms returned to restart. The light shifting breeze favoured boats that headed into the centre of the lake on the first beat with boats heading into the bank to tack onto the starboard layline struggling to get going.
Ray Gall and Steve Sawford, sailing the Sprint DX format, posted mid-fleet results on handicap in race 1, but as the breeze began to build there was every chance their results would improve in Race 2.
A much more orderly start this time, however it would be the windward mark where folk would come unstuck. A large raft formed and a number of back markers were able to sneak past to take advantage of the stronger breeze. Over the 3 laps, the shifting wind meant that places were won or lost on the beats and downwind legs. Those who led the first race were finding themselves mid-fleet with Kevin Dutch, Peter Slater and Steve Sawford pushing up to take 1st, 2nd and 3rd (on handicap) as proceedings came to a close.
As folk came ashore the wind cleared-off, Black’s sagely foresight paid off to everyone’s benefit.
The whole fleet left with a crate of beer, happy and looking forward to Carsington on the 4th December and then onwards to events throughout the winter.
Full Series Results available here