North Devon Yacht Club: Sport Nationals
Friday 10th - Sunday 12th June 2011

2011 Sprint 15 Sport Nationals

Event Report by Keith Heason – North Devon Yacht Club

With a great deal of anticipation, 35 sailors turned up for the Sprint 15 Sport Nationals on the weekend of the 10th –12th June. The event was hosted by North Devon Yacht Club (NDYC) at Instow who were delighted with such a good turnout considering the economic climate and Instow’s remote location.

Day 1 Race 1

The weather forecast for the first days racing said a steady force 2 which would have been fine if it had materialised. In fact what the sailors got was no wind at all for the scheduled race start time. After a postponement of 50 minutes, a very light breeze kicked in that at times shifted 90 degrees and usually as sailors approached the windward mark and wing mark. The first beat was a messy affair with the wind coming and going and a great deal of concentration was needed to keep the boat moving. Steve Sawford was first to round the windward mark and set up a nice little lead for himself until the second lap when he set off to the wing mark again, forgetting that the race officer has set a triangle, sausage, triangle course. This allowed the chasing pack of George Love, Keith Heason, Annette Maddison, Erling Holmberg and Dane Stanley to reel Sawford in. The wind had now strengthened and places changed frequently. However it was Annette Maddison’s superb sailing and lighter weight which gave her the edge. Maddison crossed the line just yards ahead of Sawford closely followed by Love, Holmberg and Heason taking fifth spot. Whilst waiting for the rest to cross the line the weather took a dramatic turn. Out of nowhere a force 6+ sprung up with gusts up to force 8 and driving rain. With visibility down to just yards and no sign of it letting up, the race officer Richard Stone decided that a second race was not an option and the fleet were instructed to return to shore. That evening the club hosted a BBQ and sailors dined on top quality Organic Burgers and Sausages. There was also a chicken wing ‘cook off’ between home sailors, Alyzon Mayoh and Sam Heaton to see who could cook the tastiest wings. Mayoh was the winner preferring fresh ingredients as opposed to the jar of Heaton.

Day 2 Races 2, 3 & 4

Day 2 was always going to be a hectic affair, with the race officer under pressure to get in as many races as possible. As the sailors left the beach the wind did not look promising as the sailors made their way to the committee boat. A special “thank you” must go to David Graham NDYC Commodore for allowing the club to use his lovely boat Carol Ann to be used as the Committee boat - always a risky business at any Nationals when the stakes are so high. As usual Instow delivered half way through the third race as the wind kicked in and all sailors were sailing with huge grins on their faces as they all hooked on and swung out on the wire. It was Brian Phipps (Mr. Windsport) who made the most of the conditions. Brian had arrived as usual with his support trailer packed with spares for repairs and a brand new out of the box Sprint 15. The temptation was too much and the new boat was soon on the water with Brian doing very nicely ‘thank you’ to take the gun from Paul Grattage (Shanklin) whilst Mark Aldridge (Mr. Grafham) claimed third place.

By now the wind had increased to a good force 4+ with all that goes it. After a very exciting start where all you could hear were sailors shouting “up, up, up”, the race got off to a cracking start and all were soon out on the wire heading for the windward mark. Places changed fairly regularly as sailors made use of the wind and tide to gain an advantage. These were perfect conditions for the Flying Dutchman- Kevin Dutch (Seasalter). Dutch claimed his only win of the weekend, Phipps took second and Sawford was third.

Soon after the end of race 3 the sailors were all put under starters orders so that the third race of the day could be started. The wind had settled down to a steady force 4 but the tide was now on the turn creating a different set of sailing conditions. These conditions were obviously to the liking of Paul Grattage who read and adapted to the conditions and crossed the line to take the honours. Sawford followed closely behind. Holmberg using his slight weight advantage did not have to go out on the wire throughout the race recorded a creditable third. On returning to the beach the tired sailors were treated to a Pimms Happy Hour supplied in 2 huge watering cans courtesy of Brian Phipps of Windsport. There were more than a few sqiffy sailors on the beach by the time they had de-rigged their boats. Thank you, Brian.

Windsport’s ongoing support and sponsorship of the class is not only through attending key events and providing technical support. A brand new Sprint 15 mainsail donated by Windsport was handed over to Erling Holmberg (Events Secretary) for safe keeping and will be presented to a lucky Sprint 15 sailor later in the year. To stand a chance of being that lucky sailor you need to attend as many Sprint 15 events as you can. The more you attend the greater your chance of winning.

On Saturday evening the competitors and their wives and partners were treated to a three course supper in the club house as the sun set over the estuary.

As Sunday dawned things did not look too promising, pouring rain and a good force 4+ with gusts providing quite a contrast from the previous day’s sunshine and blue skies. The race officer informed sailors that there was only going to be one race run, so it was all to play for. Due to the change of the wind direction, the start was just off Crow Point. This caused most of the fleet problems as it is where the tide is at its strongest. However, all sailors coped well with conditions but it was home sailor Sam Heaton who excelled - (was it local knowledge I wonder)! Disaster struck half way through the race and the wind dropped off leaving the sailors with quite a task on their hands. The race officer shortened the course and Sam Heaton held on to his sizable lead. Dutch was second and Aldridge third.

All the sailors returned ashore tired but happy. Back at the club house, David Graham (Club Commodore) presented prizes and accepted speeches from the winners. Windsport provided a range of additional prizes including a set of their new range of skeg protectors, the “Mega Skeg Protectors”, great for big wheel trolleys, and the compact skeg protectors, along with Windsport pre-stretch toe straps and other useful bits and pieces for a Sprint 15.

A huge thank you must go to all the race organisers and rescue boat crews that contributed their time and effort in what, at times, were pretty appalling conditions. The club house helpers were also deserved of appreciation for their hospitality. Without all these willing volunteers hosting such a huge event would not be possible.

Once again Instow proved that it is possibly the finest venue to sail a Sprint 15 in sport mode and without a doubt the friendliest club on the circuit. We look forward to seeing you all again next year. If sailing a Sprint 15 in Sport mode is your game then Instow is the name.

More pictures from the event can be found here: Thom Flaxman's Picasa page

Paul Grattage - 2011 Sport National Champion
Paul Grattage - 2011 Sport National Champion
Annette Madison Leads the fleet off the line
Annette Madison Leads the fleet off the line
Kevin Dutch from Brian Phipps
Kevin Dutch from Brian Phipps


Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions

Competitors Races - 5 of 6 Sailed (No. of Discards: 1) Event Placings
Name Sail ClubRace 1Race 2Race 3Race 4Race 5Race 6Points Place
Paul Grattage1326Shanklin Sailing Club9 2 4 1 4 -111 ¹
Steve Sawford1733Rutland Water Sailing Club2 4 3 2 5 -112 ¹
Kevin Dutch1938Seasalter Sailing Club11 5 1 6 2 -143
Mark Aldridge1976Grafham Water Sailing Club10 3 5 9 3 -204
George Love1825Carsington Sailing Club3 11 9 4 7 -235 ¹
Fraser Manning1888Beaver Sailing Club7 6 6 5 6 -236 ¹
Sam Heaton685North Devon Yacht Club28 7 8 11 1 -277 ¹
Erling Holmberg2007Shanklin Sailing Club4 9 18 3 11 -278 ¹
Ray Gall1914Carsington Sailing Club21 19 10 7 8 -449
Anthony Gray1893North Devon Yacht Club23 15 7 15 9 -4610
John Manning1955Beaver Sailing Club15 8 20 13 13 -4911
Ed Tuite Dalton1940Draycote Water Sailing Club6 16 11 17 36 -5012 ¹
Nick Dewhirst2006Whitstable Yacht Club12 10 12 16 36 -5013 ¹
Robert Way1526North Devon Yacht Club16 17 13 10 16 -5514
Ian Mounce1951North Devon Yacht Club26 13 14 20 15 -6215
Peter Lytton1221Papercourt Sailing Club13 14 25 14 36 -6616
Keith Heason1424North Devon Yacht Club5 22 17 26 36 -7017
Steve Smith1943North Devon Yacht Club25 23 15 23 12 -7318 ¹
Eamonn Browne1861Marconi Sailing Club22 20 21 18 14 -7319 ¹
Brian Phipps2013Restronguet Sailing Club36 1 2 36 36 -7520
Simon Fleet1936North Devon Yacht Club19 26 24 24 10 -7721
Penny Slee1278North Devon Yacht Club24 12 36 8 36 -8022
Derek James1744Draycote Water Sailing Club20 21 16 25 36 -8223
Alex Raymont525North Devon Yacht Club14 25 23 22 36 -8424
Stewart Pegum1918Queen Mary Sailing Club31 18 22 19 36 -9025
Annette Maddison1638North Devon Yacht Club1 27 27 36 36 -9126
Dane Stanley1543North Devon Yacht Club8 28 36 21 36 -9327
David Groom1714Highcliffe Sailing Club36 36 19 12 36 -10328
David Warren1711North Devon Yacht Club29 24 26 36 36 -11529
Alyzon Mayoh1678North Devon Yacht Club17 36 36 36 36 -12530
Roger Bone1681North Devon Yacht Club18 36 36 36 36 -12631
Philip Warner1756Draycote Water Sailing Club27 29 36 36 36 -12832
Richard Hentall1297North Devon Yacht Club30 36 36 27 36 -12933
Wayne Silver1272North Devon Yacht Club32 36 36 36 36 -14034
Ellie Price938North Devon Yacht Club36 36 36 36 36 -14435