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Sprint 15 TT and Northern Championships at Carsington Sailing Club

by Nick Pulman 13 Oct 2021 07:21 PDT 2-3 October 2021
Sprint 15 TT at Carsington © Pauline Love

As the storm clouds gathered over the Derbyshire countryside, an intrepid bunch of dedicated TT racers assembled on the shores of Carsington for the penultimate event of the summer series.

Despite Covid confusion and panic buying at the pumps travellers came from as far as North Devon, Worthing and the Marconi SC in Essex. Giving an eventual fleet of 17 sailing Unarig, one Sport Mode boat and one two up on the start line for the two day event.

The race officer Henry Wright ably assisted by his team Keith and Liz Appleby laid out a superb trapezoid course which enabled two days of exciting competition. Six races, four on Saturday and two on Sunday were completed despite gusty winds and torrential rain on Saturday and force 7 gusts on Sunday in sunny conditions.

The conditions made for exciting racing with some notable performances across the fleet and some memorable moments.

In Race 1, Jason Clarke (Marconi) nailed a superb start and demonstrated his consummate skill by leading the whole way until he was knocked over by a most viscous gust a few yards short of the finish. The chasing pack alerted, Ed Tuite Dalton (Draycote) took the gun from Jenny Ball (Marconi) and Hector Bunclark (North Devon Yacht Club).

Race 2 and Jan Elfring (Draycote) was starting to revel in the conditions which saw him finish a close second to Jenny with Hector again in third spot.

Race 3 was a battle at the head of the fleet from the young contenders. Jason was back in great form and finished a close second to Hector. Ed and Jenny were keeping consistent pace in third and fourth respectively.

Race 4, the last on Saturday, and the cold, wet and windy conditions were starting to have a strength sapping effect. Ed took the bullet from Hector and Jan before the fleet headed for home.

Sunday dawned sunny, still cold and the wind had increased with even fiercer gusts.

Race 5 and Jenny was pushed all the way by Jason with Paul Craft (Worthing) completing the top three.

In the final Race 6 Jenny's skill and experience came to the fore. A pack of port flyers and a drifting windwark mark could not put her off her stride and she took the gun from Paul and Hector.

A few memorable moments were recorded:

  • Which sea based sailor said - "I imagine you don't get very big waves on here." Not true on Sunday!
  • Paul Craft for starting nearly every race on port at the pin end. The bravery of it!
  • Some of the more experienced helms who took a swim on the Sunday. No names, no pack drill.
  • The RO's comment midway through the last race - "Let's give them one more lap and call it a day. This is getting a bit manic!"

The races really separated the boys from the girls with a triumphant Jenny Ball from team Marconi raising the trophy on Sunday afternoon. Narrowly behind was Hector Bunclark, taking a short break from his studies at Southampton Uni to give an amazing display of flying a hull through the finish line. Third overall was Ed Tuite Dalton managing to win two of the six legs.

Event photographer Pauline Love's amazing pictures are well worth a look - https://www.sprint15.com/picture-gallery-120_Carsington.php - and demonstrates the capabilities of these small craft and their helms in really challenging conditions.

As the skilled champions battled for podium positions at the front of the course, a more sedate but equally challenging contest was going on at the rear. As this year saw three home club newcomers to the Sprint15 family...

A couple of months earlier George Love and Ray Gall were sat in the teaching room at Carsington, patiently going through the basics of race strategy with their motley crew of novices. Answering questions like "Why do I need a race watch again?" and "So, who has the right of way when you get near that floaty thing?"

Forward track to the race line and the three newbies Sam Wood, Nick Pulman and Russell Briggs were dutifully assembled, all rather nervous and trying not to get in anyone's way.

As the gun sounded and the rest of the race set off at pace, Russell was first off the mark. With skills worthy of the Titanic quartermaster he ploughed perfectly into a large orange club fixed buoy that someone had left on the start line (Pauline's photography is again recommended).

Meanwhile some 100yds back from the start Nick and Sam battled courageously against the weather conditions. Sam mastered the three point turn technique by reversing his rudders and finally got going. Nick on the other hand managed a gybe and travelled another 50 yds back humming air on the G string and reminiscing about a cigar called Hamlet.

Despite this, all three managed the course, learnt a lot about sailing, and made some new friends by taking part. Race winners should beware, Russell has finally got his cat off the buoy and Nick has now bought a race watch and a waterproof hat, ready for the next series!

The club hosted a great event on Saturday evening with a hearty dinner and some impressive dad dancing at the disco. Particular thanks to the staff at Carsington, the race and safety teams who ran a superb event on the water and to George Love for bringing the event together, including a spectacular prize-giving ceremony on Sunday.

The summer series concludes on the 30th and 31st October at Grafham Water Sailing club.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewNameClubPYR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stSprint 15 Una rig2025Jenny Ball  926214‑8119
2ndSprint 15 Una rig1951Hector Bunclark  9263312‑9312
3rdSprint 15 Una rig2023Edward Tuite Dalton  9261431‑101019
4thSprint 15 Una rig1913Jan Elfring  92672‑835623
5thSprint 15 Una rig1982Paul Craft  9269‑17563225
6thSprint 15 Una rig1776Kevin Kirby  92655‑957527
7thSprint 15 Una rig1917Jason Clarke  926116272(RET)28
8thSprint 15 Una rig1988John Pearse  926676‑116429
9thSprint 15 Una rig2019George Love Carsington SC9264879‑11937
10thSprint 15 Una rig2015Nigel James  92681210412‑1346
11thSprint 15 Una rig1914Ray Gall Carsington SC9261211‑15138751
12thSprint 15 Una rig1339Jemma Clarke  9261091314‑151157
13thSprint 15 Una rig1744Derek James  9261410121213(RET)61
14thSprint Sport1424Keith Heason  8941313161014(DNC)66
15thSprint 15 Una rig2022Stuart Snell  926(DNC)DNCDNCDNC4872
16thSprint 15 Una rig1877Nick Pulman  926‑17151116171473
17thSprint 15 Una rig1717Samual Wood  9261514‑1717161274
18thSprint 15 Una rig1635Russell Briggs  92616161415(DNC)DNC81
19thSprint 15 Una rig1923John BallDavid Ball 926(RET)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC100

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