2015 Spitfire Inland Championships – Grafham Cat Open



The Spitfire Inland Championships 2015 were held at the Grafham Catamaran Open on the 17th/18th October, was also marking the final event in the TT series. 14 boats attended, which lead to some very competitive racing. There was the largest amount of adult teams seen at any of the Spitfire TT series this year, showing the range and flexibly of the boat. Boats with a slower handicap were on a separate course which eased the pressure around marks. It wasn’t completely clear though, as the F18’s and the fast single handers joined the spitfires on the race course.


Saturday started with a moderate breeze that built up into strong winds. Race one started on time and a close battle ensued between Jack Butters and James King, and Alex Philpott and Jess D’Arcy. Jack and James won, kicking off what would be a fantastic weekend for them. Stewart Smith and Mark Sewell broke their ratchet, which forced them off the water, despite getting an impressive 9th place with such a handicap.

Race two saw the start of the capsizing as the increasing wind speed caught some newer teams unawares. Special mention goes to Matthew McRobbie and Molly Desorgher. Molly has only been on a spitfire for a few months and Matthew completed his first tack on a catamaran during the first beat of race one.


By the end of race three, two more boats had retired from racing, but a strong onshore wind made landing quite interesting. Overall, the boats were on the water for less than four hours – a credit to the race team who ensured that there was minimal waiting around between races.


Sunday’s wind speed was lower, but this only lead to some chaotic starts, as a more aggressive style of starting was seen from some of the newer teams. This caught some unawares with more than one boat having to tack to avoid a collision with the committee boat.


Gentle spots of pressure littered the course, favouring the lighter teams and large gains could be made from spotting the gusts down wind, with locals Jonathan Batey and Simon Plant and new team Charlotte Watson and Harry Pulford doing well to hang on with the smaller kite size.

The adult teams enjoyed sailing with the younger teams and the large one – design fleet really testing the skills of the sailors.

At the end of a good weekends racing, Jack and James lead the fleet with six perfect races. Olly and Ben Harris were tied on points with Alex and Jess, but snatched second on count back. The event marked the end of this year’s Travellers Trophy Series, with Helm Jack Butters tipping Olly and Ben Harris to the post. Third place went to locals Will and Megan Smith.


Thanks to Iain Philpott for the photos.


Rank Sail No Helm’s Name Crew’s Name Sailing Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total Net
1st 128 Jack Butters James King Parkstone/Brightlingsea -1 1 1 1 1 1 6 5
2nd 89 Olly Harris Ben Harris Weston SC 4 -5 2 2 2 3 18 13
3rd 145 Alex Philpott Jess D’Arcy DWSC 2 3 -4 3 3 2 17 13
4th 131 Sophie Heritage William Heritage Gurnard 3 -9 5 4 4 4 29 20
5th 53 Will Smith Megan Smith Grafham Water Sailing Club 6 2 -7 5 5 6 31 24
6th 233 Sam Rowell Nick Swain Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club 5 4 3 6 6 -10 34 24
7th 106 Matthew McRobbie Molly Desorgher Carsington/ Notts County 11 8 (15.0 DNC) 8 8 5 55 40
8th 124 Kevin Cummerson Christian Mash Grafham Water Sailing Club -12 7 6 9 9 9 52 40
9th 82 Lotte Johnson Becki Johnson Weston Sailing Club 10 12 (15.0 DNC) 7 10 8 62 47
10th 57 Jack Collis Nia Crockford Marconi SC/Whitstable YC 8 11 10 -12 11 7 59 47
11th 136 Theo Williams Ryan Gill Restronguet Sailing Club 7 6 8 (15.0 DNC) 15.0 DNC 15.0 DNC 66 51
12th 55 Stewart Smith Mark Grafham Water Sailing Club 9 (15.0 DNC) 15.0 DNC 10 7 11 67 52
13th 28 Charlotte Watson Harry Pulford Llyn Brenig -14 10 11 11 13 12 71 57
14th 21 Jonathan Batey Simon Plant Grafham Water Sailing Club -13 13 9 13 12 13 73 60




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