19 boats turned out for the final Bartley Bear Sprints in perfect force 4 to 5 conditions that challenged fitness as much as tactics. With each race lasting just a single 8 minute lap the beat was as critical to securing a place as downwind control was critical to keeping it!
With the wind strength so high the 4.7s and Radial were really in the mix with the second race recording first to last place in less than a minute for the entire fleet. This was great practice for the 4 Youth / Junior sailors who put in a masterclass of high wind sailing with a massive grin factor.
At the front of the fleet the competition was fierce with mistakes penalised heavily by the chasing pack. Simon took the first 2 races, then Ed Higson found his form to push through with dad Jeremy and Robin Pitt hot on his heels. Visitor James Dalby was right up there but got caught out by the black flag and a knock down in a squally gust to drop his overall score. In the 4.7s Harrison, Megan and Josh traded places in the morning session, but it was Harrison who pulled ahead as a clear winner when the wind built further in the afternoon.
A fantastic lunch at the Galley set the sailors up for the final 5 races. Ed Higson traded places with Sam Knight who made us all eat humble pie as he zipped around the course with a flat boat carrying half the weight of most of us - how does he do it? As the sailors tired the race course became a graveyard of pirouetting Lasers with masts slamming to windward as the gusts caught those napping on the run.
At the end of the day the body was weary, the clothes were drenched, the grins were big, and the tea and cake was just what we all needed!
Massive thanks to Jeremy for organising the 4 events this winter and providing the Imperial Mounts so we can film where we are going wrong! Thanks also to all those who have supported the sprints and made them such a success.
Overall Winner Simon Hardiman
Most 'first to windward mark' Ed Higson
First 4.7 Harrison Allen
The winning trophy
Ed gets a prize for winning the race to the windward mark on the most occasions
Megan and Josh get their 4.7 prizes whilst Harrison dashes off to a party!