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Sailing Chandlery 2018 728x90

RS400 Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Dave Exley 11 Oct 2017 13:43 BST 7-8 October 2017
RS400 Inlands at Grafham © Tim Olin /

On Saturday 7th October, 37 RS400s arrived for their annual pilgrimage to Grafham Water Sailing Club for the 2017 Inland Championship which was the penultimate event of the RS400 Magic Marine Championship Tour.

The fleet launched into a gusty NW F4 at the North Western end of the lake providing some sizeable, thought-provoking shifts for the fleet to get their teeth into.

After a general recall, race one got immediately underway under a black flag, with previous National Champ Mike Simms and newly drafted in crew Jack Holden from Carsington SC digging hard into the left hand side of the course upwind and then carefully picking their way through the gusts downwind to take the win. Only after the race did Jack admit to their nearly missing the start, only realizing that it was a 3,2,1 start sequence, and not 5,4,1! Chris Pickles (last year's Inland Champion), with Laser star crew Jack Hopkins from Delph SC followed closely in 2nd, with Sam and Dad, John Knight, in 3rd.

Race two saw the wind clocking slightly right and this made for some significant gains by those that dared to find the best of the right hand side. By the end of the race three completely different boats filled the top three spots. Richard Gray and Jon Dyas from Queen Mary SC were flying in the conditions and took the win from Ben Williamson and Charlie Ticehurst from Welton SC and then Paul and Mark Oakey from Porchester SC (2016 National Champions) in third.

In race three the PRO Peter Saxton re-aligned the course to take account of the shifting breeze which was still holding in strength. Big gains were now being had downwind with strong gusts down either side of the run, with many complaining about missing out in the middle of the course. Mike and Jack lead was never really challenged and won the race convincingly from Sam and John Knight, with Dave Exley and Mark Lunn from Leigh and Lowton (recently crowned Northern Tour Champs) nipping into 3rd.

Tired bodies made their way back to the shore with many tails of score board snakes and ladders. Indeed, I could not find anyone who thought they had not already sailed their discard due to mixed fortunes and the very high quality of the fleet.

As usual, the quality of sailing was matched by some legendary socialising, both at the club and the local Wheatsheaf Pub where some of the Northern contingent were once again rumoured to be lining up shots inevitably followed by a bout of table walking!

Lighter winds greeted the competitors on Sunday morning as they tucked into a hearty Grafham full brekkie. Would the lighter winds bring a different group of sailors to the front?

Race four kicked off in a F2, once again peppered with holes and shifts to frighten even the smallest pond sailors (that's size of pond, not sailor!). Howard Farbrother and Louise Hosken from Queen Mary SC (also previous winners of this event) had clearly got out of bed on the right side and were loving the conditions ("It felt just as holey as a piece of Swiss Cheese at Queen Mary SC – home from home" they were heard to say!). However, as Howard and Louise led at the end of the second lap, they didn't notice the shortened course flag and merrily led the entire fleet on a wild goose chase of an unnecessary 3rd lap. All that is, except eagle eyed Kayleigh Roberts who dared her helm Jacob Ainsworth (South Sheilds SC) to cross the line on their own to take the bullet, closely followed by equally aware duo of Christopher Stanton and Jules Thorne from Queen Mary who took second place. By the time the rest of the fleet had done their extra lap, Howard and Louise had managed to hold everyone else off to take third.

By now we had had no fewer than 10 different boats finishing in the top three, after just four races. Phew!

In race five, Dave Exley and Mark Lunn quickly established a lead on the first beat by staying in the pressure on the left and managed to hold onto the same side of the course downwind hotly pursued by Stuart Halman and Anna "Jager Bomb" Walsh from Leigh and Lowton SC. These two boats held onto their positions until the finish with Sam and John Knight pulling though the pack to slip into third.

In a dying breeze and after a small postponement to move the windward mark right the PRO once again magiced up a square windward leeward course to finish off before the breeze fizzled out. Once again, it was light wind gurus Howard and Louise who nailed it to take the race from Richard Catchpole and Gary Coop from Leigh and Lowton SC, with Mike Simms and Jack Holden in 3rd. By finishing the last race in better than 7th Mike and Jack were crowned 2018 Inland Champions.

At the prize giving Mike thanked Peter Saxton and his team for the well run event and Peter presented a special prize to Jacob and Kayleigh for cleverly spotting his flag signals.

The next event is the End of Season Championships at Queen Mary on the 11th and 12th of November with the not-to-be-missed bash on the Sat night. Online entry is at

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1432Mike SimsJack HoldenCarsington SC1‑8158318
2nd1418Howard FarbrotherLouise HoskenQMSC94‑2034121
3rd1396Richard CatchpoleGary CoopLeigh & Lowton SC6‑11545222
4th1460Dave ExleyMark LunnLeigh & Lowton SC(DSQ)6391423
5th1441Paul OakeyMark OakeyPortchester SC7346‑14525
6th1202Sam KnightJohn KnightBartley SC3122‑143626
7th1283Chris PicklesJack HopkinsDelph SC2510‑176730
8th963Adam WhitehouseChris BownesWilsonian SC4711‑1312842
9th1189Steve RestallChris StubbsDowns Sailing Club8136‑1513949
10th669Jacob AinsworthKayleigh RobertsSouth Sheilds SC1415‑19171350
11th1203Richard GrayJon DyasQMSC‑1711411151051
12th1414Caroline WhitehouseRichard AshwellBartley SC5‑23237111157
13th1465Ben WilliamsonCharlie TicehurstWelton SC1821216(BFD)1260
14th1017Sean ClearyAnnalise NixonOxford SC159812‑201660
15th1453Stuart HalmanAnna WalshLeigh & Lowton SC12‑22171921565
16th684Jonathan WhiteRob WoodwardPevensay Bay/Shoreham SC25(DNS)910171475
17th1450Nick EavesWayneBartley SC13147(BFD)251776
18th1452Howard EelesChris HawleyBartley SC1110162118(DNC)76
19th1262Jon WillarsRichard BrameldWelton SC10201318‑241879
20th1392Christopher StantonJules ThorneQMSC2324212(DNF)2393
21st1257Mark DingsdaleVanessa EvansLeigh & Lowton SC19‑252420162099
22nd1301Mike WhitmoreSarah WhitmoreEastbourne Sovereign SC27(DSQ)DNC8919101
23rd828Chris WilliamsMartin SpencerLeigh & Lowton SC211715‑282326102
24th1175Sam LeiperElliot FisherCarsington SC1618‑30231927103
25th763Liam AlcockEve WyattSouth Sheilds SC‑302926241021110
26th1210Mike PartridgeClaire DavisHISC2419‑25222224111
27th1435Matt SheahanEllie SheahanQMSC20281826‑2925117
28th1228Andrew JohnsonSarah HumphreyGrafham Water Sailing Club2616‑31273029128
29th1029John CunninghamNicola CokayneCarsington SC293029‑322122131
30th1184Stuart WilliamsJoshua CrispArmy Sailing Association(DNF)2627252630134
31st1272Andy WilcoxHannah WilcoxGrafham Water Sailing Club222728‑312731135
32nd1340Sam NealAlayne SeymourGrafham Water Sailing Club282122(DNC)DNCDNC147
33rd872James CokayneEmily CokayneCarsington SC31‑3333303128153
34th527Andy PowellIan VersoWarsash SC33‑3432332832158
35th676Michael MarriottMaurice BarnesThorpe Bay Yacht Club(DNC)3234293234161
36th1092Marc WalfordAlan CookeGrafham Water Sailing Club3231‑35353333164
37th1382Andrew HuntMatthew HuntEastbourne Sovereign SC(DNC)DNF3634DNFDNC184

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