Please select your home edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 2

Graduate open meeting at Bolton Sailing Club

by Andy Flitcroft 29 Aug 2018 10:57 BST 27 August 2018
Graduate open meeting at Bolton © Andrew Craig

There were five Graduates at Bolton Sailing Club for the annual Graduate Open. With one week to go there had been ten boats lined-up to come but a combination of individual circumstances halved the fleet as the week progressed. The prize for the most impressive "excuse" (if I may call it that) went to the helm who needed to fly out to West Africa to assist in the repatriation of a ship just released by pirates.

In anticipation of a different sort of drama on the high seas at Bolton Sailing Club, several additional kind and willing volunteers were recruited to double the planned number of safety boats on the water. The Graduates had their own start as first fleet off in the club Handicap Open and the forecast was a far cry from the recent weeks of light winds and scorching sunshine. And so it proved to be with a wind strength of 28mph gusting to 35mph.

The racing was close. All the way up the first beat there was a change of lead boat each time the fleet crossed. Visitors Adam Froggatt and Isabel Tate rounded first followed by Ben and Gabe Hill, with Andy and Sue Flitcroft in hot pursuit just inches behind. Everyone survived the gybe mark and enjoyed a fast reach to the next on which the Flitcrofts sailed high and powered into the lead.

After another upwind battle against the elements the Hills took the lead which they held on to all the way down the run. The Flitcrofts passed Adam and Isabel on the run to round the bottom mark second. After a gruelling repeat of the first beat the Flitcrofts were back in the lead at the top mark. Adam and Isabel found some impressive boat speed down to the gybe mark, getting a small overlap, rounding on the inside and pulling away slightly. At the end of the fast reach the Flitcrofts didn't get the weight out quickly enough, ending inevitably with a capsize.

By the next windward mark the Hills were again in lead position for the run but capsized on the gybe just before the last mark as a particularly nasty squall blew through. With the Hills in the drink, the Flitcroft's boat still half full of it, and the Ivins/Aubrey boats flying down the run some way behind, Adam and Isabel had some breathing space and wisely elected to tack rather than gybe. In spite of a broken jib downhaul, they held onto the lead to finish first with the Hills second, Chris Aubrey and son Sam in a borrowed boat third, Flitcrofts fourth and Dave Ivins and Josh Aubrey a creditable fifth.

Everyone had at least one opportunity to inspect the centreboard during the race except Adam and Isabel who had got that chore over and done with before the start.

During lunch the weather continued to deteriorate as low cloud and driving rain obscured the view of the first mark. By the time the first gun of the next race sounded it really was boat breaking weather. The handicap fleet and two of the Graduate fleet had already packed-up for the day and with the wind and forecast showing no signs of abating the remaining three Grads unanimously decided to do likewise. The safety team were not upset. It was an unfortunately premature end to a day of close and entertaining racing, but at least all boats and crew had survived to do battle another day. Bring it on!!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubPoints
12955Adam FroggattIsabel TateChase SC1
23018Ben HillGabe HillWest Lancs YC2
32871Chris AubreySam AubreyBolton SC3
43001Andy FlitcroftSue FlitcroftBolton SC4
52878David IvinsJosh AubreyBolton SC5

Related Articles

Graduates at Swarkstone
Great to see juniors in all boats, making it a truly family fun day The day began with such promise, a steady westerly coming down the lake, but as the last boat arrived the wind decided to drop, but hey, Graduates can sail on anything, so it was not going to stop them. Posted on 14 Sep 2021
Graduate Northerns during Bass Week
Close racing, variable conditions and great hospitality The Northerns have been part of the Bass Week scene for the past few years. Following the hiatus for Covid in 2020, the small but enthusiastic Grad fleet were itching to get going again this year. Posted on 13 Aug 2021
Graduate Nationals at Rutland
Held during the club's Battle of the Hikers event In the current circumstances, finding a venue for a nationals event presents a challenge. The Graduate Secretary, Maggie Murrell, persevered and was delighted to be able to arrange for the Graduates to be included in Rutland SC's Battle of the Hikers. Posted on 27 Jul 2021
Graduates at Chipstead
Thirteen entrants race alongside the Heron class The timely relaxation of the COVID rules meant that Chipstead SC were able to run the 2021 Graduate open meeting on 9th May. In common with previous years it was a shared event with the Herons. Posted on 24 May 2021
Cabin fever for the Murrells...
Welcome to driveway Graduate sailing! It's Sunday, the sun is out and the wind is blowing. It would great day for the first sail of the 2020 season, but the clubs are all closed, no-one's about and we're in lockdown, stuck at home. Posted on 6 Apr 2020
Tips for sailing with a young crew
What is different when racing with kids between the age of 6 and 12 Here are some top tips on sailing with young people. The guide covers boat set up, jobs for the crew, sailing techniques, kit and incentives. It is written from the experience of several people who have sailed with kids between the age of 6 and 12. Posted on 25 Oct 2019
Graduates at Swarkstone
The beauty and calm of Swarkestone is very deceptive After several days of strong winds Sunday 8th September 2019 brought brilliant sunshine and a gentle force 2 to Swarkestone Sailing Club in Derbyshire for the return of the club's Graduate Open after a hiatus of seven years. Posted on 17 Sep 2019
Graduates at Bolton
Hard won finishing positions throughout the fleet Three home boats and three visitors competed at the Bolton Sailing Club Graduate Open on 25th August. The standard of racing was very high, resulting in hard won finishing positions at all positions in the fleet. Posted on 26 Aug 2019
Graduate Northerns at Bassenthwaite
A very enjoyable weekend for the fleet With the first race scheduled for the afternoon, the wind forecast was not promising. As expected, it gradually died off through the morning as the fleet of 10 Graduates gathered on the shores of beautiful Lake Bassenwthaite. Posted on 4 Aug 2019
Graduates at Chipstead
"I saw my burgee slowly rotate a complete 360 degrees" On the 12th of May 2019, we had our Chipstead Sailing Club annual Graduate Open Meeting. It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and the wind was coming straight down the lake from the East. Race Officer Richard Ball set up a figure of eight course. Posted on 15 May 2019