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A busy Easter Weekend at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Nigel Denchfield 6 Apr 17:19 BST 2-4 April 2021
Dan Wigmore 211405 leads the start in Race 1 of the Grafham Water SC Restart Series © Simon Wigmore

Grafham Water Sailing Club members emerged from the long winter hibernation over the Easter weekend blinking like dormice in the unaccustomed sunshine. The Club had laid on a fantastic racing programme starting with two separate one-day youth open meetings on Friday and Saturday, followed by the 4-week Restart club racing series on Sunday.

Good Friday saw 60 young Optimist sailors arrive for the 6-race Easter Egg open meeting. The wind hovered around 15kt, accompanied by cool temperatures. The main fleet event was won by Archie Munro-Price from Castle Cove SC, second was Charlie Gatehouse (Bewl SA) with Emma Breeze (Royal Lymington SC) third. The Optimist Regatta fleet was won by Nia (King George SC) with Freddie Reeves (Cam SC) second and Ryan Surguy (Corinthian Otters) third.

On Saturday, a youth regatta took place for 25 sailors from local clubs. This event was won by Tim Evans from the home club, with Terry Hacker (Hunts SC) second, and third place going to Amelie Hacker, also from Hunts SC.

The big event for club sailors was the start of club racing on Easter Sunday. Over 80 boats entered week one of the Restart series including 20 Lasers, 15 catamarans, 10 Solos, 10 asymmetrics and 7 Flying Fifteens. Three back-to-back races were sailed, each with 5 starts at two-minute intervals with the wind starting in the 8-10kt range gradually rising to 12-15kt by race 3.

First away in Race 1 from a long, port biased start-line were the fast asymmetric fleet featuring F18s, Spitfires and an assortment of monohulls. Two minutes later the Sprint 15s were away, leaving the double-handed fleet [Flying 15s and a lonely Lark] to follow on. The Lasers had fun on the biased line, with a lot of bunching at the pin, and then the final start of Solos and other single-handers got away.

The course was a kinked triangle, apart from the fast asymmetrics who sailed windward-leeward. The beat was long and there were a lot of subtle shifts on which gains and losses were easily made. The F18 of Nick Barnes won the asymmetric cats, the RS200 of Isaac Marsh the asymmetric monohulls, whilst Les Rant and Susie Sontag led the Flying 15s. The shifty second beat led to major place changes in the Laser and Solo fleets. Dan Wigmore had an epic battle with Phil Bevan and Ian Rawet in the Lasers before nudging the win and Ewan Birkin-Walls was the top Solo sailor. The handicap single-handed fleet went to David Summerville in his brand-new Europe.

Race 2 was sailed in similar conditions, but the left shifts began to favour the inshore route upwind. Kevin Cummerson's Spitfire proved too good for the rest of the asymmetric cats, whilst the monohulls were won by the 2000 of Chris and Anne McDonald. Ian Walters took the Solo win, and the ever-crafty Stuart Snell the Sprint 15s. Dan Wigmore again topped the Lasers but was chased hard by Phil Bevan and Robbie MacDonald.

Race 3 was sailed with all fleets on a windward-leeward course and was marked by a persistent large left shift, which could be exploited by working the inshore route. The shift meant that the spinnaker boats roared down the broad reach to the leeward mark. Once again, the same F18 won the asymmetric cats. The asymmetric monohulls had the most mixed results of the day, and this time the evergreen paring of John Reynolds and Fran Howell took the win. The Solos had their 3rd different winner of the day when Joel Walker nipped in ahead of Ewan Birkin-Walls. Stuart Snell was top Sprint 15. In the single handers, a boat with Olympic heritage took the last race when Mandy Horton's GBR Athens Europe just beat David Summerville. David Papworth took his second win of the day in the D-Zeros. Dan Wigmore and Phil Bevan continued their battle at the front of the Lasers from which Dan again emerged on top, closely followed by Barrie Holden in third place.

Once ashore, the Club provided Easter Eggs for all entrants. Club activities continue with the start of Wednesday night racing followed by week 2 of the Restart series next Sunday. The whole weekend was managed within the COVID guidelines, the result of a lot of work by the organising group.

Grafham Water SC is open to all classes of boat and levels of sailor. Memberships are still available for the 2021 season. For more information about the club please visit their website or call the club on 01480 810478. Follow the club on Facebook at

Grafham Water Restart Series: (top three after 3 races)

PosFleetClassSail NoHelmCrewPts
Asymmetric Cat Fleet
1stAsymmetric CatFormula 18514Nick BarnesJulian Bosch4
2ndAsymmetric CatSpirtfire S/H124Kevin Cummerson 8.5
3rdAsymmetric CatFormula 18524Tony StokesJeremy Bosch11
Asymmetric Monohull Fleet
1stAsymmetric Monohull20002047Chris McDonaldAnne McDonald8
1stAsymmetric MonohullRS2001069Isaac MarshFresh8
3rdAsymmetric Monohull40004588John ReynoldsFran Howell9
DZero Fleet
1stDZeroD‑Zero266David Papworth 4
2ndDZeroD‑ZeroGBR 71Neil Washington 7
3rdDZeroD‑Zero227Colin Glover 12
F15 and Slow Double Fleet
1stF15 and Slow DoubleFlying Fifteen3550Les RantSusie Sontag5
2ndF15 and Slow DoubleFlying Fifteen4042Geoff FloydColin Gilbert8
3rdF15 and Slow DoubleLark2459Nigel DenchfieldFiona Denchfield12
Laser Fleet
1stLaserLaser211405Daniel Wigmore 3
2ndLaserLaser191871Phil Bevan 6
3rdLaserLaser215378Barrie Holden 11
Slow Single Fleet
1stSlow SingleEurope383Mandy 5
2ndSlow SingleEurope394David Summerville 6
3rdSlow SingleRS Aero 72362Claire Geoghegan 10
Solo Fleet
1stSoloSolo5827Ewan Birkin‑Walls 5
2ndSoloSolo5658Joel Walker 10
3rdSoloSolo5918Chris Brown 16
Symmetric Cat Fleet
1stSymmetric CatSprint 152022Stuart Snell 3
2ndSymmetric CatSprint 151898Simon Farthing 7
3rdSymmetric CatSprint 151522Andrew Clarke 9

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