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Grafham Water Sailing Club Restart Series Week 4 & Overall

by Nigel Denchfield & Peter Gee 29 Apr 15:05 BST 24-25 April 2021
Dave Philpott and Susie Sonntag won Race 10 and 11 of the Slow Double-hander fleet in their Flying Fifteen in the Grafham Water SC Restart Series © Paul Sanwell / OPP

An icy Force 4 wind greeted the 60 boats who entered the final day of the Restart series at Grafham Water Sailing Club. The discussion in the dinghy party was not about who could win. Instead, the focus was on who would be the first person to surrender to the temptations of the now open, warm (and socially distanced) changing room. That honour went to John Reynolds of the asymmetric fleet.

A compact triangle-sausage course was set for race 1, and with such a large fleet of different speeds it brought into focus the need to keep a look out and plan an approach to the windward mark.

An excellent turnout of nine Flying Fifteens (FF15) in the slow double fleet produced the most interesting starting plan, with one boat deciding to approach the biased committee boat end on port tack. This move was not appreciated by the Lark crew who just avoided impact with a massive bear-away. The FF15 crew graciously performed their penalty turn.

The course was excellent for the 'normal' boats, but the fast cats sailing the W-L course found it rather small. Jon Sweet was lapping in 5 half minutes in his F18. Jon took the win, with the Spitfires of Tristan Nichols and Gordi Baines close behind.

The FF15 fleet had a tight race before Dave Philpott, crewed by Susie Sonntag sailed away on their own, followed by Geoff Floyd and Colin Gilbert. In the Lasers the leading bunch remained very close together with Dan Wigmore applying a tight cover on Phil Bevan on the final beat. Adam Miles came in third.

The single-handers was mostly Solos joined by three Europes, and after some good racing Mandy Horton brought her Europe home first. Simon Wigmore found his Phantom liked the conditions and came second. Eight Solos were out. Chris Brown maintained a decent lead throughout, being chased by Ian Walters and Joel Walker.

A much larger triangular course was set for race 2, in fact from leeward mark to windward mark was about a mile. This did spread the fleets out, but within each one the usual groups remained close together.

Once more Dave Philpott had things all his own way in the slow double. In the Lasers Phil Bevan saw off the challenge from Dan Wigmore and won comfortably from Steve James and Adam Miles. In the Solos it was Brown-Walker-Walters, whilst in the slow single the result was the same as in race 1. It was all change in the cats, Gordi won, Jon was second and the F18 of Steve Mynott moved onto the podium.

By now there were some stiff gusts coming through, and a certain amount of swimming was seen, most notably in the Lasers by Phil Bevan in race 3 whilst leading at the last gybe mark. Phil recovered in time to hold off the challenge from Steve James and Mike Kinnear. Simon Wigmore did even better in race 3 and his Phantom appeared first, Mandy Horton second and Richard Major in another Europe third. The same three were on top of the Solos, but in a different order, this time it was Walters-Brown-Walker.

Geoff Floyd turned the tables on Philpott to win the slow double, whilst the fast cats switched things around. Nick Barnes (A class) took a well-deserved win, followed by the Spitfires of Christian Mash and Kevin Cummerson.

The Race Officer, Colin Glover was praised for standing-in at the last moment and for the excellent day's racing. The club photographer, Paul Sanwell took some action photographs which can be viewed at the club's new photo-gallery at: www.grafham.org/photos

The overall winners of the four-week Restart series were: Asymmetric Cat: Jon Sweet and Ed Connellan (Formula 18), Cat Fleet: Stuart Snell (Sprint 15), Asymmetric Monohull: Simon Kitchen and Abbi Hooper (RS400), Slow Single-hander: David Summerville (Europe),Fast Handicap: Brian Biggs (RS600),Flying Fifteen and Slow Double: Geoff Floyd and Colin Gilbert (FF15), Solo: Ian Walters, Laser: Phil Bevan, D-zero: Colin Glover.

Commenting after the final week of the series, Grafham Water SC Commodore, Mike Edwards said: "It has been fantastic to see so many boats back on the water so quickly. Over 80 boats took part in this series and I am very proud to be Commodore of such an active club. It looks like it could be a great year for sailing."

Full results: www.grafham.org/wp-content/uploads/_results/Club/2021/Spring-Restart-Series.htm

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