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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

8th Gill Easter Egg and Optimist Regatta at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Jane Saunders & Nigel Denchfield 19 Apr 15:47 BST 15-16 April 2022
Sunny weather and light winds at the Gill Easter Egg event at Grafham Water © Paul Sanwell / OPP

While the older Optimist sailors had headed off to events on the continent, the younger and less experienced sailors gathered at Grafham Water for the annual Easter Egg regatta where they were joined by a youth handicap fleet for 2 days of racing. As usual the event was run less formally than others and featured on the water coaching.

Good Friday featured a light and fitful breeze (although beautiful weather for the parents sunning themselves and eating ice creams on the bank) that caused a long postponement ashore. Finally it appeared to settle and a race course was rapidly set up whilst the fleets launched, only for the wind to go round in circles as soon as the first warning flag was displayed.

The resulting running start proved no problem for these young sailors and the race was on! Much to their delight, although the Optimists started 4 minutes behind the ILCA 6 and other assorted boats of the handicap fleet, they actually overtook most of them before the end. The wind still refused to settle, so racing was abandoned for the day, and everyone's skateboarding and touch rugby skills were honed.

Day 2 gave a sunshine and a superb breeze of 6-10kt with a steady mean all day. Four races were sailed.

The Optimists were extremely slick on the start line, probably as a result of the three-day training camp which had taken place at Grafham Water immediately before the Easter Egg event. Everyone showed off the skills which they'd learnt from Steve Irish and his team! The Oppies showed that they were no slouches on the start line, with Will Mears getting a special mention from the committee boat for his pre-start boat handling.

It was a fierce battle all the way to the finish, with places changing all the time in the shifty conditions. The Easter Egg, and main fleet, was won by Will Mears (Corinthian Otters), with local Grafham Water SC sailor Jacob Jull coming second and Noah Mathers (Burnham SC) third, making it a clean sweep for the Easties!

The winner of regatta fleet was Ruby Coster from Royal Lymington YC (discarding a first with a perfect score line), with James Pipe (Royal Harwich YC) second and Darcy O'Donnell (Royal Southern YC) third. Everyone came off the water smiling and had a great time, making new friends over the event.

The handicap fleet whizzed around the course with much place changing amongst the ILCA 6 boats. However, Adele Burbidge tended to move to the front with very smooth technique as the wind shifted around, and won three of the four races. Matthew Donley took second place.

Thomas Mathews, sailing a Topper 4.2 had a bit of a lonely time after the first lap of each race, but persevered to complete all four races. He then sailed off to the other end of the lake and joined the club Saturday afternoon racing! He was a most worthy endeavour prize winner.

At the prize-giving the podium places all received prizes generously provided by the club sponsor, Gill, and there were Easter Eggs for all (the RO discovered that you can just fit 50 Easter eggs into an MX5 boot).

For more photographs of the event please visit

Handicap fleet results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubRatingR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stLaser Radial / ILCA 6215303Adele Burbidge Grafham Water1147(DNC)11215
2ndLaser Radial / ILCA 6197899Matthew Donley Grafham Water1147‑332128
3rdLaser Radial / ILCA 60Sky Collard Grafham Water11476233‑714
4thLaser Radial / ILCA 6201871Sam Bevan Grafham Water114754‑85418
5thD Laser 4.7 / ILCA 4218524Dom Atherton Grafham Water12082‑666519
6thLaser Radial / ILCA 6191866Jasper Paddick Grafham Water11471‑847820
7th200021109Isla JacksonJosh DonleyGrafham Water1090855‑9321
8thLaser Radial / ILCA 6197375Oscar Paddick Grafham Water11474‑1074924
9th2000RHAlfie Scott DavisonLloyyd BiggerGrafham Water1090(DNC)798630
10thTopper 4.2575Thomas Matthews Grafham Water140979‑10101036

Optimist main fleet results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st6518Will MearsCorinthian Otters(DNC)11158
2nd3551Jacob JullGrafham Water144‑5110
3rd3281Noah MathersBurnham322‑4310
4th6449Harry WhelanNSSC & Bewl53‑72212
5th5949Lola SaundersDRSC25‑103414
6th6467Alex SaundersWarsash‑7636621
7th6465Elisabeth CollinsCam SC6‑867726
8th6330Keah EdwardsCam SC4‑1098829
9th5931Callum MarshallBlackwater SC9759‑1130
10th6145Charlotte SelfCBYC898‑11934
11th6562Ada DanielsDerwent Reservoir10‑1111101041
12th6343Molly MartinCBYC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC52

Optimist regatta fleet results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
2nd5402James PipeRoyal Harwich YC242‑5412
3rd6561DarcyRoyal Southern YC‑6343212
4th5215Wiliam PopeRoyal Harwich YC4‑632312
5th5370Oscar ManningRipon SC325‑6515
6th5252Antonia MunozRoyal Harwich YC5564(DNC)20
7th5026Leo HemmingwayCCSC77(DNC)DNCDNC30

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