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Graduate Southerns and Open Meeting at Chipstead Sailing Club

by Bob Murrell 10 May 2023 06:06 BST 7-8 May 2023
Graduate Southerns at Chipstead © Shirlee Reid-Hamilton

A twenty strong fleet of Graduates attended the two day event, shared with the Heron Nationals, held on the Sunday and Monday of the Coronation weekend, taking advantage of the extra bank holiday Monday, with 5 visitors joining 15 home boats.

The forecast for Sunday was not promising with light winds dominating. This set a challenge for the Race officer, Mick Kostiv and his Solo Race Team. Four races were scheduled for Sunday and two on Monday to give a six race series.

The first race got off in very light conditions with the Race Officer setting a figure of eight course from the East end of the lake. With what little wind there was the fleet limped around the race course. Early leaders Roger Cherrill and Sarah-Jane Critchley were gradually overhauled by National Champions Fresh Abendstern and Ross Southwell in their newly acquired Grad 3020, Rincewind. Rob & Sally Riddlesdell showed good form in the trying conditions were third with John Clementson & Mel Titmus, who had spent most of the race buried mid-fleet, finding some late pace to score a fourth place. With so little wind the Race Officer shortened after two laps.

Race 2 started with little change in the conditions and the Race Officer put the fleets out of their misery after just one lap that had taken the best part of the 40 minutes allocated to each race. This time Chris & Chloe Parker were early leaders only to fall victim to the vagaries of Chipstead in these conditions, being caught and enveloped by the fleet on the run. John & Mel had their first win of the series followed in by Rick Lewis and John Higham with a strong second place. Fresh & Ross managed to fight their way through to finish third whilst James Webber & Helen Recardo had a good race coming home in fourth.

After a refreshing lunch break, during which the wind improved, the fleets were back in action on the same course. With a little more breeze the Grads were too hot at the start of Race 3 resulting in a general recall and black flag. This caught out Rik & John and Chris & Chloe being OCS at the restart but the remaining boats chased after the Heron fleet, catching them by the windward mark. Bob & Maggie Murrell in G3026, the latest composite Graduate built by Butler Boats and launched that morning, were in the leading group along with Chris & Chloe. Gradually, Fresh & Ross edged ahead and then held off the chasing pack to the line, the fleet managing 3 laps this time. Rob & Sally continuing their strong showing came in second with John & Mel third and Bob & Maggie fourth.

The final race of the day saw more breeze and although the wind varied there was more consistency across the racecourse. Race 4 got under way without mishap, albeit with lots of shouting on the congested start line. The leading 4 or 5 boats mirrored the previous race: John & Mel, Fresh & Ross, Bob & Maggie and Chris & Chloe all showing early form. Towards the end of the race, the top half of the fleet found itself approaching the leeward mark en masse when Fresh gybed and caught the others on starboard sowing confusion. This allowed Roger & Sarah-Jane to leap from eighth place to second behind John & Mel, the two teams continuing in this order to the line followed home by Fresh & Ross and then Bob & Maggie.

Overnight leaders were Fresh & Ross with 8 points with John & Mel close behind with 9.

So, on to day two. This started with some sunshine and more wind although more from the South, across the lake, making setting a course trickier for the Race Officer. After a short briefing the crews made their way to the start area again at the East end of the lake.

With a heavily biased short line, Race 5 had an "interesting" start. Alan Warren & Marion White seized their opportunity and had an excellent get away making up for the disappointment on Sunday, Fresh & Ross, John & Mel and Rob & Sally making up the rest of leading group. However, by the second lap with the wind gusty and variable Rob & Sally had fallen back into the clutches of the chasing pack led by Andrew Hubble & Sandra Jordan who were also having a better day., trading tacks with Chris & Chloe and Bob & Maggie, the latter recovering from a poor start and gradually gaining ground. By the final lap Alan & Marion were neck and beck with Fresh & Ross with a nail biting finish, Fresh just holding off Alan by the slimmest of margins.

Going in to the final race Fresh & Ross had 3 wins whilst John & Mel had 2 so that after discards a Clementson Titmus win would secure them the trophy but Fresh & Ross could accept a wider range of scores.

After a bit of a delay Race 6 saw Alan & Marion again leading the way and by the windward mark the remainder of the fleet had shaken out into a familiar order. The chasing group were soon joined by a recovering Bob & Maggie who had perfected their poor start performance. Alan & Marion extended their lead chased by Fresh & Ross and then John & Mel. Andrew & Sandra were going nicely with Chris & Chloe just behind both being caught by Bob & Maggie until they clashed masts with Chris at the windward resulting in an inaugural capsize for G3026 and a swamping for the Parkers, both deciding retirement was a good option being near the clubhouse. At the sharp end, Alan & Marion continued to pull away taking their win of the series, Fresh & Ross closely followed by John & Mel with Andrew & Sandra having a great finish in fourth.

Fresh & Ross finished the event with 8 points winning the Southern trophy in style. John & Mel were second and the leading home boat winning the Clino Cup. Alan & Marion were the crew of the day, their win and second place propelling them from sixth overnight up 3 places to third overall, Roger & Sarah-Jane a creditable fourth. Everyone had a great weekend despite the conditions. Thank you to Chipstead for making the event such a success.

We look forward to seeing you all at Northampton for the Nationals over the weekend 17th & 18th June - see the Graduate website for entry forms and more details.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewClubSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Fresh AbendsternRoss SouthwellToddbrook SC / R.D.N.B.Y.C.30201313128
2John ClementsonMelanie TitmusChipstead SC300941313311
3Alan WarrenMarion WhiteChipstead SC302286692123
4Roger CherrillSarah‑Jane CritchleyChipstead SC2962212728524
5Ric LewisJohn HighamChipstead SC300862OCS67627
6Rob RiddelsdellSally RiddelsdellPapercourt SC3016392510DNS29
7Bob MurrellMaggie MurrellChipstead SC3026107444RTD29
8Isaac MarshAlex GibbonsNorthampton SC302595889737
9James WebberHelen RecardoChipstead SC301554121013940
10Andy HubbleSandra JordanChipstead SC300012149135443
11Mark WilkinsCarol WhiteChipstead SC300371151212DNS47
12Liz StockdaleGrace StockdaleBassenthwaite SC30061310101111850
13Chris ParkerChloe ParkerBassenthwaite SC2839118OCS76RTD53
14David LockwoodKadriye LockwoodChipstead SC301415131114141163
15Simon DorricottTina HuttonChipstead SC286214151315161067
16Jane MarshallKay MathiesonChipstead SC293816161416181375
17Gareth ColesmithPolly ColesmithChipstead SC302118171517151276
18Hank PeacockPaula PeacockChipstead SC30217181618171482
19Peter DaviesSeb NaughtonChipstead SC296919191719191589
20Nicola Marsh Ben GreenerChipstead SC2928DNSDNSDNSDNSDNSDNS105

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