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Supernova Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Chris Hawley 9 Sep 2023 12:32 BST 2-3 September 2023

Class Chairman Iain Barlow had worked hard to get 69 pre-entries signed up for the Hartley Boats Inland Championships - the single biggest collection of Supernovas Inland in the Class' history.

The headline number was tantalisingly close to 70 and so Iain was very glad the NoR allowed for late entrants to be added in, as was James Gerwat who had made the journey from Felpham thinking he'd already signed up. So we hit the weekend with an incredible 70 entries and one of the best inland waters in the UK - all we needed was wind....

The forecast of the Indian summer was causing a few concerns with Sunday looking like 2 knots with the occasional 3 knot gust. This wouldn't reach the required 5 knot minimum and so the chatter in the dinghy park was whether this might become a 1 day event.

The Race Officer and Class Committee took a very pragmatic approach and decided on a stretching target of 6 (yes 6!) back to back races on the Saturday. There was certainty breeze across the lake, more than forecast, and hikers and spray tops were order of the day.

As ever there was great racing all through the fleet with lots of battles. The comments below are based on a slightly hazy memory of the pointy end of the fleet.

Race 1

We started the first race in a nice 10 to 12 knot breeze. The most keen to start was outgoing Class event coordinator Tony Bleasdale - sadly for Tony the Uniform flag was flying so he suffered the first disqualification of the day. On the right side of the line it was the usual Cotswold Sailing Club superstar pairing of Gavin Young and Cliff Milliner out of the traps like greyhounds. Matt Thursfield and Chris Hawley had a good first beat and were in hot pursuit by the top mark. Chris managed to take Matt on the reach, as did Steve Hawley and Alex Reeve who were now right in the mix, showing their as ever consistent boat speed.

As Cliff and Gavin sailed off into the horizon (Cliff pulling away a little to take line honours and win the Paul Earnshaw trophy) it was Alex determined to make it a full Cotswold podium and he pulled away from Steve and Chris on the final run. Steve finished 4th, Chris 5th.

Race 2

Race 2 was all about going right, right and then more right. Matt was "on it", with Chris able to follow like an excited puppy, the two of them were still pipped to the top mark by Gavin and Cliff. With Alex and Mike Gibson all in the mix it was a close first reach.

On the run, the top 4 managed to pull out enough distance to avoid the wind shadow of the chasing fleet and given the wind shift the second beat had fewer opportunities for gains and losses. Finishing order was Cliff, Gavin, Matt then Chris. Alex bested the rest to finish 5th.

Race 3

Pre-start it looked like going right again and the battle for the committee boat saw several boats OCS including Chris Aubrey in a mark 1 who had been performing well with an 8th in race 1. I have to say my memory of the first beat was a bit hazy as the blood rushed to my head - having gone right early I thought I was on the lift of my life and on for first to the windward - unfortunately for me (and a few others too!) we'd sailed to the wing mark. The boats that had ducked us and continued going right had smashed it out of the ballpark. Tony Critchley and Matt Williams were in the driving seat, with great performances from others such as Nick Whiles.

The wind then went a bit peculiar with some interesting patches and shifts as the wind settled in the new direction. There was no challenging Tony and Matt W who were home and dry well before everyone else. Matt T was consistent and achieved another 3rd with Nick in 4th. 5th was Phil North, a very impressive performance.

Race 4

The wind had settled a bit more in race 4, but the strength had dropped and we were only just hitting the 5 knot limit. Cliff and Gavin were leaders again as we went into the first run, and by some margin. Chris and Mike in pursuit leading the peloton on a huge gust that worried the leading pair. With the lead eaten away at the bottom marks, it felt like all to play for in the final beat. The leading 2 pulled out a bit more, and as the breeze started to drop even more there was no catching them.

Mike showed impressive downwind speed to take the final podium spot, Chris 4th and Tony 5th. Special mention to Serena Stewardson for a stellar performance to finish 6th.

Races 5 and 6

With the wind dropping further the decision was made that we couldn't hit the 5 knot minimum and after a short postponement racing was abandoned for the day.


Sunday dawned with an impressive fog, representative of some of the "foggy" heads from a good evening in the bar the night before. Saturday night had been a classic great food, great company and catching up with friends.

A good early decision was made and the prize-giving started whilst some of us were still tucking into our bacon sandwiches. Several had been counting on a discard that wasn't to come, including Steve (with an uncharacteristic 44th) and Tony (with a 31st to go with his 1st) - sadly it wasn't to be and it was all races counting meaning consistency won the day.

Whilst it was disappointing to lose a day, such is the nature of sailing and having a day back to travel home early, drop the boat off and enjoy the sunny weather was a silver lining.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubFleetCategoryR1R2R3R4Pts
11245Cliff MillinerCotswold SCGoldStandard11619
21261Gavin YoungCotswold SCGoldStandard229215
31333Chris HawleyBartley SCGoldStandard5415428
41257Michael GibsonBartley SCGoldVeteran9614332
51302Matt ThursfieldChelmarsh SCGoldStandard14331535
61218Hugo HansenCotswold SCSilverStandard61381138
71280Alex ReeveCotswold SCGoldMaster35112039
81248Matt WilliamsCotswold SCGoldStandard20821040
91009Tom WhiteOlton Mere SCSilverStandard7720741
101246Anthony CritchleyBolton SCGoldVeteran10311547
111264Andy FlitcroftBolton SCGoldMaster1915121965
121263Steve HawleyBartley SCGoldStandard44410866
13450Alan BishopGirton SCSilverMaster159192366
141275Iain BarlowWinsford Flash SCSilverStandard1210321367
151125Corin BamfordBolton SCSilverStandard1311261868
161139Dana ChurchNottingham SCSilverVeteran2319131469
171160Paul UndrellCotswold SCGoldVeteran1720242283
181234Nick WhilesGirton SCSilverVeteran49254987
191250David PartridgeChelmarsh SCBronzeVeteran31183130110
201270Alastair ReidBlithfield SCBronzeVeteran27264417114
21704Rob BellEmberton Park SCSilverMaster4124744116
221153Paul BloomSnettisham Beach SCGoldStandard29174525116
231032Marcus ShawGirton SCBronzeVeteran37144028119
241164John MasonGirton SCBronzeVeteran46222724119
25709Chris AubreyBolton SCSilverStandard829UFD12120
261124Sean RickettsBartley SCSilverStandard38471821124
271171Mark MeadowsTeesdale SCSilverVeteran34232151129
281059Adrian DaviesGirton SCBronzeMaster11375529132
291223Jon PeabodyHunts SCSilverMaster48351633132
301329Michael AlexanderRutland SCBronzeVeteran16453338132
311318James GerwatShoreham SCSilverMaster47275016140
321203Steve JohnsonCotswold SCSilverVeteran18164961144
331236Julian SchoefieldHunts SCBronzeVeteran39572326145
341108Gary KirtonGirton SCBronzeMaster504025RDG145.5
351127phil NorthGirton SCSilverVeteran5430562151
361211Martin SmithChelmarsh SCSilverVeteran2612UFD42151
371230Chris KnealeCardiff Bay YCSilverMaster325634RDG152.5
381083Serena StewardsonEmberton Park SCSilverLady5538546153
391274Andrew GouldCotswold SCSilverVeteran36392953157
401073Colin RickettsBartley SCGoldYouth24285354159
411228Steve JellicoeOlton Mere SCBronzeMaster33414840162
421074Richard WilliamsBartley SCBronzeMaster58541734163
43412Philip HindOgston SCSilverMaster57343537163
441130Ed JohnsonGirton SCSilverMaster40424141164
451133Paul JagoGirton SCSilverStandard3532UFD27165
461080Craig RussellOlton Mere SCSilverStandard45363749167
471305Stuart StephenBartley SCSilverVeteran44215252169
481057Ian CasewellCotswold SCBronzeVeteran28485736169
491272Andrew Goodman‑SmithAttenborough SCSilverStandard42463646170
501202Martin BurgessBough Beech SCSilverVeteran53434235173
51698Charles FelgateCardiff Bay YCBronzeMaster30534645174
521180David StephenBartley SCSilverStandard22505647175
531256Paul BurtonGirton SCSilverStandard51512256180
541227James AdairHykeham SCBronzeVeteran56492850183
55679Stephen BlairBeaver SCSilverStandard21585157187
561277Douglas RankinBlithfield SCSilverVeteran52614339195
571254Anthony BleasdaleGirton SCSilverMasterUFD523043196
581103Nigel DavisTamworth SCBronzeVeteran43336060196
591134Tom BaldwinCarsington SCSilverVeteran25596158203
601099Peter HousleySwarkestone SCSilverVeteran59553955208
611118Ian HancockOlton Mere SCBronzeMaster60604748215
62588Karen BellEmberton Park SCBronzeMaster62633864227
631195Ian WhiteEmberton Park SCBronzeVeteran61625963245
641196Mike GriffithsEmberton Park SCBronzeVeteranDNCDNC5859259
651306Richard LambertBough Beech SCGoldMasterDNCDNCDNCDNC284
651094Clive BrownBolton SCSilverVeteranDNCDNCDNCDNC284
651235John WalpoleExe SCSilverVeteranDNCDNCDNCDNC284
651319Sean MuldoonHaversham SCSilverStandardDNCDNCDNCDNC284
651184Garry ButterfieldBartley SCGoldVeteranDNCDNCDNCDNC284
651080Paul BickleyOlton Mere SCBronzeStandardDNCDNCDNCDNC284

Silver - Hugo Hansen
Bronze - James Adair
Veteran - Mike Gibson
Master - Alex Reeve
Youth - Sean Rickets
Mark 1 - Alan Bishop
Lady - Serena Stewardson
Paul Earnshaw Trophy (r1 win) - Cliff Milliner

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