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RYA Handy Guide to Racing Rules 2009-2012
RYA Handy Guide to Racing Rules 2009-2012

Fast Catamaran Open Meeting 2024 at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Mark Rushton 9 Jul 12:31 BST 6-7 July 2024
Gill Fast Cat Open at Grafham © Paul Sanwell / OPP

The weather gods seemed to have decided that moving the Gill Fast Catamaran Open to July was no reason not to have conditions more suited to October. Saturday dawned wet with a wind forecast that had moderated slightly to lively. At the briefing the race officer floated the possibility of sailing four races on the Sunday if it all got a bit much and the brave decided to launch while the sensible decided to watch from the safety of the bar.

In race one Gordy Baines made a good start in his Spitfire and was only just beaten to the windward mark by the A-class of Mark Rushton author and the F16 of Paul and Arthur Warren. Then the fun started with some bigger gusts coming through on the downwind leg as the wind started to build, very few cats deliberately flew a hull downwind as crews preferred the buoyancy provided by two bows in the water, some brave souls even tried to trapeze. The wind continued to build through the next three laps, reaching a peak of about 24knots on the last downwind leg, at this time Gordy decided it would be good to check the underside of his hulls, letting Stewart Smith through on his Nacra F16.

There was some doubt about starting race two. The sailors would not have been upset by an early shower, but a drop in the wind convinced the race officer that another race was a good idea. About halfway up the first windward leg the wind came back and the downwind legs saw few willing to fly their spinnakers, only the two handed boats dared. There was a good battle for line honours between the A-class and the F16, with the F16 eventually winning out. In this race Christian Mash decided it was his turn to inspect the underside of his hulls allowing Gordy though.

The sailors were beginning to feel a bit jaded by the start of race three, which again happened in a bit of a lull. The race followed the pattern of the first two with the F16 of the Warrens showing the way followed by the author in his A-class and the Spitfires. The wind rose again, but not to quite the same heights as the previous two races. Nobody capsized, and the exhausted sailors returned to shore for football and refreshments in the bar.

Sunday dawned sunny and blowing 14-16knots from the South West. As we went afloat the first few clouds started to form. In race four the boats with kites could use them to great effect in the lighter winds leaving the A-classes struggling to keep up. The F16 of the Warrens sailed off and the main action was between the Spitfires with Christian Mash getting the better of Kevin Cummerson and Gordy Baines.

Race five had some lively gusts under the building clouds and it was Kevin who lead the Spitfires from Christian and Gordy. Again, the Warrens showed us all how to do it in their F16.

Race six started with Kevin again showing the other Spitfires how to do it. The sky was now quite dark and on rounding the windward mark some noises were heard that did not fit with the usual sounds of hoisting, but then again nobody was sure. Shortly before reaching the bottom gate the rescue boats informed the fleet that lighting strikes were expected shortly and the siren sounded to close the lake. Sailors of boats with tall masts seem to be able to head to shore remarkably quickly ahead of a thunderstorm. The fleet managed to get a shore and get their sails down before the rain and thunder arrived.

That was the end of sailing for the weekend, and everyone was pleased that we'd managed to sail three races on the Saturday. Congratulations and thanks must go to the race teams, led by Eric Joyce, who managed to run three races with quick turn arounds in Saturday's lively conditions, and got two races in on the Sunday before the weather stopped play. On both days the race teams were able to run big courses that allowed the cats to stretch their legs which was appreciated by all the sailors. Thanks must also go to Gill our sponsors for generously providing the prizes. We look forward to welcoming the catamarans back to Grafham next year at the more usual time of October.

Grafham Water SC is based in Cambridgeshire and offers some of the best inland sailing in the country. With an RYA training school and active Youth section, the club is open to all classes of boat with strong fleets of Dart 15s, A-class catamarans, Lasers/ILCAs, Solos, D-Zeros, RSs and Flying Fifteens. For more information about the club please visit the website at or call the club on 01480 810478. Follow the club on Facebook at

Doublehanded Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubSCHRSR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stFormula 16 Double207Paul WarrenArthur WarrenOxford Sailing Club131‑111114
2ndFormula 181090Stephen MynottCarl AmiesGrafham Water Sailing Club1(DNC)22228

Singlehanded Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmClubSCHRSR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)101Mark RushtonGrafham Water Sailing Club126211‑548
2ndSpitfire Solo (without jib)202Christian MashGrafham Water Sailing Club187‑332128
3rdSpitfire Solo (without jib)53Gordy BainesGrafham Water Sailing Club1874234‑513
4thNacra F16 One ‑ curved foil63Stewart SmithGrafham Water Sailing Club1441(DNC)DNC3319
5thSpitfire Solo (without jib)124Kevin CummersonGrafham Water Sailing Club1875(DNC)DNC2120
6thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)8Richard EdwardsGrafham Water Sailing Club1266(DNC)DNC6DNC36
7thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)73Chris GriggsGrafham Water Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNC7DNC43
8thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)3Neil KlabeGrafham Water Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC48
8thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)45Stephen VauseGrafham Water Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC48
8thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)166Simon LongstaffGrafham Water Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC48
8thA‑Classic (straight or constant curve)18Hugh MacgregorLargs Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC48

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