9 thoughts on “Events

  1. Entries are filling up fast for the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash which takes place on the weekend of 18 & 19 November. The opening event of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series attracts some of the big names in UK dinghy racing and it’s looking like another good spread of talents and classes at this year’s event on the picturesque reservoir near Rugby.
    There is no entry on the day for the Draycote Dash, so make sure you get your entry in before online entry closes this Sunday 12 November.
    Enter at:
    The Draycote Dash is offering all competitors, as part of their entrance fee, 20% off all Fernhurst Books titles purchased at the event. With 130 titles to choose from, covering most watersports (sailing, swimming, diving, fishing, canoeing and surfing) there is something for anyone who likes being in, on or under the water! So do your shopping early for Christmas.
    Among the more unusual entries listed so far is a Norfolk Punt which will be raced by Colin and Oly Murray from Ullswater Yacht Club. John Tippett and Kathy Boulton will be competing for the host club, Draycote Sailing Club, in a Miracle dinghy. Another doublehander rarely seen on the handicap circuit is the Laser II, but Girton Sailing Club’s Steven Bishop and Amie King will be racing theirs, while Adrian and Tracie Padro are coming from Shustoke Sailing Club to compete in their Comet Trio.
    It will be great to see the two Hadron H2s going head to head, with fellow Midland Sailing Club members Richard Adams and Chris Gould in their personal match race.
    Rutland’s fleet of Challengers are out in force, with Series regular Val Millward competing alongside Jack Alderdice and Graham Hall. At the faster end of the fleet are some strong Fireball teams, not least former Olympic representative Penny Clark crewed by husband Russell. This Stokes Bay team won the final event of last winter when they sailed their RS400 to victory at the Oxford Blue, but the Clarks have switched over to the Fireball in preparation for an assault on the major championships next summer.
    That’s why so many competitors come back winter after winter to compete in the Series, because it makes sure they’re race sharp for the start of the open meeting season. The chance to hone your skills over the winter is some of the best training you can do. The Saturday’s racing consists of three back-to-back handicap races, and then there’s the Sunday finale of a Pursuit Race. To find out more, here’s the online briefing which you can watch now.

    Even more importantly, get that entry in before this Sunday and get your winter season off to a flying start:

    MORE INFO on the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series
    There are lots of different categories, races within the race, and many prizes to reward performance and tenacity on the water…

    Free SpeedSix HydroPro
    Enter two or more of the SpeedSix Challenge events (Draycote, Datchet and Oxford) and you will receive a sling-shot can of SpeedSix HydroPro to help you go even faster.

    Youth support – discounted entries
    As part of GJW Direct’s drive to encourage more Youth Sailors (18 and under during 2018) to compete in the Series, these sailors will be eligible for a third off their entry fees when entering four or more events at the same time. There will be specific extracted rankings and prizes, for both Junior and Youth aged sailors.

    In addition to the main overall prizes, there will again be a number of special category awards and rankings, including :

    • Allen Best Progression
    • Dinghy Rope Top Class
    • GUL Top Lady
    • Youth and Junior
    • Trident Top Club
    • SpeedSix GPS challenge
    • Class specific (15+ boats)
    • Boat type (Fast Symmetric, Fast Asymmetric, Slow Symmetric, Slow Asymmetric)

    Last year’s GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series saw over 1,000 competitors from 278 sailing clubs taking part in 89 different racing classes. The Series has a massive online following each winter, with a big growth in mobile access. Last year attracted more than 36,000 unique users who totalled more than 107,000 visits to the Series website,

    Last year a number of classes scheduled the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series as a key part of their calendars, with SailRacer producing class specific extracted results. Any class interested in their own Winter Series as part of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, please contact Simon Lovesey @ SailRacer, with class prizes for any achieving 15+ entries. Last season saw 14 classes with entries over 15 boats.

    The same seven events are back from last year’s Series. Once again, you must count your best four results from these seven events. Of course, you’re welcome to enter and compete in as many events as you like – all seven if you’re big enough to take on the challenge. This will give you more shots at getting a set of four good scores to put on the board.

    The following regattas constitute the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017/18):

    Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
    18 & 19 November 2017

    Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
    9 & 10 December 2017

    Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
    27 December 2017

    Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
    30 December 2017

    Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club
    6 January 2018

    John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
    3 & 4 February 2018

    Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
    17 February 2018

    Find out more about the Series here:
    The website will tell you more about the events in the Series, more about the Great Lakes handicapping process, and we’ll keep you updated on everything else you need to know.

    Further Information for media:
    Please contact Andy Rice
    Phone: 020 8133 9330

    Photo Credits: Tim Olin

    Notes to editors:

    Previous winners of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series
    2016/17 Matt Mee & Emma Norris (RS200)
    2015/16 Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe (GP14)
    2014/15 Nick Craig & various crews (Merlin Rocket)
    2013/14 Michael Sims (Solo)
    2012/13 Tom Gillard & Simon Potts (Fireball)
    2011/12 Peter Gray & Rachael Rhodes (Scorpion)
    2010/11 Andy Peake (Musto Skiff)
    2009/10 Olly Turner & Richard Whitworth (Merlin Rocket) is the ‘how to sail and race faster’ website, with hundreds of articles and exclusive interviews with National, World and Olympic Champions. Professional sailing journalist and editor of, Andy Rice, came up with the concept of the SailJuice Winter Series (originally known as the SailJuice Global Warm-Up) as a way of increasing participation levels in dinghy racing during the off-season in the UK.
    SailRacer manages event websites and processes online entry for major National, International, Youth and training events, providing online scoring, analysis and advanced sports presentation including GPS tracking and live video.
    GJW Direct’s ‘All-inclusive Dinghy Insurance Policy’ offers outstanding premiums, taking the worry out of dinghy sailing and racing. The website,, offers the facility to get a quick quote and immediate on-line cover. This policy can be arranged by phoning GJW Direct on 0151 473 8000.

  2. Notts County goes Wild in the Country – annual Spring Regatta Open Meeting

    The Notts County Sailing Club Spring Regatta was a huge success with well over a hundred taking part including a record 33 juniors of all ages. There were over seventy dinghies and windsurfers competing. Thanks to our sponsors Allen Brothers, Noble Marine Insurance, Morton Boats, Gill International and HB Clark for the numerous prizes.
    The theme was Notts County goes Wild in the Country with several environmental events taking place over the weekend alongside racing for all types of dinghies & windsurfers.

    One of the key fleets was the Juniors with a record thirty-three taking part in racing during the event; the youngest being 6. Many also took part in the in the Art competition, the Build a Boat from Recycled Materials and many other activities.

    The weekend started on Friday evening when it was sunny, calm and balmy. A few visitors from Swarkestone, Emberton Park SC went out on the water to practice. We had a Bring your own BBQ with music from the Ragged Rascals and guests that went on well into the night. The bar was well used with the normal fare topped up by Botanical Gin and St. Austell Brewery’s Trelawny beer.

    Saturday was sunny all day. It began with light variable winds in morning but, come the afternoon, the wind piped up with lots of sailors eager to show off how well they had polished the bottoms of their boats. Some tired people at the end but plenty of smiles. Gusts of up to 25 knots were recorded so the safety crew were kept busy with the sudden change in the weather. Thanks to them and all the other club members who rolled up their sleeves, put on their buoyancy aids and just pitched in to help.

    The morning racing for the Commodores’ Cup was fast and furious followed by the Regatta Cup full of thrills and spills. The new Category Races demonstrated all the different ways you can get on the water – one sail, two sails, three sails, standing up, sitting down!
    Later in the afternoon, as it was too windy to team-race, there was a team racing demo. Unfortunately for the Optimist race it was deemed too windy to be held despite the protests from the youngsters.

    The evening saw an excellent Pauline Roast with Desserts all topped off by a fascinating talk on Bats by Natasja from Nottinghamshire Bat Group Such an enthusiastic speaker; all of us aahing when she brought out a rescue bat for us to see at close quarters. Armed with echolocators quite a few members went for a dusk walk around the club to find the bats feeding and swooping along the River Trent.

    Sunday saw some people up bright and early for the Dawn Chorus (two hours after dawn anyway) at 7am with binoculars at the ready for a bird walk lead by the very own ex-Commodore Steve Payne. He delighted us with his knowledge of different birdsongs while we spotted numerous birds including a Garden Warbler, the Terns, Blackcaps, Herons amongst many others.

    Team Racing started over Sunday breakfast in the sunshine followed by the Commodores’ Cup as with the wind decreasing during the day. Those taking part in the Regatta Cup had a more pleasant sail but by the time for the Category Races the wind had well and truly dropped.

    At the end of the day the Oppie Races took place at last with many of the youngsters racing for the first time. Some had only just learnt to sail!.
    After two races Katherine Gunn was first with Isobel Ritchie second & Millie Mack third.

    Sunday night saw a BBQ by Midshires Farms as the sun set over the yard arm while more gin was quaffed. The HB Clark Tug of War won by “The Tents” who beat the “Motor homes”.
    The youngsters had a detective puzzle to solve from the RYA Blue green Marine CSI game. They had to solve four environmental boating incidents by undertaking water quality testing, fingerprint analysis and unscrambling puzzles. This was very popular with the juniors. One of them enjoyed it so much he did it twice!

    There was Fancy Dress and Mask painting, along with Build A boat and Painting competition on a wildlife theme.
    There was the return of the Silent Disco from Silent Discomania with DJ T.I.MOTHY or Prof Tim as he is better known!). Monday was a dull overcast day with rain at times and a light breeze giving some close racing.

    The final rounds of Team racing kicked off the morning with a close fought final won by Anthony Quinn & Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith and Alex & Raife Piggott


    Allen Brothers, the leading British manufacturer of performance sailing hardware, will be running a “Most Improved” Award programme worth over £500 to competitors in the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, as a pilot for a national scheme in 2017.

    Competitors from all classes are eligible for the award, which will be run at each round of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series. All they will need to do is put Allen hull stickers on their boat. Using relative adjusted race times and leg times where GPS data is available, SailRacer will calculate the boats and crews which have shown the most improvement in their performance over the course of the event. The winners from each event will then be judged by a panel including Simon Lovesey of SailRacer and Andy Rice of and an overall winner will be selected at the end of the series. There will be individual prizes at each event and a presentation of the Allen “Most Improved” Award will take place at the Suzuki RYA Dinghy Show in March 2017.

    Explaining the motivation for the award, Liz Adams, MD of Allen brothers said, “For the majority of club sailors, a win in a major event is just a dream. By definition, a class of 120 boats only has one winner. So we wanted to reward those competitors who have a good event, but don’t make the podium. Supporting ‘buddy schemes’ and our new ‘Most Improved’ Award is the way we have chosen to do this.”

    Allen Brothers is currently celebrating its 60th year of British manufacture of high performance sailing hardware. Allen equipment was supplied to the British Sailing teams competing in the 49er and 49er FX classes at the Rio Olympics and Team Allen crews have been successful in Fireball, International Moth and other major sailing championships this year.


  4. Royal Corinthian Yacht Club hosts Endeavour Trophy 2016
    Championship a huge success with world class sailors

    Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (7-9 October, 2016): The Endeavour Championship, the ultimate invitation event for the champions of numerous dinghy national championships, was once again hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, on the River Crouch.

    The 26 entrants included two Olympians, Ben Saxton, representing the Nacra 17 class, and Niki Birrell representing Skud 18 class. The championship started with the usual training day on Friday. The training was a combination of classroom style discussions, on the water practice and finally a comprehensive video roundup of the day with tips from top trainer Steve Irish.

    The conditions throughout the weekend were generally light to moderate, which led to some extremely close, tactical racing. In the final race of the day on Saturday, Saxton and top crewman Toby Lewis were beaten by the RS Elite champion youngsters, William Prank and Finley Dickenson, both aged 13. Saxton commented on the win: “It is still an absolute pleasure sailing against all these capable sailors and a very well done to William [Prank] and Finley [Dickenson] for beating us in the final race of the day.”

    Sunday saw a slight change in the wind strength, enough to overpower some of the lighter crews, and Saxton and Lewis shot ahead of the fleet. Although they didn’t have it all their own way, they successfully defended the title they lifted in 2015 to become the Endeavour Champions for the second year running. This win means Toby has been the winning crew a record six times now, which equals Nick Craig’s helming record.

    Saxton was pleased with the racing and commented after the final race: “It was tricky again today, trying to figure out the tides and the wind. I think we did a good job in the first two races and could afford to try some different, safer options in the last two races. It wasn’t any easier though because everyone sailed really hard. Absolutely fantastic racing by everyone.”

    Lewis added: “The conditions were tough and we had some serious races with competitors like Edd [Whitehead] and Karen [Oldale] representing the RS500s. The course was unpredictable and ever changing wind conditions requiring some serious concentration.”

    The day started with a fresh northerly breeze of about 14 knots with some menacing clouds on the horizon. Fortunately no major rain fell and the experienced competitors were taking advantage of every gust that came their way, especially on the downwind legs where most of the boats were on the plane.

    As the day wore on the winds lightened up slightly but remained northerly at about 10 knots, with the occasional big gust, making it more difficult for the heavier crews to maintain optimum speed. The race for second place quickly became a hot contest between four different teams. The RS200s team, Matt Mee and Joanna Wright, managed to sail a consistent four races to secure second place overall, seven points ahead of Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D One).

    RS200 national champion Joanna Wright was happy: “Matt and I have only ever sailed together in this event so today we were getting use to each other and had a solid day’s sailing and working together as a team.”

    “There are many ex-RS200 champions and RS200 sailors in this fleet and we were determined to beat them,” added Mee.

    Nick Craig came third and was enthusiastic about the racing: “Today was very similar to yesterday for us. The racing was tight but we felt a little sticky, almost not as quick as we could have been. It would have been so much better if we had that 30 knots of wind but it was not to be. Hats off to the other competitors, we really had a great time and some great racing this weekend.”

    The Merlin Rocket team – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart – who managed to come fourth overall, are not newcomers to this championship as they have, as a team, won the event in 2003 when they represented the RS400 class at the championship. Gilbert was quite frank and jolly about the racing: “It’s been a long time since we won, we use to be the fittest and the youngest but that appears to have changed. The conditions were very testing and possibly the wind was a bit too light for us. We are still very pleased with the results.”

    Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (Fireball) came fifth overall. Birrell was excited about the conditions and the outcome: “We read the tide much better today, we were not all over the place like yesterday. Today we just stuck to what we know and sailed hard to make up places. Two firsts, a second and a third was great sailing for us today.”

    Niki Birrell, Christian’s brother and bronze medal-winning Olympian at the Rio Paralympic Games, was invited to sail in the Endeavour Championship and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When asked about sailing against his brother he replied: “Yesterday I beat him in three races, somehow today he found his mojo and just took off and left me behind. It has been absolutely fantastic and such an honour to be entered. We found the racing to be tight, hard and very competitive and we are very pleased to have come 11th overall. This event has given me much inspiration to pursue my dream of winning a national championship and I know I will need to learn to sail quicker to achieve this dream.”

    The weekend was concluded with a prize giving ceremony held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club before the competitors packed up and went their separate ways. Edwin Buckley – event director and race officer commented during the prize giving: “It is always a pleasure to have such champions on the water competing, they give it all that they have and make this event a true test of skill, endurance and tenacity for each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    Overall Results (eight races, seven to count)

    1st NACRA 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (13pts)
    2nd RS200 – Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (31pts)
    3rd D ONE – Nick Craig and Holly Scott (38pts)
    4th Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (38pts)
    5th Fireball – Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (38pts)
    6th RS AERO 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin (55pts)

    Click here for full results.

    Brief history of the Endeavour Trophy

    The Endeavour Trophy is a solid silver scale model of the J Class yacht Endeavour presented annually to the Champion of Champions at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch.

    The origin of the trophy stems from Tom Sopwith’s J Class yacht Endeavour, America’s Cup Challenge in 1934. Following a pay dispute and dismissal of his east coast-based professional crew, Sopwith teamed up with ‘Tiny’ Mitchell, the Commodore of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at the time, to recruit amateur members of the club to form a crew.

    Although Endeavour won the first two races against Rainbow, and lost the series, this was the closest England ever came to winning the coveted America’s Cup.

    In recognition of this achievement, Robin Judah – respected member of the RCYC –established a series of races for dinghy sailors in order to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK’s most popular dinghy racing classes. Beecher Moore, former Endeavour crew, and marketing man behind the successful dinghy designer Jack Holt, joined Judah in his quest to run this event and presented for the overall winner, his solid silver scale model of the yacht.

    The first invitation-only race took place in 1961 and the winners were Peter Bateman and Keith Musto, representing the International Cadet class. The event is now recognised as one of the ultimate achievements in British dinghy racing.

    The competition is exceptionally challenging and those who qualify through winning their own class championship, are given the opportunity to race equally talented sailors in this unique, highly demanding two-day event on the River Crouch.

    Given the diverse entry, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews, and to ensure the racing is as fair as possible, carefully selected, strict one-designs are chosen for the event. The original idea back in 1961 was to use the club’s own fleet of 15 Royal Corinthian One-Designs but they were considered too specialist and would have placed a perpetual limit on the number of entries. The first event was, therefore, sailed in Enterprises.

    Since then numerous one-design classes have been used for the event including the GP14, Laser 2, Lark, Enterprise, RS400, Topper Xenon, and the Topper Argo. The 13ft (4m) Phil Morrison-designed RS200 – a smaller version of the RS400 – was used for the first time in 2015 and will be used once again this year. It weighs in at 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

    Supporting partners

    RS Sailing
    Produce a wide range of award winning sailboats including the RS200 used for the 2016 Endeavour Championship. The company is based in Hampshire and is supported by a worldwide dealer network, and active class associations throughout the world.

    Allen Brothers
    Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware – designers, manufacturers and distributors of performance dinghy and keelboat fittings.

    The Calltracks tracking solution is a comprehensive and easy-to-use web-based system, which enables businesses to take better control of their sales and marketing activities.

    Hyde Sails
    UK managed and owned company, producing performance sails worldwide for dinghies and yachts for over 40 years.

    Magic Marine
    Develop and produce technical dinghy and catamaran sailing gear worldwide.

    Kingfisher DSM Group
    Kingfisher yacht ropes is DSM group’s own brand of high performance sailing ropes and equipment.

    Lonton and Gray sail makers
    Manufacturers of quality sails for dinghies, keelboats and Squibs, all made in the UK.

    Endeavour contact
    Edwin Buckley on +44 (0) 7768 003 453 or email

    Endeavour Trophy

    Event website

  5. The ASC Big Weekend kicked off at 9am on the 3rd of September with the first section of the powerboat competition to win 36 pints of beer donated by Nottingham Brewery. Colwick park lifeguards showed up with 6 of its members to give the course a go! Later on in the day, Kevin Last, Dave Bexson, Keith Brereton, Kevin Milton and Iona Reid all had a go. By the end of the Saturday powerboat, Keith was winning with a seemingly safe time of 6 minutes 46 seconds. Spectators stood under marquees donated by Broxtowe Sports to watch the powerboat competition while it was raining.
    The Saturday Afternoon Fun Day started off with 9 junior members competing in a 40 minute race for the Cygnet Series. Richard Baker and Connor Green won in an RS Feva, with Jill Reid and Alex Herbert coming second. In 3rd place came newbie Tomas Herbert. Iona Reid and Martin Atkinson won Rash Vests donated by Allen for most improved. Thomas Ireland won the Eric Twiname Trust trophy. After the race, everyone had some pizza donated by Papa John’s and also some salad. Each of the juniors that participated in the race received a free MERCK Bag which included some notebooks and pens as well as Allen T-shirts which they all wore during the event. After the race results had been read out and prizes had been given out, all of the juniors went and did a game of throwing a rope around a bucket as far as they could! After this small game, they went out and played a game of tag before packing the boats away. A couple of other juniors also came out after the race, as well as 5 non-sailors who were taken out for a taster by Richard Baker and Jill Reid.
    The evening BBQ kicked off at around 6, with small number that grew slightly as the evening progressed. Two musicians, Chris and Stella came and played some great music which everyone enjoyed.
    On the Sunday morning, the powerboat competition kicked off again with Wanlip Sailing Club. By 12 noon, Wanlip’s Richard Baker won the competition with a time of 5 mins 27 secs, with Jill Reid in 2nd with 6 mins 22 secs and Keith Brereton in third with 6 mins 45 secs. Iona Reid had her second go at the competition in the small inflatable RIB, setting it up correctly this time, thanks to Keith! She managed a very good time of 7 minutes and 58 seconds in the small 6 horse power rib.
    The Sunday races had good wind, and a lot of people enjoyed themselves. After two back-to-back races, lunch was served, before the sailors went back out and sailed the last race of the day. After all three races and the results had been worked out; a prize giving ceremony was held in the ASC Clubhouse. In the Adult category, 1st place was Kevin Last, 2nd Duncan Adams and 3rd Paul Jago. In the Crewed boat category 1st place was Dennis and Janice King. In the Junior section, 1st place was Richard Baker, 2nd Jill Reid and 3rd Iona Reid. Most improved trophies went to Jeff Marshall and Roger Day. A couple of spot prizes went to Ray Kemish and Andrew Goodman! Gillian Day was OOD1 for the day, which was a huge help in allowing everyone to sail in the races. The prizes were a mixture of Gill kit bags, books printed by Adlard Coles Nautical donated by the Eric Twiname Trust, and trophies made by a local artist. After the prize giving, some of the sailors stayed behind to socialize and drink some of the beer donated by Scribblers Brewery.
    Overall, over £900 has been raised through the event and also two sponsors, Clipper Ventures, who donated £100, and MERCK, who donated £250. All of the money raised through this event will be donated to the Eric Twiname Trust and the Ellen MacArthur Trust. There are still event bags available to buy for £5 in the ASC Clubhouse.
    I would like to say a big thank-you to all of the sponsors and to everyone who donated money, food and time as without them this race would not have been a success. The University Of Nottingham MEU helped publicize and to print out the posters for the event and also to DBN Web Design helped to design a great website for the event, which has been commented on by other sponsors as professional. Thank you to Michael Adams, participant of the Clipper Race 15-16 on the Garmin boat, for talking to the helpers and people around about his experience. There were competitor’s packs available at the event for £5. These included items from sponsors, including Clipper Ventures, Marlow Ropes, Gill, Allen, Eppendorf, SLS, the RYA, the Ellen MacArthur Trust, Cycle Inn, RNLI and MERCK. Thank you to everyone who purchased one or more of these. Thank you to the Co-operative who donated bread towards the event for the BBQ on both Saturday evening and the Sunday lunch. Thank you to the local photographers Mark Storey and Dale Russel attended both days of the event and took some absolutely amazing photos. I would also like to say thank you to the Attenborough Sailing Club for allowing the event to be held at their club and for the use of the club facilities and to all the other people and companies who helped make this event a success.
    Jill Reid

  6. The final and deciding race of the SAP 505 Worlds may not have had the epic qualities of some of the earlier rounds, but still produced some fine sailing in Weymouth Bay. Although Americans Mike Martin and Adam Lowry went into the race with a seemingly comfortable points margin of 22 points over the rest of the field, they could not afford any mishap. If their best currently discarded result of 30th in Race 1 came into play, any one of six rivals could overhaul them for the title.

    After the heavy winds of the previous three races, the 130 starting boats had a gentle breeze of 6-8kts to take them on the hour long sail east out of Portland Harbour to the starting area. Since both the 10th and 11th placed finishers in the previous race had already performed the duty, GBR 9131 sailed by Nathan Bachelor and Sam Pascoe, opened proceedings as pathfinder. Not for the first time in this regatta, the start had to be abandoned due to an over eager competitor impeding the gate boat, but all boats behaved themselves at the second time of asking.

    By now the breeze had developed a little more oomph, with 10-12kts across most of the race track, and oscillating through about 15 degrees. At the first mark, Philippe Boite and Corbel Florian (FRA) clearly found the softer conditions more to their liking and slipped round at the top of the pile ahead of Mike Holt and Carl Smit (USA) and Germany’s Tim Boger and Markus Schoner. But the big question was the whereabouts of the championship leaders, Martin and Lowry? The answer was buried deep in the 30s round the top mark, thus putting their title hopes in significant jeopardy.

    The fleet split down the run, and significant pressure differences across the pitch produced more place changing. At the bottom gate it was Holt and Smit that led marginally from Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner (GER). The German boat opted to take the opposite side of the gate to Holt and the left hand side of the beat. However, Martin and Lowry also chose some good lines to move up the fleet, rounding in the high teens, enough to win the championship.

    The conditions were clearly to the liking of Hunger and Kleiner who outpaced Holt and Smit up the second beat to establish a lead that they would not surrender, although by now the pressure had increased to 14-16kts, giving some sparkling sailing down the reaching legs in the middle of the race. Behind the leading two boats, Timon Treichel and Morten Roos (GER), Tyler Moore and Drew Buttner (USA) and Malcom Higgins and Nick Johnston (AUS) all remained in the hunt for third place.
    However, the real story involved Martin and Lowry. It was their championship to lose, but would the pressure get to them? Martin, uniquely a previous winner as both a crew in 1999 and as a helm ten years later, was keeping his cool and was advancing through the fleet. Hunger and Kleiner took the finish gun with a comfortable advantage over Holt and Smit, with Treichel and Roos third. However, the new SAP 505 World Champions Mike Martin and Adam Lowry proved their mettle by crossing in fifth place, a considerable achievement after being apparently buried on the first leg.

    The Classic fleet also enjoyed the more benign conditions, with Michael Wilson and Phil Hardisty (GBR) completing a clean sweep of first places in the seven races held.

    The day proved a fitting end to a superb championship, with the only bad weather falling on the lay day and with winds ranging from 6kt to 28kts on the race days providing a true test for the competitors. The world class race management by the team from the WPNSA, with rapid and accurate changes to the course axis and length to meet the changing conditions, also played a huge part in ensuring that a full schedule of races was held and that the racing was a fair as possible to all. The title sponsors SAP, together with the clothing sponsors Gul and equipment sponsors Allen all combined to make this a truly memorable event for all involved.

  7. High Adrenalin on Weymouth Bay

    After yesterday’s intermission which brought gale force wind, rain and low cloud rather than ice creams, hot dogs and the safety curtain, the show resumed today at the SAP 505 World Championships. Most reviewers agreed that this latest act was among the more memorable productions by the assembled 505 cast, and most actors and spectators left happy, even though the full scheduled performance had to be curtailed.

    Having learned of the forecast the ladies and gentlemen of the Classic Fleet decided by mutual consent that the circumstances might prove too testing for their elderly craft. They preferred to take advantage of the opportunity of the live video stream of the main event from the comfort of the sailor’s lounge at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy. In the meantime, the cast of the world championship fleet enjoyed a brisk sail out to the stage, set in east Weymouth Bay beneath the chalk cliffs of the Dorset coast.

    By the time the overture had started, the wind was steady from the south west with a speed of between 18 and 20kts, which gave the pathfinder boat of Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn (USA) a brisk push to open the gate. Unfortunately, they had to provide an unexpectedly early encore when the gate boat was obstructed by a stray actor just under three minutes up the line, but the repeat allowed the cast to set about its business with earnest.

    Andy Smith and Tim Needham (GBR) narrowly led the American heavy weather tyros, Mike Martin and Adam Lowry, at the first mark, although a tangle hoisting their spinnaker let the US duo past. Having established that there would be slightly less tide against them closer inshore, Smith and Needham went for an earlier gybe than Martin and Lowry. This proved to be a master stroke as the Americans stood on too long on the starboard gybe and lost significant ground at the end of the leg by having to drop their kite early and two sail into the gate. Smith and Needham had a comfortable lead at the leeward gate ahead of the German boats, Timon Treichel and Morten Roos (9101) and Wolfgang Hunger and Julian Kleiner ((9152).

    By now the wind was beginning to build consistently above 20kts and the contra tide was creating a difficult short chop. However, this proved little obstacle for the leading boats, with the SAP tracking data showing the leading boats slapping and spanking upwind at almost 11kts. By the time their pursuers had rounded the windward mark, Smith and Needham had stretched their lead down the reach to almost 500m. Providing they made no mistake then this race was surely theirs, although with the wind now regularly gusting over 25kts significant skill and concentration were still going to be needed. Smith and Needham proved they were more than up to the task, going on to one of their more emphatic victories.

    Behind them, second place was being hotly contested by three American and three German boats. The USA boats were those of Martin/Lowry, Holt/Smit and Hamlin/Zinn. On the German side Hunger/Kleiner and Treichel/Roos were joined by the renowned heavy weather blasters, Stefan Bohm and Gerald Roos. By now the skies had fully cleared and the sun was whitening the crests of the growing waves, like the gleaming teeth of a shark anticipating its prey. While the top group all avoided this predator, it was the Americans who proved they had the edge in the conditions, with Martin/Lowry, Holt/Smit and Hamlin/Zinn all following home Smith/Needham ahead of the German trio.

    With the wind forecast to carry on increasing for the next few hours and with considerable attrition of the fleet having already occurred, Race Officer Tim Hancock wisely postponed the scheduled 7th Race allowing many elated but exhausted sailors and their boats respite before action resumes tomorrow.

    The championship leaders heading into this race, Nathan Batchelor and Sam Pascoe (GBR) found that they did not quite have the horsepower of the heavier crews in the big wind, but still pulled through from a modest position in the forties around the first mark to finish fourteenth. This still leaves them clear at the top ahead of the final two days.

  8. Debutants in Command
    Ruminating on the history of the Royal Air Force was probably the last thing on the minds of Charlie Walters and Dougal Cram (GBR) as they set off on their solitary trail as pathfinder in Race 4 of the SAP 505 World Championships. However, as they began the countdown to their run, the rain that was to fall throughout the rest of the day started, the famous motto of the RAF’s 633 Squadron “Après moi le déluge” was more than appropriate.
    The fleet headed into the breeze that was a little further to the south than on earlier days and apparently more influenced by the bulk of the Isle of Portland, with many variations in direction and pressure. At the first mark it was the newly crowned UK National Champions, Andy Smith and Tim Needham who led, followed by Nathan Batchelor and Sam Pascoe (GBR), with Jens Findel and Johannes Tellen (GER) just behind. The fleet showed little agreement about the right way down the next leg with some taking the left, some the right and others picking shifts down the middle. Smith and Needham still arrived at the leeward gate first, with Findel and Tellen not far behind.
    On the second upwind leg the leading bunch, which by now included Wolfgang Hunger and Julian Kleiner (GER), consolidated their positions, although Batchelor and Pascoe worked their way back past Findel and Tellen upwind. The leaders all filed down the first reaching leg but things started to get interesting after the gybe mark. The wind had backed to the south making the leg very broad and tactically more like a run, with most boats having to making one or two further gybes to maintain speed to the next mark. Batchelor and Pascoe called their angles right and swept passed Smith and Needham. Then things got even worse for Smith and Needham. The tactical gybing on this leg made them forget that this was a reaching leg when there is only one leeward mark instead of the gate used at the end of the run. They rounded the wrong mark and were followed by five times World Champion Wolfgang Hunger.
    This effectively gave Batchelor and Pascoe a seemingly impregnable lead but the drama had not yet finished. In hoisting their spinnaker to start the final downhill run, it somehow got caught under the bow and dragged under the boat. This enabled a number of the trailing boats to overhaul them before they recovered. At the finish the first two boats across the line were Smith / Needham and Hunger / Kleiner. However, their earlier error meant that Mike Martin and Adam Lowry (USA) were confirmed in first place, with Batchelor/Pascoe pipping Findel/Tellen to the runner’s up spot.
    By now the rain was more persistent and the wind more capricious, with a few short squalls of up to 18kts but often dipping down to 10kts, which presented as big a challenge for the Race Management team from WPSNA as it did for competitors. However, this crack team were more than up to the task of swinging the axis of the course and altering leg lengths multiple times during the racing to make everything as fair as possible for all.
    Race 5 got away with the minimum of delay behind the pathfinder, Timon Treichel and Morten Roos (GER). First to show was the Danish pair of Jorgen and Jacob Bojsen-Moeller, but the Batchelor and Pascoe star remained in ascendance when they came through down the first run to take a lead they did not surrender, in spite of the wind backing 20 degrees to the south and variations in pressure across the track. After the drama of the previous race, there was little remarkable apart from the British duo’s dominance of the high quality field. The Bojsen-Moeller’s took 2nd place just ahead of Tyler Moore and Andrew Buttner.
    At just over the half way mark in the series the fleet and army of volunteers helping run the event have a well earned rest day tomorrow, before the contest resumes on Wednesday. In the meantime, class newcomers, Nathan Batchelor and Sam Pascoe are pinching themselves at the heady position in which they find themselves. Batchelor said that coming into the event they had targeted a top twenty finish for their first Worlds in the class and were ecstatic to get three top ten results in the first three races, as this would almost guarantee they would meet this goal. To follow up with a 1st and 2nd today means they opened up an eight point lead over compatriots Pinnell and Davies after discarding a relatively lofty 9th place. This gives them a greater margin for error in the remaining races than their rivals, so surely it is now time for them to recalibrate their sights.
    In the classic fleet line honours again went to Michael Wilson and Phil Hardisty, but under the handicapping system used for these older boats, the leaders of this competition at the half way stage are the South African pairing of Grant and Courtney Ballantyne sailing 4437, having recorded three first places on adjusted time.

  9. Smith and Needham make early charge
    The UK duo, Andy Smith and Tim Needham, carried the form shown in winning Keil Week last month into the first two races of the 505 UK national championships. With a first and a second place they top the leader board at the end of the first day. However, there is little danger of complacency in their boat, as defending World Champion, Mike Holt, crewed by Carl Smit, from the USA scored an emphatic victory in Race 1, and were never far away in Race 2, finally ending up fourth.
    The conditions were just about perfect for the 96 boats that came to the start, with the earlier gloomy conditions giving way to a bright afternoon, with a solid 12 knot breeze across the race track in Weymouth Bay giving good planning conditions off wind. Others showing strongly at this stage include class stalwarts, Ian Pinnell and Alex Davies, and returning double World Champions, Mark Upton Brown and Ian Mitchell. The Danish team of Nikolaj Hoffmann Buhl and Henrik Buhl also showed good speed and if it had not been for a navigation error which caused them to round the wrong mark in the first race they would also have been up with the early leaders.
    The UK championship is also serving as an amuse-bouche for the SAP Championship series starting on Saturday and running through until 5 August, which has over 140 entries from 14 different countries. Some of the leading contenders for the worlds are still either to arrive or are using the UK series as an opportunity to fettle their boats, so we can expect the competition to start hotting up soon.

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