Sailing News

Sunday 17th September

One way or another, it was Jasper Bramwell’s winning day on Sunday at Hollingworth Lake. The strong easterly wind presented challenges to racing though it eased occasionally. It did result in a capsize for Les Bithell and Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket, who finished fourth in the first race instead of a possible win.

In the first race, Jasper sailed well in his Topper, finishing ahead of Martin Brennan (Solo) on the water, before applying handicaps. Xavier Bramwell, also Topper, held third place.

In the second and third races, Jasper crewed with Adam McGovern in a GP14 for some fast spinnaker downwind sailing and two clear wins. Steady sailing Martin was runner up with Les and Emma in third place. Only the GP14 and plucky Annabelle Bramwell (Topper) went out for the third race being runner up.

A number of others were either away on holiday or sailing elsewhere. On Saturday, there had been training sessions in particular for junior team racing

Sunday 10th September

Racing on Hollingworth Lake on Sunday sailors competed for the annual Founders Plate. This consisted of two races to qualify for a final pursuit race, over an hour long, with the slowest boats starting first in a timed sequence.

The wind for the first race was light with the Toppers completing one lap only. However Richard and Heather Marsh in a RS400 sailed two laps fast enough on corrected time for the win. Young Jasper Bramwell (Topper) took the runner up spot, ahead of Stuart Bates and Emma Turner in a Merlin Rocket. There was a bit more wind for the second race which was won by Stuart Bates and Emma Turner with the Marsh pair taking the runner up place. In third place was Nick Hornsby in a Solo. An impressive performance, holding 4th place, was Jasper Bramwell with brother Xavier in a borrowed RS400, as this boat would normally be sailed by two adults.

The Pursuit Race started with the Toppers who set off in clear air, which they were likely to hold for a long time. In the closing minutes, Richard and Heather Marsh tried hard but Annabel Hayfield steered her Topper to win. In third place was Xavier Bramwell also in a Topper. Heather Marsh won the Trophy for the leading crew.

Several of the Juniors had raced on Saturday at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club for the North Travellers Series in Toppers. With 24 sailors racing, Millie Hayfield placed 6th. An excellent performance by our Juniors.

Sunday 27th August

There was very close racing at Hollingworth Lake on Sunday. Results, after handicaps were applied, often showed places determined by a few seconds. Overall, the day was won by Martin Brennan in a Solo, taking the first and third races. Nick Brook, in a Phantom, took the second race and that place overall.

Adam McGovern was out in a red sailed Mirror with his 5year old daughter coming runner up in the first race and third in the second one. There is no stopping our youngest sailor!

There were some stronger gusts in the second race which suited the Phantom and Ste Mason’s RS300, who was runner up.

Mike Smith raced his Solo in close competition with Martin Brennan and finished third in the first race and second in the third one. Third place in the final race of the day went to Adam Din and Harry James sailing an RS Vision which the Club normally uses for training.

Another Club junior, Millie Hayfield, sailed well in the first race where she came in fourth place in her Topper.

Over the weekend, Jasper Bramwell, with crew Olly Hateley, raced in the 420 Class National Championship at Pwllheli. In his first experience in this class of largely juniors, with crew on trapeze he did well coming in 35th out of 48 teams.

Sunday 20th August

Sailing at Hollingworth Lake on Sunday suited the Solo racers best. Martin Brennan won the first and third races, with Mike Smith taking the runner up spots and Nigel Davey having a third and fifth places. Richard and Heather Marsh in a RS400 took the second race win.

Conditions varied during the afternoon with changes in the strength of the westerly wind and clouds sometimes looking threatening. Occasionally gusts added some excitement to the day but there were no capsizes.

Junior sailors in Toppers had very close racing in the third race finishing within 4 seconds, led by Jess Marsh, ahead of Annabelle Bramwell and Lauren Marsh. Jasper Bramwell raced in his 420, with brother Xavier climbing out on the trapeze when there was enough wind to achieve more speed.

Sunday 6th August

Martin Brennan was the winner of all three races on Sunday in a Solo. The day started with a good westerly breeze which gave those boats with spinnakers some excellent downwind legs, There were also some different pairings of helm and crew.

In the first race, Jacob Din sailing with Lauren Marsh in a RS200 was doing well until a capsize held them back. Second in that race was Adam Din with Olivia Zuniga in a RS Vision, which the Club uses for training purposes. In third place was Mike Smith in a Solo, ahead of another Solo helmed by Nick Hornsby. The second race started in similar weather until a black cloud came bringing rain. This ‘killed’ the wind and it changed to a light north westerly off the Lake Bank shore, which brought a large area of wind shadow. This did not stop Brennan who was followed by Tom Daniel and Stuart Bates in a Merlin Rocket ahead of the Solos of Nick Hornsby and Nigel Davey.

Several of the Club’s juniors were out trying their skills in different boats from normal and gaining experience. Jasper Bramwell was out with his new 420 dinghy, which has a trapeze for the crew. By chance our Olympian sailor Stuart Bithell came to look up the Club and gave advice and a try to many of the Juniors, on land, to experience being on a trapeze.

Last week, Jasper Bramwell, and brother Xavier, were competing in the Topper Championship at Pwllheli, with 132 competitors. The fleet was split into Gold and Silver leagues with Jasper finishing 11th in the Gold one and Xavier was 33rd in the Silver one.

Sunday 30th July

Another Sunday at the Lake with rain and a blustery westerly wind meant only a few racers out. The keen young sailors were not put off, as Jasper Bramwell led them round to 3 wins in his Topper.

In the first race, the strong winds caught out the experienced Martin Brennan and Dave Smith with sudden ‘headers’ as the direction shifted and they both decided to retire. Nick Hornsby persevered in his Solo and came in runner up, with Nigel Davey (also Solo) in third place. Annabelle Bramwell and brother Xavier made up the other places. As the day improved, Nigel Davey looked to set the pace in the second race in the Solos until a capsize ended that.  Nick Hornsby proved a consistent runner up with Xavier Bramwell third overall.

Many Club members spent the week at Abersoch where they came out top in the Dinghy Week racing there. Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400) led the Asymmetric fleet ahead of Chris Massey with crew Andy McKee. Adam and Jacob Din in their RS200 finished 12th. In a fleet of Toppers, Millie Hayfield finished second and sister Annabel was 10th ahead of Lauren Marsh in 13th and younger sister Jessica in 24th. This was a great family week of sailing in windier conditions than usual.

Sunday 23rd July

Sunday’s incessant rain did not stop 6 boats setting out to race at the Lake. At the 1 o’clock start time, there was very little wind and it appeared to be from the south west. However a light breeze began to emerge from the east and off they went.

The usual 3 races were held and Martin Brennan was the winner in each race, in his Solo. Mike Smith, also Solo, was always challenging and finished a few seconds behind in races 2 & 3. Stuart Bates, sailing a faster Phantom, was a second behind Brennan in the second race and just 7 seconds ahead of Smith, on handicap. Young Jasper Bramwell, normally seen in a Topper was out in a big RS400, crewed by his mother, Rhiann. He acquitted himself well though he could not take full advantage of the power and speed of the boat.

Although the rain barely stopped, the wind filling in from the north east gave good conditions for racing and the Lake is now well filled to maximum level.

Sunday 16th July

On Sunday, the Lake hosted an open event for GP14 and Phantom (single-handed) dinghies. Visitors came from Bolton, York and the North East for the GP14s, while the Phantom sailors mainly came from the Midlands.

On a blustery morning, racers were challenged by the shifty westerly wind , with an occasional capsize. After lunch the day improved.

The Phantoms fleet was dominated by Adam Froggatt from Chase SC who was the clear winner in all three races. Local sailor, Dave Smith, found conditions particularly difficult having encouraged visitors to come from far away.

Adam McGovern and Ellie Wheeldon were the GP14 winners, upholding local honour. They had very close racing with Mark and Tom Platt from Bolton, and Bryn Abendstern and Lewis Coppinger from Toddbrook. Mark Platt won the first race and unluckily capsized in the second one and then had to fend off the challenge of Bryn Abendstern in subsequent races.

Sunday 2nd July

The strong westerly breeze at the Lake on Sunday was challenging for racers. The occasional squalls meant capsizes were likely and kept the safety boat crew in action.

It was mainly the Club’s younger sailors who kept going. Young Jasper Bramwell, in his Topper, won all three races with Tom Sander Daniel, in a Laser, taking three runner-up spots. Les Bithell and Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket, took third place in the first race and decided that was enough. There were several retirements in that first race. Millie Hayfield went out for the second race and came third, ahead of Xavier Bramwell, both in Toppers.

Several of the Club’s members went to Ullswater for the annual weekend of racing to honour the memory of Lord Birkett who saved the lake for recreational use many years ago. Conditions were rough in the strong winds so that the Lake’s large steamers did not go out 207 boats had entered the event and 150 took to the water to race but only 100 survived to finish. Club members in RS400 dinghies were Chris Massey, crewed by Andy McKee and Richard and Heather Marsh, who finished well up in 15th and 18th places respectively with many tales to tell of the fast racing. Adam and Jacob Din were out in their 420 and were the best placed of that class. 

Sunday 25th June

Sunday’s racing at the Lake began with the Summer Pursuit race where boats start in a timed sequence, led by the slower Topper dinghies. Thus Millie and her sister Annabel Hayfield led for much of the race. Nick Brook in his Phantom appeared to be the leading challenger overtaking other boats until he capsized with a minute to go to the finish. Richard and Heather Marsh in their RS400 were closing fast and took the win with the Hayfields in second and third places.

The streams of wind were running parallel to the Lakebank shore and gave good conditions for racing in the two later races. Tom Sander Daniel in his Laser proved to be master of the shifts taking the wins though he was just 10 seconds ahead of Mike Smith in his Solo in the first one. Up to this point the day had been summery and then came the rain. A few continued to sail in the second race where Tom beat Nick Hornsby, also Solo, to win. In that race, Adam and Jacob Din were out in their 420 dinghy, with Jacob crewing on a trapeze to finish third.

Over the weekend, Jasper Bramwell was racing in his Topper at Rutland Water in a Championship. This was the final of a series of events. In a fleet of 86 boats, Jasper finished second overall and third over the whole series, an excellent result.

Sunday 11th June

The continued sunshine and pleasant breve was the ideal conditions for racing at the Lake on Sunday. This was one of the monthly series of racing designed to help those less experienced to have the chance to race with the established helms.

The results, however, were predictable as the breeze was at the level to give Richard and Heather Marsh in their fast RS400 wins in the first two races. It was also likely that Martin Brennan, in his Solo, would be runner up in those races. Despite the thunder and threat of lightening, he was on e of the few that went out for a third race, which he won. Les Bithell and Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket, were consistent too with a couple of third places.

On Saturday, Club Juniors were away winning. Jasper Bramwell was at Pennine SC for the Topper North West Championship which he won. He is the overall champions for the North having also won the North East event.

At Delph SC, in Bolton, the girls were the stars. This was an event of the RYA North West Junior Travellers Series. Lauren Marsh was the leading under 16 years age girl, with Millie Hayfield second. In the under 14 years category, it was Annabelle Hayfield who took the honours, ahead of Jess Marsh.

Sunday 28th May

Sunshine and wind at the Lake on Sunday were the required ingredients for a good day’s racing. What the forecast did not include was the strength of the easterly wind which was great for some but not for those who capsized!

With the Bank Holiday and Half Term, there were no juniors around. The first race was won by Colin Knott and Richard Long, in a GP14 who, setting a spinnaker downwind, were able to keep ahead of the two Solos. In second place was the ever steady Martin Brennan (Solo). Dave Smith, in a Phantom, always looked good, but never got far enough ahead on handicap.

After a capsize in the first race, sailing in a RS200 with his father, Rana, young Adam Din took out a Laser 4.7 for the second race. With its smaller sail, Adam was able to keep up with the Solos and won on handicap. Martin Brennan again came second though he only beat Dave Smith by 3 seconds on handicap.

While your reporter has been away on holiday, there has been plenty of activity on the water. Earlier this month, 40 young sailors from around the North West competed in the RYA Junior Travellers Series, followed by a Laser Open event. Over the same weekend, 15 years old Jasper Bramwell raced at Tees and Hartlepool on the sea in a Topper event, which he won.

Photo: Colin Knott and Richard Long (GP14) with spinnaker flying well. Graham Knox

Sunday 30th April

Racing Report

With a good southerly wind 8 boats braved the light but persistent rain.


Martin Brennan won the start, in his Solo, but Les Bithell & Emma Turner used the speed of the Merlin to get into the lead by the first mark. Rana Din, in the laser Radial, made a late start leaving him with a lot of work to do to catch up to the fleet.

A tight third leg saw Les & Emma struggle to carry their spinnaker to the mark, having to drop early, whilst Richard Mason & Nicola Thomason decided to take the safer option of dropping the spinnaker before the tight reach.

A problem with the spinnaker pole on the leg to A saw Les lose time on the run to A mark, eventually sorting out the issue.  Problems at the drop saw him drop well behind the Solo’s on the water and then making the decision to retire, along with Rana.

Nigel Dave’s in the NSCA boat was keeping in touch with Martin Brennan.  Following the retirements Martin was left leading on the water with Nigel shadowing him.

Martin took the win over Nigel with Richard & Nichola 3rd.


Martin, Les Burns (Laser) and Millie Hayfield all made a good start at the starboard end, whilst Les & Emma chose to start at the Port end looking for a sufficient lift to take them across the slower boats, which he just managed with Martin close on his heels and Les Burns a couple of boat lengths further back.

Les Burns used the downwind speed of the Laser to get through Martin by the time they started the second beat.

The fleet slowly spread out over the race course, with the Hayfield sisters staying very close to each other, despite Annabelle having a smaller sail on.

Les & Emma just managed to lap Annabelle as they approached the finish and Rana chose that moment to retire, as his neck was hurting a bit too much.  Les Burns was 2nd on the water with Martin Brennan third.  

Race 3 : FDHBEG IO

Only 3 sailors chose to brave the rain in the last race, the Merlin of Les Bithell & Emma Turner, Les Burns in the Laser and Martin Brennan in the Solo.  Martin managed to get ahead of Les Burns  on the water towards the end of a close race between the pair.

Once  the handicaps had been applied the results were as follows :

  • 3rd : Martin Brennan (1,3,1)
  • 2nd : Les Burns (DNS, 1,3)
  • 3rd : Les Bithell & Emma Turner (DNF, 2, 2)

Away from the club Jasper & Xavier Bramwell were competing in the Eric Twiname Championships. Jasper finished 3rd Overall with Xavier finishing 31st in the Silver Fleet.

Sunday 23rd April 2023

Racing at the Lake on Sunday began with the Spring Pursuit Race in pleasant conditions. This was led off by the Toppers with young Xavier Bramwell getting ahead. Despite the faster boats trying to catch up Xavier held the lead to win.

The first afternoon points race was contested by Richard and Heather Marsh in a RS400, keeping ahead of Les Bithell and Emma Turner in a Merlin Rocket, while Martin Brennan in his Solo was a close third place. Two other fast RS400s could not maintain the pace of the leader.

There were changes for the lead in the second race where Martin Brennan got the best of the fickle winds. On handicap, Martin was comfortably ahead of the double-handed boats. Richard and Heather Marsh came in second this time, ahead again of Les Bithell and Emma Turner. Chris Massey, with Adam McGovern in a RS400 next ahead of another RS400 helmed by Nick Brook with Rhiann Bramwell crewing.

Overall, it was a good day for the Marsh pair.

On Saturday, Jasper Bramwell raced at the Topper Midland Championship at Draycote Water where he won all four races.

Xavier Bramwell Pursuit Race Winner

Sunday 16th April 2023

The race results at the Lake on Sunday were dominated by the 5 Solos out. The light wind conditions suited them well with Martin Brennan winning all 3 races.

The westerly air stream and dull weather gave shifting conditions in the first race, but at least they were able to sail 3 laps of the course. After that, the wind was lighter for the subsequent races and only two laps were sailed.

The turnout was the best so far this year with 14 boats out. On the water, Nick Brook and Rhiann Bramwell, in a RS400, were the leaders ahead of Les Bithell and Naz Maquire, in a Merlin Rocket. Adjusting the handicaps gave the Solo racers close finish places with Brennan in the lead, followed by Nick Hornsby, Nigel Davey and Mike Smith in that order. Richard Blackburn was some way behind in his first outing. In the Juniors, sibling rivalry saw Jessica Marsh beat her elder sister Lauren.

Over the weekend, Jasper Bramwell was at Grafham Water, in Rutland, for the Topper Inland Championship. Four races were sailed on Saturday where he won the first one and finished runner up overall as there was no wind at all on the Sunday. This was an outstanding result in a fleet of over 100 young sailors.

Race 2 Start

Sunday 2nd April

On Sunday at the Lake there was plenty of sunshine and wind which are the ingredients for good racing. Richard and Heather Marsh, in their RS400, could have been on course to win all three races. However, they were too keen at the start of the second race and had to restart losing them the win, as they finished 4th.

The wind proved fickle in the first race, dying away at times, despite being from an easterly direction. The Marsh pair managed to hold off the challengers, with Mike Smith, in his Solo, in good form on his first outing of the season, holding off Nick Hornsby, also Solo. In the second race, it was Mike Smith who won, ahead of Nick Brook in his Phantom, with Nick Hornsby again in third place.

The wind had steadied for the third race with Richard and Heather Marsh holding off Chris Massey, with Andy McKee crewing, also in a RS400. In third place was Stuart Bates, crewed by Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket.

The Bramwell family were away at Pwllheli for a Topper event.

Now Wednesday evening racing starts again for the summer period.

Sunday 26th March 2023

An easterly wind at the Lake is usually strong enough to deter some sailors from setting out. However, on Sunday, the strength was reasonable and Juniors in Toppers were prominent in the results.

In the first race, Lauren Marsh sailed her Topper into 3rd place, ahead of her parents Richard and Heather Marsh in their RS400.

Jasper Bramwell won all three races in his Topper. He had been at West Kirby on Saturday experiencing the thrill of crewing on a trapeze in a 420 dinghy, widening his skill.

Martin Brennan in his Solo, sailed consistently in runner up spot and was ahead of Stuart Bates who was trying out a Solo.

After a slow start, sailors are getting out again to enjoy a full Lake.

Race 3 Start

Sunday 12th March 2023

The forecast for the Lake on Sunday was for a moderate westerly wind. It did not mention that there would also be strong gusts. So it was that only one boat did not capsize out racing!

Richard and Heather Marsh have more experience racing together in their RS400 than the other 3 similar boats out in these conditions, and comfortably won the first and second races. After that they decided that was enough!

Full marks should go to the Juniors who were out. Chris Massey, with young Jasper Bramwell as crew, was also out in a RS400. They finished the first in second place, then had a third place and won the last race, due to Jasper’s keenness to be out.

Millie Hayfield and Lauren Marsh, in their Toppers, both had several capsizes, but kept on racing. Millie’s scoreline was third, second and third. She beat Lauren in the first race, who retired from the second one. Lauren then beat Millie in the last one.

The enthusiasm and skill of these young sailors in such testing conditions was great!

Sunday 5th March 2023

In the words of one competitor, it was a cracking day on the water as the season started at the Lake Sailing Club. In the cool north westerly off the Lakebank shore, there was less wind than forecast. The numbers racing might have been low but there was quality in the racing and close results.

Richard and Heather Marsh, in their RS400, were in good form and won the first race, with the Solos of Martin Brennan and Nick Hornsby behind a few seconds apart from each other. Young Xavier Bramwell was not far behind on handicap either in fourth place in his Topper.

In the second race, conditions suited the Solos better taking the win and runner up places. Richard and Heather Marsh finished third after two other RS400s were chasing them. These two boats were in the hands of Chris Massey with Tom Daniel and Nick Brook with Rhiann Bramwell trying their hands in boats with asymmetric spinnakers.

Normal service was resumed in the third race with the Marshs winning and Martin Brennan taking runner up spot ahead Nick Hornsby. Junior sailors Millie Hayfield and Lauren Marsh deserve a mention for racing in a RS Feva XL, a smaller version of the adult’s boat.

Over the weekend, now 15 years old, Jasper Bramwell was racing in the Topper Winter Championship at Weymouth in a fleet of over 100 boats, sailed by Juniors. After a slow start in the 5 race series, Jasper went on to take 4 races in the top 5 places, placing him 7th overall (leading the last race to the final leg) in a very close competition with just 4 points separating the top 7 boats. This was an outstanding result!

Richard & Heather Marsh leading round the first mark (Graham Knox)

HLSC Freezer Open Meeting Report

Saturday & Sunday 24th & 25th September

It was another busy weekend of racing at the Lake. On Saturday, the Club hosted a North Toppers Travellers Event with 20 competitors, all under 16 years of age (except one). They enjoyed some fantastic tight racing across the fleet in the sunshine and north-easterly wind. Conditions were excellent.

The overall winner was local 14 years old Jasper Bramwell who won 3 races, out of the 4. This was achieved despite having to restart two races, as he was too early on the start line. Competitors came from North East and Yorkshire Clubs as well as more local ones.

Thanks to sponsorship everyone came away with good prizes. The runner-up was Charlotte Cooper from West Lancs. SC and third was Ava Harris-Scott from Elton SC in Bury It should be noted that the fleet was equally divided between boys and girls.

On Sunday, it was the Club Championship races. Having won outright on Saturday, Jasper was still on form and won overall beating Martin Brennan in his Solo, and Richard Blackburn (Solo) The sunshine had gone and the wind had changed to north-westerly and become lighter.

Sunday 11th September

Conditions at the Lake on Sunday were excellent for competitive racing, despite the low water level. There was a good turnout which included 4 GP14s, where less experienced sailors were matched with known good racers.

The closest competition was between two Phantom dinghies. Will Smith, in his father’s boat, showed the way round in races 1 and 3, taking a third place in race 2 to win the day. Nick Brook scored two runner up places in the first and second races, giving him third overall.

Second overall, on the day, was Jasper Bramwell in a colourful RS Feva, with its asymmetric spinnaker. He sailed to 3rd place in the first race with his brother Xavier, then had a first and second places with Myles Emmett-Newman.

Other noteworthy results included a fourth place in the first race for Tom Daniel and Ryan Richards in a Merlin Rocket. Fourth place in the second race went to Stuart Bates and Natasha Dourala in a GP14 and a third place in the final race of the day. Graham Knox and Kevin Parry (also GP14) had a fourth place in the final race too. 

Sunday 4th September

A combination of holidays and the very low water level at the Lake meant there were only a few boats out to race. At least, there was a pleasant southerly wind unlike the still conditions of the previous week.

There was an unfamiliar dinghy out. A Buzz had been brought along to gain experience of a trapezing dinghy. With a large asymmetric spinnaker, this would be a very fast boat on more open waters. Jacob Din, and crew Kieron Freer, tried hard but could not gain the advantage against the usual suspects!

The day was won by Martin Brennan in his Solo with 3 race wins. Graham Knox and Kevin Parry were out in races 2 and 3 in a GP14 and took the runner up spots.  Dave Smith, in his Phantom, came in second in the first race and then third place. He was competing against Nick Brook, also in a Phantom, who got away into the lead in the second and third races, but suffered from gear problems and did not finish.

Sunday 21st August

It was a good day for young Jasper Bramwell at the Lake on Sunday. Sailing in Topper dinghies, he has been selected to try a slightly larger sail than the present one. Despite an adjustment to reflect the advantage on handicap, he was the overall winner on the day, with s second place in the first race and two wins to follow.

The first race was won by Martin Brennan in a Solo in the shifty north westerly wind. He followed that with two runner-up spots. Nick Brook is getting more used to his Phantom and managed a couple of third places, though he was seen in the lead on the water. Another contender was Nick Hornsby in a Solo scoring a fourth and a third place. The second race saw a close tussle between 3 Solos with Nigel Davey challenging and finishing in 4th place.

Away from the Club, two past members, Matt Mee and Chris Robinson were battling in the GP14 Class World Championship at Skerries to the north of Dublin. In a fleet of 104 boats they were tied on points with the another pair but had to be placed overall runners up on a count back of the race results. 

Sunday 14th August 2022

There seemed to be a good breeze with the sunshine at the Lake on Sunday. But as the day wore on, the winds became more tricky and fitful. Some found that the wind seemed to fade away and leave them behind while others got ahead.

Martin Brennan (Solo) seemed to be able, once again, to find the route that led to winning. He won all three races though challenged by Les Bithell and Emma Turner in a Merlin Rocket. Stuart Bates borrowed a Phantom and managed to have a couple of second places. The Junior sailors were either away on holiday, or sailing in events elsewhere.

Jasper Bramwell spent the week at the Topper Class National Championship at Weymouth, where winds were as variable as at home. In his first major event, Jasper sailed well to finish an excellent 29th overall. He was much encouraged by a visit from our Olympic Gold Medal sailor, Stuart Bithell.

At the time of writing, Daisy Fisher is competing in the Laser Class Youth World Championship at Vilamoura in Portugal. This will be a great experience for her. and currently lies 61st out of 97 sailors in her category.

Among other Club sailors at events elsewhere, Nick Hornsby (GP14) recently won a race at the Menai Straits Regatta, in strongly tidal conditions.

Sunday 7th August

Racing at the Lake on Sunday was primarily in the hands of seniors. Many of the Juniors are now away on holiday or at Championships.

There was a good westerly breeze that suited Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400) in the first race, with Martin Brennan – as ever- taking second place in his Solo. Ryan Richards, in a Laser, sailed well to take third place, ahead of junior Lauren Marsh in a Topper. Nick Brook, having decided to change his Solo for a Phantom came in fifth. A good start to the change of class.

The second and third races were both won by Martin Brennan, with the Marshs in runner up spot. They were joined for the second race by Chris Massey taking his very young daughter Annabelle out in a Mirror who claimed third place. Lauren Marsh again took fourth place, enough to give her third place overall on the day.

The last race of the day saw Adam Din take Ryan Richards out as crew in the RS200. Rounding a mark, they managed to misjudge the wind and capsized on a gust. They did recover and finished in fifth place. Adam’s younger brother Jacob was out in a Laser and took third place.

At the time of writing, Jasper Bramwell is competing in the Topper Class National Championship at Weymouth where he has qualified for the Gold Fleet and is lying in 35th place out of 110 competitors. This is an excellent performance for such a big event.

Sunday, 31st July 2022

The low water level of the Lake makes launching boats difficult as they have to be dragged out of the harbour to sail. The lighter Topper dinghies of the Juniors manage this more easily. So, on Sunday, only one senior, Nick Hornsby in a Solo, raced. That he won all three races may be due to experience in very variable wind conditions. Jasper Bramwell was runner up.

There have been a number of other events taking place with good results for the Club members. At the recent Laser National Championship, Daisy Fisher finished 30th in her division and now sets off for the World Championship in Spain.

Last week, three Junior Club members represented Lancashire Youth Sailing at Grafham Water. Millie Hayfield and Lauren Marsh sailed in the Topper fleet and Jacob Din in the Laser Radial one. 11 races were completed in both fleets in conditions ranging from strong winds at the beginning of the week to very light winds towards the end of the week. Millie finished 18th and Lauren 12the out of 34 boats. Jacob finished 13th out of 41 boats. In the all comers pursuit race, Jacob finished 3rd out of 56 boats.

This week, the Juniors are enjoying a week of training and fun at the Lake. 

Saturday & Sunday, 9th/10th July 2022

Summer time often brings tricky windy conditions and sometimes little wind at all. On Saturday, 5 young Club sailors went to the marine lake at Southport for another event of the Junior Travellers Series. They produced a strong set of results. Jacob Din, in a Laser, was second overall. Lauren Marsh, in a Topper, was 5th, and Millie Hayfield was the leading under 14 age sailor came in at 6th overall. With Annabel Hayfield and Jessica Marsh coming in 11th and 17th respectively, this was a very successful day.

On Sunday, at the Lake, the wind was particularly fickle and frustrating for racing. However, as ever, Martin Brennan (Solo) showed his ability to find the way to get ahead and stay there, winning all 3 races. In the first one, another Solo helmed by Nick Brook was runner up and Richard Mason and Nicola Thomason in a GP14 were third. In the second and third races, it was the turn of Nick Hornsby and his daughter Phoebe, in a GP14 to be runner up. Adam Din and Olivia Zuniga, in a RS200 were third in that second race. A number of GP14s were out introducing newer members to experience racing with a trusted helm. That gave Mike Smith third place in the third race with Carli Sutcliffe.

During the week, Merlin Rocket sailors had been down to Salcombe for their favourite event. This included eight boats but overall success eluded them.

Sunday, 3rd July 2022

Sunday at the Lake began with the Summer Pursuit Race. With the wind again coming off the Lake Bank shore, it was very variable in strength and direction. This was to the advantage of the young sailors in Toppers who got away first in a better breeze than some of the later starters. So it was one of the youngest sailors, Jessica Marsh who took the lead and held it to the finish. Martin Brennan, in his Solo, was catching up to finish runner up, with Richard Mason and Nicola Thomason in a GP14 in third place.

For the first points race, Andy Hayfield in a Laser found a streak of wind from the start to the first mark and thereafter usually found better wind than the followers to hold the lead and win on handicap. Martin Brennan closed up on the upwind legs but was slower downwind to be runner up, with Richard Mason and Nichola Thomason again holding third place.

There were fewer takers for the final race which Martin Brennan won comfortably with Richard Blackburn now runner up in a Solo, and Ryan Richards in third place sailing a Laser.

Sunday, 26th June 2022

Sunday’s racing at the Lake was meant to be a special day of racing for the annual Founders Plate. However, the weather decided otherwise and in the strong westerly wind only two sailors ventured to race. The forecast had warned of strong winds.

Young Jasper Bramwell showed how well he could cope in his Topper, while Nick Hornsby, in a Solo, lost out with a capsize. The event will now be rescheduled.

On Tuesday, the Club welcomed visitors aged over 50 to a midweek series of Travellers Events with three races. Again the wind was stronger than some could manage but 12 boats turned out. This included 3 helms with disabilities who generally sail Access dinghies. Rochdale East Rotary Club donated one of these boats to the Water Activity Centre at the Lake a few years ago with its bright yellow sails, named Gracie. Another competitor had travelled from Glasgow to take part in his red sailed Access dinghy. Rory McKinna has travelled in Europe with his boat winning many competitions. He finished 6th overall on handicap on this occasion. The overall winner was Andy Flitcroft from Bolton sailing a Supernova, beating local Nick Hornsby in a Solo by one point.

Photo: the Access dinghies prepare to start a race. (Graham Knox)

Sunday, 12h June 2022

In a change from normal racing at the Lake, some less experienced sailors were taken out with helms in GP14s to widen their skills. Meanwhile the usual single-handers competed against them. The wind conditions were not helpful as gusty and squally winds raced across the Lake and there many capsizes to keep the safety boat crew busy.

The Club’s junior sailors coped well in their Topper dinghies. The competition was closer with a young visitor from Leigh & Lowton SC, Lewis Bacon, who is in the squad with Jasper Bramwell. Lewis won the first race, with Jasper runner-up. Those results were reversed in the third race, which gave Jasper overall victory on the day.

The second race was won by Chris Massey with Scarlet Sharp crewing in a GP14 which was an excellent outcome. Meanwhile the tough conditions had suited Nick Brook (Solo) to take two third places.

On Saturday, at another round of the NW Junior Traveller Series held at Delph Sailing Club in Bolton, also in breezy conditions, Jacob Din came second in his Laser, while Millie Hayfield, in a Topper, was 8th overall as well as first under 14 years girl.

Sunday, 5th June 2022

The Jubilee weekend reduced the number of racers at the Lake on Sunday as many celebrated elsewhere. On the water, it was the teenagers challenging the two Seniors who were out.

As might be expected, overall the results were in Martin Brennan’s favour with wins in the first and third races, in a Solo. He was pushed hard by Jasper Bramwell in a Topper and Daisy Fisher in a Laser. On the downwind legs, the wind filled in from behind so that the lead was not secure with others catching up.

After a second place in the first race, Jasper won the second race and was third in the final one. Daisy finished third in the first race and beat Martin Brennan on the water, outdoing the handicap result, to take runner up place in the second one. Nick Hornsby took second place in his Solo for the third race.

During the week, at another round of the North West Junior Travelllers series at Ullswater, Jacob Din in a Laser sailed consistently well to take 4th place out of 30 entrants.

There are often Club sailors showing the ‘flag’ elsewhere and Ian Laing is one such in his classic Merlin Rocket, sailing at Fishers Green near London last weekend.

Sunday, 29th May 2022

The Lake club hosted another open event on Sunday and welcomed 9 visitors to join 3 from the Club for a single handed Solo series of races.

The forecast wind from the north east would usually provide good conditions for racing, and the day started off well. If the event lacked quantity, it made up for it in quality. The racing was very close all day. In the first race, it seemed that Martin Honnor from Ogston and Innes Armstrong from Burwain had control of the lead but jostling for positions led to Stephen Graham, also from Burwain, sneaking through to win,

After lunch, local sailor Martin Brennan was in the fray and won the race by a few feet from Martin Honnor. Half way through that race, the wind seemed to die away and boats bunched up close together. The two sailors from Burwain suffered in particular while others gained. Chris Gillard from Sheffield took third place.

The final race would be a contest between four boats for overall success. The wind had now steadied and gave the best race of the day. The battle was a close contest between Martin Honnor and Innes Armstrong and, this time, it was local Mike Smith who benefitted and was able to take third place.

Overall the win went to Martin Honnor, with the Burwain duo of Armstrong and Graham filling the next two places and local Martin Brennan in fourth place.

Saturday & Sunday, 14th/15th May 2022

There was an active weekend at the Lake with events on both days. On Saturday, the Club hosted a round of the North West Junior Travellers races. 30 young sailors, in single handed dinghies raced in bright sunshine with a light and often fickle westerly wind. It was a colourful sight as many of the sails are not the usual white colour.

Competitors came from all parts of the Region, with Ullswater in the north, bringing a team of 7 youngsters, Combs and Glossop in Derbyshire, and Southport to the west. Sailors were ranked by age group as well as producing an overall result on handicap. The overall winner, and under 16 years age, was George Jacobs from Combs in a Byte dinghy, followed by Oliver Hirst from Scammonden in a Laser, with local Jacob Din (also Laser) third. The Under 14 category was led by local Millie Hayfield in a Topper who finished fourth overall. The under 11 years age group was won by Freya Antonelli from Budworth, also Topper, who was sixth overall.

This was a great and successful day for all with parents watching.

On Sunday, in very different conditions with a strong easterly wind blowing, 21 Laser dinghies raced in an Open event. Lasers have the option of three different sized sails to use and the results were based on handicap. Normally, the keen racers would use the standard sail. Those who chose to do so found it likely to lead to a capsize and they suffered in the results. The best result achieved with this standard sail was 10th overall. The two leading sailors chose an intermediate (radial) sail, while third placed overall, Daisy Fisher, used the smaller 4.7 one.

The capsizes were sudden and dramatic in the first and second races. The first race was won by Ian Jones from Dovestones, an experienced previous winner of the event. Local youngster Daisy Fisher came second, and local Richard Marsh, usually noted for sailing a RS400, came in third.  The second race saw a closer finish between the two leading boats with Ian Jones holding off Richard Marsh and Daisy Fisher coming in third. Having won the event, Ian Jones decided not to sail the third race. This left Richard Marsh to win by a large margin with Daisy Fisher runner up and another young sailor, Oliver Hirst from Scammonden Water in third place.

Sunday, 8th May 2022

There was a good turnout of boats at the Lake on Sunday to enjoy racing in the sunshine and a south westerly breeze.

The day started with the Spring Pursuit Race where the slowest boats start first in a timed sequence. So, following boats were led by two Juniors in Toppers who were gradually overtaken. Early starters Millie Hayfield and Lauren Marsh in a RS Feva held on well to finish in 4th place, an excellent outcome for them. It was Adam McGovern with young Jasper Bramwell as crew in a GP14 who overtook many others to win. Dave Smith, in a Phantom held off the challenge of the fastest boat, an RS400 -the last boat to start- sailed by Richard and Heather Marsh, to be runner up.

There were many shifts in the winds to challenge racers and change places in the afternoon racing. The first series race was won comfortably by Richard and Heather Marsh as the wind direction gave plenty of opportunity to maximise their downwind speed. Adam McGovern and Jasper Bramwell got the best of wind shifts to secure second place. Julian Parry and Sally Townend, in a Merlin Rocket had the best results of the 4 Merlins out, finishing in third place.

Fewer boats started the second race. Here Nick Brook, in a Solo, surprised himself by rounding the first mark in the lead. He held the advantage to win on handicap. Julian Parry and Sally Townend came in second with the Marshs in third place.

Saturday & Sunday, 30th April & 1st May 2022

A number of the Club’s sailors had a busy weekend with events away from home.

Junior member Jasper Bramwell was at a major event at Rutland Water. This was a Youth Championship held annually in memory of Eric Twiname by the RYA. In a fleet of 120 Topper dinghies Jasper finished 6th overall with consistent results including a 2nd place in one race. Held in light winds, this was an excellent performance.

On Saturday, 5 other Juniors were away at Budworth Sailing Club for the first event of the North West Junior Travellers series. Again sailed in very light winds. Jacob Din finished second overall, with 30 boats racing. Millie Hayfield came in 10th.

Further afield, Adam McGovern with his father, Tim McGovern, crewing was competing for the Northern GP14 Championship at Derwent Reservoir. Here they finished runners up in a competitive fleet.

At home, Martin Brennan (Solo) mastered the conditions of very light and fluky airs. An ability to look ahead to see possible wind on the water gave him three bullets. Les Bithell, crewed by Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket was consistent with two runner up places, while Jacob Din in a Laser (after his practice on Saturday) managed third place overall. 

Sunday, 24th April 2022

It was as well that the wind of the past few days had eased. The strong easterly wind had moderated for Sunday. Being now north easterly, it was cold but the racing organised for the annual GP14 Class Open Meeting could go ahead.

  Three visitors from Bassenthwaite, Budworth and Blackpool joined two home boats. Local sailor Adam McGovern, crewed by his father, Tim McGovern, was a strong contender having won a year ago. They held off the challenge in the first race of John Telford with his son, Jack, from Bassenthwaite. There were some dicey moments with spinnakers flying. Others suffered an occasional capsize.

After the lunch break, the Telfords took the next two races to win overall with an impressive display of boat handling and balance in the boat. The McGoverns kept up the pace in runner up spot while another local pairing, Tom Daniel and Alice Morris came third overall after some capsizing.

Photo: John and Jack Telford win by Sandra Walker


Sunday, 17th April 2022

Easter Sunday at the Lake offered a good breeze for sailors to enjoy racing. It did lead to quite a few capsizes and kept the safety boat team busy. Leading the results was young Jasper Bramwell in his Topper who won the first and second races. Sailing away at recent events has improved his skills in competition.

In the first race, Julian Parry took a Laser out and came in second while Andy Smith took the helm of a Merlin Rocket with Sally Townend crewing to gain third place. He was caught out in the second race with a heading gust and capsized.

After a fifth place in the first race, Martin Brennan (Solo) was back in form with a runner up spot in the second race and a win in the last one.

There were a number of racers who did not finish the first and second capsizes overtook them. 

Saturday & Sunday, 2nd and 3rd April 2022

There was plenty of sailing activity over the weekend as the daylight increases and warmer weather comes with sunshine. Despite this there was a cold blustery wind to contend with.

On Saturday, 6 Laser sailors had a training day with Ali Young, a 3 times Olympic Laser sailor. She put the squad through their paces, on and off the water. The Lake was mirror like at first, but the wind filled in from the north east to give quite lively conditions and all, except young Daisy Fisher capsized at least once. Daisy put into practice what she had learned when racing on Sunday with a couple of bullets.

Over the weekend, young Jasper Bramwell went to the Topper Class Inland Championship at Grafham Water for his first experience of a major national event. In a fleet of 85 young sailing competitors, he had a fantastic weekend, finishing 11th overall. Indeed the outstanding moment was to win the sixth race, which was excellent.

Martin Brennan was away to Burwain on Sunday for a Solo open event where he finished 5th overall.

Sunday’s club racing was dominated by female sailors, including Daisy Fisher, with several others in colourful Toppers. Mike Smith took the first race win, as Daisy had made an error in the course. Having come ashore and gone into the Club house, she created a moment of amusement as her Laser set off down the slipway, on a gust of wind, launched and sailed out of the harbour to be recovered by the safety boat team. Les Bithell launched his new Merlin Rocket with Naz McGuire where ‘teething’ troubles led to a capsize in the second race. This gave the advantage to Stuart Bates and Adam McGovern in their Merlin.

After an eventful day, sailors look forward to Wednesday evening racing again.

Sunday, 27th March 2022

Martin Brennan, in his Solo, was the clear winner on Sunday at the Lake. This also meant that he won the Frostbite Series during the month.

The easterly wind proved more fickle than usual. At times it would die away and then come back with a strong band of wind across the Lake. Those are conditions in which Martin excels. He won the first and second races. In the second one he was chased closely by Mike Smith, also Solo. However, in the third race, when the wind steadied and was stronger, it was Mike Smith who won with Martin taking runner-up spot. Two third places gave Richard Mason and Nicola Thomason, in a GP14, third place overall on their first outing of the season.

There was a good turnout of Junior sailors in Toppers. Jasper Bramwell sailed consistently with a couple of 4th places and a fifth. This placed him overall ahead of Martin and Rene Watts in their Merlin Rocket.

Sunday, 20th March 2022

Despite the bright sunshine on Sunday, the cold easterly breeze, which shifted direction, brought only a few sailors out to race. This gave Solo sailors a chance to pick up the successes.

In the first race, Martin Brennan in his Solo managed to win by 14 seconds (on corrected time) ahead of Stuart Bates and Emma Turner in a Merlin Rocket. They were closely followed by Mike Smith (Solo) for third place.

There was every chance that Brennan would win the second race too until, on the penultimate leg, he was caught out on a tack by a windshift and capsized. This gave the win to Bates and Turner while Brennan righted his boat quickly enough to hold second place ahead of Smith.

For the third race a change of course, and a shifting wind, brought all the boats close together at the first mark. Mike Smith was well placed to round the mark ahead of Brennan which he held for the rest of the race and won on handicap, with Stuart Bates and Emma Turner in runner up place.

Sunday, 13th March 2022

There were three different race winners again at the Lake on Sunday. In a strong south westerly wind, there were a few capsizes at first until nerves steadied to focus on keeping boats moving forward.

It was Daisy Fisher in a Laser who came out on top overall with second place consistency in races 1 and 2. As a Junior sailor she showed impressive skill in the challenging conditions.

In the first race Richard and Heather Marsh in the fast RS400 were well ahead with planing reaches across the lake under spinnaker, the hull almost out of the water. Chris Massey in his RS300 took third place. While Stuart Bates with Emma Turner were a bit outclassed in the Merlin Rocket.

There was a change around for the second race. Richard Marsh took the helm with Adam Din crewing, in his RS200, giving a master-class of speed sailing. Daisy overtook Nick Hornsby in his Solo, who finished third. Nick Heginbotham got going with Steve McCann in a Merlin Rocket keeping ahead of Chris Massey, now in his Mirror dinghy.

The wind eased for the third race and there were fewer boats out, perhaps exhausted. There was no doubt about the winner in the Merlin Rocket of Nick and Steve, ahead of Nick Hornsby in his Solo. Stuart Bates (Merlin Rocket) and Chris Massey, now crewing, came in third.

On Saturday, there had been a training day for young North West Topper sailors who learnt about capsizing in the breezy conditions and enjoyed the experience.

Sunday, 6th March 2022

The sailing season at the Lake opened with 3 races on Sunday. 10 boats took to the water in a shifty easterly wind with some strong gusts at times.

There were 3 different race winners. Although well ahead in conditions which suited the RS400, Richard and Heather Marsh scored a couple of second places on handicap to be runner up overall. They were beaten in the first race by Chris Massey in his racy single-hander RS300, who then took 3rd place in the second race. In third place in that first race, Lauren Marsh (Topper) chased her parents fantastically well.

The second race was won by young Jasper Bramwell in his Topper, who coped well with the changing wind direction and strength.

The Solos had to wait for the third race to regain their usual strong performance placing. Martin Brennan took that win, followed by Nick Brook and Mike Smith in fourth place, behind Richard Marsh, now crewed by Chris Massey.

Sunday, 12th December 2021

The misty sky on Sunday morning presaged little or no wind for the final day of racing at the Lake this year. By noon, however, the weather had changed and a good breeze blew and provided some exciting racing for the few who were ready to race.

As I write, the results are not available. Richard and Heather Marsh, in their RS400, enjoyed planing downwind in the gusts at speed. They were always going to be well ahead of the single handers. Young Lauren Marsh, in a  Topper, finished the first race having found that enough for the day. At first Richard Whitehill (Laser) kept up with Nick Hornsby in his Solo but soon was well behind.

For the second race, they were joined by Andy Carter in another Solo. This resulted in a closely fought contest between the two Solos. Carter got ahead but Hornsby closed up and then, on the last lap, Carter had to take a penalty which led to a battle for the lead and ignored Whitehill in the Laser who took advantage and stayed well ahead to the finish. Hornsby, in trying to escape from the close tactics of Carter capsized then quickly recovered to finish last.

Sunday, 5th December 2021

The penultimate Sunday of racing at the Lake produced some close results with seniors sharing the spoils with juniors.

The first race in quite big gusts was won by young Hector Droungas in a Topper ahead of Jasper Bramwell, also Topper, who finished 3rd. In between, Martin Brennan in a Solo started the day as he meant to go on.

In the second race, Richard and Heather Marsh, in a RS400, took control to win, ahead of Martin Brennan. One of the quirks of handicapped results is the possibility of a tie which gave Andy Carter (Solo) and young Daisy Fisher (Laser) both third place.

The last race of the day was sailed in a flat calm and the experience of Martin Brennan came to the fore with a win to give the best overall results of the day. These conditions also suited other Solo sailors with Andy Carter runner up and Nick Hornsby in third place. Brothers Adam and Jacob Din tried their hands at the RS400 and finished fourth, ahead of Daisy Fisher.

Sundays, November 2021

Sundays in November at the Lake have produced very changeable conditions for sailing and racing.

There was the anticyclone over the north west on the 14th. This meant very little wind and when it came the direction was varied and not long lasting. The race results were therefore erratic, though Martin Brennan in a Solo managed to find the way to win.

A week later, there was quite a strong breeze from the west and the first race was the Autumn Pursuit Race. This begins with the slower boats leading and waiting to be caught up by others. Young Lauren Marsh, in a Topper, led the way for a long time until over taken by Martin Brennan and Nick Hornsby in Solos. After that, there were two points races. Best overall results were for Les Bithell and Naz McGuire in a Merlin Rocket with two second places. Next best was Les Burns in a Laser, despite a capsize, taking two third places. Martin Brennan and Andy Carter in Solos each sailed one race only, though each won that race.

The snow fall on the last Sunday of the month found only the duty team present and it would be no surprise that racing was abandoned.  

Sunday, 7th November 2021

Most sailors were reluctant to set out for the first race on Sunday. While it was good to see an almost full Lake, the very strong gusty wind blowing off the Lakebank shore meant turbulent winds which are difficult to race in.

The first race saw the Merlin Rocket of Les Bithell and Emma Turner keeping pace with the other fast boat of Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400). However, on handicap, the win went to the Topper of young Jasper Bramwell.

As the wind eased for the second and third races, the results were dominated again by two Solos. Each had a first and a second place. Andy Carter won the second race and looked to take the third one but Martin Brennan gained the advantage to win the third race and therefore win the day. Jasper came in third in the second race with his rival Hector Droungas retiring after a capsize.

Sunday, 31st October 2021

Sunday at the Lake started off pleasant enough for racing but eventually the blustery westerly made conditions more challenging.

Once again, the Solo class dominated the results. Overall, it was a day for Nick Hornsby who won the second and third races. However, Mike Smith won the first one, ahead of Martin Brennan. He had a 5 second advantage on handicap over Richard and Heather Marsh in the speedier RS400.

As the wind increased, the attentions of the safety boat crew were needed as capsizes happened and a couple of boats needed to be towed back.

Credit must go to Junior sailors who raced. Jacob Din, in a Laser, was third overall on the day with a second place in the last race, coping well in the conditions. Hector Droungas, in a Topper, was fourth overall with steady results beating his rival, Jasper Bramwell, by 10 seconds in the first race. 11 years old Xavier Bramwell, also Topper, battled to finish that race in 8th place.

The Laser Class were holding their Inland Championship at Rutland over the weekend where Daisy Fisher finished 11th overall, out of 57 boats, and 2nd female sailor. In the Lake District, despite the high water levels on Windermere, the GP14 End of Season Championship was held and Adam McGovern and Eleanor Wheeldon finished 4th overall.

Sunday, 24th October 2021

Sunday’s rain did not deter keen sailors out to race, particularly the juniors.

The colourful Topper dinghies were led by Millie Hayfield, who coped well in the breezy westerly wind. However, the overall results were dominated by seniors. Adam McGovern was out with Chris Massey in his Scorpion dinghy. Adam steered the boat to three wins. Not far behind was a closely contested battle in Solos. Nick Brook seemed to lead upwind, but Martin Brennan was faster downwind. The outcome was that Nick Brook did lead in each race at the finish line and scored three second places overall, and Martin Brennan took the third slot with Millie Hayfield then fourth placed overall.

Over the weekend, three of the Juniors were at Cardiff for the National Schools Sailing Association Team Race Championship, representing Lancashire Schools. With 18 teams competing, Jacob Din, Hector Droungas and Jasper Bramwell showed others that they had skill and experience. In a round-robin series, they lost two races only to place third overall and qualify for the quarter final. The final result was third overall and leading under 16years age team. This was an excellent result achieved without prior training.

Saturday & Sunday, 16th/17th October 2021

Over the weekend, the Lake saw close racing with 16 Merlin Rockets on the water. They were competing for the annual Felucca Trophy. Visitors came from Berwick in the north, to Poole and Shoreham in the south.

In the relatively light winds, racing was a bit like snakes and ladders. However, Matt Biggs and Beka Jones, from the West Midlands, always seemed to find the way to win in 3 races out of the five, and in the others they came second. Other race winners were Richard Whitworth, on a home visit, crewed by young Jasper Bramwell, who finished third overall. This was Jasper’s first experience of a weekend sailing in a ‘senior’ boat at the very competitive level. Arron Holman, crewed by Pippa Kilsby, took the other race win and was runner-up overall.

On Saturday, 6 Club Junior sailors went to Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club for the final event of the NW Traveller Series. In challenging light wind conditions they continued to bring credit to the Club. Daisy Fisher was first youth girl and 4th overall, while Jacob Din finished 9th overall, out of 37 boats. They shared a team shield with the Ullswater Club for the most sailors at most events in the series.

Sunday, 10th October 2021

Martin Brennan, in his Solo, was on form on Sunday winning the first and third races as he mastered the shifty north west winds. On Saturday, he had gone to Budworth for a Solo Open but there was no wind at all. This was part of a North West series, which he won without racing there.

Richard and Heather Marsh in their RS400 missed the first race but were out to win the second race with their spinnaker helping them to get well ahead. Les Bithell and Emma Turner in a Merlin Rocket chased hard and early on were leading but could not maintain the pace.

Once again Jasper Bramwell showed how well he has learnt with a third place in the first race, followed by a second. There were several other juniors out in the first race achieving good results but one race was enough for many of them. Seven of them had been to Bolton on Saturday where, in drifting conditions, they still outshone others. Jacob Din was second overall, Jasper Bramwell was third and best U14 boy, and Millie Hayfield was 6th overall and best U14 girl.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021

Racing at the Lake on Sunday was limited to a few who ventured out.

It was a wild wind during the first race though the 3 boats avoided capsizes, except for Daisy Fisher who, having overtaken Andy Carter in his Solo, blew over on a tack in her Laser 4.7 at the finish line but quickly recovered.

The wind eased a little for the second race as the rain stopped. Another heavy shower after brought the wind back up in strength and this time Adam and Jacob Din set out in their newly acquired 420. This dinghy has a trapeze for the crew giving an exciting ride for the brothers. As the gusts of wind raced across the Lake, they did get wet when the gust eased!

Jasper Bramwell in his Topper bravely sailed all three races showing his skill in handling his boat in strong winds. 

Saturday & Sunday, 25th & 26th September 2021

Some of the Club’s Junior sailors recorded impressive results away at the weekend. The RYA Junior Championship was sailed at Derwent Reservoir SC in the North East, near Consett. On Saturday, in light winds, there was one race only but Sunday brought a north easterly breeze to keep sailors work harder.

Sailors were divided, by experience, into categories. In the Championship fleet of 37 Toppers, 13 years old Jasper Bramwell finished 7th overall. For the less experienced, there was a Regatta fleet which Millie Hayfield won, with Xavier Bramwell in 4th place, sister Annabel in 7th and Annabelle Hayfield just behind in 8th place.

Conditions at the Lake on Sunday were excellent with a westerly breeze and sunshine. There were four Solos out who dominated the results with very close racing. Andy Carter was the overall winner with a win and 2 second places. Nick Hornsby won the first race, then had a second and a third. Nick Brook won the last race after a long challenge from Martin Brennan.

The faster boats of Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400) and Les Bithell with Emma Turner (Merlin Rocket) never managed to get far enough ahead to lead on handicap.

The Lake Sailing Club celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding on Saturday and Sunday. Special races were held on Saturday to compete for the Founders Plate followed by an evening meal in the clubhouse.

Two races were held to decide the boats with the 10 best results to go forward to a final race to find the winner. This final race is sailed on a pursuit basis with the slowest boats starting first to race for 45 minutes. Whoever is in the lead at that time is the winner of the Founders Plate.

With a fickle wind eventually settling in the south west, expertise was needed to work out the best way forward. Richard and Heather Marsh in a RS400 were always likely to be ahead, with Martin and Rene Watts in a Merlin Rocket in contention. However, it was the Solo boats that had the advantage on handicap. So Nick Hornsby won the first race with Martin Brennan in second place.

The wind was more consistent in direction for the second race and the two double-handers took advantage. Martin and Rene Watts showed good pace to win with Richard and Heather Marsh runners up. Nick Hornsby sailed well to gain third place while Martin Brennan was beaten into fifth place by Chris Massey in his racy RS300.

For the final pursuit race, It was the Juniors turn to show what Toppers could do, as sisters Lauren and Jessica Marsh raced off first and it was some time before the Solos and a Laser joined in and eventually overtook the Toppers. With timed intervals, the other boats joined in hoping to catch up, and indeed it was going to be close to take the lead. As the final few minutes came it was the two Solos of Hornsby and Brennan that were ahead. At the last mark, they were neck and neck and Brennan spotted the chance to gain the lead to win.

Richard and Heather Marsh came in third, with Heather winning a Trophy for the leading lady. Les Burns, in a Laser Radial, was fourth, and Martin and Rene Watts were fifth.

Several of the Club’s Junior sailors meanwhile were at the NW Topper Championship at Bolton where they again excelled. Jasper Bramwell was first boy and second overall, Millie Hayfield was the leading girl in the 4.2 category, and Xavier Bramwell was first boy in the 4.2 category.

Saturday & Sunday, 11th& 12th September 2021

It was busy on Saturday at the Lake with the Sailing Club hosting another round of the North West Junior Travellers series. There were 28 juniors under 19 years old racing, mainly in Lasers and Toppers. The westerly wind was not too strong, though there was the occasional capsize.

Visitors came from Ullswater, with several boats including some of the youngest sailors, Redesmere, Budworth, Leigh & Lowton and elsewhere. The results however were dominated by local sailors.

The overall winner was Jasper Bramwell in a Topper who won all four races, as well as being the leading under 14 age sailor. Daisy Fisher, sailing a Laser, was runner-up and leading under 19 age sailor. Lauren Marsh under 14 age, in a Topper, was third overall. Hector Droungas (under 16 age) came in 5th sailing in a Laser. This success follows on from the week of youth sailing last month and the visit of Olympian Stuart Bithell.

On Sunday, there was the lightest of airs as boats ghosted along. In these conditions, the seniors had an advantage in boats with bigger sails than the Juniors have in their Toppers. Will Smith was sailing his father’s Phantom and had the best results with wins in races 1 and 3. The Junior sailors did not venture out for the second and third races. However, Adam McGovern, in a Mirror, knew how to keep moving and won the second race. Tom Daniel and Ryan Richards, in a Merlin Rocket were runners-up overall.

Sunday 5th September 2021

It seemed like a summer’s day on Sunday, which also meant a wind that was very fickle. It could change direction by 180m degrees or just fade away. It was particularly frustrating for the Race Officer trying to set a course for good races.

As the wind was generally more apparent in the eastern part of the Lake, racing was kept there. Half way through the first race the wind did change from easterly to westerly and Martin Brennan, in a Solo, took full advantage to win with Richard and Heather Marsh in a RS400 second placed. It was also clear that 13 years old Jasper Bramwell, in a Topper, is learning fast, and finished third.

For the second race, it was again Brennan in the lead with Jasper in runner-up slot and Richard Blackburn, Solo, third place. Fewer boats went out for the third race and it was soon clear that Jasper was not outpaced as he kept up with the others and won with Brennan second and Kevin Parry (Solo) in third place.

On the previous Wednesday, there were 30 boats out including 12 Juniors in Toppers. On that occasion, in a decent breeze, Jasper finished 10th but far above the other Juniors.

Our Juniors were away on Saturday, to Redesmere for a Junior Traveller event where Jasper, finishing 4th was the leading under14 sailor and there were successes throughout the team.

Sunday 29th August

By Graham Knox

After the excitement of meeting Stuart Bithell and the enthusiasm of our Juniors, racing at the Lake on Sunday was different from normal. As there were 7 Juniors out in Toppers, they were given a separate start. Their results were recorded both separately and merged, on handicap, with the other racers.

The north easterly wind offered good conditions but was particularly shifty in the eastern part of the Lake towards the main dam walls.

Jasper Bramwell was the clear winner in the Topper fleet, though he was chased closely at times by Lauren Marsh and Millie Hayfield.

Overall, the day went to the Solos who took the top 3 places. The lead was shared between Andy Carter and Martin Brennan who tied with a first and a second place. In the second race, that situation was broken by Les Bithell and Naz McGuire in a Merlin Rocket who gained the lead and got far ahead thanks to the breeze giving great downwind spinnaker legs across the Lake. Runner-up in that race was Mike Smith in a Solo who got ahead of Brennan at the last mark.

In third place in races one and three was Daisy Fisher in a Laser Radial who, although a Junior, opted to race with the older sailors.

When the results were combined, on handicap, Jasper Bramwell was placed 7th out of the 19 boats racing.

Sunday 22nd August

By Graham Knox

Report for Sunday 22nd August 2021

When the wind comes across all the buildings on the Lake Bank shore, it creates a wind shadow and a ver6y changeable direction and strength. So it was on Sunday with the race starts away from the Club, boats had to tack to marks nearer that shore and then had long legs sailing across the Lake. This gave a good chance from the faster boats to get clear away.

The results were dominated, with one exception, by the seniors with Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400) taking the win in the first and second races, and runner-up to Martin Brennan (Solo) in the third one. He had had two second places. However, Jasper Bramwell (Topper) -after the first race- did well to finish third in races two and three.

With 18 boats out racing, of which 8 were sailed by juniors, it was great to see such activity.

Away from home, Club members races well in Championships, Stuart Bithell, and crew Tom Pygall, won the Merlin Rocket one sailed in Scotland, Chris Massey and Tom Daniel finished 12th in the Scorpion one at Penzance and Daisy Fisher was 43rd out of 87 racers at the Laser Championship at Weymouth. 

On Friday, it was an exciting time as Stuart Bithell, our Gold Medalist, came to the Club to meet Junior sailors and be interviewed by BBC NW News. Later, Stuart rose to the challenge of a race in Toppers against these Juniors where he came second to Jasper Bramwell.

Sunday 15th August

By Graham Knox

The colourful sails of 6 Toppers brightened an otherwise dull day at the Lake on Sunday. With other junior dinghies, there were 12 youngsters out racing.

The light westerly airstream, with occasional stronger gusts during the first and second races, was sufficient to ensure that Richard and Heather Marsh, in a RS400, to get away to a clear lead which they held after handicapping in the first two races.

In the first race, behind the winners, Martin Brennan kept to his form sailing his Solo to runner-up spot, ahead of young Jasper Bramwell in a Topper with Dave Smith in his Phantom having a better result in fourth place.

For the second race, the fleet were joined by Adam McGovern sailing a Mirror with his 3 year-old daughter Betsy. Adam’s skill gave them second place, beating Martin Brennan. Colin Knott and Richard Long, in a GP14, despite a late battle with Brennan, finishing ahead on the water, came in fourth.

As the wind eased in the third race, Martin Brennan won ahead of the Marshs, followed by Adam Din and Olivia Zuniga (RS200) in third place with Jasper tied with Nick and Adam Hornsby (GP14) for fourth place.Other Club sailors are away at Championships for the Scorpions, ICLA Youths and Merlin Rockets.

Sunday 8th August

By Graham Knox

After a week of excitement, Sunday’s racing at the Lake added it’s own thrills. The gusty westerly wind brought some rain to dampen some keenness and resulted in some capsizes.

23 Junior sailors had enjoyed a week of coaching and fun. 13 years old Jasper Bramwell put into practice what he had enjoyed doing and won the second and third races on handicap to be overall day winner.

The first race was won by 18 years old Evan Parry in a Laser, who went on to take third place in the last race of the day and runner-up overall.

Always well ahead, on the water, Richard Whitworth – visiting- sailed consistently with Sally Townend in a Merlin Rocket to finish each race in second place, but overall third place!

In the second race, Nick Hornsby was leading the Solos and, caught by a gust, capsized before crossing the finish line, leaving third place in the race to Martin Brennan.

Young Daisy Fisher was away at a Topper event at Grafham Water where, in a fleet of 78 boats, she finished 5th overall, having won the fifth race.

The Club looks forward to catching up with Stuart Bithell, our Olympic Gold Medallist, soon.

Sunday 1st August

By Graham Knox

The overall results of Sunday sailing at the Lake, 1st August, were dominated by 4 Solos-led, as usual, by Martin Brennan. However the second race was won in a Mirror by Chris Massey and his 3 years old daughter, Annabelle.
Nick Hornsby, in his brand new Solo, led the third race until the last mark where Brennan took over the lead.
During this week, a daily training session is on progress for the Club’s junior sailors. Meanwhile attention has been focused on the medal race for the 49er class and there were whoops of joy as many watched early on Tuesday at the Club as Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher secured their Gold Medal.

Sunday 25th July

By Graham Knox

It was a frustrating day for those involved in organising the racing at the Lake on Sunday. The light wind would appear from the east and fall away to nothing, then reappear from the opposite direction.

Martin Brennan, in a Solo, is renowned for an ability to find his way in such light conditions and he held the lead to the finish, ahead of Andy Carter, also Solo. Another Solo, in the hands of Kevin Parry started the day with a third place, which proved a consistent result for all the day’s races.

In the second race, it looked as if boats had all come to a halt off the café point. But then the wind switched on again and this time it was Andy Carter’s turn to win, followed by  Martin Brennan with Kevin Parry again third and another Solo helmed by Graham Booth taking fourth place.

In the third race, Martin and Rene Watts in a Merlin Rocket had, at last, a chance to get away in clear air at the start. While they gained distance, Martin Brennan again had the advantage of the handicap and won with the Watts’s runner-up spot.

Club members now have their attention fixed on the Olympics where member Stuart Bithell is the crew for Dylan Fletcher in the 49er Class. As I write, they have scored a second place in the first outing.

Sunday 18th July : Handicap Open Meeting & GP14 Northern Bell

By Graham Knox

The Lake sailing club is used to hosting Open events for its main classes, but this year had to be different. So, on Sunday, an Open Handicap series was held, with a separately scored GP14 element, as part of a Northern Bell Series.

The event attracted visitors from Bassenthwaite, Nantwich, Burwain and York.

In the very testing light wind conditions, the racing was surprisingly close with 3 different race winners. It certainly stretched the Race Officer, Commodore Stuart Bates, who had to move racing marks around to give satisfactory courses.

Adam McGovern and Ellie Davies (GP14) were always going to be strong contenders and took the first win, with John and son, Jack, Telford (GP14) runners up.

After a lunch break, the wind had settled to the north west and this time Martin Brennan (Solo) found the best route to win on handicap, with the faster RS400 of Richard and Heather Marsh in second place.

The third race was won by Sam Watson (GP14 Champion 2019) and Matt Birks who finally found form. Having a consistent day, the Telfords came in second place, with Adam McGovern and Ellie Davies in third place.

Overall, Adam McGovern was tied with the Telfords, but the first race win gave him victory. There was also a tie for third place which a race win by Martin Brennan gave him the advantage of the Marshs.

Sunday 11th July

By Graham Knox

The best turnout so far this year enjoyed racing in a light southerly wind at the Lake on Sunday. An alternative attraction later in the day had not deterred sailors from getting out on the water. The current dry spell has caused low water levels in the Lake making for difficulties sailing out of the harbour.

There was a great range of boats out from the little Optimist dinghies for juniors to the fast RS400 double-hander with its asymmetric spinnaker.

Richard and Heather Marsh in the RS400 got away well in the first race and repeated that in the last one, though there were fewer starters in that one. Otherwise, it was a familiar battle between Solos and GP14s for the best places. After a slow start in the first race, Mike Smith (Solo) won the second race and took a third place in the last race of the day. Nick Brook (Solo) too had a poor start to the first race but, with two runner-up places to follow, came third overall on the day. Kevin Parry had his best result in the first race as leading Solo sailor in 4th place. Colin Knott and Richard Long in a GP14 got together again and took second place in the first race and third in the next one.

It was not an easy day for our younger sailors to shine but Jasper Bramwell (Topper) was third in the first race and fourth in the third one. Jessica Marsh and Annabel Hayfield in Optimists successfully completed two races.

Sunday 4th July

By Graham Knox

Sunday did not provide the best of conditions for racing at the Lake.

Six boats turned up for the Summer Pursuit Race which started in a light wind and not raining! That did not hold and when the rain came, the wind died and it was drifting conditions. Martin Brennan in his Solo is an expert in light airs and was the comfortable winner, ahead of Andy Wake, also Solo, and Chris Massey with Tom Daniel in a Scorpion. They were unable to take advantage of the speed generated by a large spinnaker.

These boats turned out again for another race with similar results. Racing in heavy rain and little wind is not the fun that sailors enjoy!

There was much else going on for sailors over the weekend. At Ullswater, the annual Lord Birkett Trophy Race (which saved the water from becoming a reservoir 59 years ago). In a turnout of 155 boats, Richard & Heather Marsh in a RS400 finished 13th.

At the prize-giving for Topper sailors in the North, Daisy Fisher came away with many Trophies at the conclusion of a series of events.  She is the Travellers winner in both the North West and North East and Area Champion for the North East.

A number of the Club’s Merlin Rocket sailors are now away on their annual pilgrimage to Salcombe for a week where they are already having an impact in the Results.

Sunday 27th June : Solo Class Open Meeting

By Graham Knox

An Open Meeting for the Solo Class attracted 20 boats to the Lake on Sunday. The winner, Adam Froggatt, came from Chase SC in the West Midlands with others from the Lake District, Yorkshire, Shropshire and more local clubs. In breezy conditions, there were a number of capsizes and the safety team were well occupied.

The first race was marred by a shift in wind direction that made the windward legs one sided and the downwind ones a lottery. Adam Froggatt worked his way through from a poor start to win, followed by Steve Denison and Ian Hopwood who were too busy vieing for the lead to cover each other.

The second race again saw Froggatt at the front, but was passed by Martin Brennan, who was able to use local knowledge to win. Two sailors from Burwain had improved results with Stephen Graham taking third ahead of Innes Armstrong.

The final race had a change of course with better legs to windward and the wind changing from strong to flat calm and back again. These conditions seemed to suit Ian Hopwood, from Nantwich, who won and Matt Sharman, from Leigh & Lowton, with Froggatt in third place.

Overall, it was a clear win for Froggatt who coped well with varying conditions, Ian Hopwood taking runner-up spot and Martin Brennan a solid performance in third place.

Sunday 13th June

By Graham Knox

Conditions varied on Sunday afternoon at the Lake. Two races were sailed in a good breeze and then calm for the third one. Although Mike Smith was on form in his Solo, winning the first race and then taking two second places, Martin Brennan’s win in the last race broke the tie in his favour. Third place overall was Martin and Rene Watts in their Merlin Rocket with third and fourth places counting.

Andy Carter only sailed the second race in his Solo and won that. It was good to see two of the Club’s young teenagers, Hector Droungas and Jasper Bramwell out in a GP14.

Away from the Club :

  • Daisy Fisher (2nd) and Jasper Bramwell (5th) were at the Rossendale Topper Open Meeting
  • Nick Hornsby & Martin Brennan were at the Ogston Solo Open Meeting
  • Dave Winder and Ian Laing were at the Grafham Water Merlin Open Meeting

Wednesday 9th June

By Stuart Bates

A light wind evening led to racing that was affected by some big shifts. Richard & Heather Marsh lead the evening on the water and on Handicap. Stuart Bates & Chris Massey in a Merlin (part of Chris’s attempt to sail every class that the club has in a series) finished 2nd in the first race, with Andy Carter 2nd in the second Race. Martin Brennan was 3rd in both races.

Sunday 6th June : Club Championship

By Stuart Bates

The Lake was very calm on Sunday as sailors came to race for the annual Club Championship. Little sign of wind was not auspicious but 7 Solo sailors turned up for the competition. As it was the end of half term and a number of other racing events elsewhere, only the keenest with patience would search for the air to propel their boat.

The racing, being raced in a single class, was extremely close throughout the day. Martin Brennan managed to maintain a slender lead in the first place from Stuart Bates, Nick Hornsby, and Mike Smith who were pressing throughout the race, with Stuart taking second place. In the second race Martin Brennan managed to hold off Nick, Stuart, Andy Carter and Mike. In the third race Andy Carter got into a commanding lead, second place was hotly contested again with Martin, Nick, Stuart, and Mike swapping placed throughout.

Martin Brennan was the eventual Winner of a hotly contested event, with Nick Hornsby taking second place.

Away from the Club :

  • On Saturday Martin Brennan was 2nd at the Shotwick Solo Open Meeting
  • The Juniors were at South Shields in the Toppers over the weekend
  • Dave Winder was at Whitstable Merlin Rocket Open Meeting
  • Ian Laing was at the Hunts CVRDA Meet in a Merlin Rocket

Friday 4th June

By Richard Whitehill

A beautiful calm ripple-free lake greeted the early arrivals at the lake on Friday 4th June, but the peace was soon to be shattered by laughing and yells of delight!

Chris Massey was first to launch, taking his daughter for a sail in a Mirror. Shortly after, the wind started to fill-in from the north, with a good breeze which held for the remainder of the evening.

A total of 11 boats took to the lake – 5 Toppers, 3 GP14s, 1 Mirror, 1 Merlin, and the club Laser.  Between the boats, a total of 17 people were on, and occasionally in, the water.  It was a typical, fairly busy, summer Friday evening at the club.  On the water there were a mixture of children / youth; a novice adult member being shown the ropes by an experienced sailor; relative novices out for the first time in ages in their GP – just practicing and getting the hang of it again – and introducing a friend to the joys of sailing; a long-standing member out for a sail in a (new to them) GP; our Commodore taking his son for a spin in his Merlin, and the club Laser out for a cruise in the hands of one of the parents.

The Topper youth gaggle always keep the RIB driver from being bored.  This week they seemed to be testing the hypothesis that if you get out of the boat and leave it upright it will always sail around in a circle and come back to you.  Conclusion:  It doesn’t!

The evening was rounded off by the kids having great fun in the harbour.  Swimming is not compulsory, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it is!

Next week (11th June) sees the return of the youth improvers course.  That will make it a busy evening, but all members are still welcome to launch and sail as they would on any Friday evening.

Wednesday 2nd June

By Adam McGovern

Tonight will be know as Big Wednesday, only 6 boats took to the start in the strong winds, 3 laser radials and 3 solos. Andy Carter, Nick Brook and Adam McGovern all had a brief stint in the lead on the first lap but it was Thomas Daniel who kept his mast in the sky and sailed a superb race to take a convincing win over Nick Hornsby with the rest of the fleet left practicing their front crawl.Only one race tonight as the sailors decided to head for the bar but some great sailing and well done to all those who braved the conditions and to Thomas master of the big winds!

Sunday 30th May

By Graham Knox

Martin Brennan won all three races on Sunday in his Solo, mastering the tricky easterly wind. It was good to have sunshine and breeze. At this time of year the wind can fill in around the Lake shoreline and have flat spots that are difficult to judge.

With the holiday weekend, there was a reduced turnout.  

Although Martin won all three races, there was close competition. Steve Crook and Sally Townend, in a Merlin Rocket set a high standard always out in front and finding the right way to tack for the windward mark. Alas, the handicap penalty meant that they finished third an all races. Mike Smith was showing the way in the second race, also in a Solo and lead for quite a while. He secured two runner-up spots. Dave Smith in a Phantom was consistent with a couple of fourth places.

Away from the Club : Chris Massey took his RS300 single-hander to Pennine SC, near Holmfirth, for an Inland Championship where he sailed consistently in third place.

Wednesday 26th May

By Adam McGovern

No wind was the order of the day as sailors arrived however to everyone’s surprise the 6 sailors that decided to launch were treated to a increasing breeze as the racing went on. Martin Brennan won race one with Mike Smith coming out on top in race two!

Sunday 23rd May

By Graham Knox

Sunday’s racing at the Lake was not for the faint-hearted! The strong westerly breeze was at the top of the range for many and there quite a few capsizes.

The winner of the day was Chris Massey, sailing his RS300 single hander, displaying his skill in a fast and light boat. He only capsized after finishing the second race. Second overall, and runner-up in the first and second races, was Nick Brook in his Solo. Nick was in good form and able to cope with the heavy gusts. Also on form was Nick Heginbotham in a Merlin Rocket, crewed by Daisy Fisher in her first experience of crewing in such a boat. Wisely, they did not hoist the spinnaker!

The Club’s younger sailors showed that they could manage to race well in such windy conditions. There was a close battle between Jasper Bramwell (who sailed all 3 races) and Hector Droungas in their Toppers. This was quite an achievement as they were easily blown over in the gusts, got the boat upright again and carried on. Jasper scored two 3rd places though he was just beaten by Hector for a few seconds in the second race.

Away from the Club : A very successful weekend!

Over the weekend Adam McGovern and Ellie Davies convincingly won the GP14 Northern Championship at Bassenthwaite Lake.

On Saturday, 16 years old Daisy had been to the North East Topper Championship at Scaling Dam which she won convincingly with 3 wins in four races.

Also on Saturday Martin Brennan won the Solo Open Meeting at Redesmere Sailing Club

Friday 21st May

Friendly Fridays returned with a Bang! Lots of boats on the water for the first ‘non-racing’ evening of sailing. A group of upcoming youngsters began with a session ran by our training team to get them back up to speed after lockdown, along with some other sailors who went out for a relaxing end to the week. Apres Sailing was still a highlight, as the kids made the most of a full harbour by leaping in en-masse!

Wednesday 19th May

By Adam McGovern

Sailors arrived to moderate westerly wind which just held out all night and resulted in some great racing.

The Phantom of Chris Massey and a trio Solos started strong in race one, I had a terrible start so watched them sprint away! The shifty westerly provided lots of opportunities during the race and Andy Carter took full advantage to battle through the fleet to take the win, myself and Ellie managed to fight through to second just ahead of Martin Brennan.

Race 2 started with a couple of boats the wrong start of the line and needed to restart. Chris Massey again sprinted ahead on the water but after learning from race one myself and Ellie got better start this time and followed close behind. The solo fleet again looked to have a good race with Martin winning the battle this time. On corrected time myself and Ellie took the win and amazingly it was a tie for second between Chris Massey and Martin Brennan!

Thanks again must go to the race team for setting a great course and showing us all committee boat starts really are the best!

In the overall series, the Marsh family lead the way, Martin Brennan is second closely followed by Adam & Ellie third and Andy Carter fourth.

Next up is the return of Friendly Fridays!

Sunday 16th May

By Graham Knox

Our changeable weather made for difficult conditions for sailing at the Lake on Sunday. However, it was a good day for a number of junior members to get out on the water.

The afternoon began with the annual Spring Pursuit Race. Boats start in timed sequence with the slowest boats first away and lasts for an hour. It was the turn of two 9 years old girls, Jessica Marsh and Annabelle Hayfield, to lead the way in their Optimist dinghies. Although there was very little wind, they managed to get well away. It was some time before the Solos and Lasers could start. Martin Brennan (Solo) found enough air to get away and make progress. Some breeze picked up from an easterly direction which brough him into the lead with others of senior sailors making progress. In the end, Brennan won the race, followed by Tom Daniel in a Laser, Dave Smith in a Phantom and Kevin Parry in a Solo.

The two following Spring Series races were sailed in a better, but shifty south east wind. In such conditions, Brennan is hard to beat! Mike Smith was the closest in another Solo and young Jacob Din (Laser) sailed well into third place.

There were fewer boats out for the last race and the results were familiar. Again, the order was Brennan and Mike Smith in Solos, with Dave Smith next in his Phantom.

Over the weekend, two Junior members were at a Topper Training Weekend at Pennine SC where, in a testing Open meeting, 16 years old Daisy Fisher won and 13 years old Jasper Bramwell finished fifth.

Sunday 9th May

By Graham Knox

There was a great breeze at the Lake on Sunday giving some exciting racing and close overall results. The westerly wind had some strong gusts which, with spinnaker hoisted, saw the RS400 and Scorpion dinghies tear downwind with great speed and spray.

The first race was won by Chris Massey and Tom Daniel in the Scorpion, pairing up again in readiness for major events. The conditions suited them well though, on the water, Richard and Heather Marsh in the RS400 were far ahead, coming in second place. Not far behind was Martin Brennan in a Solo. He had been the clear overall winner the previous week in tricky shifty winds.

In the second race, Nick Brook added to the mix in his Solo. While Chris Massey and Tom Daniel were again the winners, Nick Brook was in strong form and, on handicap, beat the Marshs by a few seconds to take the runner up spot. In so doing, he put Martin Brennan down in fourth place. Mike Smith, Solo, was caught out downwind on a strong gust and capsized but got up and determined to finish the race. This gave Kevin Parry an incentive to stay ahead of him. Unlucky for Kevin, on the last leg, he too capsized, righted the boat and finished.

The breeze had eased for the third race and some rain came with fewer boats out. Nick Brook was off from the start determined to keep ahead of Martin Brennan and maintained his competitive advantage to the end by 8 seconds at the finish line. The Scorpion had to settle for third place, but was winner for the day.

The Club’s young sailors were at Pennine Sailing Club in Toppers for an active weekend. 16 year old Daisy Fisher was second overall out of 30 boats and 13years old Jasper Bramwell sailed brilliantly for 7th place despite being the youngest competitor.

Wednesday 5th May

By Adam McGovern

A light to moderate westerly wind was on offer for sailors this evening. A reaching start off the club line resulted in a close fleet at mark 1 but it was the GP14 of myself and Ellie that managed to stay close enough to the RS400 of Richard & Heather to hold on for the win with the top 3 finished off by Martin in his Solo after a close (too close at times) battle with Andy.

Confusion at the start of race two resulted in a few of us missing the start however Richard & Heather didn’t make any mistakes to take a comfortable win ahead of Nick and Rod in the GP14 and Andy in his Solo.

A special mention must go to Lauren & Jess Marsh for completing their first race in a RS Feva #thisgirlcan

In the overall series Richard & Heather are now starting to stretch their legs taking a 3 point lead ahead of the GP14 of me & Ellie, with the Solo of Andy Carter only 0.5 points further back.

Sunday 2nd May

By Stuart Bates

Good racing was had by those competing, however the official race reporter Annabelle Massey got rather distracted by a picnic!

Sunday 25th April

By Graham Knox

There was a sharp contrast for sailors at the Lake on Sunday from the previous week. The breeze was coming from the south east quite strongly at times, enough to capsize the unlucky.

Some strong gusts provided exciting reaches but flat spots also had an impact. The runaway leader was Richard and Heather Marsh in their RS400, but the handicap gave Martin Brennan, in a Solo, the win ahead of the Marsh pair and Julian Parry also in a Solo. The slowest boat was the Mirror of Chris Massey and young daughter Annabelle who finished fourth, thanks to the handicap system.

There was confusion at the start of the second race as the fleet were too keen to get going. So another try was successful. A change of course kept racers closer together and let to an exciting finish with 5 boats crossing the line within 10 seconds. The overall results again showed Martin Brennan as winner, after a long battle for success with Julian Parry coming in second. Les Bithell and Emma Turner, in a Merlin Rocket, had a better race in third place with Tom Daniel, in a Laser, fourth a couple of seconds ahead of Chris Massey (now in a Laser too).

Fewer boats sailed the last race, perhaps exhausted by the strong breeze. Again the racing was close and Julian Parry now finished ahead of Martin Brennan, beaten at the finish by Chris Massey and Les Bithell with Emma Turner.

This concludes the first series of the year with Martin Brennan overall winner, Les Bithell and Emma Turner second, the Marshs third and regular Solo sailor, Kevin Parry in fourth.

Three of the Club’s young Topper sailors took part in a high level training weekend at Leigh & Lowton.

Wednesday 21st April

By Adam McGovern

Wednesday night was an interesting evenings racing, partly due to the light (5-7 knot) easterly that was a bit patchy.  As expected, Richard and Heather Marsh managed to get away quickly building a gap that resulted in their win.  Further back the inclusion of e-mark in the course there was always the chance of a mix-up in the order, and as the Solo fleet approached on the first trip there Andy Carter managed to sniggle his way from 3rd Solo through to the lead of the fleet.  Keeping just ahead of the Solo Fleet Adam McGovern, crewed by his dad making a visit from Wales (where adults aren’t yet allowed to sail!).  Further down the fleet Naz McGuirk and Steve Mason were making their first appearances of the year and Daisy Fisher was out in a Laser 4.7.

Thanks to Martin & Janice Brennan for running the Box and Dave Fisher for stepping into the Rib at the last minute and then once again getting some great photographs of the action.

Sunday 18th April

By Graham Knox

On Sunday, the Lake looked glassy as sailors arrived. A dozen boats set out to try and race in what should have been a light westerly airstream. Alas, a  slight zephyr was coming from the north east.

Les Bithell and Emma Turner made the best effort and got round others well ahead on the shortened one lap race. Following them were Adam Din and Olivia Zuniga in a RS200. Others struggled to get round as the airstream did change direction.

There was no support for another race in these conditions, but a few went out for some fun on the water. Adam McGovern and Chris Massey took their very young daughters out in Mirrors, while the young Bramwells ghosted around in Toppers.

Wednesday 14th April

By Stuart Bates

With the snow having cleared away, but the bitter wind still around, people turned up at the club to find that once again the local Hollingworth breeze had kicked in. Dave Smith & Chris Massey chose to run Boat Start & Finish and Dave Fisher assisted in the RIB.

Steve Crook & Sally Townend aced the start, with the rest of the fleet giving them plenty of room to tack off onto port and sail off, hotly pursued by the Richard & Heather Marsh. Richard soon took the lead on the water, but Steve was pushing hard all race to maintain the gap. Further back in the fleet Adam McGovern & Jasper Bramwell were having a good fight with the Lasers until a spinnaker issue caused them to fall back. The Solos had a good close race, joined by Nick Hornsby & Rod Daniel in the GP until a bad tack by Andy Carter, getting his tiller extension caught under the thwart, led to him being the only capsize of the evening (and thankful he had chose to wear his drysuit!)

The wind held through to the end of the race and the results were :

  • Richard & Heather Marsh – RS400
  • Steve Crook & Sally Townend – Merlin Rocket
  • Martin Brennan – Solo
  • Evan Parry – Laser
  • Julian Parry – Phantom

Sunday 11th April

Well what a difference a couple of weeks make, 2 weeks ago it was 20+ Degrees, but Snow welcomed the sailors to the club! It must have been brought south by Steve Crook, who was making his first appearance of the season.

Thanks to the Race team for what was not the best of days to be stood around, or sat in the RIB.

Official report from JG Knox

A couple of inches of snow in the morning did not deter sailors from racing at the Lake on Sunday. There was another great turnout for those keen to be on the water. But the wind was reluctant to settle in any certain direction.

There were 3 different race winners in 3 different classes of boats. It was the Solos that came out on top overall and best able to cope with the variable conditions.

Merlin Rocket sailors were keen to show that they were on the pace and, in the first race, Les Bithell and Emma Turner took the win beating the expertise of Steve Crook and Sally Townend finishing fourth. In between, Julian Parry was trying the Phantom single-hander to come in second ahead of Martin Brennan (Solo).

Conditions in the second race did not improve with flat spots to slow down everyone. The single handers coped best with the Solos doing best in the hands of Andy Carter and Martin Brennan. They were followed in by Chris Massey and Evan Parry in Lasers.

There were fewer takers for the third race. The wind had now settled in to a north westerly direction. Rounding ahead at the first mark, Richard and Heather Marsh (RS400) hoisted their spinnaker and found a good breeze to carry them across the Lake. As the others got to the mark, the breeze had all but disappeared and the Marshs were out of sight. Despite the benefits of the handicaps for the slower boats the lead was not threatened. This time Martin Brennan got past Andy Carter in a close race for the runner up spot with Chris Massey in fourth place.

Wednesday 7th April

By Adam McGovern

A light westerly wind resulted in some close racing this evening. The Solos of Martin Brennan and Mike Smith took full advantage of the conditions to sail well and secure a 1-2 with the GP14 of Adam McGovern and Eleanor Davies coming home in 3rd. We had some tight battles throughout the fleet with Evan Parry just getting the better of Tom Daniel in the lasers and the GP14 of Nick Hornsby and Rod Daniel had a great race with the other Solos with Kevin Parry winning that battle.

It’s great to be back! A big thanks to the duty team once again.

Sunday 4th April

Following on from a tough year and a Winter Lockdown that really tested the mental strength it was with great joy that we were finally able to get back on the water.

Official report from JG Knox

With the easing of restrictions a week ago, sailors were keen to get racing on the Lake again. Some had been on water during the past week. However, it was great to see 15 boats out on Sunday.

In the breezy conditions, it was always likely that the five Solos would have the closest racing in the results. However, the range of boats would also see who was in the fittest trim to race. And there would be several capsizes as the day became more blustery with the clouds building. Some sudden windshifts would catch the unwary.

In the first race, Chris Massey (having been out on Saturday with his young daughter in a Mirror) was race ready to win in his RS300. It was the Juniors in Toppers who showed up well, with Hector Droungas in second place, ahead of Nick Brook (Solo), having got past Andy Carter. Fourth place went to Jacob Din (Topper). Although Nick Brook and Daisy Fisher were tied on two race results, the last race success gave the day to young Daisy.

Other points of note:

Martin & Rene Watts provided the courses and ran the racing, with Richard Hodgson, Stuart Bates, Dave Smith and Kevin Parry assisting at different times.

Mike Smith was the unfortunate winner of the first capsize, but several others had a swim as well, notably Evan Parry who death-rolled his laser immediately infront of Nick Brook, who barely managed to avoid serious contact.

Adam McGovern was proving how good Betsy is at rigging, by failing to get the boat rigged correctly without her help! Richard Marsh said that in the second race, on the reach from E to B that as they approached Cafe Point in a massive gust that it went very quiet in the boat as they approached the point at high speed! Fortunately they managed to clear the point in their new (to them) RS400.

It was a testing day, in terms of the wind that came through off the club shore, but the dinghy park was filled with happy sailors at the end of the day