Sailing News

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