Graduate Dinghy Association

Graduate Northerns at Bass Week 2021


The Northerns have been part of the Bass Week scene for the past few years. Following the hiatus for COVID19 in 2020, the small but enthusiastic Grad fleet were itching to get going again this year.

With a break from the normal schedule, the Northerns were part of the second weekend so that many of the crews had had some exiting racing in the Bass Week slow handicap class prior to the event, posting some impressive results in this mixed fleet racing. Tim Hand crewed by grandson Riley just pipping Chris Parker and daughter Chloe in the first weekends racing, both crews continuing to do well in the midweek races.

The weather forecast for the weekend was for lighter winds on Saturday increasing on Sunday. However, being the Lake District, local conditions are unpredictable and this was especially the case on Saturday morning. The forecast force 2 gusting 3 turned out to be more like 5 gusting 6, conditions which suited Chris & Chloe and also Grad newcomers Greg Thomas & Abi Hodge.

The race committee got the fleets away with admirable efficiency considering the conditions. Greg & Abi and Chris & Chloe showed how it should be done as they made their way around the racecourse pulling away from the remaining Grads. The chasing pack was also close together. Richard & Jane Thorpe were going well, opting to keep close to the western shore where they found some lifts trading tacks with Maggie & Bob Murrell who were also looking for quieter conditions again the shoreline. Greg & Abi led into the windward mark near the eastern shore closely followed by Chris & Chloe. All crews then enjoyed the spectacular planing reach directly across to the western side of the lake. Greg & Chris continued to swap the lead but Greg & Abi held on to take the gun with brave skilful gybing around the final couple of marks.



After a (rainy) lunch stop the fleets found the wind had moderated a little, the ranks being swelled by local team Joan & Jack Hardie in their newly acquired G3007. The Thorpes had a clean get away before Chris & Chloe established an early lead. With the wind easing to a more manageable level Bob & Maggie broke through to lead at the second windward mark. They maintained this advantage for a couple of legs before Chris & Chloe eased their way past downwind gaining an inside advantage at the Southern buoy of the SON sequence. The Parkers found the correct lifts on the final beat with Bob & Maggie losing their way also allowing Greg & Abi through, Chris going on to taking his win of the day.

Tea and cake, then back out on to the calmer water as the wind had dropped considerably. With pulses of heavy rain showers the race committee decided to have all the fleets restricted to the clubhouse end of the lake. Richard & Jane again had an excellent start towards the pin end of the line and opted towards the eastern shore with Joan & Jack just behind. Bob, Chris & Greg were spread across the middle to western side of the first beat. Chris & Chloe pulled out a large lead but as the race progressed they were overhauled by the lighter Murrell & Hardie crews. The race was shortened to give Bob & Maggie their win of the day, just holding off Joan & Jack who had been gaining on the final tight reach.

With different winners for each of the three races it was all to play for in the final race on Sunday with Chris & Chloe the overnight leaders. The Grads had 4 boats in the top 6 of the slow handicap fleet.



The weather forecast was predicting 30 knots of westerly breeze for Sunday possibly holding off until the afternoon and so with the last starting sequence of the meeting at 10.30 calmer conditions were possible. As the boats made their way to the start this was the case but the wind was building, gusty due to the direction. The course was again restricted to the clubhouse end of the lake giving the spectators a grandstand view of proceedings. Chris & Chloe made a solid start and pulled away from the pack, Greg & Abi close behind. Bob & Maggie weren’t handling the gusty conditions well and dropped back through the fleet. The Thorpe and Hardie teams had close racing with David Ivins & Alexis Johnson in the mix, all boats keeping close together on the compact course. In the increasing wind there were exciting planing conditions, the fluky beats suiting Chris & Greg who were swapping the lead. On the final beat to the Northern buoy of the NOS sequence the Parkers broke free but then the rain squall hit, dampening the waves and reducing visibility. Greg & Abi took full advantage of these changeable conditions, short tacking to catch the Parkers and then gain an inside at the Northern buoy. With just a short way to go to the line Greg took his second gun giving him the Northerns title and also winning the slow handicap weekend series. Chris & Chloe had to console themselves with runners up prizes from the sponsors and Bob & Maggie were third overall.

A big thank you to the Bass Week team for organising and running another very successful week in difficult circumstances. The Grads all enjoyed the close racing, variable conditions and great hospitality.


Rank SailNo Class Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Nett
1 3018 Graduate Greg Thomas Abi Hodge SSC / WLYC 1 2 5 1 9 4
2 2839 Graduate Chris Parker Chloe parker Rya 2 1 3 2 8 5
3 3020 Graduate Bob Murrell Maggie Murrell Chipstead 3 3 1 5 12 7
4 3004 Graduate Richard Thorpe Jane Thorpe Toddbrook 8 4 4 3 19 11
5 3007 Graduate Joan Hardie Jack Hardie Bass 8 8 2 4 22 14
6 2878 Graduate David Ivins Alexis Jonhson Bolton 4 5 6 6 21 15
7 2896 Graduate Simon Forward Moses Forward Toddbrook SC 5 6 7 8 26 18


Graduate National Championships 2021 Report

Rutland Sailing Club, Battle of the Hikers event

24th & 25th July 2021


In the current pandemic circumstances finding a venue for a national championship event presents a number of challenges. The Graduate Champion Secretary, Maggie Murrell, persevered and was delighted to be able to arrange for the Graduates to be included in Rutland Sailing Club’s Battle of the Hikers. This was a handicap event of 6 races run over 2 days with single and double handed hiking boats eligible to enter.


12 crews arrived on Saturday morning to brisk conditions despite the more moderate forecast. 3 races were scheduled for Day 1 and following the briefing from the principle race officer the boats gathered in the start area for the first race at the northern end of the reservoir. Due to number of technical difficulties with marks drifting and some crews being very hot for the first start, there were numerous general recalls which finally resulted black flag penalties being awarded to 3 identified crews, unfortunately including Graduate team Chris & Chloe Parker. 


After nearly 1 3/4 hours the first race got under way with the crews trying to warm themselves up after the long delay. With the fresh breeze there were plenty of exiting, fast planing reaches around the trapezoid course. Reigning champions John Clementson and Melanie Titmus showed their intent with a win, Fresh Abendstern & Isaac Marsh were a strong second and returning Graduate sailor Tim Hand in his newly acquired G3001 with stand-in crew Meg Warren a creditable third in their first sail together. 

The second race was started a soon as possible and thankfully the fleet got cleanly away. The wind if anything had increased which meant that the exhilarating conditions persisted. This time Fresh & Isaac got the better of John & Mel with Bob & Maggie Murrell recording their best result of the weekend in third place. 

Due to the earlier delay the third race was postponed until Sunday which meant that John & Mel were the overnight leaders.



Sunday dawned grey and humidly overcast with much lighter winds. With 4 races to fit in back to back the crews stocked up their boat larders and sailed to the race course hoping for clean starts for each race.

The lighter winds made for much more tactical racing which suited Fresh & Isaac’s sailing technique and resulting in wins in races 3 and 4 with John & Mel close behind in each one. The teenage team of Hannah Whitham & Ruby Barber excelled in the more benign conditions with 3rd places, Tim & Meg and Bob & Maggie swapping 4th and 5th in race 3 and then 6th and 4th places in race 4.

There was very close racing throughout the fleet and at the start of race 5 there was all to play for. John & Mel needed a win to keep their championship hopes alive but further back there was also strong competition for positions 3 to 5.

Race 5 saw a second win for John & Mel, Fresh & Isaac close on their heels. Hannah & Ruby consolidated their claim to 3rd place overall with Tim & Meg just ahead of Bob & Maggie who rounded off the top 5. 



The championship was always going to be a tight contest and it all came down to who prevailed in Race 6 for the championship win. For John & Mel it was a must-win race but Fresh & Isaac could win if anyone else but John & Mel took the gun. This resulted in a little bit of match racing just before the start at the pin end of the line. At the gun Tim & Meg had the best start followed by Fresh & Isaac who had freed themselves from the pre-start manoeuvring. John & Mel initially got stuck behind an RS400 and Bob & Maggie were within touching distance of these crews. With a nice lift on the port side of the course John & Mel recovered to assume the lead and rounded the windward mark first closely followed by Fresh, Tim & Bob in close order. The slow off-wind legs allowed Hannah & Ruby to close up on the leading group by the leeward mark. John & Mel, Fresh & Isaac and Bob & Maggie opted for the starboard side for the second beat whilst Tim & Meg took a flyer on the port side. On reaching the lay line John & Mel tacked on to starboard but Fresh & Isaac opted to split the tacks and held on to port. Bob & Maggie followed John on to starboard to avoid Fresh’s lee-bow effect. Hannah & Ruby also opted to carry-on on port to gain height. All the time Tim & Meg were making steady progress on the port side of the course.

John and Bob’s course took them near the water tower in the centre of the race course and it seems this must have affected the pressure in this region because Fresh and Hannah gobbled up John’s lead, rounding the windward mark ahead with Tim arriving on port immediately behind John. All Bob & Maggie could do was watch this unfolding from their calm patch by the water tower.

With Fresh & Isaac now in a commanding position the championship was within their grasp and they maintained their lead to the line. John & Mel wrestled past Hannah & Ruby to take second place for the race and the championship. Hannah & Ruby showed great maturity with a third place in the race and also overall.

The Graduate fleet had a very enjoyable weekend with mixed conditions and courses giving close and competitive racing.


Helm Crew Sailing Club Sail Number Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Total Nett Position
Fresh Abendstern Isaac Marsh Toddbrook 3013 (2.0) 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 8.0 6.0 1
John Clementson Mel Titmus Chipstead 2979 1.0 (2.0) 2.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 10.0 8.0 2
Hannah Whitham Ruby Barber Toddbrook 3004 5.0 (8.0) 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 26.0 18.0 3
Tim Hand Meg Warren Swarkestone 3001 3.0 4.0 4.0 (6.0) 4.0 3.0 24.0 18.0 4
Bob Murrell Maggie Murrell Chipstead 3020 4.0 3.0 (5.0) 4.0 5.0 5.0 26.0 21.0 5
James Webber Helen Recardo Chipstead 3015 7.0 6.0 (9.0) 7.0 6.0 6.0 41.0 32.0 6
Greg Thomas Abbi Hodge Southport 3018 6.0 5.0 7.0 8.0 (13.0 DNC) 13.0 DNC 52.0 39.0 7
Simon Forward Moses Forward Toddbrook 2896 8.0 7.0 10.0 11.0 8.0 8.0 52.0 41.0 8
Richard Thorpe Jane Thorpe Toddbrook 2873 (13.0 DNC) 9.0 8.0 10.0 9.0 7.0 56.0 43.0 9
Chris Parker Chloe Parker Southport 2839 (13.0 BFD) 13.0 DNC 6.0 5.0 7.0 13.0 DNC 57.0 44.0 10
Hamilton Roaf Grace Everitt Chipstead 2901 (13.0 DNC) 13.0 DNC 11.0 9.0 13.0 DNC 13.0 DNC 72.0 59.0 11
David Wilson Sandra Wilson Broadwater 3010 (13.0 DNC) 13.0 DNC 12.0 13.0 DNC 13.0 DNC 13.0 DNC 77.0 64.0 12


Our 2021 calendar is beginning to look healthy again.
There are still a few events to be confirmed, and the ones below are of course subject to government guidance, but we cannot wait to see everyone out racing their grads again!

Event Location Dates
Chipstead Open Chipstead S.C. 9th May
Graduate National Championships Rutland S.C. 24th - 25th July
Graduate Northern Championships Bassenthwaite S.C. 7th - 8th August
Graduate Southern Championships TBC TBC
Graduate Youth Championships TBC TBC
Bass Week Bassenthwaite S.C. 31st July - 8th August
Steve Nicholson Trophy Northampton S.C. TBC (POSTPONED)
GBSC* - Grafham Belle Grafham S.C. 29th - 30th May
GBSC* - Bala Long Distance Race Bala S.C. 10th - 11th July
GBSC* - Wilsonian River Challenge Wilsonian S.C. 26th - 27th June
GBSC* - Tiger Trophy Rutland S.C. 29th - 30th August


*GBSC = Great British Sailing Challenge