Graduate Dinghy Association

 Graduate Northern Championships

 The first weekend of August was the Graduate Northerns which were held at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club as part of their infamous The One Bass Week.  On arrival the ten teams were met by sunshine and south-westerly, gusty winds rolling down the mountains and across the lake.  
The course for Race One was in the top third of the lake with the beats towards the club house.  The shifting gusts were testing with all boats being overpowered.  Andy and Sue Flitcroft (Bolton) took an early lead which they held to the finish.  Chasing the Flitcrofts were the junior teams of Ben and Gabe Hill (Southport), and Bryn Abendstern with Anni Coppenger (Todbrook).  The juniors demonstrated great boat handling; further down the fleet there were capsizes and collisions.
With the wind unabating, Race Two was again hard work.  The Flitcrofts took charge and continued on to win, followed by the Hill brothers.  In the middle of the fleet, positions were changing with the shifts and as teams gained confidence in their heavy weather boat handling skills.  The mile long reach along the eastern shore saw the boats planing with exciting speeds.
Sunday morning and the wind was blowing southerly, force four to five along the lake.  However, the wind was steady making boat control easier for Race Three.  Again, the Flitcrofts followed by the Hill brothers lead the fleet.  Working up to third place were Rob and Sally Riddelsdell (Chipstead).  Again racing was close with boat speed being critical.
Sunday afternoon was Race four.   The Race officer set a course using the full length of the lake with the first beat taking in 45 minutes in the force three to four wind.  With such a long beat concentration was required in identifying the areas of greatest pressure.  On the run down the lake wind eased and again the search for pressure was vital.  With these testing conditions, positions were continuously changing.  Halfway up the beat, the Hills shot off to the right spotting pressure which they used to power into the lead which they kept to the finish.  Second, third and fourth positions were in touching distance of each other giving an excellent example of close Grad racing and giving Brynn and Anni a second place.
Overall Graduate Northern winners were Andy and Sue Flitcroft who received the new Graduate Northerns trophy which was arranged by Chris Parker.  The event was deemed a success by all with great a Bass social scene which half the fleet continue to enjoy.  The next Northern Area Graduate events are the Chester and Bolton opens in October.

Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3 R4 Nett
Andy Flitcroft Sue Flitcroft Bolton 1 1 1 4 3
Ben Hill Gabe Hill West Lancashire Y.C. 2 2 2 1 5
Bryn Abendstern Anni Coppenger Todbrook 3 5 4 2 9
David Ivins Holly Brooks Chipstead 7 6 5 7 18
Richard Thorpe Jane Thorpe Todbrook 11 7 6 6 19
Peter Flory Angela Flory Chipstead 5 8 7 8 20
Hamilton Roaf Alistair Roaf Chipstead 8 11 9 5 22
Chris Parker Katie Ross Crosby 11 4 8 11 23
Liz Stockdale Helen Phillips Chipstead / Yorkshire Dales 6 9 11 11 26

Report by Alistair Roaf and Photos by Richard Craigs (SailPics)