Graduate Dinghy Association


Gill Graduate National Championship 2022 at Grafham Water Sailing Club

Race report by Bob Murrell


Day 1

Race 1

With the wind about force 2 gusting 3, coming almost from the North, the race officer Nigel Denchfield set a sausage triangle sausage course from the clubhouse side of the lake. The Herons were sharing the event and set off first, the Grads 4 minutes later (3,2,1 start sequence). The breeze dropped a little just before the start and John Clementson opted for the port end of the line, the bulk of the fleet congregating nearer the committee boat. The lighter conditions meant the Grad fleet overhauled most of the Herons before the windward mark. The early leading pack included Richard and Jane Thorpe, Fresh Abendstern & Ross Southwell and John Clementson and Mel Titmus. Sam McKay and Jack Cammann were in the top 5 with Tim Hand and Dave Moore also in the mix. As the fleet completed the first of the triangular section Fresh was leading with John in close contention and Tim Hand staying in touch, Sam just behind. As the breeze settled back to a steadier 2 but with some holes the leading 4 pulled clear, Fresh & Ross taking line honours, John & Mel second and Sam & Jack in third.


Race 2

In between the races the breeze filled in only to drop as the starting sequence began for the second race of the day. With the drop in pressure the direction also shifted to the West making the port end of the line the favourable side. Sam & Jack, John & Mel and Tim & Dave made their way there only for Sam to be OCS right on the pin meaning a "round the ends" for him. John & Mel and Tim & Dave made good their starts with Sam & Jack close behind. The westward shift lasted for most the first half of the first beat before swinging back to the North allowing the Grad fleet to get through the Herons fairly early.

The run was very competitive with 5 Grads making multiple gybes to try to gain an advantage, all rounding the leeward mark within a few seconds of each other although Sam & Jack had fallen back in to the middle of the fleet. The wind eased for the back markers making it a drift around the leeward mark for them. The second beat saw the wind shift to the Northeast making the starboard tack dominant. The leading pair broke away, Tim & Dave rounding the leeward mark closely followed by Richard & Jane Thorpe, John & Mel in 3rd and Fresh & Ross in 4th place. With the breeze freshening Tim & Dave stayed in the lead, Richard & Jane taking second followed by John & Mel.


Race 3

Midday and the wind died. With a postponement the fleets waited for the breeze to fill back in. After a 10 minutes delay the third race got under way with one team OCS. The Grads favoured the right side of the race course, the Herons the left. At the windward mark the fleets converged, Fresh & Ross coming out in the lead closed followed by Tim & Dave, John & Mel and then Sam & Jack with James Webber & Helen Recardo not far behind. Bryn Abendstern & Ruby Barber fought through to 5th in the latter part of the first run.

The windward mark saw Fresh in the lead, Tim in second and Victoria Theaker & Lewis Coppinger moving up to 3rd, then John, Bryn and James in that order close behind. Clive Herd & Natalia Zin-Safianowicz were having the best race of their afternoon but the whole fleet was close together.

At the end of the second run, Fresh and Ross were still leading but there was nothing between the following 6 boats. Tim & Dave took a wide course, gybing for the mark. Fresh and Ross took line honours with a big lead and, as the wind continued to die, Tim came home 2nd, John 3rd, Victoria 4th, Bryn & Ruby 5th and James & Helen 6th.


Race 4

As had been the pattern for the early races the wind came and went, managing to fill in as the fleet got away, this time cleanly. The leading Grads soon overhauled the Herons, apart from Dave Butler, by the windward mark. Fresh popped out in front with Tim, John and Sam close behind. The whole fleet was quite bunched down the first run which was truer in this race than the third one. Fresh & Ross were leading into the leeward mark closely followed by Tim then John and then Sam.

Approaching the wing mark Fresh was narrowly in lead from James & Helen who had found form on the second beat, John & Mel lying in 3rd, Tim in 4th and Sam 5th. Fresh stayed in the lead with John finding a way past James as they rounded the mark. Clive & Natalia and Hamilton Roaf & Grace Everett were both having the best race their afternoons in 7th & 8th. By the leeward mark the top 8 boats had closed right up together behind Fresh, John and James in that order, Tim and Sam immediately behind.

After the windward mark John & Mel were close to Fresh & Ross with James & Helen still holding off Tim & Dave. However, Fresh & Ross managed to stay in the lead by the line for his 3rd bullet of the day, John & Mel were second with Sam & Jack third and Tim & Dave in fourth. James and Helen had an excellent result coming in fifth.


Day 2

Race 5

We awoke to virtually flat calm giving beautiful views across the lake, the opposite bank and trees perfectly reflected in the still water. Not so good for racing though.

The race officer held the briefing as arranged explaining how the fleets would integrate with the standard Sunday club starts.

In the event, there were only a couple of club single handlers who ventured on to the water and the combined Heron and Graduate fleets had the last start of the normal club race start sequence. There had been some discussion about delaying the start but the consensus was to stick with the original timings. This was just as well as although there was some breeze for the gun at 11.20 the light breeze gradually died as the fleet crept around the windward / leeward course. Fresh and Ross eked out a small lead followed by John & Mel and then Tim & Dave. These positions were unchanged at the line with Richard & Jane scoring a fourth and Victoria & Lewis maintaining their form in fifth.


As the conditions deteriorated further the race officer decided there was insufficient wind to run a sixth race and so the fleet rocked and rolled back to the shore for the conclusion of the weekend.

The Graduate Dinghy Association is very grateful to Grafham Water SC for organising and hosting a really successful event. We would like to thank Nigel Denchfield and his race team plus Lisa and her catering colleagues for looking after us so well on and off the water and Gill for their very generous sponsorship of the prizes and the event.

Pos Sail No Helm Crew Sailing Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total Points Net Points
1st 3013 Fresh Abendstern Ross Southwell Toddbrook SC 1 ‑4 1 1 1 8 4
2nd 3009 John Clementson Melanie Titmus Chipstead SC 2 ‑3 3 2 2 12 9
3rd 3001 Tim Hand Dave Moore Swarkestone SC ‑4 1 2 4 3 14 10
4th 2873 Sam McKay Jack Cammann Swarkstone SC 3 7 7 3 ‑10 30 20
5th 2750 Victoria Theaker Lewis Lupton Coppinger Toddbrook SC 5 ‑8 4 6 5 28 20
6th 3004 Richard Thorpe Jane Thorpe Toddbrook SC 8 2 ‑9 8 4 31 22
7th 3015 James Webber Helen Recardo Chipstead SC 6 5 6 5 ‑8 30 22
8th 3020 Bryn Abendstern Ruby Barber Toddbrook SC ‑7 6 5 7 7 32 25
9th 2531 Patrick Hill Jonathan Hill Swarkestone SC ‑10 9 8 10 6 43 33
10th 3008 Ric Lewis John Higham Chipstead SC 9 10 ‑11 9 9 48 37
11th 2952 Clive Herd Natalia Zin‑Safianowicz Welland YC 11 11 ‑12 11 12 57 45
12th 2901 Hamilton Roaf Grace Everitt Shustoke SC ‑13 13 10 12 13 61 48
13th 3024 Christine Dawber Jacqueline Kamau Dale YC 12 12 ‑13 13 11 61 48