2013 Spring Series – Congratulations to Richard & Howard, Emma & Russ and Trevor & Mike…!!

Roger has continued his excellent scorekeeping and here, hot off the press, are the results from the Spring Series:

  1. Richard Jones/Howard Shawyer – Palmer Trophy and Club trophy
  2. Mervyn Wright/Sophie Singleton – Club trophy
  3. Mark Firth/Toby Sparkes – Club Trophy

 Best Silver:     Trevor Sparrow/Mike Clapp – Keene Cup

Best Performance Improvement Rating:      Emma Bunting/Russell Griffiths – Ridgeway Consulting Trophy

I’ll let you know when the trophies will be awarded after I have found out when the stars are next around

Also attached is an update to the ‘FF Roll of Honour’ – click here

All the best



Sunday Racing 28th April …..

Five teams arrived to a very fractional breeze, blue skies and a good forecast!  It was worth hanging on too….. The fleet cap was away somewhere, and Emma and Russell were planned to be away.  John and Helen were racing at the Grafham Open.

It took a while for Contender Champion  PRO, Stuart Jones, to get the course down in the shifty conditions so we all basically ambled our way on to the water. Race one got away of quite a short gate with a reasonable pin bias – however the water that side looked like a mirror….  Howard and Richard, right or wrong hit the pin on the gun and set off for the mirror – the rest of the fleet spread up the line and probably it was Mark and Toby who got the recall toot  (ha ha ha ha!!!)….

Meanwhile over in the apparent mirror to the left side there was a good trickle of breeze which brought Howard and Richard to the top mark first and from the left – never to be really threatened again.  Mark and Toby had a right old tussle with Dom and David Hume though – at the end, it was Howard and Richard by about 50 yards , then Dominic and David and Mark/Toby in third.

Then the breeze pepped up for ‘proper job’ racing!!  Race two got itself a strong bias at the committee boat end and whilst the keenies went down the line a bit, the Humes did a cracker of a start from the right place.  Everyone hiking by this time, it was a good time to pick the beats correctly.  This race was remarkable for the place changing in the first three positions – The Humes, Mark/Toby, Howard/Richard – everyone had a go! Overtakes were happening upwind and down – fantastic stuff it was!! As we rounded the bottom mark for the last time, Mark/Toby nipped around first and tacked reasonably early, Howard/Richard turned third and tacked quickly too.  The Humes held for the wall….. pity that – hee hee!! David said afterwards that at one point they had a lift that would have been their banker but sadly, wall-side, things did not go well and they slipped out of contention.  The other two zipped through the top mark really very close together and bundled off downwind – it was planable by this time so great fun was had!!  At the wing mark. Mark and Toby established an overlap from behind and nipped around the inside then the two teams hurtled off downwind – Mark and Toby to windward, Howard and Richard trying to set downwind as log as possible.  There were really nice puffs and the spray was starting to fly!!  The two boats were heavily overlapped and really close at the finish with Howard/Richard right next to the committee boat at the line.  Not being able to tell from our boat, it must have been the line angle and the little duck down in 4011 at the end as line honours went to Howard/Richard with Mark and Toby in a very close second. Dom and David were third.

Winter Warm Up – Third Weekend…. !!

The fleet was greeted this morning by…. FOG!!  Blimey, it was only tuesday that I had to shovel my drive clear of snow, then Friday was 12 degrees – and now this!!

So we hung out for around two hours waiting for the breeze, and finally a super little 12mph worth set in with bright sunshine.  It turned into a brilliant sail!!

Much talk during the postponement of Midnight Rog’s new personal handicap system for Flying Fifteens.  Currently top of the seeding table, ranked I think by “most improved rating”, are Trevor and Mike!!  See the Club Noticeboard for details and full results.

The racing turned out to be really really close.  Race one got out of the gate at the pin end which John and Helen making a very nice go of it.  The beat didn’t seem especially favoured one side or the other though there were plenty of shifts.  This race turned out to be a squeakily close set of shaves between John/Helen, and Howard/Richard. Generally John and Helen stayed ahead, often by a couple of feet, then half way up the second beat they crossed behind Howard/Richard, then next tack they were ahead again. It continued in this sort of fashion until the last wing mark.  There was a wee bit of traffic and a gust, and Howard with his favourite big white spinnaker blasted through.  It was exceptionally close up that final reach, edging higher and higher, but in the end Howard and Richard got the gun.

For race two, the fleet again went for the pin end. This time, with nice upwind speed it was Howard and Richard at the top mark from John and Helen, with Trevor and Mike in third.  The gap was more comfortable this time, and traffic issues aside, Howard and Richard stayed just out of reach all the way to the gun.

By the time we came ashore, it was a fine sunny afternoon.  We are six races done on the series of 8 now and things are starting to take shape.  Click here for the results to date.

Key Dates at Datchet….

Please remember the 13th Cup is this weekend,  Ian Linder (previous winner) has already returned the cup to Mervyn so I am looking forward to a big turnout to contest for the highly acclaimed prize :-))


Phil has sent me the following dates for your diaries

  • The current series ends on the 24th June, prize giving will be on the 1st, and there will be a “Summer Regatta” on the same day.  2 hour pursuit around the whole lake (sort of a long club race for the FF’s!!) followed by a “Wednesday” style single start race to follow!! Good Open meeting start practice! At the lunch, there will be a free glass of wine – on the club!!
  • The summer series ends on the 23rd September, and there will be a one day format Club Championships on the 30th, with a multi-race format as per our Hughes regatta. Same lunch format.
  • The autumn series ends on the 9th December, and there will be Christmas Pudding Regatta on the 16th, followed by Christmas lunch. If we have been good, Father Christmas will be there too – with the series prizes!

See you on the water


John Hanson

FF Fleet Captain

Sunday Race Report – No Sailing !!!

Yes – we got squalled off today !!  There was much competition between fleets to see who could down the most steaming hot tea. We won….

The Club weather gauge seemed stuck at 28.6mph, and with my hand held gadget I was reading 20 gusting 25 at slipway level – but we are the sheltered end of the lake of course.  The gusts were sudden and vicious.  A mile away down the far end of the lake we could see the rolling waves breaking against the wall – the Club end of the lake was sheltered and flat enough to see the ruthless little squalls scooting across the water.  Windsurfers were allowed out but were restricted to the area between the Club and the pier. The most disgusting thing by far though was the rain…. As I drove back over Reigate Hill later, it was like driving a submersible would be – just horrible.

So we had a good gossip. Just two FFs stood on the slip in the driving rain – Steve and Simon, Howard and Richard.  Two of the fleet travelled to Hayling this weekend and had put in creditable mid fleet performances on Saturday. The Admiral and Midnight Rog decided the boats should stay parked up.  Even less people showed up from other fleets….

Bob Millar was there and announced that Andy has accepted his 3 year contract in Houston as Sales Manager for all the Americas. Very sad for us of course, but brilliant for  Andy!!  That means 3427 is up for sale almost immediately – with new mast !!!

It turns out that we have more investment coming in the fleet – Steve and Simon are thinking carefully about a new or almost new Ovi this year.  Andy and James are in the same position.  Very interesting – both these teams will be pretty strong placed in new boats.  We also learned from the Fleet Official Scorer, Rog, that the Winter Series was won by Richard and Howard. Big surprise, actually. I wonder what happened to the Club’s intention to award trophies every quarter??!!!  VC??!!

Race Report – Easter Sunday !!

There was a great weather forecast – strong breezes!!… but that was for Monday   😦

Instead at Datchet we had a nice gentle westerly probably around 6-10mph – but cracking good racing!  Ten flying fifteens on the slip, including John Watson’s fabulous woody. Brett decided to “do” wheel bearings, so that was him out of play. A net nine boats faced some pretty serious racing.

The PRO had set a handy sized course, using the bulk of the lake. The wing mark wasn’t well placed, but we still knew we’d been out for a good sail.  After one false start from the committee boat, the FF’s went out of the gate on the third sequence.  Race one kicked off with the bulk of the fleet fancying the pin end very strongly. Steve and Simon executed a very good pin end flyer and pretty much crossed the whole fleet on port. The rest of us charged out of the bottom half of the line – all with a bit of an urge to go right. Did it occur to you that Mark and MattFirth ought have the family name “Walker” as between them they weigh the same as a box of crisps…. anyway, they steamed away up the left and had fabulous boat speed in the light airs. Carved out a huge lead which they held till the finish. There was stacks going on behind them though. The battle for 2nd and 3rd was a constant tussle between The Admiral and the VC, and Howard and Richard. I can’t count the number of times places were changed – then John and Helen went sharply right on the second beat and leapt straight from fourth into second. John says it was their “DFL Strategy”….  when asked , the ‘L’ stands for last, and you can work the rest out yourself!!  Anyway, John and Helen consolidated that, but the battle for third was just superb. At the last wing mark, Mike and Phil rounded third, with Howard and Richard really hard on their heels – and it was a fine spinnaker reach to the finish. Generous blasts of air were sweeping across the reach and 3934 was inching up to windward – there was nothing in it and only a few feet abeam. Then one super little puff, a tweak and a pull aboard 3934 and Howard/Richard were through into third – in the nick of time too – just five seconds in it at the finish line….

For race two, there was quite a bit going on at the start. I think maybe the Millars had been over, but in the results John/Helen were given OCS. (might be wrong!) Bit of aggressive push-over was at the heart of that – tut tut!!!  The PRO had announced for two laps only, so we were off. Blow me down, Mike and Phil ran a superb first beat and slipped around in the lead.  Plenty of chasers though including John/Helen and Howard/Richard. These three boats pulled away from the pack and I must say that Mike/Phil were sailing really well given that Phil was still rumbling about the Boat Race fiasco on Saturday. The beats were quite tricky and once again there was a fair bit of shift picking place changing going on. It seemed that the right hand side was the way to go, but it seemed awfully hard when you got over there. Anyway, popping up the last beat, Howard/Richard picked the inside of the curve and found themselves just ahead of John/Helen and Mike/Phil.  It was really horribly, nail bitingly close though. Super aggressive John, pushed Richard and Howard up the left of the leg – leaving Mike/Phil to choose their own course. Very dangerous stuff!!!  Maybe there was more breeze out left though, and Mike/Phil slipped back a bit – seemed to be an awful lot of noise coming from the boat – not about the rowing umpire I don’t think. The odd double gybe seemed to feature in there somewhere. Phil just doesn’t realise how hard it is at the back of the boat – said Mike in the bar afterwards!!

Anyway, John/Helen set about closing that gap. It was a tense leg the full length of the lake.  Both teams ended up way to the left of the mark, and suddenly Howard called the gybe, slung in another quickie at the mark – and they were gone for first. (Nothing tough about double gybes, Phil!!?!)  There was about 8 seconds in it, but John/Helen had to face an OCS ruling – boo!!  So Mike/Phil came in second after all, the Wrights came third and the Millars fourth.

Hot stuff…. and Great boat-on-boat Racing.