DF65 & DF95 Social Racing 2024 – 21/2/24


A forecast 20+ knots of breeze didn’t really materialise at Gautby road. Initial thoughts of B rig were changed to A, and in fact A+ would probably have been sailable.

The wind was approximately southerly, and once again very shifty although there was a bit more pressure today. The standard course from Saturday’s racing looked to be just about right, and although the line appeared to be starboard biased it turned out to be a pretty good compromise. In fact, the wind went gradually right over the morning’s sailing but even so it was possible to make a useful start from well down the line for most of the day.

14 skippers turned up to race, but perhaps this should be 13 plus 1 as John Brierley was really in a class of his own, winning 6 of the 9 races, and should probably have won another but was tagged and stopped at a start.

Racing was once again very close for much of the morning, and conditions meant that no one could relax at any part of a race. There was a certain amount of frustration at the shifts and flat spots which caught everyone out at some point.

Final results finished as shown below, with thanks again to Dave Williams for doing them:

  1. John Brierley                7 pts            6 wins
  2. Mike de St Paer          20 pts
  3. John Carlin                   21 pts             2 wins
  4. Neil Westbrook           25 pts             3 x 2nds
  5. Paul Plested                  25 pts
  6. James Douglas             26 pts            1 win
  7. Simon Bates                  36 pts
  8. Clive Warren                 37 pts
  9. Frans King                     57 pts
  10. John Beech                    59 pts
  11. Dave Williams              61 pts
  12. Richard Walker            65 pts
  13. Dave Howard                67 pts
  14. Malcolm Harvey          75 pts


Gautby Road never ceases to amaze us, and today was no different. During the last morning race for the 65s the wind dropped off, became more fluky and it didn’t look good for the afternoon.
A quick look at the lake prior to starting and A rigs were selected by the 6 skippers participating in the 95’s. The wind had filled in and swung round frum a South Easterly to a South Westerly, so still  coming over the houses but not as shifty as the morning.  The result of the change of direction necessitated a change of course. The Start Line was set at the club house end and a single buoy rounding to port located close to the pathway on the housing estate side was used as the windward mark ensuring a beat was necessary for rounding, returning to the gate at the clubhouse end.
As has been adopted, starts were self monitored and first to finish recorded the results.
Racing got underway and as is normal in the 95 fleet it was very competitive, there were still enough shifts and holes to catch the helms out, which led to the lead changing more than once.
It didn’t take long for the wind to increase in strength and after 3 races, it was decided to change to B Rigs. In truth a C Rig was probably needed but as 3 of the 6 didn’t have Cs we gave it a go with the B.  Race 4 and it didn’t take long for our first DNF, with Frans suffering rigging failure.  The boats were nosediving downwind and difficult to tack and we also lost Malcolm.  After finishing and with the wind building further still, Neil decided that discretion was better than valour and called it a day. This left Clive , Dave and John B to change to the C rigs.  In Race 5, unfortunately Dave suffered rigging failure (his new C rig had failed its first test) before he could even get on the water, the wind had turned even more and was virtually straight down the lake. The B rig was the perfect choice, “tackable” and no nose diving but a brisk walk / jog to keep up downwind was needed. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and possibly the best wind Gautby has seen on a Wednesday in a while, but with only 2 functioning boats it was more fun time than serious racing.
The results from first 4 races (to try and make it fair)
1.   Neil Westbrook      8pts     2 x win,  1 x 2
2.   Clive Warren          9pts     1 x win,  1 x 2,  2 x 3
3.   Dave Howard        12pts    1 x win,  1 x 2,  1 x 3
4.   John Beech             13pts                     1 x 2,  1 x 3
5.   Frans King             22pts
6.   Malcolm Harvey  23pts

DF/RG65 Winter Series 2023 #5 – 17/2/24

It was another light SE breeze again today, but this week we ran from the South bank walkway.  Once again the marks needed some adjustment and so Peter donned the waders and shifted things around to produce a reasonable windward/leeward course and with 3 DF65’s racing this week, a separate windward mark 10m downwind of the one set for the RG65’s.

We had an excellent turnout of ten RG65’s and three DF65’s, with the RG65’s mostly sailing with a full sized swing rig.  The wind looked fine for the swing rig during pre-race practice and up the first beat and then a prolonged gust hit the fleet downwind, with plenty of nosediving and some loss of control creating some position changes.  John Brierley led the race in his newly launched Ivy, until the last beat when he was overtaken by both Bill Culshaw and Alan Bennett.  Wins were spread around the front of the fleet in this first half with Graham Elliott and Alan taking two wins each and Peter Baldwin one.

After a break for lunch, Alan had the best afternoon session with three wins, John picking up two and Graham managing a further one.  Dave Williams had a better afternoon sporting an A swing rig and this helped improve his overall position to finish ahead of Martin Roberts who had gear failure in race 9 and missed the final 4 races.  A great afternoons sailing marred only slightly by the appearance of rain for the last few races.

Many thanks to Neil Westbrook who acted as RO for the afternoon and Dave Williams for working out the scores at the end of the day.

  1. Alan Bennett            Ivy                     68  16pts
  2. Graham Elliott        Electronica     09  26pts
  3. John Brierley            Ivy                     84  27pts
  4. Peter Baldwin          Uno                   63   32pts
  5. Bill Culshaw              Ivy                     21   37pts
  6. Dave Williams          Uno                   33   72pts
  7. Martin Roberts        Pocket Rocket  133  74pts
  8. John Berry                 Uno                         71  74pts
  9. Alan Watkinson      Uno                         23  78pts
  10. Charles Legg             Uno                       26   79pts
DF65 Report
Only 3 skippers turned up for the 5th Winter Series but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment. We were greeted at the lake by a South Easterley breeze, from the clubhouse end and after Peter had shuffled the buoys around to produce a biased start line, good  beat to a windward mark (as there were only 3 of us there was no need for a spreader mark), so it was straight back diagonally down the full length of the lake to a gate, with 2 laps set, then finishing half way up the lake. We shared the start with the 10 RGs, they had a separate windward mark about 10m further on as well as a spreader which proved almost a perfect handicap and meant the fleet was close with the DFs and RGs finishing at the same time
A+ rigs were the order of the day, and with the wind direction coming through the houses there were plenty of shifts to pick, but picking the right one was important. The wind built over the first couple of races and nose diving downwind added to the tricky conditions but after a couple of more races it subsided and remained  good A+ conditions.
The racing between the DFs was very close and although Paul didn’t get the win he was craving for, he did lead around the last mark on more than 1 occasion losing it only on the final beat to the line, and considering he is new to RC sailing, once he sorts his fingers from his thumbs out, it won’t be long before he gets his first win!! The main battle for honours was between Tony and Clive and it took a win in the last race for Clive to edge the days honour. 12 Races were sailed and a big thank you to Neil Westbrook who was our RO for the day,
1    Clive Warren            14pts    6 x wins,  6 seconds
2    Tony Sedgewick     14pts    6 x wins, 4 seconds
3     Paul Plested             25pts    2 x seconds


DF65 Social Racing 2024 – 14/2/24

Continued strong DF65 turnout today with 13 skippers, all of whom might have been forgiven for thinking it was Groundhog day at Gautby road. No sign of Punxsutawney Phil, the legendary groundhog alleged to herald spring and, for the second week running, not much sign of any wind either.

It blew in fits and starts approximately from the clubhouse, and the usual course was used with a fairly generous top spreader to try and get away from the flat patch in the top corner out into the wind.

The line looked to be somewhat starboard end biased, but Frans did a race one flyer start from the Port end, and although eventually overhauled after sailing into one of the many flat spots made everyone realise that there were some options at the start.

It seemed to pay to try and sail just outside the windward side flat patch to pick up a lift into the windward mark, but every race seemed to bring exceptions with those sailing close along the windward shore winning out, and in other races getting completely beached while others sailed round – or even either side of them.

Mike dSP eventually ran out the winner with 3 wins, and all agreed after 2 hours that 8 races were enough for the day.

Thanks once again to Dave Williams for sorting out the result with averages, which finished as shown below:

  1. Mike de St Paer      9 pts   3 wins
  2. Alan Watkinson     13 pts  1 win
  3. Andrew Potter        19 pts 2 wins
  4. James Douglas       20 pts
  5. Neil Westbrook     21.6 pts  1 win / 2 seconds
  6. Paul Plested            21.6 pts  1 win / 1 second
  7. John Carlin              31 pts
  8. Dave Williams       39 pts
  9. Charles Legg          40 pts
  10. Richard Walker     41 pts
  11. Dave Howard         46 pts
  12. Frans King              52 pts
  13. Malcolm Harvey   62 pts

IOM Winter 2023/4 #4 – 10/2/24

A return to strengthening IOM numbers at Birkenhead had 13 entries received for Round 4 of the Winter Series. We were a couple down with Tracey Ballington and Neil Westabrook unable to join us, leaving eleven race ready skippers.

Peter Baldwin had the waders on and set a course that used the full length of the lake with a 5-9knot South easterly blowing straight down the middle from the clubhouse end. With skippers on the Eastern bank, PRO Dave Williams had us underway just after 12noon.

Race 1 gave an indication of what was to come with starting accuracy and shift picking of high importance. Graham Elliott led the way with a close chasing pack of Martin Roberts, Brad Gibson and Allan Bennett pushing him all the way for his win.

After a startline tweak and the finish line being extended further up the lake, we were back on the clock. Brad managed to break through a tight cover from Graham to get him on the line with the leading group finishing closely bunched in the mid range A rig conditions.

Brad then found some rythym to record a string of wins leading up to tea break through managing to wiggle through the fleet in the sometimes tricky conditions. 

After the break the breeze had lightened a little with results mixed in the second half of the day. Wins were shared between Graham E, Allan B and Brad. After a slower start to the day Darin found form to record a string of second places. Peter Baldwin, Martin Roberts and Graham Birkett were regularly challenging the leading bunch with only the slightest mistake or misfortune costing race wins or higher placed finishes.

There were strong performances across the fleet with a number of different designs being sailed with skipper trim and ability to read the conditions proving the difference.

After 12 races it was Brad who took the day on 12 points from Graham Elliott in second and Alan Bennett in third.

  1. Brad Gibson                  BG                42   12pts
  2. Graham Elliott             Britpop!    09   24pts
  3. Alan Bennett                 Britpp!     180   30pts
  4. Darin Ballington         Britpop!     98   41pts
  5. Martin Roberts            Chimera   122   45pts
  6. Peter Baldwin               Britpop!     63   54pts
  7. Graham Birkett            Widget      133   55pts
  8. Bill Culshaw                  Britpop!      21   70pts
  9. Alan Watkinson           Britpop!      23   85pts
  10. John Berry                     Viper             12   86pts
  11. Charles Legg                  K2                40  104pts

Club member Paul Plested took a number of photos during the first session and these are available via the following link and a few examples are included in this report – many thanks Paul.


A big thank you as always to Dave Williams for keeping things going at a cracking pace , Peter B for the course setting and Neil for assisting Dave.

Round 5 is in two weeks time and we welcome members and vistors with their IOMs to come along to join us and experience racing at the club where Champions are made.

Entry for Round 5 at https://birkenheadrspc.co.uk/iom-winter-2023-5/

DF95 Social Racing 2024 – 7/2/24

Following on from the morning session, strange things happened during the lunch break. The wind completely disappeared with only the slightest zephyr on the lake. The start was delayed for about 15 minutes whilst the 5 skippers debated whether to sail or call it a day, fortunately during this period the wind started to fill in so we decided to “give it a go”.
A short course was set utilising only half the lake but before we could start the wind filled in from completely the opposite direction so a new course was set, starting at the clubhouse end of the lake, the windward mark was set halfway down the lake taken to port, a spreader mark down to the gate and the back to the windward / spreader marks which were used as the finish line.
A massive thank you to Neil Westbrook who was the RO for the afternoon and also gave some very useful coaching and tips, 7 races were completed in testing conditions.
From the off Clive showed his intentions taking the first 3 races followed by Alan and Frans. Rolls were reversed in the next 3 with Alan taking 3 wins, Clive 2 seconds and John taking the other. Unfortunately Alan had to call it a day after 6 aces. The wind was filling in nicely, so the course was reset to utilise the whole of the lake, and being the last race 2 laps were set. Frans and Clive battled it out for the win with Clive sneaking through on the final windward leg, with John finishing third.
Final results after 7 races, with 1 discard
  1. Clive Warren          8pts   4 wins
  2. Alan Watkinson    9pts   3 wins
  3. Frans King            18pts
  4. John Beech           22pts
  5. Dave Howard       23pts
As with most weeks racing was close throughout the afternoon with lots of “private” battles being fought throughout the fleet, another enjoyable sunny afternoon was enjoyed, We were all delighted to have persevered with the start of the afternoon.