DF65 Northern District Championships – 9/3/24

This was the first time in a long while that a District Championships had been held for the DF65, such that some might consider this to have been an inaugural one.  With ever increasing costs for travel and accommodation, all MYA Districts are trying to organise more one day events for sailors in different classes.  Unfortunately, with other events and traveller series at the moment, it is often difficult to avoid clashes and fit them into club programmes.

The day started with light rain and a decent top end of A+ rig breeze from the top corner at the clubhouse end.  One or two opted to start in A, but most were in A+ and when those few changed up after race 1, all remained in the same rig all day.

Race Officer Martin Roberts along with assistants Dave Williams and Neil Westbrook opted for batches of 4 races with breaks between to get re-hydrated and enjoy the biscuits and cake on offer.  The first session belonged to John Brierley and Tony Sedgwick who had two wins apiece, with Peter Baldwin, Simon Fairman, Paul Middleton, John Carlin and Andrew Potter all figuring in the podium places.

After the break and with the wind straightening a little, this seemed to suit Peter as he took three of the next 4 wins, with John B picking up the other one.  Simon, Tony, Paul, Alan Watkinson and Jon Whitehead all figured in the podium places this time.  This late morning surge saw Peter leapfrog Simon and John B to take the lead at lunch by a slender one point margin.

Post lunch and with the weather and light levels improving, saw three new race winners with Alan taking race 9, Andrew Potter race 10 and Simon Fairman races 11 and 12.  Podium places were shared between Peter, John B, Jon, John Carlin and James Douglas.  Peter’s consistency kept him on top though with Simon taking second at this point ahead of John B before the final break was taken.

As we started the final session of 5 races before the 4pm cut-off, the wind had backed once again to be out of the top corner, giving more significant gusts, shifts and holes.  There were places to be gained by tacking at the right time, but it was never always clear when that time was.

This final session belonged to John Brierley with two wins and two seconds, with Peter, Paul and Tony picking up the other wins.  Other podium places were taken by Simon, Paul, Alan, Jon, John Carlin and James Douglas.

John Brierley missed the last race due to gear failure, but with Peter unable to capitalise on this fact, it left John Brierley with the well deserved overall win, just three points ahead of Peter in second and Simon Fairman third.

Winner John Brierley on the right with RO Martin Roberts

Overall, it was a tricky day at Birkenhead, leading to consistency issues across the fleet.  In his winner’s address, John Brierley thanked the race team and most especially Chris Westbrook for running the galley and making us tea and coffee, serving biscuits and cake all day.  All photos courtesy of Dave Williams.  A link to other photos taken is available here

DF65 & DF95 Social Racing 2024 – 6/3/24


A bit of breeze this week again, from the ESE/SE and getting towards the top of A+ in some of the gusts, and starting off quite chilly in the mist for the 15 skippers. Some significant shifts to make the sailing – and the beats in particular – very interesting, with the usual short shifts at the top end of the course.

Peter Baldwin went for his customary wade, and reset the course with a line which allowed a spread of starting positions. Not at times that you might have thought this was the case, as there was a certain amount of boat to boat contact and a couple of entanglements over the morning’s sailing.

As an indication of the conditions, the first 5 races had 5 different winners, and over the 10 races John Carlin had 3 wins, Peter Baldwin and Jon Whitehead ended up with 2 race wins apiece and the remaining race wins spread over three further sailors.  Much place swapping, quite a bit of frustration, and once again very close racing right across the fleet.

  1. Peter Baldwin       18pts            2 wins
  2. John Carlin            20 pts           3 wins
  3. Simon Bates          26pts            1 win
  4. Jon Whitehead      32pts            2 wins
  5. Alan Watkinson    33 pts           2 x 2nd
  6. Mike de St Paer     33 pts            1 x 2nd
  7. Andrew Potter       38 pts
  8. Clive Warren          40 pts            1 win
  9. Tony Sedgewick    43 pts            1 win
  10. Andrew Peter         65 pts
  11. Dave Williams        66 pts
  12. John Beech                75 pts
  13. Richard Walker       78 pts
  14. Dave Howard           99 pts
  15. Frans King                101 pts


Following on from the morning DF65 sailing, 7 helms enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoons 95 sailing. The wind was generally more southerly meaning the houses came into play more providing the normal Gautby Rd holes and shifts. While this can provide good overtaking opportunities it can be very frustrating if you get the wrong side of a wind shift or sat in a hole watching boats pass you on either side. The choice of rig was an A which perfectly suited the conditions. Unfortunately, John had rigging problems during the practice before racing and had to swap to a B rig, and as the wind started to recede, he struggled against the A rigs.
Normal 95 protocol of self monitoring the start, thank you Peter for monitor duty. First home recorded the results, this gives maximum sailing opportunities for all the helms. After 7 races were sailed, part of the fleet had to leave, a further 5 races were sailed for fun but not recorded as part of the overall results
Peter mastered the conditions and sailed very consistently winning 6 and was second in the other. The rest of the places were closely contested with both Dave and Richard showing good boat speed, culminating in Dave posting one of his best run of results in the last 3 races, a second and 2 thirds. However it was Alan and Clive who battled it out for the second and third places. Competition throughout the fleet was as competitive as ever with 6 helms posting a third place and better (not surprisingly, only John on his B rig struggled in the lighter airs)
Final Results (with 1 discard)
1   Peter Baldwin         6 pts  (6 wins)
2   Alan Watkinson   17pts  (1 win)
3   Clive Warren         18pts
4   Dave Howard       24pts
5   Richard Walker   26pts
6   Frans King             27pts
7   John Beech             37pts

DF95 Winter Series 2023/4 #4

Unusually for recent time we arrived to a north westerly light breeze, which comes generally from the top right hand end of the lake and the industrial buildings which provide the typical Gautby road conditions. Enough shifts and holes to tax the patience of the 12 helms on the starting line. Added to the lack of wind, persistent rain fell for most of the first session and you can picture 13 well wrapped up sailors. Unfortunately Dave Williams suffered gear failure whilst rigging his boat, so the rest of us didn’t complain when he volunteered to be our RO for the day, his loss was our gain – many thanks Dave! We also had 1 visitor from Gressford, John Pritchard who proved a worthy addition to the fleet.
The course was set, with the start line at the club end, a beat up to the top right hand corner (to port), over to a spreader mark  and then down the full length of the lake to a single buoy (again to port) and a beat back up the lake using either one or two laps with the finish halfway up.
Racing was extremely competitive from the start with several lead changes in each race, thanks to the shifts and holes. Five races were sailed in the first session with a mixture of 1 and 2 laps just to change things as the wind strength varied. At the half way stage John Br was leading the way with 3 wins, chased by a group containing, Alan, John C, Clive and Tony, who themselves were only just ahead of Martin, John Pritchard, Frans and Paul.
After the lunch break the wind strength improved a little but there were still a lot of holes to trap even the best helms. Martin was getting his eye in and set the early pace taking the first 3 wins, Clive sailed very consistently to take 5 seconds, John Pritchard gaining a well deserved win and John Br taking the final win in the last race. Racing was very tight throughout the rest of the fleet though with many duels being fought all the way to the line.
The final standings after 10 races
1.   John Brierley           15pts      4 wins
2.   Clive Warren        20pts      7 seconds
3.   Martin Roberts    23pts      4 wins
4.   Alan Watkinson  29pts      1 win
5.   John Pritchard      35pts     1 win
6.   Frans King             43pts
7.   Dave Howard        58pts
8.   John Carlin            59pts
9.    John Beech            62pts
10.  Paul Little               62pts
11.  Tony Sedgwick      68pts
12   Malcolm Harvey   99pts

IOM Winter Series 2023/4 #5 – 24/2/24

Another excellent days racing for the IOM class for Round 5 of this years Winter Series at Birkenhead.

11 skippers were on the line for the 12pm start that included 2013 World Champion Rob Walsh from Fleetwood.

With a faint Westerly arriving on cue, racing got underway with a slightly reduced course length to compact the fleet. Early races were tight with an often congested windward mark needing a careful approach and the occasional slice of luck to get through cleanly. Graham Elliott, Brad Gibson and Rob were the early front runners with the odd boat length seperation at the finish.

By the time Race 4 got underway the breeze had strengthened a little with streaky gusts offering plenty of opportunty to climb or fall up the beats and extend or be swallowed up on the runs. Martin Roberts, Graham Birkett, Bill Culshaw and Alan Bennett started showing form with a number of solid races splitting the early leading group.

At the halfway point a break was taken for refreshments, a re-trim and a course change to lengthen and add a spreader mark at the windward end of the course (thank you Martin).

It was great to have Guy Cowper IOM racing with us for the first time with his Lintel MMX and see the rapid improvement in his racing over the course of the day.

Alan Watkinson came out of the blocks strongly to lead the fleet up the first beat of Race 7 and enjoy mixing with the leading pack. The improvement was noticeable across the fleet with the distance from first to last narrowing in the stronger breeze.

Both Graham Elliott and Rob Walsh took race wins with some tight covering duels taking place on the final beats to the finish.

In the end after 12 races (2 Discards) it was Brad who took the day from Rob with Graham slipping out of contention in the latter races.

Thanks once again to Dave Williams for being RO with great assistance from Neil Westbrook today.  Photos courtesy of Victoria Gibson and Dave Williams.
  1. Brad Gibson           42   BG                     13pts
  2. Rob Walsh               25   Britpop           19pts
  3. Graham Elliott      09   Britpop           32pts
  4. Martin Roberts     22    Chimera         39pts
  5. Bill Culshaw           21    Britpop            46pts
  6. Alan Bennett       186    Mirage             47pts
  7. Alan Watkinson   23    Britpop            76pts
  8. John Berry              12    Viper                 77pts
  9. Charles Legg          40   K2                      82pts
  10. Graham Birkett   133    Widget            89pts
  11. Guy Cowper            16    Lintel MMX  95pts

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