WELCOME TO WELWYN GARDEN CITY SAILING CLUB
Established 1973 and still racing at Stanborough Lake on Saturday Mornings
 

If you are seeking advice on sailing, contact us on info@wgcsc.org.uk and we can discuss what we can do to help you.
 
NEW MEMBERS are very welcome, so come and join us.
________________________
Annette Walter
Helm of the year 2015-2016

Latest News
The "Welly Family" enjoys its Annual Dinner with humour
 
A very happy and enjoyable evening was had by all at the club's Annual Dinner on Friday 21st October. 

 
   In his welcome address, Commodore Nigel Davis, characterised the club as a Welly Family, inclusive of all.  He mentioned new members who have joined this year; paused to reflect on the recent sad loss of long-standing members John Pike and Cheryl Luxford; talked about those who can no longer sail but are still very much part of the club, and those that never sail, but support the SWAGS (the Sailing Wives and Girlfriends group onshore).  He also commented on the emerging international dimension of the club - English, Welsh, Scots and Irish .."plus now we have French and Polish. I'm wondering if we'll need passports to join soon!" he joked.  He pointed out that this year's Commodore's Cup even used an Olympic style course.

Charles Adams gave a very humorous Toast to the Club and said Welwyn Garden City Sailing Club was "a friendly club with a great heart".  He pointed out that, in spite of our size, we often have bigger turnouts than much larger clubs such as Grafham and Stewartby.  He ran through some of the club's "claims to fame" such as beating both those bigger clubs in inter club competiitons, and the startup of the Supernova class, funded by Frank Puranik and Keith Bridges, now in its 20th year.  "There were 120 boats at the Supernova Nationals this year!" he said.  Charles also touched on individuals who have achieved outstanding success down the years including Sailability star Pauline Shaw, Tim Hogan who was National Champion in the British Moth, Ian Forsdike who was International Moth National and European Champion, and - with just a little but vital input from the club - Annabel Cattermole who became the Women's World 420 Champion.



   
   
 

Charles made everyone laugh when he said: "but winning is not everything" and went on to quote Samuel Beckets words in 'Waiting for Godot':  "I suspect he had been watching a light wind day at Stanborough but he did include some wise words ... 'Try again. Fail again. Try again. Fail better.'  Then, he mused ... one day, just maybe, when the young whipper snappers have gone off to university, Annette, Shaun, Patrick are at Open meetings, Roger is at the Three Rivers, Peter has gone birdwatching, Alan is on duty and Sheila has bitten the dog again ...  you find yourself moving when everyone else is rafted up in a hole and you get the whiff of your first win... so continue to enjoy a club that offers so much to us all", he urged as he raised his glass to toast the club

   
 
New member Piotr Caban and his wife, Sylwia, fly the flag

Have a look at all Val's photographs taken on the evening.
 
THANKS for the evening go to

    Sheila Stowe for doing so much - organising, table plan and decorations - to make the dinner a success
    Lin Smale for the Fish Supper table quiz which raised £138.43 for the RNLI Lifeboat Appeal.
    Milly and Samuel McAlister, who sold the raffle tickets
    Val Newton for the slide show

The following Awards given out at the Annual Dinner: 


SPRING-SUMMER HANDICAP 

Slow Fleet – SKF Cup
1. Philip Walter
2. Peter Thornley
3. Charles Adams

Fast Fleet - Nabisco Cup
1. Dave Lambert 
2. Roger Morse
3. Patrick Rohart




SPRING-SUMMER PURSUIT 

Kieth Berry Cup 
1. Peter Thornley
2. Dave Lambert
3. Charles Adams


Serious Stuff this Powerboat Training (Sunday 30th October)

(It gets the bird!)

(Peter Thornley writes:) Last w/e Paul McAlister, Nigel, Dave Gooden and I did the powerboat 2 course at Stanborough. This photo (taken on my phone) shows the sort of thing you have to do now!

 
 

Actually, some people had broken into the north lake boat compound and put the pedalo in the river. It had floated down to the south lake. Alex pulled it out of the river with the buggy thing, and we had to tow it back to the harbour.

 Paul is driving, Dave Gooden at the stern, and Alex Tonge supervising.  


Intrepid four battle it out in nary a draught  (Saturday 29th October)
 
What do Welly sailors do when there's no wind ... go sailing of course! 

In spite of the most dire "watching paint dry" conditions on Saturday 29th October, four of our intrepid sailors - Dave Campbell, Charles Adams, Roger Morse and Mike Fairman - took up the challenge and battled it out all morning. 


   
 



In the first race, they only managed to complete just one lap of the three-mark course before OOD Paul Lohr was able to put them out of their misery and hoot them over the line.  Poor Mike in his Gull,  lagged way behind, having fallen into a big hole at the top mark and sailed backwards for a while, before finally getting a big cheer as he arrived as coffee was well under way.


   
 

But our doughty quartet were determined not to give in, and off they went again for race two, and another creep round the course with nary a draught to stir the air.  Rescue Driver Sheila was on red alert the whole morning, but her services, and those of fully togged up Rescue Assistant, Mike Caddy, were definitely not needed on this occasion.  Great sporting spirit all round!


Charles wins the COMMODORE'S CUP at last! (Saturday 15 October)
 
Charles Adams was the jubilant winner of the Commodore's Cup on Saturday October 15.  When he finally held the trophy, he immediately turned it over and scanned the dates and names to confirm that his son Richard had won it in 1994, 22 years previously!    2nd place went to Sheila Stowe, who beat Peter Thornley into 3rd place by a margin of just 20 seconds.  And a proud 4th place went to Roger Morse who insisted on having his photograph taken for the record!


 
Commodore Nigel Davis ran the event single-handed from the Race Hut, with the aid of a spreadsheet specially created by Race Officer Phil Walters.   For the first time ever, Nigel changed the format of the Commodore's Cup to two back-to-back races before the break, followed by one afterwards, with one discard.  He also set a course with a "gate" at the cafe end which gave sailors the choice of going to port or starboard when they got there.

 
 
   
   
 

There was an excellent turnout of 15 boats which included two new members competing in the event for the first time -  Piotr Caban in an RS Qba, and junior Tom Etherton in an RS Feva. Well done to both of them.
 
The morning did not look too promising at first because of a distinct lack of wind, but the breeze slowly filled in during the morning and everyone said afterwards that it had been a very enjoyable sail.  Thanks to Tony Lyall and Alan Pearce who manned the rescue boat.




PUNCH  BOWL 10th September 2016


Dave and Patrick  win the Punch Bowl. 

After an exciting two-and-a-half-hour  pursuit race, Dave Lambert and Patrick Rohart were absolutely elated to win  WGCSC’s coveted Punch Bowl Trophy on Saturday 10th  September. They competed hard in their Supernova  against seven other teams of various classes, in grey and drizzly  conditions. The  rule of this race is that helms have to  change every lap by heading for the shore and jumping out on one side of the  boat, while their partner takes over the helm as quickly as possible from the  other side.  It is always a popular  event with club members who turn out to see how speedily the changeover can be  done – or not – as the case may be!    

There was only one capsize -  Piotr Caban who was caught by an  unexpected gust, but he can be forgiven because he only passed his RYA Level 1  the weekend before! Runners up were Phil Walter and  Sheila Stowe in a Comet. 

   
   
   
 

Many more Photographs of the participants in action can be seen in a new window here.  Select a photograph to enlarge it and then scroll through them.

Thanks go to OOD Tim Hogan, and  Rescue Boat crew, Peter Edel and Tony Lyall, for making it all  happen. As the finishing positions were  announced at the end of the morning, Marjorie Adams handed round welcome cups of  hot punch to all the sailors and supporters, so appreciation goes to her  too. 

See the results below. 
   

RESULTS 
************
1.   David Lambert and Patrick Rohart  (Supernova 1114) 
2.   Phil Walter and Sheila Stowe  (Comet  611) 
3.   Charles Adams and Peter Thornley  (Miracle 1625) 
4.   Dave Campbell and Nigel Davis  (Supernova 455) 
5.   David  Brown and Mike Caddy  (Laser  72505) 
6.   Paul  McAlister and Samuel McAlister  (Comet 554)
7.   Roger  Morse and Tom Etherton  (Leader  1130) 
8.   Piotr Caban and Stanley Turner  (RS  Feva)
 
 



Pauline Shaw (front right) in Challenger trimaran 'Louise' 266, battling it out on Rutland Water.

WGCSC member Pauline Shaw -  our intrepid Sailability sailor who races a Challenger trimaran up at Grafham every week - has done us proud. She competed in the Challenger UK National Championships 2016 at Rutland Sailing Club over the August Bank Holiday weekend and came home with a Bronze Award and some exciting mentions in Yachts and Yachting.   CONGRATULATIONS!

But that’s just the bare bones of it.  MS sufferer, Pauline put in a herculean effort over the three days, sailing two races on Friday afternoon, four on Saturday and two on Sunday … and we think it’s tiring doing two races on a Saturday morning!  
 
Her own graphic description of the event sums it all up really well:  

“After the first six races on a trapezoidal course the fleet was divided into two and there were two medal class races just like in the Olympics with a similar course as well.  I had moments of pure brilliance such as when I was first to the windward mark (then messed it up by heading to the wrong next mark) ahead of all the top sailors and when I picked up about five places by tacking right instead of following the pack.  

"Then I had the disasters like when I stopped dead in the water as I had weed all trapped around my rudder and centreboard.  I learnt quite a lot like dumping the main to momentarily slow the boat to then be able to tack out the way.  Worked well twice.

“Maureen* helped Marion on the beach on Friday and then came the call during the last race on Saturday to get fully kitted up as she was likely to be needed on the beach.  So Maureen got all togged up as the sky darkened until it was almost black. 

"Then the torrential rain lashed down, thunder started,the wind whipped everywhere.  It was so dark it was like the middle of the night.  Then this weird mist started rising from the water and gradually visibility deteriorated as a hailstorm went through (very painful).  

"At one point I could only see one other boat.  Then came huge bolts of lightning.  Then the wind just died and five of us were stranded.  Maureen said they couldn’t see any boats from the shore.  As I got back to the shore the first thing I saw was Maureen in her sou’wester up to her waist in the water and weed and then I saw Marion, up to her shoulders catching boats.  We filled up half the ladies changing rooms with wet clothes.

“And yes I know the race probably should have been abandoned sooner but as no-one was hurt I can say it was fantastic fun on the water.  I don’t get many opportunities to experience extreme challenges.”


(both pics courtesy of Richard Johnson, Challenger Class Association)

Maureen*  = WGCSC member Maureen Blunt, who went up to Rutland to help Pauline 



Eager sailors turn up for last summer session


A photocall before getting afloat: l-r, Charles Adams and his grandson Magnus, Natasha Dell, Max Kilpatrick, Stanley Turner, Marcus Raymond, Luke Kelly, Iestyn Toley, Piotr Caban, Paul McAlister, Tony Lyall, Sheila Stowe, Roger Morse and Justin Webb.(See many of them in Val's collage below)

The last of the summer evening sailing sessions took place on Wednesday August 31st, and an eager bunch of sailors turned up for the fun (see pic).   


Seven boats eventually took to the water and set off on courses laid by Tony Lyall and Roger Morse, who directed operations from the rescue boat.   

Keen young sailor Luke Kelly - who now has RYA Level 3 - initially went out as crew for Justin Dell in an RS Vision, but partway through he was handed the helm, and later declared with great delight that they’d “won one of the races”!

Justin’s daughter, Natasha, 13, who started as a summer sailor last year, proved she’d grown in confidence by also helming an RS Vision, and taking out her cousin Max Kilpatrick as crew.

Experienced Wednesday nighter, Stanley Turner, 15, was teamed up with young Iestyn Toley in an RS Vision,  and they had a great time contesting the others in the fleet.    (Tony Lyall has promised to give Stan the opportunity to try out the trapeze on a Flying Dutchman very soon!)

Completing the newbie line-up were two sailors who went out single-handed in RS Qubas - teenager Marcus Raymond, who started sailing this summer and has taken to it like the proverbial “duck to water”, and yachtsman Piotr Caban, who joined the sessions for the first time at the end of July when he arrived from Poland.  He said it was the perfect thing to do after a day at work and he really enjoys dinghy sailing now.

Finally, there were two Welly members who sailed “in company” with the fleet - Charles Adams and his six-year-old grandson Magnus, in their Miracle dinghy, and Paul McAlister in his Comet.

After all the boats were packed away, there was a gathering for the adults at The Sun Pub in Lemsford, to celebrate the success of the sessions......


Roger Morse (and key members of the Welly Team) presented Sheila Stowe with a bunch of sunflowers to thank her for being the chief administrator who, as such, had made sure the sessions run smoothly.  He also thanked Tony Lyall for his great input, as well as all the other members of the Welly Team who had given up their time including Tony Hale, Nigel Davis, Val Newton and David Brown.

Val's Collage:





Sailing a Triangle and Sausage

Nigel Davis, Piotr Caban, Tom Etherton, Tony Lyall, Marcus Raymond, Stan Turner and Tony Hale

Tonight, 27 July 2016, four of our Wednesday Evening improver sailors, Stan, Piotr, Marcus and Tom discovered what it means to sail "a triangle and a sausage" course! 

When Tony Lyall first gave his course instruction from the rescue boat, they all looked a little worried.  But,  with the help of Welly members Nigel Davis and Tony Hale - who were sailing in company,  they very soon understood the idea.  In fact, some "races within the race" began to emerge, with Nigel and Stan competing hard, and Marcus and Tom sailing close and changing places all the time.  Poor Piotr tried to get his RS Q'ba going but he trailed behind everyone.  At the end of the session Tony Lyall asked if he had his bung in ... and Piotr discovered he didn't have one and had been taking in water the whole time!  Piotr is an experienced yachtsman but new to dinghy sailing,  and it came as a big relief when he discovered why he'd found it so impossible to sail.
 
There are just five more opportunities to have fun in the relaxed Wednesday Evening Improver Sessions - they run to the end of August, from 6pm - 8pm.  

Out thanks go to the Welly Team - Commodore Nigel Davis, Tony Hale, Tony Lyall, Sheila Stowe, Roger Morse and Val Newton plus ad hoc helpers - for organising and running these enjoyable and valuable sessions to improve our members' sailing skills.

We look forward to seeing you all SOON.
 
Stanley and Piotr enjoyed the breeze!
 


There was a lively wind on Wednesday 20th July, but only two evening sailors arrived for action.  One was keen regular, Stanley Turner, who sailed an RS Quba.  The other was Piotr Caban (who only arrived in the UK from Poland this month) who had a great time crewing for Tony Hale in his Leader.  At the end of the evening, Tony handed the tiller to Piotr and allowed him to helm back to the lagoon which he did really well.   Piotr is looking at taking an RYA Level 1 course in a week or two at Stanborough.  In the meantime, he would be happy to crew for anyone who can offer a place, until he has completed the course.
 
    As for Team Welly, Tony Lyall ran the sailing session from the rescue boat and produced his own unique course board - a piece of whiteboard with coloured pegs plus marker pens - to show the course round the marks.  Commodore Nigel Davis, and Tony Hale, sailed in company and helped to demonstrate some good starts.  Roger Morse, was "meeting and greeting", and Val Newton was mark layer, official timekeeper and photographer.  Unfortunately Sheila Stowe was out of action due to a leg injury.
 
More photographs can be found here (will load in a new tab/window).

    REMINDER
The Wednesday summer evening sessions run to the end of August. 
School's out and the summer holidays are here ... why not come and join us from 6pm - 8pm!


Summer Regatta  18th June

Alias "The Dave and Pete Show"

There was a very good turnout and it was a hotly contested race in good wind.  

The winners were:  Fast Fleet: David Lambert and Slow Fleet: Peter Thornley.   

   
   
 


Former Club Race Officer, Ray Wilson was in charge and set the course.


There were a lot of competitors and it was good to see so many new members present.

More New Members on Wednesday 22nd June

A total of nine boats eventually took to the water on Wednesday 22nd June, including two new recruits, Tom Etherton  and Owen Parks.   Also there, was Luke Kelly (back for a second time), Milly McAlister, Alison Clayton and Josephine,  Paul McAlister in his own Comet, Niall Logan in a Leader with daughter Ciara, and Tony Hale in a Leader.  

There had been threats of thunder early in the evening but this never materialised and the sun eventually came out and everyone enjoyed some gentle sailing.  Tony Lyall was setting courses from the safety boat, Roger Morse was driving and Val Newton and her camera hitched a lift. Sheila Stowe organised the evening and was the onshore co-ordinator.

   

Tom Etherton getting rigged
 

Tony Lyall explaining the course
 


   


Paul McAlister being sent on a second lap
 


Owen Parks in full concentration mode
 








 
 
Pauline and the Duke


Our Pauline has been 'Making Waves' at Grafham 


The last few weeks have been very eventful for our Sailability sailor, Pauline Shaw, who races a Challenger dinghy at Grafham every week. 

 On the 25th May, Pauline, who is GW Sailability's Sailing Secretary, had the honour of being presented to H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of Grafham Water reservoir. (Why not ask her about it next time you see her at Stanborough Lake)


 Since then, she has followed this up by taking an overall 5th place in the Grafham Water Regatta, held over the weekend of 18/19 June. 


 Congratulations! She sailed six races getting a 12th, 4th, 7th, 3rd, 5th and 7th, resulting in an overall 5th place out of 17 boats.

Afterwards she said: "I had so much adrenaline that I think it is still flowing through me. The weather helped of course with a very manageable wind and no rain. When I got over the finish line when I got 3rd I had a round of applause from Graham who won. I’m also proud of the race which was a real battle with another sailor, and the last one where I got a rubbish start but slowly worked my way through the fleet to get a 7th place. Now I feel I want to go to Rutland for the multiclass regatta at the beginning, and the UKs at the end, of August." 

 Pauline was supported at Grafham by her friend and fellow Welly, Maureen Blunt. "She worked flat out keeping me calm, getting me ready to sail, getting boats launched and retrieved, etc, etc. and in between she was knitting. Superwoman or what?!"



Summer evening sailing is doing just fine

Some evenings have had mixed weather and one was cancelled due to high winds but June 8th was a perfect sunny evening for getting afloat in spite of the wind being very light.  Best of all, some keen sailors turned up to enjoy the session - the wonderful Clayton family  (Mum Alison, Sam, Josephine and Holly),  and Stanley Turner, all of whom participated last year.

The Welly team that night were: Commodore Nigel Davis and Tony Hale, who sailed in their own boats (a Comet and Leader), Roger Morse and Tony Lyall who devised all the activities from the rescue boat, and Sheila Stowe who gave lots of onshore support.  Val Newton also turned up with a camera ... now there's a surprise. 

Roger and Tony ran some short races to practise starts and points of sailing, and also introduced some natty synchronised tacking manoeuvres on the way back to base, dictated by a whistle signal.

 l-r, Stanley Turner, plus the Clayton family, Sam, Josephine, Holly and Alison.

Lots of sailors turned up on Summer Evening Sailing on 15th June when there were eight boats out including two Welly ones sailed by Nigel and Tony.   Sheila and Paul ran the session from the rescue boat, and Val took pics from the shore - again. This cheerful group pic was taken at the end of the session and says it all really. 


 Left to right:   Sheila Stowe, Milly McAlister, Ciara Logan, Tony Hale, Alison Clayton, Niall Logan (back), Luke Kelly (front), 
Josephine Clayton, Nigel Davis, Samuel McAlister, Stanley Turner, Marcus Raymond and Paul McAlister.

Hightlights so far include...    




Alison taking the helm for the first time after twenty-something years.  She couldn't stop smiling!




Tony Hale attempting to sail with a spinnaker on his Leader ... it looked a bit like a giant pair of droopy drawers.




Milly and Samuel McAlister back from last year, although Sam managed to 'mysteriously' capsize in no wind.




 New young sailor Luke Kelly making his debut - he has RYA Level 3


 

Marcus Raymond taking the helm of Tony's Leader for the first time.




 Niall Logan introducing his daughter, Ciara, to the joys of sailing.


(To see all of Val's photographs on either evening in another tab, select the the corresponding date, 8 June or 15 June. Download a photograph if you wish or contact the Webmaster If you want a photograph at higher resolution)


 John Pike

It is with regret that we have to report the death of John Pike who passed away at the weekend while in Pembrokeshire with some friends.

John was a member of the club from the early 1980s. He became Treasurer in 1984, Vice Commodore in 1988 and in 1991 he was appointed Commodore. Initially he sailed an OK before changing to a Solo which he had for many years until he gave up sailing. He also kept a small cruising boat down at Margate.

He remained a staunch supporter of the club and latterly he was our Honorary Auditor for many years. Indeed he was re-appointed to that role as recently as at the AGM in March. His support and interest in the club will be very much missed.

The club would like to extend its sincere sympathy to his family and friends


Late March
 

The last half of March was a very busy time for WGCSC with the AGM on 20 March and the Easter Regatta on the 26th. It was also a sad time when Cheryl Luxford lost her long brave battle against cancer. As Commodore Peter Thornley reported at the time, Cheryl was one of the founder members of the Mouse Club in the 1990s and had been a strong supporter of the club ever since. She will be greatly missed.

The activities of the AGM and the Easter Regatta have been well recorded with photographs and these are used below for your enlightenment and enjoyment. Please use the links included which take you to the full photo albums.

Return to the top

THE AGM

The normal business side of the AGM proceeded without any unforeseen hiccups.

Peter Thornley stood down as Commodore after quite a turbulent period in the life of WGCSC caused by the management and procedural changes at Finesse. However, with Peter’s guidance the club has emerged from these changes as a larger and more active club than ever. Shaun Smale presented Peter with an engraved glass memento to mark the occasion. 


   
   
 


Nigel Davis was unanimously appointed as our new Commodore. Nigel was unfortunately unable to be present at the AGM so the ceremonial handing over of the Commodore’s Cap did not take place until the Easter Regatta as our photographs show.


   
   
   
 


David Brown stood down as Secretary but has remained on the Committee and as Webmaster. Paul McAlister was appointed as secretary and was thrown in at the deep end, taking the minutes of the AGM in David’s absence. Shaun Smale stood down from the Committee.

The new Officebearers and Committee can be found on the Contacts page of our Website.


The Sailing Results for the 2015/2016 Race Programme were announced and Awards were presented. One person dominated the results in all the major categories except one and that person was Annette Walter who took First Place in all categories in which she was able to compete! (She could not compete in Fast Fleet events!) Congratulations to Annette who becomes our new Helm of the Year. She is being assisted below to carry all her awards!



A full set of photographs of the presentations showing the hilarity of the occasion (!) can be found here (opens in a new window).

AGM Trophy Presentation 2015-2016 Season Results

 The full set of results was as follows.


WINTER HANDICAP SERIES


 

Fast Fleet - Kane Frostbite Trophy

1   Roger Morse

2   Patrick Rohart

3   Dave Lambert

 

 

Slow Fleet - Kane Icicle Trophy

1   Annette Walter

2   Charles Adams

3   Nigel Davis

 

 


 

WINTER PURSUIT SERIES

Winter Pursuit Cup

1   Annette Walter

2   Sheila Stowe

3   Peter Thornley

 

 

BURGEE SERIES

IBM Trophy

1   Annette Walter

2   Charles Adams

3   Roger Morse

 

 

PERSONAL HANDICAP

Alan Maurice Trophy

1   Annette Walter

2   Charles Adams

3   Tony Hale

 

 

 

INDIVIDUAL TROPHIES

 PORTHOLE TROPHY  - Frank Robinson

 FLASH-IN-THE-PAN TROPHY - Nigel Davis  

 The MAINSTAY TROPHY - Patrick Rohart

 Most IMPROVED HELM – Charles Adams

 HELM OF THE YEAR  (POLYCELL TROPHY) - Annette Walter


CLUBMANSHIP TROPHY – Phil Walter



This was awarded by the Commodore to Phil, who has had 2 terms on the committee, both times being the Race Officer. This last time, in addition to the normal work of organising the race calendar and Duty Rota, and calculating and publishing the race results, he has made the racing marks much easier to handle and during the Winter has kept things running smoothly when Finesse were not present. 



EASTER REGATTA 26 March 2016

Our Race Officer, Phil, responded to a query about attending this event with the advice: “You're welcome to come down but I would suggest this Saturday is not one for casual sailing. There is a weather warning for WGC, with strong winds gusting up to 45mph.”

And he was correct as our photographs show, it was a wild and stormy event. Our thanks to Val for capturing the atmosphere of the day so well. Please take time to visit the photo album (Opens in a new window).


   
 
 


Top Places were taken as follows: (Full results will be published in our Race Results Section when available)

Fast Fleet winner: Patrick Rohart

Slow fleet winner: Peter Thornley

 Overall Winner of the Easter Egg Trophy:  Patrick Rohart