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.

Peter Thornley
Helm of the year 2016-2017

Latest News

Winter Handicap 4 Nov 2017

Birthday Boys do Battle

  This is not supposed to happen!  

The forecast for Winter Handicap races 9 and 10 on Saturday 4th November was for heavy rain and high winds.  Amazingly this didn’t put anyone off, including the two Welly “Birthday Boys” – Dave Campbell and Roger Morse – who’d been celebrating their 80th and 70th  birthdays the night before.  After the briefing by OOD, Graham Hunt, 12 boats took to the water and everyone had a great sail in breezy (and, by that time) dry conditions.

At coffee, a birthday celebration feast appeared.  Dave brought out two large boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and Roger’s wife Sybil, produced a big box of homemade Welsh cakes, and everyone  was invited to “tuck in”. 

  12 Helms enjoying a breezy first race.

  A birthday feast appeared at coffee time.    These three made sure of their share.  

So far, so good but, by the time the second race started, the wind had become MUCH livelier. It wasn’t long before (uncharacteristically) Dave Campbell capsized his Laser and the rescue boat suddenly had a job to do. He struggled to get it upright in the strong gusts, but it blew over on top of him and the battle had to continue. (Son, Alan, sailed past in his Supernova with barely a glance!)

Eventually, Dave decided to “abandon ship” and climb aboard the safety boat.  However, our Birthday Hero didn’t stop there -  he then went on to assist rescue at the top of the lake where young Tom Etherton and Ben Hawker, had also capsized and become trapped on the bank by overhanging trees.

  Second race was much livelier   Oops! Dave is over but son Alan sails by without a glance!

 Birthday Boy Roger sails past too!  
   Dave continues to struggle    .... abandons ship    .....and joins the rescue effort at the top of the lake!

  Dad Will Etherton furls son Tom's sail   Rescue Assistant Anthony Willis helps Ben

   A happy ending for both boys  

It turned out to be an eventful morning-after-the-night-before for Dave Campbell, but his fellow “Birthday Boy”, Roger Morse,  managed to keep his feet dry.

* Fast Fleet:  Patrick Rohart came 1st in the first race and Alan Campbell 1st in the second race.  

* Slow Fleet: Annette Walter came 1st in both races.

The full photo album can be viewed here.

DATES for your DIARY


London Boat Show
10-14 January 2018

RYA Dinghy Show
Alexandra Palace
3rd/4th March 2018


Conquering Storm Brian - 21 October 2017

Conquering Storm Brian on Stanborough Lake
(Copy and pictures by Charles Adams) 

With the full force of Storm Brian due to hit Stanborough Lakes at 13.00, OOD Paul Lohr offered two three quarter hour races with a short break between. He set a there and back again course with each end a gate. A gallant band of eight set out into the lively conditions.

Half way up the first leg I spotted a tree that needed pruning and spent a while relaxing in the shelter until a favourable wind shift allowed me to shoot back into the race. I spent the rest of the race lurching along mainly in the shelter of the trees on the western bank whilst unsuccessfully removing water and willow.


Meanwhile in the proper race, it was mainly the women that were showing the way. Annette (Comet) skipped along ‘nay bother’ to win both the slow and combined fleet races; easily. Newcomer Katharine Woods (RS Q’ba) also showed us the way to handle the alternating light wind and severe gusts with a 3rd in the first race and third overall. In the second, she was denied another ‘podium’ because her boat’s mast was ripped out. Sheila Stowe opted to help Roger Morse in the Leader. With wise heads in the boat they picked their way round the course with less drama than most, rarely coming out into the full force of the wind, to secure an overall third and second.

Nigel (Supernova) spent long periods of time battling it out with Annette doing some spectacular planing but with rather more visits to the water. He did the minimum distance to win the first race…. barely crossing the finishing line before abandoning his boat. Paul Sperring and James (Feva) bravely took on the very gusty wind but eventually decided spectating might be more enjoyable and joined Phil Walter (Comet) and Dave Campbell (Supernova) who survived the first race impressively, but opted out of race two along with me who thought it more important to become the official photographer in the absence of Val. 


Perhaps sense prevailed whilst enjoying the break with generous helpings of Thelma’s birthday cake – she was desperately hoping that the races were not cancelled as it would have been impossible for Brian to eat all she had baked before they go off to the Isle of Wight to celebrate. Beautiful cakes; great cakes….

And last but not least the rescue team of Dave Lambert and Patrick Rohart did a grand job. Such a shame they were on duty as they are  two who relish sailing in such challenging conditions. They were called upon many times over the morning and were given interesting problems getting boats back to safety especially the Feva with a fallen mast from the top of the lake.

Well done all.

WGCSC Annual Dinner - 14 October 2017

Juniors make their mark 

52 members and friends had a very enjoyable Annual Dinner at the Mill Green Golf Club, following the Commodore’s Cup Race earlier in the day.

Our wonderful organiser, Sheila Stowe, made sure every single detail was perfect and a really good time was had by all.


The event was hosted by Commodore Nigel Davis, and he invited Mike Caddy to propose the Toast to the Club.  Mike summed it all up by saying: “One look at the Welly website confirms what a great club this is.”

The main entertainment of the evening was the table quiz which included a section specially aimed at juniors provided by the McAlisters – the questions were a total mystery to the rest of us.  (for example: In the cartoon Rick & Morty, what vegetable does Rick turn into?)

As usual there was a raffle and thanks go to junior Lucy Hawker and Graham Hunt’s daughter, Louise,  for doing a great job selling tickets and distributing the prizes – first to go was a scary Halloween Cat decoration, but the bottles of wine were as popular as ever!


The major highlight of the evening came when Phil Walters (deputising for Race Officer Charles Adams) announced the winners of the 2017 Spring/Summer Handicaps and Spring/Summer Pursuit races.  An extra special round of applause went to Ben Hawker when he was named as the winner of the Junior Handicaps Cup.  Everyone was agreed it’s great to have some keen juniors in the club again.


A non-stop show of the year’s sailing pics by Val Newton, projected by tech maestro Shaun Smale completed the evening.

The full set of Val's photographs can be viewed here. (New Window)

14 October 2017 - Commodore’s Cup

Commodore’s Cup -A change of format this year

There was an excellent turnout of 17 boats for the Commodore’s Cup, which took place on an unpromising, grey, light wind day at Stanborough.  It included two “mini fleets” of seven Comets and five Supernovas.


Commodore Nigel Davis announced the format would be different this year.  There would be a Pursuit and a Handicap back-to-back before coffee, then a second Handicap after the break.  The event would be decided as the best two of three races (ie one discard).  The idea was to provide keen competition not only at the front of the race but also down the fleet.

He also said there would be three trophies on offer – the Commodore’s Cup, the Backbone Trophy for the highest place helm who has not won a series or special race in the last five years, and a Commodore’s Junior Cup for the first junior (under 19). This last piece of news caused a delighted stir amongst the four possible qualifiers at the briefing – Tom Etherton, Ben Hawker, Lucy Hawker and Samuel McAlister.

Nigel wasted no time in getting the Pursuit under way, with the help of his assistant, Ian Stringer, who toiled over the laptop computer in the hut during the racing to make sure all the results were spot on.

Sheila Stowe beat all the other Comets to a great start in the Pursuit. Dave Campbell was the first of the Supernovas across the line. After that, the running order was ever changing.

Two sailors suffered gear failures during the first race – Peter Thornley’s sail suddenly dropped down the mast because he hadn’t fastened it properly, and Paul McAlister’s sail parted company with the end of the boom but he managed to re-tie it on the water.

When the final reckoning came, two sailors were in equal contention for the Commodore’s Cup – Peter Thornley and Dave Lambert. Commodore Nigel Davis said the rule was the last race dictated which one had won, and this turned out to be Dave Lambert. Dave was thrilled “I’ve never won the Commodore’s Cup before!” he exclaimed.

 Dave Lambert wins the Commodore's Cup    The Backbone Trophy was won by Mike Caddy.    Commodore’s Junior Cup was won by Tom Etherton.

The full Commodores Cup Results can be seen here.

Thanks go to Alan Pearce for driving the rescue boat, and his assistant Simon Hawker. They performed one particularly important task all morning – bringing Peter Thornley back to the lagoon after his sail came down!

A Sporting Moment that was almost missed

The good natured rivalry between juniors Ben Hawker and Tom Etherton – who are both students at Verulam School – continued onshore during the Commodore’s Cup.  At the coffee break, they were exactly equal with a 1-2, and a 2-1.  They shook hands and wished each other “Good Luck” with the deciding third race … which eventually went to Tom.  After the Junior Cup was presented they high-fived each other in celebration – it’s good to see such sportsmanship in the club.

A selection of Val's photographs can be seen below 
and the whole Google Photo Album here. (New window).


A Little Miracle - 23 Sept 2017

They chased Charles all morning but never caught him


Paul McAlister & Will Etherton

Paul Sperring & James

Patrick Rohart (1209) and Ben Hawker (170)

A Little “Miracle”

The Winter Pursuit series kicked off on 23rd September.  On the face of it, it was a regular Saturday and 12 boats competed.  But, a little “miracle” took place … Charles Adams helming his trusty Miracle 1625, had a great morning and won BOTH races.

He beat Graham Hunt into 2nd place in the first race, and Nigel Davis into 2nd in the second race.

All sorts of other good things went on too …  competition remained fierce amongst the Supernovas trapped all morning wherever there was no wind with only Nigel escaping.  

It was pleasing to see the juniors growing in confidence with Tom Etherton sailing his Comet 170 into 10th place in both races.  His fellow junior, Ben Hawker, had a 12th and 11th but, more importantly, he too was competing well against all the more experienced sailors.  Both have lots of exciting potential.

A “summer evening sailing graduate”, Paul Sperring, plus his small son James, also put in a first appearance in a hired RS Feva and came 11th and 12th.

The OOD was Paul McAlister, ably assisted by Will Etherton (Tom’s Dad).  Both are relatively new Wellys, but they handled the multiple starts and finishes as if to the manner born.  The two of them have quickly become great assets to the club.

Out in the safety boat, Simon Hawker, (Ben’s Dad), was assisting Rescue Driver, Shaun Smale.  He’s done this duty many times already, which is much appreciated.

On shore, recent sailing recruit Tom Hebbert arrived with his wife Alannah, 3-year old Eliza, and baby Ava.  He took Eliza out for a little sail round during the first race but regrettably no one had a camera handy so there is no pic of this maiden voyage.  

However, it all augers well for the future.

It may have been “an ordinary Saturday” but all sorts of interesting things were still going on!

Tom & Alannah Hebbbert

Paul came 8th & 8th

Nigel was just beaten into 2nd place in the second race

Punch Bowl 2017 - 16 Sept 2017

Punch Bowl Trophy, Saturday 16th September

Toasting the Winners and thanking the Duty Team

Dave and Patrick make it two in a row!



Congratulations to Dave Lambert and Patrick Rohart, who beat off competition from nine other teams to win the much coveted Punch Bowl Trophy for the second year running. 

They not only put Comet sailors Phil & Annette Walter into second place, they also managed to withstand very strong challenges from fellow Supernova sailors, Shaun Smale & Tom Hebbert, and Dave & Alan Campbell. To say they were absolutely jubilant when OOD Ian Stringer announced the result is an understatement! 


A total of ten teams took to the water, and it was good to see four of our junior sailors – Samuel McAlister, Tom Etherton, and Lucy & Ben Hawker - enjoying themselves. At one point, Lucy exclaimed: “This is SO much fun!” as she recovered from a tricky – and very wet changeover. (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.) 

  Lucy (swimming) -  “This is SO much fun!”
 The Walters - How it should be done.
Messrs Rohart & Lambert - How it shouldn't be done.
But they won!

Sailing conditions were ideal for this three-hour pursuit, with a consistent gentle breeze throughout the morning. Supporters turned out in force, and everyone enjoyed a cup of hot punch when racing was over – thanks to Marjorie Adams for doing the honours. 

   Dave Lambert & Patrick Rohart are presented with their trophy by OOD Ian Stringer.
  Samuel McAlister, Tom Etherton, and Ben & Lucy Hawker pose with the Trophy....They wish!

Big thanks also to Ian & Jill Stringer for all their hard work running the race, and to Alan Pearce and Simon Hawker for manning the Safety Boat. Appreciation also goes to Karen McAlister who helped Val with some of the picture taking.

Post Script:

Have we found Messrs Lambert and Rohart's secret to success? - Their Support Team!

To see all of the photographs taken by Val Newton and Karen McAlister in a new window, click here.

Stewartby 2017 - 2/3 Sept 2017

WGCSC / Stewartby InterClub  Competition  2017

Congratulations to Stewartby SC 
who were triumphant this time

Welly Race Officer Charles Adams reports:

In the end it was a miracle we had any racing at all….

We had eventually found a date suitable for both clubs only to find in the last week that there could be no sailing on the lake until 1.00pm, there was an accident on the A1(M) making it difficult to get to Stewartby and hanging over the whole event was a weather forecast indicating 2 mph wind at the beginning  of the afternoon. Not surprisingly most opted to use the club boats on offer.

Welly sailors and boats they used …

Lasers were claimed by Mike Caddy (impressed with the one he had) and Peter Thornley. Nigel Davis thought he was going to be in Frank Puranik’s  (‘Romulus’ his original Supernova kept at Stewartby SC), but ended up in an Albacore with Paul Lohr. Paul McAlister had rigged the Lightning 368 when Michelle (a Stewartby member who started sailing last year) claimed ‘her’ boat. Paul had to take what was left…. the Supernova  (luckily he had been in one before….Nigel’s  on the Thursday evening session). Peter Davis had brought his Phantom and Stan Turner had towed his Solo up the previous day The RS Aero was on offer, but was not claimed by anyone so was sailed by the owner (Charles Adams).  The Wayfarer had mysteriously gone missing which is a pity as it might have been the best boat to have in the circumstances

Getting racing and the course …

The fishing competition concluded and we were free to race (12 anglers on an enormous lake – don’t ask!!). However, the first race was delayed until there was enough wind to move the sails (the turbine looming over the venue was still not moving).  The course is usually carefully set at Stewartby and there is never anything other than a beat to the first mark. A short course, compared with normal, was in place and boats were actually moving at the start reaching or running. 

The first race starts and they’re off! 

Peter Davis led off the line closely followed by Charles Adams emerging from behind the committee boat. They pulled away on the right hand side of the course until the wind dropped and headed them. The Stewartby SC  pair of Bill Strange (Streaker) and Terry van Rijn (Laser 8.1) crept up and eventually went ahead on the ‘reach’.  Richard Hargreaves (RS 300) worked through the fleet after a slow start and eventually followed Terry over the line 3 sec down.  Michelle had her best race ever and was near the front for a long time but even after falling back ended up fourth on handicap. Bill was first on handicap followed by Terry.  Peter Davis and Charles sailed close behind the Streaker but  on handicap were 9th and 3rd. Back in the pack Peter Thornley drifted in to 7th and resolved to find something better to do for the rest of the day. Mike Caddy had the same thoughts on finishing 11th. Nigel and Paul had a good race with the two Stewartby Albacores until entering a third lap (two would have been more than enough) they fell further and further behind in the dying wind.  Suffering similarly were Stanley and Paul who struggled in ‘no wind’ with fully battened sails.

A depleted Welly team competes in the second race …

Charles had gone for some food when the second race was called so arrived rather late at the start along with Paul McAlister who had opted to take over Peter’s abandoned Laser. Finding more wind on the right of the course Peter Davis and Terry van Rijn fetched the first mark and were never seen again. The day was awful for sailing and made worse as the afternoon went on by the waves created by water skiers and body boarders coming out to play. Charles made his way through most of the fleet to race alongside Stewartby Firefly and Streaker ending 5th on the water but only a 7th on handicap. The only other Wellies to finish the second race were Paul and Stanley.

The results and presentations …

Congratulations to Stewartby SC who took the club honours once again … (but WGCSC willl be back!)  With the best three individual results from the combined race scores to count, Stewartby won the team result easily (25 to 48 points). Terry van Rijn won the individual competition with Charles second.  He picked up a second bottle of wine for being first visitor with Peter Davis collecting a bottle for second place. So Charles and Peter contributed to the team score along with Stanley Turner, our only junior sailor at Stewartby completing the top Trio. Well done Stanley.
Many thanks to Stewartby SC for their great hospitality.  In spite of the lack of wind we all had a great time.    

Welly supporters were out in force …

It was good to see the Welly support with partners and parents of the sailors but also Pauline Shaw, Val Newton, Dave Campbell (after abandoning his attempt to get through the traffic on the A1(M) with his boat), the Cardinals, the Browns, Tom and Will Etherton, and many of the Forsdike family including Janet and John, Ian and (4 yr old) Owen. And up to Stewartby to re-acquaint himself with his original Supernova was Frank Puranik. He opted out of trying to race for the first time for ….ages…. and in no wind. He returned the next day in very different conditions; with Tim Browning as Race Officer and Charles Adams on rescue duty he was seen flying across the lake. He’s back – hopefully to be seen in his newer Supernova at Stanborough. 

Charles Adams (Aero) leading the fleet into the second lap of the first race, with Peter Davis (Phantom) close behind.

Charles and Peter with their bottles of wine.

Final Combined Race Results

WGCSC top 3 scorers were Charles Adams, Peter Davis and Stanley Turner 


The Support Team


Webmaster's Comments: See some of Val's photographs which deserve being shown to greater advantage below.



See the full set of Val's photographs here

  And a "Morning After" photo from Charles!

Doesn't he look too bright and breezy to have had a night under canvas? (Webmaster)

12 August 2017

‘OOH LA LA!’ at Stanborough Lake! 
With a drop of Bordeaux Wine!
Whatever next?!


Have you ever seen such excitement and so exuberant a Monsieur Rohart?!!!


On Saturday 12th August, Monsieur Patrick Rohart - our WGCSC member from France – proudly launched his brand new Supernova dinghy “Ooh La La!” at Stanborough Lake.

He is pictured here, enjoying the exciting moment, with Dave Lambert, his good friend and fellow Supernova sailor.  (Could it be that they were twins separated at birth?!)

But doesn't Ooh La La! look well....????

And where is the Bordeaux wine? Well, in case you haven't guessed, that is the colour of the boat!

Patrick thoroughly enjoyed putting his new boat through its paces but there was not to be a fairytale ending on this occasion.  He thought he'd done really well in the first race, then followed this up with a 2nd in the second race.  However, at the end of racing, he was told he'd missed a mark in the first race and sadly received a 'DISQ' on the results sheet.

Never mind Patrick, the signs are all good for the future.



Summer Regatta - 17 June 2017

WGCSC Summer Regatta, 17 June 2017

Dave Lambert and Paul Lohr Win Summer Regatta Trophies

 Dave Lambert, FF winner
Three times in a row
   Ian Stringer, OOD
A heart-shaped course
  Paul Lohr, SF Winner
A British Moth day 

Winner of this year’s Summer Regatta Fast Fleet Trophy was Supernova sailor Dave Lambert, making it a triumphant three times in a row. Second place went to Nigel Davis in his new Supernova, and 3rd was Roger Morse, Leader.

The Slow Fleet Trophy went to Paul Lohr in his British Moth, 2nd was new junior Ben Hawker in his Comet, and 3rd was Mike Fairman, Gull.

There was one delightful moment at the presentation, when the Race Officer pointed out that 13-year-old Ben Hawker (Comet 217) had actually won the third slow fleet race on handicap, beating Paul Lohr. There was a big Welly cheer, but unfortunately Ben was nowhere to be seen and wasn’t able to enjoy the applause and acclaim for winning his first ever club race at Stanborough.

Left: The very moment that Ben Hawker nipped in to take the third race from Paul Lohr, just before they rounded the last mark before the hooter.

Ben’s Dad, Simon Hawker, assisted Alan Pearce in the Safety Boat, which was much appreciated.

The weather was hot, but there was a light breeze which kept the fleet on the move.  Ten boats battled round the heart-shaped course set by OOD Ian Stringer.  They sailed two races back-to-back, followed by a coffee break, then a final race.  Peter Thornley competed in his new Supernova in the event for the first time.

Ian and Jill Stringer ran the racing, ably assisted by Phil Walter and Pauline Shaw – well there WAS a lot of complicated hooting and noting of laps and times!

Merry-go-round at the bottom mark near the café - all good fun!

The full results and be found here.

And finally...... A selection of Val's photographs tell the story of the day. 
(Double-click any photograph for an enlarged image. When viewed use the browser "return" button)

 OOD Ian Stringer and his able assistant, Jill   Roger Morse leads the Fast Fleet into the second lap
 Should Ben have defended his position before Dave arrived?!.........   ......because this is what happened next
(Enlarge the image to see the public spectators in the background!)
 Dave Lambert and Nigel Davis make choices at the gate......   ......while Jill and AOD Phil Walter keep a check on the race action
The sun shone for the Summer Regatta presentation  A rare but very welcome visitor - Morag Campbell, down from Aberdeen to see her brother, Dave. 

Pauline storms to a 4th place in Challenger UK Nationals

Our Welly Sailability sailor, Pauline Shaw, has once again put in a storming performance at the Challenger UK Nationals, which were held at Grafham Water over the weekend of 24/25 June 2017.   

A total of 19 competitors sailed six races in perfect winds touching 20 knots.   Overall 1st was Val Millward from Rutland, and Pauline – who sails for Grafham Sailability - was top home boat with a very creditable 4th place. 

Her result was all the more remarkable because Pauline had already used up lots of energy organising the event - which involved a team of about 45 people, to run the racing, provide safety cover, rig and launch the boats, and keep everyone supplied with cups of coffee.
Congratulations Pauline on a job well done!

The photograph above shows Pauline in 266 catching two other Challengers which she eventually beat. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Radley of Radley Photography.)