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 2017-2018

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Our Commodore


Our Commodore - Breaking News in September

Just as we’d trained up Nigel Davis to be a good Commodore (!) and taught him to become a decent Supernova sailor, he’s given us the sad news that he has to leave Welwyn Garden City for work reasons.  He’s relocating to the Midlands. 
Nigel will remain in post until the next AGM,  and will endeavour to visit as often as he is able.  He hopes to be at the Commodore’s Cup and Annual Dinner.  In the meantime, committee members and past commodores will give cover whenever necessary.  

Summer Evening Sailing Review - 16 September 2018

Summer Evening Disappointment

As in previous years, we advertised the “Summer Evening Sailing Sessions” (June to end of August) on the club noticeboard, and Sheila Stowe got together a rota of rescue drivers, rescue assistants, helpers to get sailors afloat, and helpers to look after onshore admin and meet-and-greet.  Each Thursday evening “the Summer Evening Team” turned up full of anticipation but, disappointingly, there were few participants.  Some evenings there were none and we all went home early!    We are still trying to work out why the response was so poor compared to the last two years.  
However, it was very rewarding to welcome keen new sailor, Joan Thomas, on at least five occasions, as well as Letitia Matthews and her husband Ian McCreery who turned up one evening for a practice session in their Mirror.  (Joan and Ian & Tish have joined the club as a result).  Welly members, Tom and Will Etherton, also came down for an evening sail whenever they were able.

Ready and waiting!  This was the Summer Evening Team on one of the nights – back row l-r – Shaun Smale, Paul McAlister and Charles Adams, front row Roger Morse, Val Newton and Rosemary Turner.   Sheila Stowe was a regular, and other helpers included Simon & Louisa Hawker.

Inter Club Challenge, Stewartby - 1st September 2018

Congratulations to Stewartby SC

who won the Inter-Club trophy once again!

We all had a fabulous day at Stewartby.  The sun and wind could not have been better, and we could not have been made more welcome by Stewartby Sailing Club.  Thanks to SWSC Commodore Gerry Howcroft and all the members for their warm hospitality.  Just a pity the complicated calculations didn't swing our way at the end.  Ah well, there's always 2019!

Team Welly who gave it their best shot - Phil Walter, Mike Caddy, 

Peter Thornley, Shaun Smale, Paul McAlister, Charles Adams and David Lambert

Welly Pete Thornley gives his first-hand account of the racing: “The weather was perfect for our annual inter-club challenge, with decent winds, occasional planing gusts and challenging competition.  A windward start on open water was an almost forgotten experience, but I managed a reasonable start in both races.

“I was fortunate that my Stewartby contacts enabled me to borrow a newish Streaker. It took me a while in the first race to get to grips with different control lines layout, so I was back in the pack, gaining a bit later in the race, then losing it with a 180 brief windshift! Then somehow the race officer lost my result on the computer, but I was eventually awarded 3rd place - quite unexpected. 

“In the second race my good friends and rivals Bill and John in Streaker and Solo didn't get a good start, so I was clear of them and following the faster boats round the first mark. I hung onto their coat tails for a good time, and pulled clear of the chasing pack, to record a 4th I think. There was an extra fast boat, an RS 300, in this race which won, but its overall result didn't count as it missed the first race.

“Overall, I was 2nd, which was surprising, and very welcome.I noted that some of our slower boats, Charles and Phil, also did well in the second race.
“We lost the competition, after a complicated calculation using averages and fractions, but did not disgrace ourselves, and we all enjoyed the freedom of a big windy lake. Well almost everyone. I did hear a Supernova sailor* muttering unpleasant things about sailing a Laser!

“Many thanks to Gerry Howcroft for organising and running the races, and to the other Stewartby members on duty on the  water and in the galley.” 

The Supernova sailor who had difficulty sailing a Laser was Dave Lambert.  The Laser – which had been borrowed from Stewartby - turned out to have a few problems.  As he was rigging it he noticed there was no self-baler bung in the cockpit but decided to use it anyway.  Unfortunately, by the time the first race ended, the boat was full of water.  During the break, he and Shaun turned the hull over and found the self-baler was stuck open – it had literally been scooping up water as the boat sailed along.  They did a quick repair job by pressing it closed and securing it with heavy duty duct tape.  This worked for a couple of laps but then failed and again Dave eventually found himself sitting in a bath of water.  Understandably, not one of his best sails! 

There was a good turn out of Mouse Club members including Marjorie Adams, Thelma and Brian Cardinal, Lin Smale, Lynn Lambert, Maureen Blunt, Pauline Shaw, Sheila Stowe and Val Newton who all enjoyed the sun and beautiful surroundings.

A jubilant Gerry Howcroft receives the trophy from Welly Race Officer, Charles Adams

Click to see an album of Val’s photos of the day.

New Members - Summer 2018

A Warm Welcome to our New Members

Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas did a Level 2 course while on holiday earlier in the year and felt the club’s summer evening sailing sessions would be ideal to help her get a bit more practice.  Her husband, Rory Scales, is a keen leisure sailor too but unfortunately has a heel injury at present restricting his sailing.  We look forward to seeing more of Joan and Rory. 


Letitia Matthews & Ian McCreery

Letitia (Tish) & Ian (and their children Millie 12, Finley 10 and Amelie 5) first appeared on a Saturday morning when Burgee racing was well under way which meant they were unable to have a proper sail.  However, it gave them the chance to say ‘hello’ and practice rigging “Upsy Daisy”, their beloved Mirror 861 dinghy.  A few weeks later, Tish and Ian arrived at one of our Summer Evening Sailing sessions and were well looked after by Shaun Smale and Paul McAlister who helped them rig and followed round in the safety boat. Tish learnt to sail on the Norfolk Broads in a boat belonging to her father.  Tish and Ian are also keen on big boat sailing.  She is currently redoing her Day Skipper and he is doing his Competent Crew qualifications in the hopes of going flotilla sailing at some point.

Oscar Hayward

Oscar and his Mum, Julie-Anne Clark, first arrived on the scene on Saturday 8th September.  Roger Morse kindly took Oscar 9,  out as crew in the Leader (here they are afterwards) and Oscar proved that the junior Level 3 qualification he gained in Greece had prepared him well.  On Saturday 15th September he paired up with Ben Hawker 14,  for the three-hour Punchbowl Pursuit.   It was the first time he’d raced on his own with the club, and he sailed with confidence.  Unfortunately, the wind picked up on his last lap and he had an unfortunate knock on the head from the boom.  Rescue brought him ashore so he could be checked over by a first aider and have an ice pack applied.  Ben finished off the sailing so the pair of them could still win a giant Toblerone each at the end! 

Welcome back to Jack & Idris

Two juniors all grown up!



Mike Caddy’s son, Jack, used to be a junior sailor and a familiar sight on Saturday mornings.  On 18th August, he reappeared after a long absence, as Rescue Assistant - all grown up and with a good job after graduating.  He attended the University of Birmingham and studied English & Philosophy,  and is now working in London as an account manager for a telecoms company called Zayo. These two pics, taken 12 years apart, tell the story.  The one on the left was taken after the Punch Bowl Race back in 2006, the other at the Spring/Summer Handicap 15/16 race session on the 18th August 2018.    Welcome back Jack!  



Many of us can still remember the first Saturday Idris Wurie turned up at Stanborough Lake.  He was a small lad wearing a blue knitted hat and looked a bit lost.  To everyone’s amazement, he took to sailing like the proverbial duck to water.  Scroll forward to 2010 and he was thoroughly enjoying himself camping with the club at Little Paxton.  He did so well in the sailing that he won an award (to mark the 40th Anniversary of the 24hour Sailing Race) – a free sail bag from North Sails.  He was absolutely thrilled.   A year or two later, Idris also enjoyed an epic sail with Shaun Smale, crewing his Laser 3000  ‘out on the wire’ at Stewartby.   He eventually disappeared off to University in Wales to study Psychology – his ultimate ambition is to be a doctor – and guess what … in August he called in and stood next to Val Newton and towered over her – he’s now 6ft 3in!  

Spring/Summer Handicap - 28th July 2018

Thrills and Spills on Gusty Saturday

High gusty winds were forecast for these two S/S Hcp series races, but it didn’t deter seven hardy Wellys – Charles Adams, Nigel Davis, Dave Lambert, Peter Thornley, Mike Caddy, Annette Walter and Will Etherton – from going out and doing battle.  They treated us to a virtuoso display of planing, controlled gybing, and capsize-and-recover manoeuvres.  It was all very entertaining.  When the results were issued, Race Officer Charles, said “Mike Caddy did very well today but didn’t do 5 laps in race 2”.  Annette Walter came 1st in both races.  Will Etherton fought a great fight, but came 7th and 7th.  Congratulations to all of them for “giving it a go”.  

 Briefing the hardy Wellies    Calm conditions at the start Old Salts!
  Mike Caddy    Nigel Davis    Will Etherton

Pete Thornley shows how it's done!

Entente Cordiale - 14th July 2018

Entente Cordiale with the Fishing Club

   WelHat Times, 31st July  

 There was no sailing at Stanborough Lake on Saturday 14th July but it was all in a good cause.  Race Officer, Charles Adams explains: “We racers gave up a week’s sailing (and the Mouse Club a Saturday morning of coffee and cake) to allow the anglers to have a major fishing competition over that weekend.  It proved to be very successful and raised nearly £1,500 for charity.  The biggest fish caught was a 24lb common carp landed by James Coffey. 

·       Val Newton commented: “Hard to believe THAT monster carp was swimming around when I capsized up to my neck the other week.  Aaaaarrrggh!”