Established 1973 and still racing at Stanborough Lake on Saturday Mornings

Our friendly club will welcome and encourage you into dinghy racing. Competitive sailing offers an enjoyable, exciting challenge, no matter what the size of the water or wind conditions. We welcome all sorts of sailors (juniors, adults and families), with all types of sailing dinghies, to come and race with us on Saturday mornings at Stanborough Park in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. We attract members from all over Hertfordshire including St Albans, Harpenden, Wheathampstead, Hatfield, Welwyn, Stevenage, Hertford, Letchworth,  and surrounding areas.

 NEW MEMBERS are very welcome, so come and join us. Click on your link below

   New to Sailing  Newly Qualified  Coming back to sailing  Experienced racer 


Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring, it’s the Welly Challenge! 


“Dad’s Army” was the fun theme of this year’s Welly Challenge, the club’s annual fundraiser for charity; £257.45 this year for Help the Heroes!  

The characters who arrived at Mead Hall in Wheathampstead, included a grimy Bevin Boy, Captain Mainwaring himself, a Red Cross Nurse, and more....Read all about it and see the pics here.

Congratulations to Tony Lyle

At the AGCM Tony was elected President of the International Flying Dutchman Class Organisation. He has promised do a brief report on the FD Worlds in Sydney in the near future.  Meanwhile, here is a shot of Tony and his crew heading downwind with the spinnaker against the Sydney Harbour skyline.


Stan Grace and Mike Fairman

It was the first Anniversary of Stan's passing on February 14th and it felt like a lovely tribute to his memory to see Mike sailing his Gull on Stanborough Lake.  Stan would have loved that, especially as Mike and Stan were such great pals and often used to compete in the slow fleet.  

More Winter Woes at Stanborough


On 7th February, the second race was all going so well (first pic) ..... until the sky suddenly darkened and the fleet was hit by a bitterly cold blast of driving sleet (second pic). 

As always, our hardy sailors didn't flinch - well only a little bit......   Can Spring be far behind?

PROVISIONAL Calendar for 2014/2015.......

........can be found here. (Courtesy of Phil Walter)

 Welly Winter Woes

First time out after Christmas, on the 3rd January, it was bitterly cold, grey, and thoroughly miserable at Stanborough.  The usual intrepid Wellys ventured out but there was not a lot of New Year joy.   On the 10th January, sailing had to be cancelled because of extreme gale force winds.  Today, 17th January, there was a snow storm just as the first race was finishing!  Fortunately, the weather front passed over and 10 sailors enjoyed bright sunshine and blue skies in the second race.  Val.


Photographs by Val Newton

Competitors, Duty Officers and some supporters at our Christmas Pudding Race on Saturday 20th December


             Photo Collage by Val Newton


Peter Thornley writes:   The last sailing act of 2014 was the Christmas Pudding Regatta on 20th December, consisting of 2 handicap races, each consisting of a fast and a slow fleet.

Thirteen sailors braved the forecast of 16 mph winds, with stronger gusts, on a bright, cold and sunny day. The first race conditions were not quite so strong as forecast, and we only saw 2 or 3 capsizes, although a couple of the fleet got a bit too close to the lee shore and got stuck in trees. The ones who got it right were Annette Walter (comet), Richard Bull (streaker) and Sheila Stowe (comet) in that order in the slow fleet, and in the fast fleet Dave Lambert led Patrick Rohart and Dave Campbell, all in supernovas (or should that be supenovae?).

The second race saw stronger winds with lively gusts towards the end, several unplanned swims and visits to the lee shore, and a change of fortunes for most except Annette Walter, who went on to her second win, followed this time by Nigel Davis (comet Xtra) and Richard Bull. Sheila opted to crew for Roger Morse in his leader, and is obviously an ace crew, as they went on to win the fast fleet race quite easily, followed by Patrick and Dave Campbell. Dave Lambert, after some unscheduled deviations into the trees, managed to scrape back into fourth. Roger's 7th in the first race, sailing alone, meant he did not get onto the podium.
Final combined results were:
Slow fleet.   
1 Annette 2 points
2 Richard 5 points
3 Nigel     6 points

Fast fleet.    
1 Patrick               4 points
2 Dave Lambert   5 points
3 Dave Campbell 6 points

Well done to Annette and Patrick who got the large Xmas Puds, and Richard and Dave L who got the small puds.

Following the racing, we all enjoyed hot mulled wine and hot mince pies provided as usual by Marjorie Adams. It was a sociable end to the morning, with as many non sailors as sailors coming for the wine, pies and chat.

Many thanks to Marjorie, and to Ian Stringer, Val Newton and Phil Walter who had a busy time on duty. Val took a zillion photos in between aiding several wet sailors. 
Peter Thornley
All Photos courtesy of Val Newton

For a Christmas Pud pictures slide-show visit our Photo Gallery page here.

'Sacre Bleu Trois' makes her debut

  Val Newton writes: There was great excitement on Saturday December 13th, when Charles Adams, opened a bottle of champagne to mark the launch of his brand new RS Aero single-hander 'Sacre Bleu Trois'. Tot-sized glasses of bubbly were distributed around waiting Wellys, and many admiring comments were made about the streamlined newcomer to Stanborough.  It is supposed to be faster than the Supernova according to Charles, but 'Sacre Bleu Trois' was taking it easy on her first outing and came last in both the pursuit races. Charles commented afterwards: "The pic of me in the boat [taken over the stern - Ed] was taken at the beginning of the second race and shows the sail a bit better shaped than in race one. I have a steep learning curve ahead as it is meant to be more like a windsurfing set up - I need to study the set-up on un-stayed uni rigs of single-handed catamarans I'm told!" .


Addendum to Tony Lyall's article below

Tony has sent us the following YouTube links as examples of life in the Flying Dutchman fast lane!
At last! A belated report on our Punchbowl event! (Webmaster's fault)

While we had 14 dinghies on the lake at our Pursuit Race on Saturday 13th December in the frost, we only had 3 boats in our Punchbowl event back on 20th September in those warm balmy days.  Dave Lambert has come to the Webmaster's rescue and writes......

Well it was blowing at least 3mph (in the gusts) and I remember that Phil Walter and Nigel Davis had led for most of the race in the comet  and that Dave Campbell and Richard Bull were matching Peter and and I for the first 2hrs at least in the Supernova until Dave got headed and started drifting backwards whilst Peter made serious headway on Dave. It was a tight finish and we caught Phil with only a few minutes to go. All very close.

So the result was...First, Dave Lambert and Peter Edel; Second, Phil Walter and Nigel Davis; and Third Dave Campbell and Richard Bull.

TONY LYALL heads for OZ with EXCESS Baggage

(his Flying Dutchman!)

Tony Lyall writes:

   Whilst  many of you were enjoying the spring-like conditions down at Stanborough on Saturday morning, 1st November, I was doing  a  24 hour round trip to Holland and back to load my FD in the Class container ready for shipping to Australia for the 2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships in Sydney at the beginning of January.

With careful planning and packing we can get 6  boats in each container plus all our gear spares, bikes etc.

There are a total of 4 containers with 23 boats going from Europe from the following countries 3 NED , 3 GBR,  I ITA, I AUT, 4 HUN, 11 GER      

Two containers were loaded earlier in the week, one in Berlin the another in Hungary and are currently being transported by road to Holland,. That just left the other 2 containers for us to load. So we had agreed that we would all meet at 09:00 on the Saturday morning in the container yard at  Oss. Some of us had slightly longer drive than others!!!  The only advantage of driving overnight was the roads were clear, so it took just 3 hours from Calais so we had enough time to grab a couple of hours kip and a bit of breakfast.

Apart from the GBR team from Southport (who were nearly 2 hours late) everybody arrived on time & so we ‘cracked’ on without delay and with the help of some addition volunteers we had packed both containers within 3 hours.

A few quick good-byes and we were back on the road to Calais.    


Getting packed!

For this....



Annual Dinner 2014


The Hilarious Roger Morse Show


The Annual Dinner following Commodore’s Cup in the morning, mysteriously morphed into ‘The Roger Morse Show’ when he took to the floor to propose the toast to the club.   Roger had everyone in stitches as he totted up how many movements Dave Campbell’s legs and arms had made whilst sailing at Stanborough.  After getting the diners to simulate all the actions of pulling sheets and moving about the boat, he concluded it must be many millions and gave Dave a can of WD40 to oil his joints.  This caused much hilarity and fortunately Dave took it all in good humour.  Speaking ostensibly from ‘Val’s Notes’ which were propped up in front of him, Roger rambled on, raising lots of laughs along the way. He presented a surprise bouquet to Thelma Cardinal to mark hers and Brian’s 39th anniversary; read out a touching message to members from Sammi-Leigh and spoke of the sad loss this year of her grandfather Stan Grace; and of the loss of former member Surakhsha Patel. He also thanked and praised the club for raising almost £3,000 for charity through Welly Challenge evenings over the years. His performance was memorable to say the least, and it set the seal on a very enjoyable evening which was attended by most of the club.

Grateful thanks to our hard-working Commodore, Peter Thornley, for doing the lion’s share of organising the event which took place at WGC Golf Club.  Thanks also to Tony Hale, Sheila Stowe and Val Newton for their quizzes, table decorations and slideshow.  The raffle was a great success and raised £122.  Louise Hunt, Graham’s daughter deserves a special mention for her unbounded enthusiasm selling tickets.  Possibly the most delighted raffle winner was Tony Stowe, who chose a woolly knitted hat embroidered with the words ‘Knackered Sailor’!


At the end of the night, Race Officer, Phil Walters, announced the trophy and prizewinners for the Spring-Summer Handicap and Spring-Summer Pursuit Series.  Commodore Pete turned out to be the star, winning Slow Fleet in the S/S Hcp and first place in the S/S Pursuit.  He beat Sheila Stowe into second place in both cases.  The fast fleet cup in the S/S Handicap went to Julian Gunnell but he was not there to receive it.  The full 2013/2014 Results can be seen below.



The half-year race results for the 2014-2015 Spring Summer Handicap Series and the Spring Summer Pursuit Series announced at the Annual Dinner were as follows.


Slow Fleet – SKF Cup (Average 4 boats, 5 qualified) 

1. Peter Thornley 
2. Sheila Stowe 
3. Phil Walter 

 Fast Fleet - Nabisco Cup (Average 6 boats, 8 qualified) 

1. Julian Gunnell 
2. Dave Lambert 
3. Roger Morse


Keith Berry Cup (Average 10 boats, 12 qualified)

1. Peter Thornley 
2. Sheila Stowe 
3. Julian Gunnell 

 Two individuals tied for first place on points count. 
Decided on number of highest positions.

Commodore's Cup -  18 October 2014

All the usual suspects!

Peter Thornley writes: The wind forecast for the morning was 14mph southerly veering to south west during the morning. Arriving at the lake at about 9.00, there was plenty of wind and the direction and strength about right. The forecast rain didn't happen.  Tim Hogan and Tony Lyall in the safety boat laid the buoys to give maximum beats diagonally across the lake, but as usual, Stanborough lake had winds all over the place and beats seemed to crop up on most legs.

We had fewer sailors than last year, and the first 3 from last years race could not sail for various reasons, giving an opportunity to others. Fifteen sailors turned up, but Sheila and Val opted to crew for Roger and Tony in the Leaders. Val and Tony obviously had a great time as shown in the photo below. Who said racing sailing boats was a serious affair?

The first race was hard work, and had several of the less fancied helms up front for a couple of laps. Eventually Alan Campbell (supernova) fought his way through the pack to win,  followed by David Lambert (supernova) and Nigel Davis(Comet).

The second race seemed generally lighter winds, but with some brisker spells. Alan got off to a good start and lead the way throughout, but was closely followed all the way by Richard Bull in his streaker. Richard stayed ahead of several faster boats until quite close to the end, and eventually won. Alan was second, and David Lambert third.

After adding the 2 scores together, the final result was Alan came first with 3 points, David second with 5 points and Richard third with 8 points.

Presentation of the trophy followed, and we all enjoyed hot punch made as usual by Marjorie Adams.

Many thanks to all who braved the weather forecast to sail, and to Tony Lyall and Tim Hogan for manning the safety boat, and to the members who turned up to spectate, support and drink punch.

A few more photographs:



Pursuit Race - 13 September 2014

Photographs from Peter Thornley


Richard Bull's inaugural race in his new Streaker
(That's 3 new boats in the club this year with a rumour of a 4th imminent!)

Charles Adams (OOD) and his team relax on the bench, onlookers standing around, ......


....while Pauline  Shaw (AOD) is poised with pen to record the laps.

Stewartby Away Day July 12th.
Peter Thornley writes:  The main reason for having a Club Awayday is to try sailing on a large open water. If the weather is right you can get on a planing reach for 400 yards, and try different adjustments to tune up your beating, and different approaches to running. This all makes a very pleasing change from fluky old Stanborough. 

So what did we get last Saturday? We got Stanborough weather, and lots of it! Mostly quiet and very variable in direction and strength.

The whole weekend is their fun family regatta and the fun started in the morning with a  relay race was between 3 teams of mostly Stewartby folk, sailing RS Fevas. Brian Cardinal and I were the only WGC sailors in it, and sadly our team came last. We sailed for 3 laps, with a complete change of team each lap. Ex wgc member Nick Jones 
(2 pictures on left below) was in the winning team, but I cannot remember who else. 

As usual, we were made very welcome by all the members and Committee at Stewartby, had an excellent lunch from their galley, and then 2 races in the afternoon for the inter-club trophy. Here I have to admit that I sabotaged our efforts by telling people that I thought the races started at 2.00. They started at 1.30! Needless to say, several of our sailors were somewhat late starting in the first race. We were on the ball in the second though, and did better, but not well enough to win the trophy. The first 5 from each team count, and we scored a very creditable 29 points to their 23, closer than last year. 
Our main man this year was Julian Gunnel who came third overall, winning a bottle of wine for his efforts, being beaten by another Phantom and a Buzz. Our other sailors were Charles Adams, Val Newton, Maureen Blunt, Phil Walter, Mike Caddy, and Peter Thornley. Brian Cardinal ventured out for the first time in 9 months, in a Stewartby Laser, but did not race. We had 4 or 5 supporters, who walked around the lake. The third picture shows Brian in a boat for the first time after his accident 9 months ago.  The final picture shows Julian getting off to a flying start in race 2 of the inter-club competition, with me, Mike Caddy, and Phil Walter in the pack in the background. 

Again, many thanks to the Committee and members of Stewartby Water Sports Club Sailing Section, for inviting us, and for their hospitality on the day. I've booked us in for next year.

Peter Thornley

Little Paxton 2014

From Matt & Jim Cory:  
To start with, we would like to thank everyone who came and supported us over the weekend and who donated money towards the charity, it was much appreciated by the whole team. Also a very very big thank you to Charles who took the boat  to and from Paxton. There were only 7 teams this year, including ourselves in a RS Feva and 2 other Fevas from Grafham and a RS Vision junior side from little paxton. We are very pleased to say that our team finished 4th out of the 7 teams, beating the Paxton junior side and both Grafham teams, as a result we were the top Feva and also the top junior team at the event, meaning that we get back the Junior plate that we won 2 years ago. We won by a margin of 6 laps on handicap on the Fevas and by over 12 laps on the Vision. But nothing could be done by any team to stop the home team's Solo from winning the whole event.  A final big thanks for all the support.


Val Newton comments: 
You have done Welwyn Garden City SC proud, especially as you were rather 'out there' on your own this year.   It must be nice to have that Junior Plate back after an absence of two years.  Well done to you and everyone in your team.  I look forward to hearing more details when I next see you.  Hope a few Wellys managed to drive up for the day and support you.  As for that wretched Solo, I think you'll have to start work on developing a radio-controlled torpedo for next year!

WGCSC Summer Regatta - Saturday 15 June 2014
(Report by Peter Thornley, Results by Phil Walter)

The Annual Summer Regatta was held on 14 June with an excellent turnout of 18 boats. The format is 2 slow and fast fleet handicaps in the morning, with a trophy for each fleet, and a normal pursuit race in the afternoon for a separate trophy. Wind conditions were generally northerly to north easterly, with the wind strength building as the day progressed up to the promised 9 mph or so. A surprise rain cloud cooled things down in the first race.

OOD Ray Wilson set a figure of 8 course to give the rare luxury of a beat for the full length of the lake, but there were as usual some fluky areas. Fortunes were mixed. Graham hunt won the first slow fleet race but retired in the second. Commodore Peter Thornley won the second slow fleet race after a very poor first, but Phil Walter was the overall winner. Alan Campbell won the fast fleet trophy.The afternoon pursuit saw a reduced fleet, and was won convincingly by Julian Gunnel who took the lead with a lap to spare.

Many thanks to non-sailing members and friends Ray Wilson, Brian Cardinal, Tim Hogan and Peter Edel for performing the duties.

Full results (with winners' photographs):

Handicap - Fast fleet      1st   Alan Campbell      2nd  Julian Gunnell           3rd   Roger Morse

Handicap - Slow Fleet     1st   Phil Walter            2nd  
Peter Thornley
           3rd   Nigel Davis

Pursuit                              1st   Julian Gunnell      2nd  Peter Thornley           3rd   Roger Morse


     Alan                               Phil                              Julian

Welly Sailors undaunted by Hostile Forecast

The weather forecast for Saturday May 10th was extremely hostile - wind gusts of 20mph in the morning rising to 30mph later in the day.  Commodore Pete Thornley cancelled the race coaching session planned for early afternoon, but it didn't stop six intrepid sailors venturing out in the morning.  Dave Campbell and David Lambert (Supernovas), Mike Caddy (Laser), Tony Hale (Leader),  and Phil Walter and Graham Hunt (Comets) managed the gusts relatively easily in the first race . . . then a torrential downpour arrived.  By the start of the second race the wind had strengthened considerably, and one by one they all capsized multiple times (but only one within camera range (below)!  The forecast had been about right!   


Aren't you glad you sail at Stanborough Lakes...???!!!!! See this alternative entitled 

Streaker Alan wins the Easter Egg Cup!

After a morning of brisk sailing, there was a sail off between Alan Campbell, first in the fast fleet, and Pete Thornley, first in the slow fleet, to decide this year's winner of the Easter Egg Cup.   The pair swapped their Supernova and Streaker for the contest which made things interesting.  When OOD Ray Wilson blew the hooter, Alan quickly got the Streaker over the start line and sailed away to the first mark.  Frustratingly, poor Pete couldn't get the Supernova moving because he was stuck in a notorious Stanborough hole.  Eventually he had a slight whiffle of wind, and managed to sheet in and take up the chase.  The course was a simple triangle and Alan was the victor and won the Easter trophy.  Tantalisingly, Pete had nearly caught him by the end ... one more lap and who knows?     Afterwards, Welly sailors and Mouse Club members enjoyed a Cadbury's Creme Egg.
1.  Alan and Pete with their trophies and chocolate Easter eggs
2.  Their position at the end as Alan crossed the line


Annette Walter
Helm of the year 2013-2014


(Second Officer TBA)

The Club works closely with Finesse Leisure which runs RYA approved courses and has Sailing Dinghies for hire on Stanborough Lake.

For more details contact Finesse on 01707 276276 or see their web site here
Subpages (1): WORKAREA