STORM ERIK - 9 February 2019

STORM ERIK – No problem!

Storm Erik was the first storm of 2019 to whip across Britain on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th February.  Yellow wind warnings were issued for parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland on the Friday and extended to parts of northern England on Saturday.  It was predicted that gusts would reach 40mph inland in the southern parts of the country on the Saturday.  Surely racing on Stanborough Lake would be abandoned?  Oh, no … don’t be silly!

Four intrepid Wellys sailed one race on Saturday 9th – Annette and Phil Walter, Shaun Smale and Alan Campbell.  They finished in that order and had an absolute ball.

Race Officer, Charles Adams summed it up very succinctly: “Only one race undertaken in the lively conditions.  This hasn’t changed the series situation much – mainly consolidated the Walters’ position at the top.”

He afterwards admitted: “I was so hoping they were wanting an abandonment  - I have a 'virus' and have been close to being sick for nearly 2 days … 

“Typical Stanborough -the shelter meant it was never '40mph' but there were huge gusts coming through. Full of admiration for those that went out and they did enjoy it. Inevitably Annette went out for an extra sail as we collected the marks!

“I couldn't get the pictures the event deserved as it wasn't safe to be at the gybe mark (standing on the shore would have been ideal) and on the water couldn't really get near enough.”   Here is a glimpse of the action from the rescue boat.
 Phil and Shaun    Annette powering along     Alan in trouble!


Phil and Shaun

Annette powering along

Alan in trouble! (Illustrates the difficult conditions)

Start of the Year

The New Year Begins
Happy 2019 to everyone!  

Nine boats set off in wintry sun on 12th January

So we’re off again.  The first two Saturdays of the year have been surprisingly amenable, if somewhat chilly for those on rescue duty.

5th January was Winter Pursuit 9/10 with Paul McAlister in charge as OOD.  It was bitterly cold, but the wind was good and steady, and just about perfect for both of the races. Everyone enjoyed the racing very much.  The first race was won by Patrick Rohart (Supernova), and the second by Annette Walter (Comet).

12th January was Winter Handicap 11/12 and Paul Lohr was OOD. The weather was grey and moody.  The wind forecast was for 14mph and gusting, but the reality was an almost flat calm lake with breezes here and there, getting a little brisker in the second race.  This meant tactics were key.   Making the right choice about exactly where and when to tack meant significant gains could be made, whereas making the wrong choice … yes well …..   The first race was won by Patrick Rohart (Supernova), and ………. drum roll …………. the second race was won by (Miracle) Charles Adams.  “Almost certainly because Annette got tangled up with the fishermen!” he gamely admitted afterwards.

 Must we go? Why are we here? It's cold!    A wringing of hands and trying to keep warm while concentrating on.......

   .........the COURSE. (What it's all about!)
 Which way did he say we were to go...?    That's right, Dave. Be carefull, it's cold!. Ask Patrick.    Someone has to do it. Thanks to Sheila and Roger for sitting out the chilly weather.


Christmas Pud Regatta - 15 Dec 2018

It was like the Ten Green Bottles!

Conditions were so hostile for the Christmas Pud Regatta, only seven brave souls ventured out for the first race.  They were fast fleet sailors Dave Lambert, Patrick Rohart, Paul McAlister, and Mike Caddy, plus slow fleet sailors Annette & Phil Walters, and Charles Adams.   By the end of the second race, the number still sailing had been reduced to just four – Dave, Mike, Annette and Phil.  Rescue driver Tim Hogan joked: “It was like the Ten Green Bottles!”

There was some spectacular planing and equally spectacular capsizes which made the racing very exciting for those watching onshore.  The “Christmas Card Moment” came when Paul McAlister capsized in front of the race hut with his Santa hat on, ready for his photo shoot! (above)

The Welly Christmas Pud winners were the worthy survivors, David and Mike (1st & 2nd FF), and Annette and Phil (1st & 2nd SF).  Congratulations to the four of them for giving us some great entertainment on the day.

Thanks to OOD Ian Stringer for providing instant results without a calculator or computer, and his Assistant Elf, Dave Campbell.  Also, the rescue team of Tim Hogan and Simon Hawker who had a freezing and very busy time.

While our heroes were battling it out on the water, most of the Mouse Club were sitting in the beautifully warm conference room occasionally looking out of the window.  By a happy chance, they also happened to be first in line for the hot punch and mince pies provided by Marjorie Adams, the biscuits donated by the Cardinals, and the Italian Panettone kindly given as a goodwill gesture to the club by the café!

As ever, the Pud Regatta turned out to be a Happy start to Christmas, and it was great to be joined by some former Wellys and club friends, including Frank Puranik,  Janet Wilson and Callum, Charles’s daughter Mhairi with her husband Nic and baby daughter Elodie, and Ash Cato and his two grandchildren Imogen and Sienna.  

See all Val's photos - the other green bottles and other things here.  (Opens in a new tab or window)

Annual Dinner - 20 October 2018

Another success at Mill Green

The Annual Dinner was once again held at Mill Green Golf Club, a favourite venue which really seems to suit us.  Staff are always very welcoming and the food is good.   There were 41 guests on five tables.  

It seemed like one star was fading as a new one appeared …   

Retiring Commodore Nigel Davis told everyone: “I’m really sad to be leaving and will miss the club.” He explained that he’d had to cut short his time as Commodore because he and his wife Elaine were moving to the Midlands because of business commitments.  After wishing the club well, he said: “The show must go on.  I know you have a great future.”

Next, was Simon Hawker, a relatively new member, who’d ‘had his arm twisted’ to propose the Toast to the Club.  He quickly had everyone laughing about happenings on the lake and Welly characters.  Could this man have a bright future we were all thinking?!!!

Race Officer Charles Adams concluded the evening by making presentations for the Spring/Summer Handicap and Pursuit events, which he jokingly summed up as:  “David Lambert won the Fast Handicap and Annette the rest!”  Neither of them was present, but he was able to hand over Welly glasses to Phil Walter and Nigel Davis for their second places.  Finally, there were two Commodore’s Cup presentations – the Backbone Trophy to Val Newton (who at 7th was the highest placed helm who had not won silverware in the last 5 years), and 1st Junior Shield to one of our newest sailors, Oscar Hayward.


A big ‘thank you’ to Sheila Stowe for liaising with Mill Green on behalf of the committee, and doing the booking, sorting menu choices, invitations, table allocations, place settings, flowers and SO much more.  

See all Val's pics from the Dinner here.

Commodores Cup - 20 October 2018

Annette Wins Commodore’s Cup 
(and Commodore Nigel with two 2nd places is runner up!)


The Winner - Annette Walter (Left)

Second placed Nigel gets advice on the wines from Mike Caddy (above)

Photos by Charles Adams

It was to be Commodore Nigel Davis’s last ‘Commodore’s Cup’ before leaving us and relocating to the Midlands.  Conditions could not have been more perfect with wall-to-wall blue sky and a light wind.  Sailors and Mouse Club turned out in force to support him.  

A total of 14 boats took to the water, and spirits were high.  The event was run as the best two of 3 x 3/4hour Pursuit races – a format which made things very interesting.  

Annette Walter scored two firsts and was the Winner of the Commodore’s Cup.  Mike Caddy took a surprise first place in the second race.   Commodore Nigel Davis also excelled with two second places (sadly he didn’t have a storybook ending to his tenure as our Commodore!), with the other 2nd place being taken by Phil Walter.  The final running order at the top was Annette, Nigel, Phil, Mike.

The Backbone Trophy went to Val Newton at 7th, and Oscar Hayward, who was sailing his new Comet bought from Nigel, was 1st Junior and awarded a Shield.  Val and Oscar received their trophies at the Annual Dinner that night.

Thanks to the OOD team of Ian Stringer and Sheila Stowe for running three races that morning, and appreciation to the Rescue team of Tim Hogan and Simon Hawker who oversaw the big fleet.


Diary Dates


Welly Challenge

The annual Welly Challenge has been booked for Saturday 16th Feb 2019 at the Mead Hall Wheathampstead.
Time: 7:30 for 8:00


- Advanced Notice

The AGM and Social will be held on Sunday 17th March 2019 at the Mead Hall, Wheathampstead.

The Social starts at 7 pm and the AGM at 8 pm


Punchbowl 3-hour Pursuit – 15th September 2018

Defending Punchbowl champions Dave and Patrick 
trounced by Annette and Michael!

In spite of Dave Lambert and Patrick Rohart being pumped up for action,  and having a serious ‘Team Talk’ before the race, they lost the much coveted Punchbowl Trophy to Comet sailors Annette Walter and Michael Ettershank.  

It was a disappointing result for Supernova sailors Dave and Patrick as they’d hoped to make their winning streak three-in-a-row, but it was not to be.   They eventually sailed into third place after Shaun Smale and Dave Campbell  - also in a Supernova.

Annette and Michael  were particularly nippy when it came to changeovers after each lap.  They were not afraid to nose-dive into their boat amid a shower of splashes.   Shaun and Dave C kept the pressure on them throughout, but their changeover style was more “stately”!

Dave L and Patrick had some fun times as they exchanged places but sometimes it didn’t all go according to plan (take a look at Patrick’s face).   Also see more photos of the pair in the album (here).

It was a great pleasure to see Tony Hale on the water after a long absence.  He partnered Paul McAlister in another Supernova and they came in 4th.

Next it was Peter Thornley and Charles Adams in a Streaker.  Their changes were also done in a steady gentlemanly manner.   It was all going very smoothly when both collapsed into laughter on one occasion when Pete complained:  “I can’t get my leg over!”

Finally, Junior team Ben Hawker and Oscar Hayward campaigned a Comet and had a lot of fun even though they were last.  It was Oscar’s first ever race with the club and he was elated throughout .  Even a knock on his head by the boom at the end of the race failed to dampen his enthusiasm.

1st - Annette and Michael doing one of their nose-diving changeovers

2nd - Shaun Smale and Dave Campbell getting ready for action

3rd - Dave and Patrick.  Could he be thinking: “Mon dieu, what eeez  he doing?”

4th - Tony and Paul were a last minute pairing and had a great time.


5th - Peter complaining to Charles:  “I can’t get my leg over”!

6th - Juniors Oscar (left) and Ben won giant bars of Toblerone

Annette Walter with the Punchbowl Trophy (centre) surrounded by Welly competitors and supporters, 
who all enjoyed cake and hot punch after the race.


Build up of Summer Season Report

Pauline's Challenger Successes

Pauline has a great summer of Challenger sailing

Our Welly Sailability sailor, Pauline Shaw, has competed in … wait for it … THREE major events this summer!  She puts the rest of us well and truly to shame.


"I think it was the fastest I've sailed and SO exciting, though I got very wet from the spray"

First was the Challenger English National Championships at Grafham, from 23 -24 June.  She came 7th out of 18 boats, sailing Challenger 266.   There were light but sailable winds on the Saturday and dire conditions on Sunday.  Click here to see a report and pics on the Yachts and Yachting Website:  Here’s one of the Y&Y quotes: “After lunch the Race Officer changed to an inverted P course.  Afterwards, Pauline commented that she enjoyed sailing different courses during the day and that she now understood what an inverted P course was!”

Next, was the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta at Rutland, from 3-5 August.  This was when the hot summer was at its height and the main problem was where to put all the large Challengers because the lower water level had reduced the space available on the beach.  Read about it here on Yachts and Yachting:

As full-of-life as ever, Pauline said afterwards:  “Had a great weekend although results not as good as I hoped.  We went up on Thursday to build boats.  It was MEGA HOT especially polishing boats.  Five sailors went from Grafham with three boats taken up.  This took a massive amount of organisation.  

“We had a 3½ hour training session Friday afternoon which was really useful with coaches on the ribs dishing out advice and practice starts going on for hours.

“Saturday, we had two back-to-back races in the morning.  The winds were very light and all over the place, so racing was a huge challenge.  In fact, just moving was a challenge.  In the afternoon we had a 1½ hour pursuit race doing a zigzag course.  I came 15th out of 51 different types of boats – a good result.

“Sunday was race 3 and 4 in your own class. I came 11th out of 18 boats overall.  Disappointing but at least I made it and did all the races.  It made a change sailing without thermals and a drysuit as it was 31 degrees on the Sunday.  The ribs went round dishing out bottles of water.”  

Last, but not least, Pauline sailed in the UK Challenger Championship at Rutland from 7-9 September.   She recalls:  “It got off to a disappointing start when the Friday afternoon races were cancelled at the last minute due to the windy conditions.  It abated enough to try again on Saturday, and the fleet of 27 boats from around the UK decided on three back-to-back races in the morning in case the expected bad weather arrived later.  It didn’t - so we did another three back-to-back races in the afternoon, all using the inverted P course.  The highest wind speed recorded was 12 knots (13.8 mph).  I think it was the fastest I’ve sailed and SO exciting, though I got very wet from the spray. 

“Sunday dawned with stronger winds, intense gusts and choppy water. An Olympic medal course was used.  Unfortunately half the fleet didn’t understand the course and after numerous collisions, broken boats and sailors,  the race was abandoned.   A bit unfortunate for me as I had managed to hang in there and sailed a really good race.  However, they still handed out prizes and I came home with a nice polo shirt.  The regatta was a great success for Grafham Water Sailability who took up a team of enthusiastic helpers,  and all three sailors went home with prizes.  Welly, Maureen Blunt, did a fantastic job of looking after me, as well as helping to launch and retrieve boats from the beach rather than the slipway.”  

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.

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.  

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 Haywood

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!”


Supernova Championships - 6th-8th July, 2018

Nigel Davis and Shaun Smale campaign 
the Supernova Nationals

Our two Welly heroes drove all the way to the Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy at Pwllheli, in north-west Wales, to take part in the Supernova Nationals, the weekend of 6, 7 and 8 July.  Temperatures were in the high 20s, the wind was light, and well over 100 boats fought it out on the sea.
Afterwards Shaun emailed: “ Val some news for you:  Nigel was 5th in the Bronze fleet, I had a disastrous event.   I have my excuses all prepared :-) “  
he came 92nd overall, so not last then!

When asked: “So where does everyone stay?”, Shaun volunteered this first-hand report and pics:
“Booked accommodation for my parents at Pwllhelli, Wales.  3rd floor,  shared bathroom on the first.  Sleeps 6 - double bunk and double bed fills the room.  Not too bad for £44 a night.  Heavy Metal Music Bar downstairs serving to 3am on Saturday night.  Bin men around at 5.30am. Guys came to paint the building on Sunday morning. The owner is a nuclear physicist who decommissioned the local power station. No need to turn lights on at night - cupboard would glow."

The salubrious accommodation

Secondhand wardrobe in room.

Shaun explains why he came nearly last

"The Supernova Nationals have a Buddy System.  Each gold fleet member is allocated a number of entrants in a buddy system.  My gold fleet member was next to me at the boat park.  We got talking and he said he had borrowed the boat and had never sailed a Supernova before.  I gave him some tips – throw it through the tack as it likes to stick in irons and it won’t point as high as a Laser unless you get the boat speed up first.  He thanked me and off we went. I fought my way to the back on the upwind legs, and slowly slipped forward on the downwind legs, playing the waves.  I asked him how he got on, on his first day in a Supernova, ‘Good’, he said. ‘2nd overall’!!!!  It turned out he is some sort of LASER CHAMPION.  After that I asked him for tips!  It did not help, my upwind speed was so bad that when the wind dropped I could not make the windward mark because my headway did not match the tide.  Eventually the wind filled in by which time I was half a leg behind (we are talking 4-5 lengths of Stanborough).  On the downwind I made up 20 places. Cut in on a starboard tack, but then lost it on the reach to the finish line as I could not make the line without a port tack across the fleet and they all fetched it, coming in last!  Never been a problem in past nationals as it has always been much too windy and I usually end up near the middle of the fleet.  This time I was at the back.  Did some research and measured the sail, draft nearly 60%, no wonder it was OK downwind and so bad upwind.  Can’t justify a new sail so looking at tapered battens to put some life back in the sail."

For all techie sailors out there, here’s the interesting explanation:

Summer Regatta, 30th June 2018

Dave Lambert Sails to Victory in the Summer Regatta


Dave retained the Fast Fleet Trophy and was the combined fleet winner
OOD Ian Stringer (left) presents the Summer Regatta Slow Fleet trophy to Phil Walter.

A lovely sunny day, a great turnout of sailors, and the Mouse Club was fully represented onshore. It couldn’t have been better! 

 The 16-strong fleet comprised six Supernovas, three Comets, three Lasers, a British Moth, a Leader, a Miracle, and an RS Vision Congratulations to David Lambert who retained the Fast Fleet Trophy and was the combined fleet winner (no trophy for that). Also on the podium were slow fleet sailors Phil Walter (yes, Phil actually beat Annette on this occasion), and Paul Lohr. (See All Race Results for individual placings)

Val Newton chalked up ‘Last Place’ in the Regatta (no trophy for that), thanks to a DNF in the second race. Wiped out by a sudden gust, she went into the water up to her neck and couldn’t right her Laser as the mast was stuck in the mud. Rescue Driver Tim Hogan decided to abandon the boat until racing finished. He and his assistant then tried to haul Val into the Rib but her buoyancy aid was too loosely fitted so he told her to hold on to the side and towed her ashore. An ignominious finale - no photos exist. She hasn’t sailed since!

Our Race Officer

Enjoying his Duties


By the look of these two pics, our Race Officer Charles Adams is really enjoying his duties on the rescue boat.  But we must rush to explain … 
In the first pic he is not swigging rum!   As a responsible Rescue Assistant, he has just retrieved a piece of floating litter – a plastic bottle – ready to place it in a rubbish bin.
In the second jaunty pic, he is with Louisa Hawker who kindly stood in as rescue assistant in place of her husband Simon, one summer evening sailing session.  Notice there’s nowhere to stash any G & Ts.

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.  


Paul's 50th Birthday

Paul unwraps his 50th birthday present

There was much excitement in the dinghy park on the 12th June when Paul McAlister “unwrapped” his 50th birthday present a day early – Supernova 1056.

Many gathered to admire its immaculate condition and mid-blue hull, and noted the extra sail, carbon tiller extension and road trailer.  There was an approving thumbs up all round, especially from the other Supernova sailors.  It had been brought south from Hartley Boats of Derby.

Sailing conditions were light so Paul had a chance to put his new toy through its paces in the two pursuit races.  Amazingly, he wasn’t last and was ahead of Charles in both!

At coffee time, Paul’s wife, Karen, arrived with wine, cheese and biscuits and other delicious nibbles, and a celebration party was enjoyed at The Mouse Club table by sailors, mousers, and former commodore Frank Puranik (who took the pics).

Welcome to the Welly Supernova fleet Paul, which now numbers six: Dave Lambert, Patrick Rohart, Alan (Dave) Campbell, Nigel Davis and Shaun Smale.  Competition is definitely hotting up!


Mike Clarke

Mike Clarke, ace Merlin Rocket sailor and elder of the club has died.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Clarke, one of the club’s early members and a highly competitive Merlin Rocket sailor back in the day. His funeral took place at North Herts Crematorium on Monday 14th May and was attended by many club members.  He was 85 and had been suffering from dementia.

In his eulogy, Chris Clarke (Mike’s son) reminisced:  “He introduced both Andrew and myself to sailing – with many a Saturday morning being spent at Stanborough lakes doing our best to race against others.  With Michael coaching us from the bank – telling us to ‘tack’, ‘gybe’ – or just not be so stupid!  Typical Michael!  He wanted to get the best from everyone.

“Michael’s pride and joy was his Merlin Rocket – a beautiful wooden boat finished to the standard of a grand piano.  He loved sailing and racing it, but with ever-increasing problems with his knees, he became one of the founder members of ‘The Mouse Club’ – a branch of Welwyn Garden City Sailing Club who chickened-out from sailing when it was too windy, too cold, not enough wind, or if they were just too old!

“The Mouse Club thought of themselves more as a coffee-drinking advisory body, who were only too keen to give sailing advice to those racing.  After one member, Sheila Stowe, had suffered from multiple capsizes on a windy morning, Michael saw her standing on the centreboard of the capsized boat struggling to right it. As the sail came up from the water, Michael shouted ‘Get your leg over Sheila!’  It was greeted by much merriment …. Michael adored the club and the fantastic crowd of people, and even in his later years, the Mouse Club was the highlight of his week.” 

Dave Campbell has been looking at the club’s sailing records and trophies and has come up with some interesting facts.  “All Mike’s racing was in Merlin Rocket 2932.  Initially, Andy was his crew, and later, Chris.  Eventually, they both began to appear as the registered helms in the Rocket and Mike’s name disappears from the lists after 1979. Andy and Chris moved in to single handers (Int Moth and OK).  Mike’s main competitors were Jim Godfrey and Alan Jackson, both sailing Merlin Rockets.”
Club trophies record Mike’s winning results:

Winter 1975.  Merlin Wooden Tiller Trophy
Summer 1976.  Fast handicap 3rd, Merlin Rocket
Winter 1976.  Merlin Wooden Tiller Trophy
Spring 1977.  Fast Handicap Nabisco Spring Cup
Regatta 1977.  Burgee race 1st
Summer 1977.  Fast Handicap S K and F Cup
Winter 1978.  Merlin Silver Pig Trophy
Spring 1979.  Fast Handicap 1st
Regatta 1979.  Pursuit Trophy 2nd

When Barry Leake heard the news, he emailed: “I remember Mike well and his two sons who were also ace sailors.  When I was eleven years old the family, including Mike and his sons, were the bench mark.  Certainly inspired me!”

A fun fact that emerged during Chris Clarke’s eulogy at the funeral,  was that “when Mike was Deputy Headmaster at Brook House School in Hackney, he always looked to see the potential in others.  One such student by the name of Sugar – Alan Sugar (an enterprising lad destined to become Lord Sugar) had an idea that the school should buy a printing press to produce its monthly magazine. Michael agreed to the purchase – and for Alan, the rest is history.”

Even when Mike’s sailing days were over, he continued to be a strong supporter of the club, and was more than happy to help out with duties, or give a word of friendly advice.   

He will always be remembered as a great stalwart of the club.

A selection of photos of Mike and his fellow members down at the lake:



Start of the Year

The New Year Begins
Happy 2019 to everyone!  

Nine boats set off in wintry sun on 12th January

So we’re off again.  The first two Saturdays of the year have been surprisingly amenable, if somewhat chilly for those on rescue duty.

5th January was Winter Pursuit 9/10 with Paul McAlister in charge as OOD.  It was bitterly cold, but the wind was good and steady, and just about perfect for both of the races. Everyone enjoyed the racing very much.  The first race was won by Patrick Rohart (Supernova), and the second by Annette Walter (Comet).

12th January was Winter Handicap 11/12 and Paul Lohr was OOD. The weather was grey and moody.  The wind forecast was for 14mph and gusting, but the reality was an almost flat calm lake with breezes here and there, getting a little brisker in the second race.  This meant tactics were key.   Making the right choice about exactly where and when to tack meant significant gains could be made, whereas making the wrong choice … yes well …..   The first race was won by Patrick Rohart (Supernova), and ………. drum roll …………. the second race was won by (Miracle) Charles Adams.  “Almost certainly because Annette got tangled up with the fishermen!” he gamely admitted afterwards.

Dates for your Diary


WGCSC Summer Regatta 

Please note this important event is on 30 June 2018.

No Sailing on 14th July

There will be no racing on 14th July as Stanborough Lake is being used to host a charity fishing event 

 Inter Club Challenge

The date for the WGCSC v Stewartby SC inter-club challenge is the 1st September at Stewartby

Commodore's Cup & Annual Dinner

This fun event will be on 20th October, followed by the Annual Dinner in the evening

10th March 2018

New Sailing Season Begins

The 2018 sailing season kicked off on the 10th March with the first two Spring/Summer Handicap races.  A total of 12 boats ventured onto the grey, lacklustre lake, some after a long winter layoff due to the “Beast from the East”.   Conditions appeared to be very calm but this was deceptive as gusts suddenly punched through  …  as Patrick Rohart found out when he capsized on the start line.  

  • Patrick then had to catch the fleet, and he chased Shaun for the whole race, overtaking him at the very last minute!    
  • At coffee time Patrick was asked if Shaun had said anything to him, he joked: “Non, he iz round ze corner crying”.  
  • By some sort of Karma, Patrick’s boat capsized on top of him in the lagoon at the start of the second race!

  • Alan Campbell has bought Pete Thornley’s Supernova and will be sailing it at Stanborough.  The Campbell Supernova has been taken to Grafham by Rob, and Dave is now back to his trusty Laser.
  • Peter Thornley has gone back to his Streaker, which has now been promoted to the fast fleet courtesy of its new RYA PN (Portsmouth Number) of 1128.  This should guarantee some lively competition in the future!
  • Will Etherton was fixing spreaders to the mast of his Miracle in the boat park, which he hopes to get on the water very soon.  It was built by his Dad from a kit when Will was a youngster, but then his Dad discovered he didn’t actually like sailing!  He also plans to get a stronger boom and sort out the sail.  Watch out Charles!
  • Will and his son Tom made it to the RYA Dinghy Show this year and featured on a promotion in Facebook – trying out some of the gear. See if you can spot them  HERE.  (Paul McAlister was also there.)
  • It takes two to tango … well, to fix a self bailer on a Comet.  Paul McAlister was ably assisted by Will Etherton, as demonstrated here:

AGM 4TH March 2018

Another really good year!

“Another really good year”, was how Nigel Davis summarised 2017 in his Commodore’s Report to the AGM .  He said the average weekly number of boats on the water was 11 or 12, and the lowest was 6 to 9.  He wanted to encourage the club’s newer and younger member to sail more.

Nigel told the meeting he’d reminded himself about the club’s many events by looking at reports and photos on the website.  “A great record,” he said, then went on to pick out a few of them: 

  • He spoke of the sad loss of Piotr Caban and said a good number of WGCSC members had turned up to the funeral service.
  • He picked out Annette’s record sixth-time win of the Easter Regatta Trophy
  • Mentioned “the biggest news of the year - the shock damage to Peter Davis’s boat!
  • He congratulated Pauline Shaw on her 4th place in the Challenger Nationals
  • Commented on the Summer Regatta’s heart-shaped course with a gate at the café end
  • Said the RYA Boat Show had resulted in three new boats at the club
  • The Stewartby Interclub Competition had been a sad day for the club, but there’d been a great support team.  “We’re going again this year.  Let’s really make an effort and get that trophy back”, he urged.
  • He thanked Mike Caddy for proposing the toast to the club at the Annual Dinner
  • Celebrated the great turn out of club members for the Christmas Pud Regatta
  • And finally, thanked Roger Morse for all he does for the Welly Challenge

He was looking forward to another great year.  “We have a great relationship with Finesse and their support has worked well,”   He thanked them for trusting us with their key, allowing us to sail on summer evenings, and use their rescue boat.  He also confirmed there would be summer evening sailing in 2018 on Thursday evenings, from Spring Bank Holiday (late May) through to the end of August.

Treasurer Tony Hale said the accounts are in a healthy state and had been for a number of years, therefore the annual subscription would stay the same.  He thanked David Brown for taking on membership, and Charles for collecting money on Saturdays.  

Tony warned that membership was down.  “Paid-up subscriptions are down to 56, of which 11 are new, but a number have just not renewed.  The committee needs to take notice of that”, he said.

Race Officer Charles Adams said racing was as keen as ever and attendance had been as described.   He then went on to present the trophies.   



Val was awarded the Clubmanship Trophy for her good work on publicity with the local press and for
her reports and photographs of club activities which you see here on the website. 
(Webmaster's comment: She was too embarassed to write these few words herself!)

NOTE:  Click as appropriate to see the full set of  photographs from the AGM or 
a  full list of the Awards  (in a new window or tab). 

The presentation of trophies was followed by the election of the Officers and Committee of the club as follows:

Nigel Davis (3rd year)
  Vice Commodore:
  Hon. Treasurer:
David Brown  (Tony Hale wished to retire)
Paul McAlister
Sheila Stowe, Shaun Smale, Val Newton
  Junior Rep.: Vacant

Ian Stringer was re-appointed as Honorary Auditor.

Saturday 17th February 2018

Winter pursuits 15 & 16, the last of the season

Half a lake is better than none

The top half of Stanborough lake was covered in ice.  After some discussion, Race Officer Phil Walter and OOD Graham Hunt agreed to use just the bottom half for the first race, in the hope the situation might ease.  The sun was shining brightly and they knew the temperature was rising so hopes were high that much of the ice would have receded by the start of the second race.    It was the first time anyone could ever remember this compromise decision being made in the club’s history.

After the briefing, eight happy Wellys set out to do battle:  Phil Walter (Comet), Roger Morse (Leader) and a six-strong fleet of Supernovas – Dave Lambert, Nigel Davis, Shaun Smale, Peter Thornley, Dave Campbell and Patrick Rohart.  OOD Graham set a simple course,  with the top mark as close as possible to the ice line.   It worked, proving that half a lake is better than none!  As predicted, more sailing space was available for the second race so everyone had a good morning on the water after all.

Race 15:   1st  D. Lambert,  2nd  Nigel Davis, 3rd  Phil Walter,  4th  P. Thornley

Race 16:  1st  P. Thornley,  2nd  D. Lambert,  3rd  Nigel Davis,  4th  S. Smale

 The Top of the Lake still covered in Ice    First race is late starting - still some thin ice floating by the shore 

The ice line shines in the distance
Heading to the top mark    Moorhen getting ready for Spring 

  Only feet away from the ice but it is melting 
A Welly Fleet of six Supernovas start the second race    Rescue driver Paul McAlister and his Assistant Peter Davis

  Fighting it out at the top 

WELLY CHALLENGE 2018, Saturday 3rd February, Mead Hall, Wheathampstead

The Long Arm of the Law


Fast Fleet v Slow Fleet

Honours were Even!

This year’s Welly Challenge was as chaotic and as much fun as ever.   It raised the grand sum of £245, which is being donated to Grafham Sailability to help pay for new boats for disabled sailors.

The theme was: “The Long Arm of the Law” and it was amazing how Wellys translated this into characters and fancy dress costumes.   Master of Ceremonies, Roger Morse, walked around the room and invited everyone to introduce themselves and their outfits (he’d come as the Head of the FBI with the MEMO that Trump has just published).   

Shaun Smale’s take on things was extremely literal.  He had a long pole with a leather glove on the end with pointing finger, which he said was “The Long Arm of the Law”!

On the side of the Law, there was:   the Statue of Justice (complete with golden sword and balancing scales), a lady barrister (with wig and black gown), policemen and policewomen,  a police inspector, a member of Neighbourhood Watch with binoculars, the tea lady from the police station and her husband, as well as Secret/Special and Undercover agents, a SWAT team member, a helpless hostage, and a wife with a ball and chain round her neck.

The villains and illegals included, a convict serving hard labour with a ball and chain round his ankle, several masked burglars, a large criminal gang (looking suspiciously like Graham Hunt’s family), and an illegal immigrant hiding under a coat (discovered by Roger to be Patrick Rohart).  

The evening’s challenges were as eclectic as ever.  There was a quiz on World Leaders - inspired by the Leader dinghy apparently!  (Who can honestly remember these - (China) Xi Jinping , (Zimbabwe) Emmerson Mnangagwa, and (New Zealand) Jacinda Ardern ?).  This was followed by a hard-to-crack cryptic quiz on UK place names.

Light relief came when Carol Brown introduced the ever-popular practical Welly Challenge.  She read out a scenario which was about Welly sailors being kidnapped by Finesse, and set the Fast and Slow teams the task of making a gadget to help track them down.  Old newspapers were also handed to each team so print could be cut out and stuck on a message board for police.  At the word “Go”, there was much ripping of cardboard and sticking by the two eager teams, and the ingenious results were eventually judged by Roger.



When David Brown, came to tot up the figures on the Score Board, it was a 60-60 Draw.  For the first time, the winners were not the Fast Fleet or the Slow Fleet.  Honours were Even!


A big thank you to the TEAM who worked so hard to make it all happen  –  Roger Morse, who is the driving force behind Welly Challenge, and his helpers - David and Carol Brown, Shaun Smale, and Peter Thornley.  Roger also wishes to thank Louise Hunt for her invaluable work selling the raffle tickets.


To see all the pics taken at Welly Challenge, click here:  

Last Blast of the Year

The "Last Blast of the Year" was specially arranged and organised by our Race Officer, Charles Adams - a special Personal Handicap Pursuit for the "End of Year Tankard".

It took the form of two pursuit races with everyone starting at the same time but covering different distances according to their boat and current personal handicap - a special handicap calculated scientifically by our Race Officer.

In the warmth of the classroom

It was also advertised as an opportunity to display those new pullovers, gloves and scarves as delivered by Santa(!) and sample the leftovers from Christmas plus the special recipe club Punch supplied by Marjorie, fortified to taste with a drop of Rum, courtesy of  Anthony Willis. Thereafter, the "Last Blast" got accorded the title of  The Rum Pursuit.

Alan Campbell emerged as the clear winner of the end-of-year ‘Rum Pursuit’

Deliberate concentration from Alan wins through

Strong winds were not going to stop Welwyn Garden City Sailing Club running their resurrected End-of-Year Pursuit races on Saturday, 30th December. (See Historical Note below).

Sudden 30-40 mph gusts hit the competitors at regular intervals as they battled round the course. There were spectacular sights of speeding boats lost to view in spray and inevitable capsizes.
After two exhausting 3/4 hour races Alan Campbell emerged as the clear winner with Commodore Nigel Davis second, Annette Walter third and Mike Caddy fourth.  Although Annette didn’t win, she never stopped smiling as she powered along on the plane!

Annette has a ball!


It was a lively event for everyone




                   In the strong wind conditions......

The Rescue Driver had to concentrate so hard...................that his skylight popped open to keep him cool!

Thanks go to Rescue Driver David Brown, and his assistant, Race Officer Charles Adams, who ran the two pursuit races from the safety boat.  Charles also managed to take some fantastic action photos while stationed at the top end of the lake supplemented by some from Val.  Appreciation also goes to Sheila Stowe and Dave Campbell who did duties in the race hut, counting laps and making sure everything ran smoothly.


Alan is congratulated by Race Officer, Charles Adams  
 Alan with brother Rob
This is how your watch works..... But I'd rather try to open this rum.
 Ooooh!  Rum! Naughty!

Members of the Mouse Club (below) turned out in force to cheer everyone on and were rewarded with reviving glasses of Marjorie's hot punch with rum added to taste from Antthony's bottle of Lambs Navy Rum.  There was also a spread of hot mince pies, chocolate biscuits and more, courtesy of Thelma Cardinal.

Someone has to do it! Thanks, Ian

 This new event turned out to be a great way of ending the sailing year.....or......put another way..... end the "Rear of the Year 2017!!!!"

[Historical Note: The Last Blast of the Year is a resurrection of an end of year pursuit regularly run by Simon Fishwick when Ash Cato from Finesse was willing to give up time to open up the facilities.]

Birthday Boys

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


Dates for your Diary


London Boat Show
10-14 January 2018

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


Handicaps 7 & 8 in Storm Brian

WGCSC beat Storm Brian.

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 be 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 Katherine Woods (RS Q’ba) also showed us the way to handle the alternating light wind and severe gusts with a third overall 3rd in the first race. 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 having spectacular planning but 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.

Annual Dinner 2017

14 October 2017   WGCSC Annual Dinner

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)

Commodores Cup 2017 - 14 Oct 2017

14 October 2017  - 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.

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.

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


Testing Loading Google Photos to website.

Photo from Google Photos



We make no excuse for reporting Annabel Cattermole's and Bryony Bennett-Lloyd's continued success, this time in the 2012 World Championships and Ladies World Championships in Austria. They ended up 23rd out of 71 and 3rd GBR boat in the Ladies Gold Competition. They were lying 18th and 2nd GBR boat going into the final day, but they had one more race and most of the GBR boats struggled with the conditions, light and shifting winds. Anyway, they've come back really really pleased having had a great time.  We give them our warmest congratulations.



Club member Annabel Cattermole , with her crew Bryony Bennett-Lloyd, competed in the French National Championships, late July. They had a brilliant series, finishing first in the silver fleet, and 46th out of 90 overall. Awesome sailing. Well done Annabel.

See them in action and being presented with their cup here.


Photograph shows Paul at Hunts SC Open and he's off to the Nationals at Northamton (8-11 August).  We wish him all the best!

See larger version of this photograph here. (Photo ©Colin Hall, Yachts and Yachting)

Punchbowl 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 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.

A Little Miracle


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 … it was pleasing to see junior Tom Etherton growing in confidence, 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 to the best of his ability 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.

To the manner born

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.  

It augurs well

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 comes 8th & 8th

Nigel beaten into 2nd place

Victory Smiles

Can you see the smile on Charles' face?