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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

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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

AGM REPORT:  A full report on our recent AGM from Val Newton...........Read it here

SATURDAY MORNING 15th MARCH AND ANOTHER BREEZY SATURDAY!    Some great pics from Tony Lyall .  See them 



Yes! The Lake was too big to sail on, yet the Slow Fleet had a great victory!.........Read more 


Tony offers a fascinating international schedule of events ..........INTERESTED OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE?  .....Read more 



Our Annual Christmas Meeting when we celebrate in Seasonal Dress!!!!!....But there were a few capsizes!!..........Read more


A real celebratory Commodore's Cup race in the morning with our Anniversary Dinner and Prize Giving in the evening....Read all about it.

Punchbowl Trophy 21st September:  The Punchbowl trophy race is a long team pursuit race, where normally 2 crews swap over every one or two laps..........Read more

Pauline Wins Silver at the Challenger National Championships:  Pauline Shaw, our intrepid Sailability Welly, has brought back a Silver Cup.........Read more

Alastair Luxford is a Kestrel National Champion!  Alastair sailed to victory at the Kestrel National Championships at Stone Sailing Club on 28th July.........Read more

A Weekend on Barton Broad:  The August Bank Holiday Weekend has become synonymous with a camping weekend at Barton Turf Adventure Centre.  ..........Read more

40th Anniversary Canal Cruise on "The Pride of the Lee" through the Lee Valley Park.  ............Read more

Stewartby Away-Day 27 July 2013: Peter Thornley writes:  On 27 July the club was invited to sail at Stewartby for what is now a traditional inter-club event, with free sailing on the large Stewartby lake.......Read more

Report on Little Paxton 13/14 July 24hr Race: We entered a Youth team and a Supernova team, captained by Matt Cory and David Lambert respectively. Our Teams performed very well........Read more

Annabel does it!!  World Champion !! (From Charles Adams...)  Great news – they won the Ladies 420 Worlds........Read more

2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship  Limassol - Cyprus:   Annabel and Bryony have achieved a very creditable 12th out of 27 entrants in the Girls 420 Championships.......Read more


Report on the AGM held on 30 March 2014

A full report on our recent AGM from Val Newton with links to the Commodore's Report and a full list of Trophy Winners can be found here




Some great pics from Tony Lyall on another breezy Saturday .....a prize for anyone recognising the sailor using the personal tea-bagging  technique!   Answers on a postcard, please. 
(Prize: an opportunity to experience a capsize. Other racers on the day are not allowed to enter.)


Yes! The Lake was too big to sail on, yet the Slow Fleet had a great victory!

Stanborough Lake - too large for sailing!

Would you believe it?!!!  Finesse declared the Lake too large after recent prolonged rainfall in the area.  The river level overflowed into the lake and water levels rose well above all the walk ways, the angling stations and some of the pathway between river and lake.  There was no launching area in the lagoon with the water well up the ramp to the boat storage area.   Finesse considered the conditions were unsafe for boat launching and that boats could get damaged by striking underwater obstacles like fishing stations. 

The photographs shown here were taken after the water had fallen 8 inches or more (about 20 cm for our younger members!) from its peak - note the debris on the ramp to the storage park. 

Welly Challenge - Resounding Victory for Slow Fleet and £250 for Charity

There was a great turnout for this year's Welly Challenge held at the Mead Hall, Wheathampstead on February 8th.  Sailing had been cancelled by Finesse earlier in the day because of flooding at Stanborough Lake, and sailors were eager for some competition.  

For the competitions, Roger split the group into two teams; The Slow Team and The Fast Team, The Slow Fleet team got off to a good start and never looked back, racing to a resounding victory in spite of a mid-evening rally by the Fast Fleet. The theme of the evening was the club's 40th Anniversary and everyone had been invited to wear something red.  Host Roger Morse, went round the room highlighting the various items of clothing which ranged from socks to complete outfits, as worn by the Hales.  The evening's entertainment included brain teaser quizzes and a fun challenge from Carol Brown, who invited participants to hold a pencil with both hands and change its position in a certain way without removing either hand.  A line-up of around 12 sailors struggled to solve the seemingly simple task but it was youth team captain, Matt Cory, who finally cracked it.   Roger and Peter presented the "Rudderless Competition" (a sort of "Pointless" exercise with Peter taking on the role of Richard!)


The evening raffle raised a total of £250 which will be donated towards Leukaemia Research.  


Tony Lyall has contacted us looking for a Crew for his Flying Dutchman. He writes:

WANTED! Flying Dutchman Crew

As the 2013 season draws to an end so possibly is Colin’s tenure at the front end of the ‘ship’. his current circumstances mean he is unsure if he can make the commitment any longer and so I find myself on a mission to find a new crew for next year. 

My plans include doing regattas in Germany, Holland, Spain & Italy in the build up to the 2014 World Championships at Largs in July & then just 6 months later off to Sydney for the 2015 World Championships. 

I’m looking for someone who has ‘bags’ of experience crewing a high performance trapeze dinghy preferably with a symmetrical spinnaker. Ideally they should be 180 – 195 cm tall and weigh something in the range 85 to 100kg.

If you know of anyone who may be interested I would be grateful if you could get in touch via . 

Thank You

40th Anniversary Christmas Pud Regatta 21 December 2013

It was great to see so many Wellys, past and present, turn up for the end of year event, including the Forsdikes in force (John & Janet, Ian + children Ella and Owen), Idris Wurie (now 6ft. 3in. tall!), Meryl & David after their traumatic year of illness, and Brian Cardinal, now walking after his dramatic knee injury at the lake.  To everyone's amazement, Cheryl Luxford also put in an appearance, having been discharged from hospital on Thursday.  She was very tired but delighted to be there.



The sailing took place in rainy, miserable conditions and there were a number of capsizes.  Neither race was fully completed but, in the end, the fast fleet winner was Peter Edel, with Julian Gunnell 2nd, and the slow fleet winner was Phil Walter, with Graham Hunt 2nd.  Tony Hale got a special mention for managing to continue sailing with a boat full of water!
After the sailing, there was mulled wine and mince pies, and everyone was given a miniature Christmas pud knitted by Marjorie Adams(see pic). She made 40 in all to mark the 40th anniversary.  Thanks Marjorie, they're delightful and made the occasion extra special. (For those lucky enough to have one, you can turn them into a Christmas tree decoration after eating the chocolate by just popping cotton wool inside and attaching a thread).

Thanks to OOD Tim Hogan and his assistant Ian Stringer, and Rescue Driver Tony Lyall and his assistant David Brown.

Punchbowl Trophy
Peter Thornley writes:  Saturday 21 September arrived with no wind, and matters hardly improved for the racing. This situation seems to occur frequently, with 2 races being cancelled in recent years. Perhaps it's to do with the Equinox, and we need to make a sacrifice to the Wind God.


The Punchbowl trophy race is a long team pursuit race, where normally 2 crews swap over every one or two laps. There were 5 teams. Father and Offspring teams - the Campbells and the Walters; the Ancient Mariners Cardinal and Thornley, the Morse and Bull Team (who had so much to talk about that they both stayed in the boat all the time!), and a 3 man team of Lambert, Edel and Higgins.

OOD Ray Wilson set a simple course from the beach to mark 5, then a beat to 6, and return to the beach every lap to change over.

As usual, the Walters set off quickly and for over an hour looked untouchable, staying a half lap ahead of everyone else. Then the Supernova of the Lambert team slowly reeled them in and passed them, and in the end were comfortable and worthy winners. The Walters came second, and the Ancient Mariners third. Daniel Higgins, sailing a Supernova for the very first time, was the star of the show, being probably the fastest of his team.


Many thanks to Ray Wilson, Ian Stringer, Tim Hogan and Peter Davies for being on duty, and also many thanks to Marjorie Adams for the hot punch, and Charles Adams for taking lots of photos (which we will see in due course).  Pete.

Pauline wins Silver at the Challenger National Championships

Pauline Shaw, our intrepid Sailability Welly, has brought back a Silver Cup from the Challenger National Championships at Rutland.  

After sailing eight tough races back-to-back over the weekend of 20/22 September, she came 2nd in the Silver Fleet and was presented with her trophy by Andrew Hunter, Chairman of Rutland Sailability.  Pauline, who has MS, competed against 22 other disabled sailors, some from as far afield as Hungary and Scotland. Her best placing was in the seventh race where she came in 6th.  Conditions for the whole event were just about perfect, ending on a high note on the Sunday with wall-to-wall blue skies and sunshine, with a good breeze to keep things interesting.  

Afterward, Pauline said she was very pleased, because her success meant she “was back” and fully recovered after breaking her hip the Christmas before last.

Alastair Luxford: Kestrel National Champion!
Alastair, and his helm Liam Pike, sailed to victory at the Kestrel National Championships at Stone Sailing Club on 28th July.   They competed in Granny Apple, the boat previously owned and campaigned by WGCSC's Mike Smith.  Alastair had previously crewed for Mike from the age of 14 until he went off to University,  and the pair had competed in Kestrel Nationals from 1981 to 2009.  In appreciation of this, Alastair's first act after becoming National Champion 2013 was to have a plaque made for his mentor which read: "Thanks for helping me get my own wings.  Sorry we couldn't do it together".  Mike and his wife Sylvia (see pic) were very touched.    


A Weekend on Barton Broad

The August Bank Holiday Weekend has become synonymous with a camping weekend at Barton Turf Adventure Centre run by Simon and Sheila Fishwick to enjoy the sailing and other activities in the area,  It also coincides with the Norfolk Punt Club Regatta when a broad spectrum of sailing craft participate in the open race meeting run over the 3 days.  This year 10 club members went along - Roger and Sybil, Stan and Evelyn Grace with granddaughter Sam. Richard, Mary and Dan Higgins, Tim Hogan and David Brown.  Everyone was kept well supplied with energy from Sheila's full English breakfasts, buffet lunches and dinners of roast pork on the Saturday and a barbeque organised by Simon on the Sunday. Apart from rain overnight on the Friday night and a damp and misty start to Saturday, the weather was excellent with a force 2 or 3 breeze most of the weekend with no serious gusts. 


The sailing was excellent and together with the sight of the large sailing cruisers with their gaff rigs sailing majestically around the broads made for a memorable experience.There was also opportunity to take out some of the Adventure Centre's boats - Toppers, Lasers, Wayfarers, power boats, canoes and others.  Sam spent some hours in a Topper. Stan and David took out a Wayfarer on Sunday morning. Stan had brought his 3-person canoe fitted with an electric outboard motor (Cheating? What?) and he took David and Tim on an 8 mile return journey along some of the dykes which feed Barton Broad.

Above: The Higgins family arrive in their classic VW Caravelle 4X4 with Dan's Laser in tow; Sam departs the moorings for a tow down the dyke to the broad; one of the large cruisers at speed.

An excellent weekend with something for everyone to enjoy!

Stewartby Away Day 27 July 2013

Peter Thornley writes:  On 27 July the club was invited to sail at Stewartby for what is now a traditional inter-club event, with free sailing on the large Stewartby lake.

Perhaps because this year it was in July, instead of September as previous years, and following on so soon after the 24 hour race at Paxton Lakes, the attendance was a bit down on previous years. There were 10 sailors from Welwyn, and 3 supporters. In total there were 22 boats, so quite a busy start line. Shaun, Julian, Annette, Phil, and Richard all took their own boats, and Peter (me!), Charles, and Sheila all borrowed boats from Stewartby. Val and Maureen crewed for Sheila in  a Bahia and Charles struggled with a Feva. Both boats were new experiences for  the helms. Peter (me!) sailed an old Laser.


The conditions were sunny and for the first race very fitful and light winds. The second race was much better, with a decent force 2 for most of the time.  
The course was a simple triangle. The first race started on a very light run, and the second race started with a late shift to a strong port bias. In both races, those who got the start right benefited strongly.

Annette was our star turn getting a first and third to end up second overall. Shaun must be a strong candidate for the  'flash in the pan' trophy, getting second in the second race, beating Annette possibly for the first time ever! He was 6th overall.  Peter got 2 very good starts to get 2 fifth places, and 5th overall, (and was first normal laser). 
Julian was the next WGC helm in tenth place.

So once again Stewartby beat WGC, by 23 points to 34, counting the first 5 places.  
Many thanks to Stewartby Sailing Section for their warm hospitality, and generous loan of 3 boats, and thank you to all who went from WGCSC. 

Report on Little Paxton 13/14 July 24hr Race

Conditions were hot and sunny, with light and fitful winds: in fact so light the race was stopped overnight as every one ground to a halt. Lots of weed added to the problems. There were 7 teams in total, 4 senior and 3 junior teams.

The Super Nova Team
We entered a Youth team and a Supernova team, captained by Matt Cory and David Lambert respectively. Our Teams performed very well, both coming second in their class.

Despite the conditions being much more suited to the very experienced British Moth team from Hunts Sailing club, our Supernova team, captained by Dave Lambert, put on a good performance being only 1 lap behind the Moth on corrected time to finish second.

The team (left to right) consisted of Patrick Rohart, Dave Lambert, Pete Edel, Chris Clarke and Dave Campbell.

Matt Cory worked hard to pull together our Youth Team and it did very well despite having the handicap of sailing an RS Feva, not known for its light weather performance. 

The Junior Team

Matt writes….

“We arrived at Paxton with a  relatively inexperienced but never the less determined and excited team hoping to reclaim our title as Junior Winners. The team consisted of Jim Cory, Abigail Hall, Sammi Lewis, Natalie Andrew, Caitlin Andrew, Phill Clarke, Milly McAlister, Samuel McAlister, Nash Gabbey and myself.

“In the first couple of hours, we struggled to get around the weed as everyone at one or another point got stuck. But after a couple of hours, we got the hang of it and overtook the Cambridgeshire scouts in the Laser Pico and started to make ground on the RS Vision from Paxton. The wind only deteriorated however, and the race was postponed from 7:30 until 7:00 leaving us a very hard task of regaining our 5 laps on the Vision. 

“The whole team gave heart and soul to regain those laps with some excellent sailing, from those getting up at 6:30 to sail to those sitting on the lake trying to make the most of the wind available, The team’s efforts were rewarded managing to gain 3 laps on our opposition in the Vision (a boat with much larger sails). Despite a huge team effort, we achieved 6th place overall and 2nd placed Junior. I am very pleased with our efforts and am sure with more experience in the racing world, we will get our Plate back next year!”

Well done to both teams, and a big thank you to all the supporters who helped with the duties.


ABOVE:  The dreaded weed gets a grip of Abigail and her crew...but not for long!...... 
and Chris Clarke looks for some wind or is he on his knees seeking divine intervention??!!

Annabel does it !!  World Champion !!

From Charles Adams...

Great news – they won the Ladies 420 Worlds...
“A thrilling final day of racing at the 2013 420 World and Ladies World Championships in Valencia, Spain ended today with Spain's Xavier Antich/Pedro Terrones winning the 420 World Championship title and Great Britain's Annabel Cattermole/Bryony Bennett-Lloyd sealing victory in the 420 Ladies World Championship.”
Read all about it and Annabel's reactions here or see the original at ...

2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship  Limassol - Cyprus

Annabel and Bryony have achieved a very creditable 12th out of 27 entrants in the Girls 420 Championships.  A fuller report will appear in due course. 

40th Anniversary Canal Cruise 

What fun! Thanks to Charles and Marjorie for organising our 40th Anniversary Welly Canal Cruise on "The Pride of the Lee" through the Lee Valley Park on Wednesday 21st August.  There were 19 on board but unfortunately, Richard and Mary Higgins didn't make it to the boat by departure time and we had to leave without them. Our sedate trip took us through a couple of locks, and we were able to enjoy the local wildlife including ducks, coots, rowers and garden gnomes.  


The undoubted highlight was our fish and chip supper which was delivered direct to the boat and served at long tables either side of the cabin.  The boat was festooned with 40th Anniversary red balloons and many sailors wore red in honour of the occasion.  A good time was had by all.



Just a reminder that you need to set up the buoys around the lake on Saturday mornings.  This means you need to arrive in time to allow for this extra activity!  
You have been warned!!!!  (And DO remember that the buoys are now kept beside the Race Hut!)

Notes for Running Races; Sailing Instructions; Publications and more

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