Storm Hannah hits Stanborough – 27th April 2019

Mike is the Hero of the Day

This great pic of Mike Caddy slaloming across the finish line was taken by Race Officer Charles Adams. It tells you all you need to know about how conditions deteriorated on the morning of Storm Hannah! Seconds later, Mike was wiped out, but he’d done enough to win the Fast Fleet, and was only 30 seconds behind Annette in the combined fleet result. Definitely the Welly ‘Hero of the Day’.

At the beginning of the morning, the lake looked relatively calm in spite of the BBC forecast of winds gusting up to 46mph. OOD Paul Lohr consulted with the six Welly helms keen to ‘give it a go’ - Dave Lambert, Shaun Smale, Patrick Rohart, Mike Caddy, Annette Walter and Phil Walter - and decided to run a half hour race between two ‘gates’ in the middle of the lake. This resulted in a thrilling and exhausting race, with many capsizes. Shaun Smale was the first to succumb! Sheila Stowe and Simon Hawker were on rescue and had a hectic half hour which fortunately ended without incident. A second race was “not enthusiastically argued for …” said Charles afterwards.

· Is it possible Mike had the edge on everyone because of his go-faster haircut and brand new wetsuit?

· Alex Tonge, Operations Director of GLL, had a chat about the wind with OOD Paul Lohr at the start of the morning. “This’ll give you a clue”, he said as he pointed upwards where a swan was flying sideways!

2019 - STORM ERIK – No problem!

Alan just suvives a Storm Erik gust!

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 (Photos courtesy of Charles Adams)

2017 - Conquering Storm Brian on Stanborough Lake

Copy and pictures by Charles Adams - 21 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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