Grafham Water Sailing Club TT : Winter Series
Sunday 3rd March 2024

The fifth and final TT of the Dart 15 Winter Series for 2023/4 was held at Grafham Water on Sunday 3rd March.

The day saw near perfect non-sailing conditions with a frosty start and next to no breeze at all for the 2024 Chris Black Icicle.  However a bunch of enthusiastic & optimistic travellers arrived in good time to prepare themselves for a day afloat with a somewhat diminished local Grafham Water Dart 15 fleet, making on the day attendance 11 boats from 16 entries.  Nigel & Fiona Denchfield along with Grafham Laser sailor Pete Windsor were our race officers for the day ably assisted by the efficient mark laying team supplied by GWSC.  A trapezoidal course was set that also enabled club racing to have a windward/leeward course where all boats converged on mark 4, making for interesting mark rounding.

Race 1 was underway on time @ 11:00 and the Dart 15s enjoyed pole position in the club racing fleet being first off the line.  30 seconds before the actual start M.Aldridge (Grafham) was OCS due to poor race management on his behalf & then sailed around the pin end as the rest of the fleet got away correctly. With the fleet heading to the windward mark the variable & extremely light breeze was generally heading boats to starboard, so early adopters of a port tack seemed to progress slightly less slowly than the others.  First around the windward mark was J.Ball (Marconi) followed by M.Aldridge, R.Gall (Carsington), N.James (Marconi), G.Love (Carsington) & S.Sawford (Rutland).  There were some significant ‘holes’ in the first beat which caused extended moments of stationary sailing for some which was portrayed in the results.  The first reach to mark 2 and run down to the bottom reach saw some jostling of places between M.Aldridge, R.Gall & G.Love as the rest of the fleet was interspersed with the club boats and battling the now even lighter pressure.  The windward mark on lap 2 saw J.Ball continuing to keep a healthy lead over M.Aldridge, G.Love, R.Gall, N.James & S.Sawford which was the finishing order of race 1.

As the already super light breeze was still dropping some sailors called it a day & abandoned prior to race 2, however the race committee carried on with the start sequence in the hope something would build to help the boats around.  The pressure never did really materialise so whilst start 2 got underway, there really was very little moment from the line for some time.  The fleet was spread out and those that started nearest to the committee boat & waited patiently got their reward with race 2 being finished at the windward mark, seeing J.Pearse (Marconi) take the win & followed eventually by G.Love, R.Gall, M.Aldridge & J.Ball.

Paddling ashore or getting a tow was the quickest way in to then gather in the club house for the Chris Black Icicle prize giving & the Dart 15 Winter Series results too.  George Love was victorious receiving the Chris Black Icicle trophy from Judith Black & took away his first ever open meeting win with J.Ball in second place, M.Aldridge in third and R.Gall in fourth, meaning team Carsington took away 50% of the prizes!

The event confirmed the final overall positions for the full Winter Series and prizes were duly awarded as follows:

4th Place – George Love (Carsington)
3rd Place – Jenny Ball (Marconi)
2nd Place – Liam Thom (Shanklin)
1st Place – Jason Clarke (Marconi)

A big thank you to all our host clubs – Stewartby, Rutland, Draycote, Datchet and Grafham for a full Winter Series and many congratulations to Jason for taking his first Series Win.

Our Summer Series commences on 20th/21st April at Marconi on the River Blackwater in Essex.

Report by Mark Aldridge

Rank Class Sail_number Helms_Name Sailing_Club Rating R1 R2 Total Nett
1st Dart 15 2019 George Love Carsington Sailing Club   3.0 2.0 5.0 5.0
2nd Dart 15 2025 Jenny Ball Marconi Sailing Club   1.0 5.0 6.0 6.0
3rd Dart 15 66 Mark Aldridge Grafham Water Sailiing Club   2.0 4.0 6.0 6.0
4th Dart 15 2028 Ray Gall Carsington Sailing Club   4.0 3.0 7.0 7.0
5th Dart 15 2035 Jon Pearse Marconi Sailing Club   7.0 1.0 8.0 8.0
6th Dart 15 2015 Nigel James Marconi Sailing Club   5.0 6.0 11.0 11.0
7th Dart 15 1940 Derek James Draycote Water   10.0 7.0 17.0 17.0
8th Dart 15 2033 Steve Sawford Rutland Water Sailing Club   6.0 17.0 DNC 23.0 23.0
9th Dart 15 2037 Jason Clarke Marconi Sailing Club   8.0 17.0 DNC 25.0 25.0
10th Dart 15 1759 Lee Garton Marconi Sailing Club   9.0 17.0 DNC 26.0 26.0
11th Dart 15 1962 Jacob Aldridge Grafham Water Sailiing Club   11.0 17.0 DNC 28.0 28.0
12th Dart 15 1988 Christophe Clarke Marconi Sailing Club   17.0 DNC 17.0 DNC 34.0 34.0
12th Dart 15 1776 David Clarke Marconi Sailing Club   17.0 DNC 17.0 DNC 34.0 34.0
12th Dart 15 2022 Stuart Snell Grafham Water Sailiing Club   17.0 DNC 17.0 DNC 34.0 34.0
12th Dart 15 1522 Andrew Clarke Grafham Water Sailiing Club   17.0 DNC 17.0 DNC 34.0 34.0
12th Dart 15 1898 Simon Farthing Grafham Water Sailiing Club   17.0 DNC 17.0 DNC 34.0 34.0




Full Series Results available here

Una Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
George Love2019Carsington Sailing ClubUna Rig11
Jenny Ball2025Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig22
Mark Aldridge66Grafham Water Sailing ClubUna Rig33
Ray Gall2028Carsington Sailing ClubUna Rig44
Jon Pearse2035Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig55
Nigel James2015Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig66
Derek James1940Draycote Water Sailing ClubUna Rig77
Steve Sawford2033Rutland Water Sailing ClubUna Rig88
Jason Clarke2037Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig99
Lee Garton1759Marconi Sailing ClubUna Rig1010
Jacob Aldridge1962Grafham Water Sailing ClubUna Rig1111