Early Spring Series Coming to an End & Other News

Sailing News April 2017

Early Spring Handicap Series

Only one week left of the Early Spring Handicap Series and it’s looking very close at the top of the leader-board.  Four boats are in with a chance of winning but only if they turn up on the last day!

Conditions have varied as expected this time of year with winds ranging from very little to gusts in excess of 30 knots and temperatures from bitterly cold to almost tropical last weekend.  One race has been lost because of too much wind.

Gareth Henshaw (DZero) started off with a string of first places and remains at the top of the table with a 4-point advantage but still needs to compete on the last day to qualify.

Just a single point separates the next three boats.  Paul Newman, mounting a late challenge in the Streaker, is in second place but needs some good results on the final day.  Both Gordon Bennell and Jeremy Cooper (currently lying third and fourth) have sailed consistently throughout and are also in with a chance of taking the series.

Paul is the only one who can prevent the DZeros from taking all 3-podium places.  In fact, the DZeros have dominated the series with 5 boats in the top 6!

Spring Regatta (23rd April)

Our Spring Regatta is on Sunday 23rd April and is open to visitors.  There will be 3 races with your best 2 results to count.  First race 11:00hrs.  We plan to give the DZeros a separate start so at least that will give the rest of us a chance!

Please do your best to attend; the more boats the merrier!  It should be a great day.

Spring Morning Handicap Series (starting 30th April)

The week following the regatta sees the start of Spring Morning Handicap Series that comprises 2 back-to-back races each week with the usual start time of 10:30.

Spring Afternoon Personal Handicap Series (starting 30th April)

The afternoon race in both the Spring and Summer Series will be run based on Personal Handicaps.  Hopefully this will make it more interesting (and fun?!) for those newer to sailing while at the same time making it more challenging for those usually at the front of the fleet.  It should also help those with less competitive boats.

Personal handicaps will be based on experience and recent performance and decided before the start of the series.  The winning boat each week may see their handicap reduced!  We’ll see how things go and make adjustments if required.

Please come along and join in especially if you are new to racing.  The emphasis is on fun and if you need advise please ask – there are plenty of “experts” willing to share advice.  Also, if you have a 2-man boat and would like an experienced crew for an afternoon please let one of the committee know and we’ll try and sort something out.

Different Handicap for sailing without a Spinnaker

Spinnaker class boats now have the option to race a series without using a spinnaker and benefit from a different handicap number.  It is hoped that this will encourage a few more boats into racing, as it will:

  • Give a greater choice of boats for people with young families (too small to handle a spinnaker).
  • Help beginners and less confident sailors become more competitive
  • Help those who simply don’t have spinnakers
  • Encourage more 2-man boats

Handicap adjustments will be inline with RYA recommendations and with those in use at other clubs.  Trial numbers for the most popular classes currently sailed at Shotwick are as follows:


Please note that this change is not intended to discourage the use of spinnakers, which can be great fun, but to give members a greater choice of boat.  Please let the sailing secretary know if you would like to take advantage of the adjusted handicaps.

Dave Turtle

Sailing Secretary

Streaker 1926

Tony Forster

As a founder member of the then British Steel Shotton Sailing Club in 1983 I took part in the first beginners sailing course, in an Optimist believe it or not (quite a feat for someone 6' 4" tall!) and then began to help with further courses. My first dinghy was an Enterprise and much sailing in this and coaching by our first RYA Principal, John Swift, resulted in me gaining the RYA Dinghy Instructor award in 1984. In 1985 I joined the committee and over the years moved through the roles of Club Captain, Vice Commodore and then Commodore a position in which I proudly served for about 25 years. During my tenure as Commodore I saw the club become Corus Colors Sailing Club and then starting around 2004 I helped to steer the club towards independence from the Steelworks Sports & Social Club, the formation of the company and charity Shotwick Lake Sailing and the purchase of the lake and buildings. Although I have frequently raced at the club my main interest has been in the development of the club and ,of course, in the training section. In the early years John Swift, Alan Sourbutts and myself managed to get the club recognised as an RYA Training Centre. Then, some years later, on passing my RYA Senior Instructor qualification I was appointed as the RYA Training Principal, a role which I still perform to this day. Over the years I have sailed Toppers, Mirrors, GP14s, Herons, Lasers, Wayfarers, Wanderers and many others and my seafaring has included sailing a Sailfish 18 and a Leisure 17SL which I still own. Over the years I have witnessed massive changes and developments at the club and have cared passionately about its success and future. I have been truly blessed to have been able to serve such a fantastic organisation and to have made so many friends along the way.