Graduate Dinghy Association

Chipstead SC Open Meeting 18 June 2017

15 crews entered for the Graduate open meeting at Chipstead Sailing Club on a beautiful Summer’s day, which would have been perfect if there had been a bit more wind. The Graduate fleet welcomed Toby and George Peacock with their newly painted light blue G2727 from Chew Valley SC.
A light south-westerly wind was forecast, with a swing to the East during the day. In the event, the wind was light and patchy but flicked from West to East almost randomly throughout the 3 races which gave the Race Officer, Mick Kostiv, and his team a headache and the crews a challenge.  

After the normal formalities the fleet assembled at the East end of the lake for the first race. There was a reasonable amount of wind prior to the first gun and Race Officer set a biased line which should have favoured the committee boat Northern end of the line.
The wind dropped just before the start. The Southern end of the line had more pressure allowing Roger Cherrill & Sarah-Jane Chritchley (G2962) to take an early lead followed by Bob and Maggie Murrell (G3020) in the middle of the lake, Luke Hagon and Callum Sarsfield (G2931) and Ric Lewis and John Higham (G3008) finding a puff along the North shore.
There was a lot of place changing within the fleet up the first beat but Cherrill / Critchley held on to the lead pursued by Hagon / Sarsfield and Lewis / Higham with the Murrells getting the advantage to round the windward mark in second place. These placing continued for most of the first lap with Peter and Sarah Boulden in their newly acquired Sorcerer (G2910) in the mix.
The wind came and went from various directions and the Murrells managed to overhaul Cherrill / Critchley on the second beat. Alan Warren and Sarah Morris in their new Grad3000 (G3022) and Andrew and Charlotte Hubble (G3000) were making steady progress through the fleet.  At one point the Heron fleet was running with a Westerly fill-in at the same time as the leading Graduates were running towards them in an Easterly.
The Murrells continued to find pressure and pulled away from Cherrill / Critchley who in turn opened a gap to the main fleet. The Murrells took the gun after the Race Officer shortened course followed by Cherrill / Critchley, the Hubbles and Warren / Morris.

A well-earned lunch break saw the wind drop even more and the Race Officer opted for a short figure of eight course for an improved spectator experience at the clubhouse end of the lake for race 2.
With the wind direction nominally Northerly, the fleet split to either end of the line only for a shift in direction to the East at the gun which favoured the committee boat end. Lewis / Higham and Cherrill / Critchley followed by the majority of the fleet had a flyer to the first mark leaving the pin-end starters in their wakes.  The Easterly wind held for the first two legs allowing the leading four boats, Lewis / Higham, Cherrill / Critchley, the Bouldens and Hagon /Sarsfield to maintain their positons closely followed by lady crews of Jane Marshall and Meg Warren in Maggie (G2973) and sisters Catherine and Charlotte Wynn going well in the class boat (G2938).  Warren / Morris were making up ground after their poor pin-end start and then sailed a blinder on the fickle third leg as the wind died in the middle of the lake filling in from the North. The Southern shore route became favourable and Warren / Morris took full advantage to take the lead from the earlier leaders Lewis / Higham with the Hubbles also benefitting from this shift to grab third place. The Murrells threaded their way through some Herons parked on the windward mark to take fourth place.

Race 3 was run over the same short course and, with the light but more constant wind settling to a North-easterly, the fleet got cleanly away. Warren / Morris, the Hubbles and the Murrells all showed early promise with David and Kadriye Lockwood (G3014) in the mix. However, it was the Wynn sisters who took first-mark honours and the led for the second leg only to be overhauled by the Murrells on the third leg. The Murrells went on to take the gun and the meeting whilst the light breeze continued for the remainder of the race allowing Janet Richie and Paul Grace (G3015) to show some form and claim second place, the consistent Lewis / Higham team third place for the race and the meeting and Warren / Morris fourth, good enough to secure second place overall.

Bob Murrell
Graduate 3020