Gill Enterprise Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club.

Gill Enterprise Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club.
11th and 12th May.  Report by Ann Jackson.

Grafham Water Sailing Club hosted the Enterprise Class for their 2024 Inland Championship, generously sponsored by Gill.  Six races were completed despite the dodgily inaccurate forecast on Sunday morning.  The excellent Race Officer Peter Curtis was overheard to say “if I’d known it was going to be like this, I’d have run a fourth race yesterday”.   The fleet was glad he didn’t though as the majority of people sailing Enterprises these days don’t have the stamina for a fourth race on the first day.

We raced the inner loop of a trapezoid course as we were sharing the weekend with Europes having a National Ranking Event racing on the outer loop.  Luckily for this author Jeremy Stephens sailing with his daughter Becca (Penzance SC) made a few perfunctory notes of the first three races.

Race 1. Ges Brown and Julie Moore (South Caernarvonshire YC) led at the windward mark.  On the second beat Phil and Catriona Bevan (Lyme Regis/Grafham Water SC) overtook him.   However on the third beat Ges regained the lead and Ann Jackson and Alan Skeens (Burghfield SC) came through to second.  On the final run Jer and Becca just pipped Phil and Catriona at the last mark and held a half boat length to finish third.

Race 2.  Ann and Alan led for two laps, Jer and Ges overtook Ann by gybing earlier on the run.  Jer held to win.  Phil caught both Ges and Ann to finish 2nd.  

Race 3.  Phil led from the start, local knowledge finally paying off.  Jer chased him hard, a tacking duel between them had Phil prevailing to take the win.  Jon Woodward and Oliver Mason (South Staffs SC) were third, Ges fourth, Charles Morrish with Daniel Swaffield (St Mary’s Loch SC) fifth.

Back ashore outside in the late afternoon sunshine the fleet yarned and gossiped with a few beers, until dinner and a few more beers.   Overnight it was Jer leading from Phil, Ges and Ann.

With a start time of 10:30 on Sunday in more warm sunshine it wasn’t surprising the fickle wind dropped to nothing over the race area at the Western end of the Water.  After a postponement of an hour and a half, with Peter on the verge of sending both fleets in for an early lunch, a light wind settled from the previously forecast direction.

Race 4.  Ges recalls that Jer led by a country mile.  Phil in second, himself third and Ann in close proximity behind.  At the last mark with two sneaky gybes Ann gained room on them both to finish 2nd, Ges third.  Phil had a poor reach with both Charles and Jon passing him.

Race 5.  With a slightly pin biased very short line and a knot more breeze Jer pushed himself and Ges over the line with a few seconds to go.  Ges knowing he was fully over quickly gybed round to start on Port.  The rest of us stuttered off all waiting for one another to tack.  Jer made a late decision to return and restart as the individual recall flag remained aloft.  Ges was pleased to find himself in the lead at the windward mark, which really wasn’t that surprising as he had made the best start.  Jer worked his way back to fifth in the now very light breeze.  Ann, second again. Phil better in third and Jon fourth.

Race 6.  This last was raced in the best wind of the day, reaching the heady heights of the 8-10 kts earlier forecast for the entire day.  There had to be two goes at the start as everyone unused to this turn of speed arrived a tad early.  Peter raised the U Flag, kind man, but all were clean away the second time.  Ges stormed off into an unassailable lead.   This time, the only time, the right side of the course paid.  Nick Scutt with mad Stefano Bonvini (Middle Nene SC) was almost second to round the windward mark. Not bad for a lifelong crew to his wife Jane (away visiting family in Cornwall).  This author just pipped Nick to the rounding.  Brisk sailing with marginal planing had the fleet round the course in quick time to make up for the slow start of the day.
Ges first, Ann second again again, and Charles, with his best result, third.

Ges and Julie are our Inland Champions this year.  A very well deserved win as Ges has had a long lay off from sailing since the pandemic for various reasons, with just one or two outings in his Enterprise with Julie and some Squibbing over at Abersoch.

We enjoyed the company of two newbies to our fleet.  Andrew Day and John Whiteside from West Oxfordshire SC and Alex Bailey (he told me he has a Europe, he must have entered the wrong class by mistake), with Adam Aziz, a 420 regular, from Bossworth/Draycote SC.

Gill Prizes for first to third of smart Dry Bags and UV Caps were awarded.


Enterprise National Championship at Looe SC is the next big event.
Starting on Sunday 28th July 2024.   
Please get your entry in as soon as possible.