F15 Champ report


(and World Championship Qualifier)

21-22 April 2018

At The Royal Windermere Yacht Club.

In accordance with the terms of their ASBOs the competitors at the FLYING FIFTEEN NORTHERN AREA CHAMPIONSHIP, hosted by The Royal Windermere Yacht Club were all fitted with Trackers; this, in spite of the fact that that their potential for escape was limited by the shores of Windermere. From the point of view of the spectators, watching the action from the comfort of the Club’s Bar, it might have been of added interest if all the other lake craft, Passenger Ferries, rowing boats, canoes, electric Hire Boats, sailing cruisers and motor cruisers etc. had also been fitted with Trackers, because the entertainment value rose as they missed the nets of the patrolling RIBs and found themselves in the middle of the already congested race course.

It is a truth, which, if not universally acknowledged, is at least acknowledged on Windermere, that the reason the 17ft Windermere Class Yachts do not start their races until 2.20 pm., is because, after 150 years’ experience it is known that there is no wind on the Lake until 2.20 pm. To the frustration of the Race Officer and competitors, in order to fit in three races on the Saturday the planned start was at 1.00 pm., and by then, in fitful zephyrs from the South, a course had been laid and the competitors were lolling about as the wind (?) then decided to die to nothing. At 2.10 pm. excitement mounted as a breeze started to gather from the South,… (fortunately for mark layers, in 46m of water, from exactly the same direction as before), and things were about to get going. The Race Officer started a sequence, but unfortunately many competitors had drifted off a long way, presumably to test the range of their Trackers and moments before the start time he postponed again to allow a full gathering to start. A new sequence commenced in building wind and in their mounting enthusiasm the Fleet caused a general recall. Eventually at 2.34 pm. the 1st race got under way.

It was a large fleet of 46 competitors, including 9 boats from the host Club, which got away cleanly from the start at this third attempt and it was a local boat, helmed by sail maker and current Flying 15 World Champion Steve Goacher crewed by Tim Harper, which lead from the start to finish, around an Olympic course of ‘triangles and sausages’. Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett were second and Simon Patterson and Simon Thompson were third, both boats visiting from Draycote Water Sailing Club. Steve Goacher won the second race, this time followed by another sailmaker, Ian Pinnell, with Graham Vials and Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir third. Graham Vials was now getting into his stride and he won the third race from Steve Gaocher and Ian Pinnell. The fleet returned rather late to Bowness Bay and the Club for a well-earned Supper.

Sunday morning dawned much colder, with rain and a forecast of more wind which was to be the exception to prove the rule, and fill-in in the morning for an 11.00 am. start. Steve Bewsher the Race Officer laid the alternative ‘windward leeward’ course and had the satisfaction of seeing, after the start of the first race, the fleet spread out over the whole of the north basin of the lake as they made their way to the windward mark, and then after converging, spreading out again on both gybes as they returned to the twin leeward marks. Graham Vials continued from where he had left off the previous afternoon and won this the fourth race, with Jeremy Davy second and Steve Goacher third. At this stage Goacher was counting two firsts a second and a third and Vials, two firsts a third and a fourth; all to play for, with Vials needing a third win to claim the Championship.

The start of the fifth and final race was delayed by a general recall, which produced a black flag from the Race Officer and was then dealt a big windshift just before the re-start which caused great congestion at the Committee Boat and allowed those seeking clear air at the pin end to sail away. At the first windward mark Vials rounded in 7th place with Goacher in 35th. Shifty wind conditions caused a lot of place changing, and try as he might, Vials having been as high as third and as low as 15th could not get the win he needed, finishing in fourth place and second overall; Goacher picked his way through the fleet finishing the race in 8th place, a result he could discard leaving him overall winner. In third place overall was Jeremy Davy.

At the Prize giving, the Commodore of the RWYC Simon McVey thanked all the competitors for travelling to the Lake District, and on behalf of the Competitors, Steve Goacher thanked the Club and the on-the-water team for the welcome and race management.


1st 4021 Steve Goacher Tim Harper R.W.Y.C.
2nd 4002 Graham Vials Chris Turner DWSC
3rd 3760 Jeremy Davy Martin Huett Draycote Water S.C.
4th 4005 David McKee Mal Hartland Dovestone S.C.
5th 4030 Greg Wells Andrew Jackson HISC
6th 4055 Ian Cadwallader Ellie Deveraux Chew Valley

Other top RWYC results
9th Dave Heron and Chris Ducker
11th Nigel and Graham Tullett
25th Emma and Clare Houlihan ..(1st female Helm and all female Crew)