Grafham Youth League 2016
The sailors were faced with a gentle force 2 breeze, but significant choppiness across the vast expanse of water at Grafham. There were 38 competitors on the day with Chandler Stamford (Laser Radial), Kirk Stamford and Ted Pepper (Toppers) representing Ely.
The races started with a rolling 3 minute countdown for the three flights of dinghies starting.
The first race saw Kirk and Ted both have an equally good start as the most windward boats at the committee boat end of the line, meaning they had clear wind and were quickest up the beat to the windward mark. Kirk and Ted maintained their positions in the fleet. Chandler was up against a large number of Lasers at the start but was just as well placed and was able to tack off and sail clear of the other boats on the other side of the course. This meant he was the first Laser Radial around the windward mark only behind two full rigs. In the end, the Ely sailors were well clear of their fleets and finished in good positions. Kirk was fifth overall, with Chandler 8th and Ted 13th.
After a delicious lunch with great variety served by Grafham, the sailors once again set off for the start line. Kirk had an exact replica of his first start but Ted was just below him on the start by two boats meaning he had to face dirty wind on the beat. Chandler had a bad start but made up for it by sailing across the back of the fleet and tacking into clear air resulting in him rounding the first mark ahead of all the Radials like before. However, this race was much closer and he had good competition from Harry Moffatt who he ultimately beat, despite having to do a penalty for a collision. Kirk and Ted were flying in the slightly breezier conditions and lapped the Optimists by some distance. The final positions in this race were a 6th for Kirk, an 8th for Chandler and Ted was 15th.
Finally, the last race was underway after a tough days sailing and Chandler started from the pin end of the line along with the two Laser Full Rigs due to the slight line bias. He kept up with the full rigs and the trio were well clear of the rest of the fleet. Kirk and Ted started well and sailed consistently as with their previous races. Chandler in the Radial was slower than the full rigs downwind and a gap widened on the downwind leg when the rest of the fleet were covering their wind. This meant the gap between Chandler and the rest of the fleet closed up and Harry Moffatt and William Russell were able to catch him. However, after a competitive tussle and exciting race, Chandler managed to overtake Harry Moffatt on the second to last mark rounding, but William Russell was just too far ahead to catch before the finish line. Ultimately, Chandler was 5th, Kirk was 8th and Ted was 14th.
The day was exciting and something new for the Ely sailors who had never sailed at Grafham before. Despite this, they sailed fantastically and competed successfully to represent Ely well. Well done to all competitors who took part and thank you to Grafham for putting on a great day’s racing.