Big winds throughout the weekend affected the usual large turnout at Datchet Water SC's Winter Warm-up Series.

The weather forecast of strong winds reduced the number of entrants to the second weekend of the Datchet Water SC Winter Warm-up Series on Sunday February 11. Once again the racing started promptly and the rescue team was kept busy throughout. A total of four boats lost their masts.

Laser 2s

A total of seven Laser 2s made it to the start line and had a splashing time in a wind averaging 20 knots writes Mike Clapp.

In the first race of the day (series race three) Matt McCarthy and Jo Dillon led the pack to the finish line. Andrew Kilby and Tamsin Sylvester had some early success but lost out after a couple of capsizes left them in sixth. Andy Kite and Chas Spradberry seemed to be in their element, establishing second place fairly early on. Mike Clapp and Dave Neave had a bad start but managed to use their weight to advantage to get pass Kite and Spradberry on the second beat. From then on it was a close fought battle for second place, which ended up with Clapp and Neave slipping through on the finish line by a matter of inches. John Golbsborough and crew managed to work their way up to fourth with Simon Lomas-Clarke and Sarah Mason in fifth.

Four boats went ashore during the break between races to sort out equipment problems and only one returned to the racecourse in a steadily building wind. This left four boats for a race that seemed to end up being more of a competition to stay upright. Clapp and Neave lost our early with a capsize only 75 metres from the start line. After loosing the use of the spinnaker in a second capsize on the second reach they decided to retire. McCarthy and Dillon looked as though they were going to repeat their success until a spectacular capsize on the first run. They struggled on to finish third. Kite and Spradberry capitalised on this to take first followed by Lomas-Clark and Mason.

RS600 and Contenders

Stuart Jones, in his Contender made the most of the strong wind conditions to record two first places. In the second race he finished nearly five minutes ahead of the next boat to finish from his start.

Several of the RS600s did not make it back from the RS Winter Championship and Prizegiving Ball on Saturday at Draycote Water SC.


In the catamaran fleet, the first race saw nine Hurricane 5.9s, two Dart 18s and one Stealth line-up for an Olympic-type course in a Force 5-6 which later strengthened to Force 7 writes George Wilton. An infectious inability to remain upright seemed to be the order of the day amongst the Hurricane 5.9s with an early start to the 2001 bathing season being apparent. Close and high speed racing was much in evidence with a noticeable degree of tension displayed by most crews on the very fast downwind legs with many cries of get back, let that jib go and worse!

The first race was won by Hamish Leighton and Emma Powell (H5.9, 452) closely followed by Mike Coulson and George Wilton (H5.9, 460) but only after the early stage race leaders Phil Marks and Dan Taylor had retired with gear failure. The leading Dart 18 was sailed by Barry Peters.

The second race saw three H5.9s and one Dart 18 line up for another but longer Olympic-type course in conditions now pushing a steady Force 7. Even these stalwarts insisted on demonstrating their swimming skills as though the earlier examples needed embellishment – one Dart 18 crew was even seen attempting flight but alas came to a wet end. Hamish and Emma convincingly took line honours with Coulson going for a pitchpole on the run in to the line and thus surrendering second place to Mike Rothery in H5.9, 437.