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Gill Flying Fifteen Southern Travellers Series at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Simon Kneller 15 May 03:04 PDT 13-14 May 2023
Gill Flying Fifteen Southern Travellers Series at Grafham Water © Paul Sanwell / OPP

This year's Gill Flying Fifteen Open meeting at Grafham Water SC also served as event two of the 2023 Southern Travellers Series. It was planned as a two-day event, 13-14th May. In the end the weather gods gave us a great day's racing on the Saturday and a flat calm on the Sunday.

Fifteen Fifteens entered, with some sailors having only just returned for the World Championships in Freemantle - good effort Ian Cadwallader, Bill Chard and Josh Preater!

PRO Peter Curtis ran an extra (4th) race on the Saturday which turned out to be an excellent decision. All four races were windward-leeward courses, which made for close, tactical racing in the average 8-10 knots NNE that we got for the day.

Race 1 was taken in fine style by the team from Aldeburgh, Duncan Matthew & John Chalker, with John Hanson & Alistair Stevenson in second and local boys Simon Kneller & Ashley Painter slotting into third spot.

However, results-wise things were about to rapidly change as Flying 15 Johnny-come-lately new boys Ben Cooper & Richard Bundock suddenly got the hang of sailing a Flying 15 and posted three wins in a row. Now, we know Ben and Richard are very experienced sailors, but even so, this was a really impressive performance from sailors unfamiliar with a Flying 15, securing them the win overall.

The Aldeburgh team picked up two 2nd places after their win, to secure 2nd overall. That left the rest of the fleet squabbling for 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Grafham regulars Geoff Floyd & Colin Gilbert had a sensational first beat in races 3 and 4, leading round the top mark in both... so far ahead of us I'm not sure which way they took down the run, but anyway they took a great 2nd place in R4. This just showed that all the boats on the water had the pace to do well on the day, but it was critical to get the shifts right on the all-important first beat.

In the end it was as tight as it could be for the 3rd spot with John Hanson & Alistair Stevenson, Ian Cadwallader & Simon Forbes, and Simon Kneller & Ashley Painter all tied on 10 points.

After some mathematical tie breaking, it was John & Alistair in a well-deserved 3rd place overall.

So, well done to Ben & Richard winning the event and taking home the Grafham trophy for the Flying 15 Open - a lovely half hull model of a Flying 15 - don't forget to bring it back next year guys!

After Round 2 of the Southern Travellers, Jeremy Valentine & Andrew Telford from Datchet Water Sailing are leading the series overall.

Huge thanks to the PRO Peter Curtis and the whole team at Grafham who made this such a successful and enjoyable event, with a special mention for Coxswain Andy Taylor for getting all the Fifteens launched and recovered so efficiently - we do hope to welcome even more 15ers back to Grafham next year.

The event was sponsored by Gill who supplied some excellent prizes.

Finally, I must add a note of personal thanks to Tim O'Brien for letting us use his FF4084 for the event.

More photographs of the event can be viewed at the Grafham Water SC Photo Gallery.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st3904Richard BundockBen CooperGrafham Water Sailing Club‑61113
2nd3844Duncan MatthewJohn ChalkerAldeburgh122‑55
3rd4094John HansonAlistairRYA244‑710
4th4055Ian CadwalladerSimon ForbesChew Valley Lake43‑7310
5th4084Simon KnellerAshley PainterGrafham Water Sailing Club3‑73410
6th4042Geoff FloydColin GilbertGrafham Water Sailing Club‑966214
7th3794David PhilpottPippa ChapmanGrafham Water Sailing Club5‑95919
8th4069Bill ChardJosh PreaterChew Valley Lake75‑8820
9th3726Duncan GrindleyJon MortimerGrafham Water Sailing Club88‑11622
10th3969Peter CardStephen CardCowes Corinthian‑121091029
11th4011Jeremy ValentineAndrew TelfordDatchet Water Sailing Club101113(DNF)34
12th3873Neil BartholomeyJohn MontemayorMiddle Nene Sailing Club11‑12121134
13th3536Angus ScottPhilip SnowdonDatchet Water Sailing Club‑1313101235
14th4039Sue RhodesAndy RhodesGrafham Water Sailing Club‑1414141341
15th4012Jonathan KnightTrish KnightGrafham Water Sailing Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNC48

Grafham Water SC is based in Cambridgeshire and offers some of the best inland sailing in the country. The club is open to all classes of boat with strong fleets of Dart 15s, A-class catamarans, Lasers/ILCAs, Solos, D-Zeros, RSs and Flying Fifteens. For more information about the club please visit the website at or call the club on 01480 810478. Follow the club on Facebook at

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