West Lancs Winter Series 5

A chilly but sunny day with a gentle breeze was what met the 12 skippers who turned out at West Lancs YC and after some coffee and a bacon butty they set off for the first of 16 races. There was trouble for Tim Long even before the off with his boat “899” suffering some sort of electrical hissy fit, later found to be a transmitter issue which caused him to use his spare boat for the days racing.

John Brierley took the first race from John Tush and it looked like being a great return from holiday for JB. The places were reversed for race 2 with Tim Long showing no problems with the hastily tuned spare boat taking third spot and Mike Parkington in fourth.

These four skippers spent the majority of the day battling between themselves in a class of their own, however JT didn’t have it all his own way taking only 10 of the sixteen bullets, Tim took 4 and JB took 2 before having a rudder servo failure in race 7 which took him a couple of races to sort.

Lunch was lovely and warming then back out to the racecourse for the second half which saw JT improve along with Mike P and JB and Tim not do quite so well, probably needing a snooze after a big lunch!

The racing was tight all the way through the fleet with Alan Fearnhead and Roy Kissick both taking a second place in one race.

Final reckoning saw the wind drop out and tea and cake was the order of the afternoon. JT took the day with 16 points, Tim took second with 27 followed by JB on 40 and Mike P on 45. Mike scored an incredibly consistent day and apart from JT he had the lowest discard score of the day counting six fourth places. Roger Lincoln took fifth spot with Liz T in sixth.

Congrats to all the skippers that took place, the final event is in 2 weeks time and although JT has wrapped the series up there is still all to play for between JB and Tim Long for second and third spots.

DragonFest is Coming…at last!

DragonFest Web Header 1

Sorry for the delay folks, however there were a few final details that we needed to get sorted before putting the website live. Click the link here to take a look at the DragonFest 2016 website which has all the details on how to enter the event, what to expect and some useful event documents too.

Balne Moor MBC Winter Series


With the 5 Round Series nicely poised, 15 skippers turned out for Round 4 of the BMMBC Winter Series and again it was a 100% DragonForce turnout.

Those travelling from the North reported that less than 10 miles from Askern Lake there was no wind and pouring rain, but at the lake we were greeted by a good westerly breeze, with sporting gusts coming through and no rain. In fact it stayed dry all day and the sun even made a 10 minute cameo appearance during the afternoon.

Paul Rudkin briefed the fleet and racing got under way just after 10am with some skippers on ‘A’ rigs and others on ‘B’.

Chris More started the day by sailing away from the fleet and taking a very clear win, chased down by Jo Sharpe and John Bush. In the second race, Dave Darwell got into his stride and took the bullet and in the third race, rapidly improving Balne Moor skipper John Hinde took the win. John took the fourth race too and then Dave won races five and six.

Jo Sharpe popped up and took the win in race 7, then Dave took another bullet to take us through to the lunch break. A good morning with 4 different winners in 8 races and excellent fare at the from Joanne Moon and her team at Lakeside Cafe as always.

Straight after lunch, with the wind freshening and some of the gusts overpowering even ‘B’ rigs, Dave Darwell took two wins. In the 11th Race, Mick Tonkinson, another rapidly improving skipper who’d been in the hunt all day took a very well deserved win. Races 12 and 13 were won by Joanne, the 14th by Dave Darwell, Joanne again took the 15th and Dave the 16th to finish off an excellent days racing.

So, 6 different winners in a day of 16 very close races, with several other skippers sailing very well and deserving mention. Chris Wright from Ripon sailed well all day, getting 5 second places and never being far from the business end of the fleet, Simon Richardson was also there or there abouts all day with two seconds and four thirds and Jim Haddock had several good finishes, the best of which was a second place in race 3. Chris More sailed very well as always, but was hampered by one or two rig breakages which kept him out of the top 3.

The final results after 16 close races were:

Dave Darwell                21 points

Jo Sharpe                     35 points

Chris Wright                 51 points

Mick Tonkinson            60 points

Simon Richardson        61 points

And the Series couldn’t be closer going into the final round in two weeks time. With one discard the scores are:

Chris More                    9 points

Jo Sharpe                     10 points

Dave Darwell                11 points

John Bush                    16 points

As always, great efforts from Cliff Paskall Jefferies and Paul Rudkin and big thanks to the skippers who are supporting this series and making it so strongly contested and yet friendly very good fun.

Sorry, no photos again, everyone was too busy sailing.

West Lancs Winter Series 4

As Sundays go this one was pretty good on the weather front, very chilly with a light NE breeze which was set to increase throughout the day. A somewhat depleted fleet of 7 DF65’s lined up for the first race including series leader John Tushingham and Tim Long who were absent from the last event having been in Germany at the launch of the new DF95.

Tim was quick out of the blocks and took a bullet in the first race from the ever improving Mike Parkington and the seemingly out of sorts JT with Liz Tushingham, Roger Lincoln, Sue Parkington and Mike Lavender completing the board.

The next race saw Mike P and Tim swap places with Roger L in third and Liz in fourth, JT completed the race in fifth place and seemed to be struggling, however he got a trim on and took races 3, 4 and 5 and looked like he had returned to form but another stutter meant that it was another three races until he took another win, those three races were shared between Tim and Roger with Mike P putting up some consistent scores and Liz posting a couple of good scores too.

After lunch JT didn’t score less than a second and looked to be on for the usual win with Tim trying hard to take the pin end of the start with him up the beat on no less than three occasions giving the fleet a good 10m head start. That said he was able to work back up through the fleet and as the wind increased good trim was key to making those tacks first time and Tim did take three of the afternoon races.

Mike P took a string of seconds and thirds through the afternoon session but in his own words “could have done better” having struggled to nail tacks consistently as the wind increased. Roger, Liz and Sue traded places all afternoon and there were some good battles amongst the smaller than usual fleet. Mike L struggled with the standard sails and setup as the wind increased, however he did finish most of the races in only his first time racing.

So at the end of the day it was almost too close to call however Tim took the top spot from JT by a mere 3 points over 14 races with Mike P in third and still in touch on points.

So JT has been beaten, no mean feat, however all is not quite what it seems here. Whilst Tim did indeed put in a great performance it should be noted that JT sailed a completely box fresh DF65 as supplied with no aftermarket sails, no aftermarket radio and no work done on prepping the boat at all. In the end it was the rig that let him down as the wind increased and he was unable to put as much rig tension on as he would have liked and this meant that he wasn’t able to nail the tacks when he wanted.

So it can be done, you can sail a completely boggo boat and be competitive. Here endeth the lesson and we expect to see John back at the next event with his own GBR 100.


Balne Moor Winter Series

Race Report

Balne Moor MBC Winter Series 7th February 2016

16 skippers were blessed with a good breeze and blue skies at the start of the third round of the BMMBC Winter Series. Two welcome friends and new faces to the series were Martin Hallums from Keighley, returning to DF racing after a significant break and Cathy Wilson for her first DF race this year.

The all Dragon fleet started on a mixture of A and B rigs and the breeze was one of those testing ones, definitely A in the lulls and definitely B in the gusts.

It didn’t take long for the two returning skippers to wash the dust off their boats, the first three bullets going to Martin, Cathy and then Martin again, with Dave Darwell and Chris More never far away. Cathy quietly used the port bias on the start line to great effect, particularly in the morning, clocking up no less than 3 wins before lunch.

In the 4th race it was Chris More’s turn for the win and this set an interesting trend for the day in which, over 15 races, no less than 5 different skippers had bullets, Dave Darwell getting the first of his two wins in the day in the 9th race and Jo Sharpe getting her first of two in the 8th race. And it was close right down the fleet with 4 more skippers having top 3 finishes; Mick Hebden, John Bush, Bert Down and John Goodyear.

After 3 or 4 races, everyone had had either settled for A rig or changed up to it, and there the wind stayed for much of the morning. However the forecast was for it to freshen and freshen it did to the point shortly after the lunch break when B was the only practical choice and even then, several skippers were displaying their rudders down wind, Mr. Darwell giving a particularly well choreographed display

With 15 races completed, Paul Rudkin set about calculating scores just before 3pm and the result was a win for Martin Hallum.

1st        Martin Hallum (Keighley)

2nd        Chris More

3rd        Cathy Wilson

4th        Jo Sharpe

5th        Dave Darwell

6th        Bert Down (one of our very welcome visitors from Ripon SC)

7th        John Bush (struggling manfully on an A rig all day)

8th        John Goodyear (From ROFWAC)

With two more events to go, the Series is now neatly poised with John Tushingam (absent on IOM duties this week) leading the way, chased by Chris More, John Sharman (now on his ‘Grand European Tour’), Jo Sharpe, John Bush, Dave Darwell and John Goodyear.

Once again, huge thanks go to Cliff Jefferies for sterling work as OD (he claims to have the loudest voice in Doncaster – and nobody argues with this claim) and Paul Rudkin slaving over the results after being at the pond at 8am laying buoys (No !! Look at the spelling).

Sorry, no pics this week, everyone was too busy racing !!

The next event will be on 21st February and we’re looking forward to another excellent day of close racing at DN6 0JB with support from our friends around the Northern District clubs.