National Match Racing Championship Qualifier 2 at Queen Mary Sailing Club

Eight teams gathered last weekend at Queen Mary Sailing Club for the final chance to secure a place at this year’s National Match Racing Championship Grand Final.

Day one was a very light wind day with significant shifts keeping the sailors on their toes as it was all too easy to see a comfortable lead fade away very quickly.

The teams fought their way through a single round robin and while Blowers was the clear leader having lost only one race all day to George Haynes, the rest of the fleet was tightly compressed with Miles Jones and Sophie Otter tied on four wins a piece. Four teams, Ali Morrish, George Haynes, Sophie Taylor and Josh Adams followed just behind all tied on three wins.

With the lack of wind making completing a second round robin impossible, the race team concluded racing early to work out the best plan for day two racing.

As the battle for the final semi-final spot was so tight, it was decided to amend the schedule so that the top two teams of Blowers and Jones would carry on to the Semi-finals but that that remaining six teams would compete again in a repechage with the top two taking the remaining spots in the semis.

After a poor showing in the first day’s light winds it was Niall Myant who was the star of the show in the big breeze winning all five of his races. George Haynes regained his usual form in the stronger winds and completed the line-up in the semis.

The first attempt to get the semi-finals under way was thwarted when a gust of over thirty knots streaked across the race course forcing Alexis Dogilewski, Principle Race Officer, to abandon racing to avoid any damage to the boats or sailors.

It wasn’t long before the breeze had settled and racing was under way. With time pressure becoming a factor the semis were shortened down to the first to win just one point so Blowers would race Haynes and Jones would face Myant in a sudden death shoot out.

Blowers lead Haynes around the race track to secure his place in the final. In the other match Myant and Jones had an even start but Myant had a slight advantage by the first mark. Jones thought he could sneak through inside at the top of the course but the umpires disagreed leaving Jones having to take a penalty straight away to reset the order.

Undeterred Jones hunted Myant down again on the run and before long was pushing him away from the leeward mark. An attempt to keep Myant from gybing left Jones with a penalty for overlapping too close. The race was nip and tuck all the way around the race track and on the final run Jones was again pushing Myant away from the finish line and indeed they sailed beyond the line. Jones tacked around to take his penalty and try and lead Myant back to the finish but did not sail low enough and so the penalty remained and Myant crossed the line ahead to take his place in the final.

While the knock out stages were under way a “King of the Hill” was being run for the lower place finishes. A “winner stays on” format where eighth races seventh with the winner racing sixth, and so on, saw Sophie Taylor climb from seventh to fifth but it was match racing newcomer, Josh Adams, who held off her charge to take fifth overall and with it a place in the Grand Final for highest placed, not already qualified, skipper.

The petit final saw George Haynes taking third place ahead of Miles Jones in a one race playoff and the finals saw Blowers secure the win with a fairly convincing 2-0 victory over Myant.

After racing Blowers said “National Match Racing Championship Qualifier 2 was great for us to get our first event win on the circuit, the event was full of tricky conditions and matches throughout the weekend in varying breeze. Automatic qualification to the semi-finals after a great round robin meant we were confident heading into the next round. Where we then were able to be consistent to take straight wins in both the semi-final and the final. We will be back at Queen Mary Sailing Club for the Grand Final in four weeks, where will hope to have a similar performance at the season finale against the country’s highest performers.”

Thanks as always go to our sponsors, Moody Decking & Services, Marlow Ropes and Harken.

Next up is the National Match Racing Championship Grand Final on the 15-17 November where the winners of each event this year will fight it out to be crowned UK National Match Racing Champion.

by Richard Aspland

Cherub Autumn Blast at Queen Mary Sailing Club

Boats started arriving on Saturday to a slightly damp and grey Queen Mary and a gentle 8 knots of breeze, EJ with Emma and Jimmy, Poppy with Jamie and Georgie, King Tubby with Martyn and Oliver, and The Spanish Inquisition.

We launched for a pleasant afternoon’s sailing, initially just familiarising ourselves with our boats again before tracking down a couple of buoys on the lake and doing a very short windward leeward where we had to do a minimum of two tacks and gybes. Needless to say our boat handling is now greatly improved.

After a few of these we did a little bit of crew swapping between boats and helms swapping with crews to give experiences of different boats and to help crews realise just what helms have to go through – it’s not all just sitting there and pointing the boat in the right direction!

We all came off the water very happy, bid farewell to The Spanish Inquisition, before heading off for a curry and a few drinks.

On Sunday we arrived down at the club to find that whilst it was still raining the wind had increased to a fairly steady 28 knots with gusts exceeding that. Usagi with Andy and Jill and Ronin with Julian and Helen joined us. We all stood bravely on the shore whilst we watched Usagi launch and decided that actually we would rather do some boat tinkering and drink tea instead.

by Martyn Denchfield


The 11th edition of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series kicks off in a few weeks’ time, starting with the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash on 23 & 24 November 2019. The same seven events are back, along with a new one, the King George Gallop on 26 January 2020.

The Seldén SailJuice Winter Series aims to appeal to as many classes as possible, with typically almost 100 different types of boat represented across the season, from fleets as diverse as the traditional Norfolk Punt and National 18 to emerging classes like the Hadron H2 singlehander.

Some fleets choose to use some of the events as their class championships, such as the RS Aero which typically brings up to 50 boats for the concluding event of the season, the Oxford Blue, which has served as the Aero Winter Championships. This November’s Draycote Dash, for example, will also be the Inland Nationals for the Hadron H2 fleet.

Over the years the Great Lakes Handicap Group has set its own variation of the standard RYA PY numbers to produce very close competition for pretty much every kind of boat that takes part. The more a class takes part in the Winter Series, the more accurately the Great Lakes handicap can be established for that type of boat. However, nothing is ever set in stone, and the Great Lakes is one of the most dynamic handicapping systems in the world.

Seldén Mast Ltd is back as title sponsor for the second year. Steve Norbury, Seldén’s managing director, commented: “We produce masts for the vast majority of dinghy classes in the UK, so it’s great to be able to support this series which reaches out to all forms of small-boat racing across the country.”

Previous title sponsor, GJW Direct, stays on as media sponsor – helping fund the tireless work of Tim Olin, the photographer who drives up and down the M1 to cover the events and provide some of the most colourful images from the UK dinghy racing scene, bringing light and colour to the gloomiest months of the British year.

The Seldén SailJuice Winter Series offers prizes for a number of special categories, including Youth, Women and Families. With organised youth racing in the UK focused on singlehanded or youth sailing with youth in doublehanders, the Winter Series offers a place for parents and their children to compete side by side. Good examples of this are the regular competitors like RS800 father and daughter duo, Ralph and Sophie Singleton, and father and son team in the Norfolk Punt, Colin and Oly Murray.

Among the special category rankings and prizes are….

    • Sailing Chandlery top class
    • Speed Six Speed Challenge
    • Trident Top club
    • GJW Direct best improver
    • Top Lady
    • Top Youths


All events in the Series are being GPS tracked by SailRacer and also serve as the early season rounds of the 2020 edition of the Great British Sailing Challenge (GBSC)

If previous seasons are to go by, there will be approximately one thousand competitors taking part in up to a hundred different types of boat, ranging in speed from the RS Tera up to the International Moth. The willingness of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series and the Great Lakes Group – who run the handicap numbers for the Series – to accommodate virtually any kind of sailing dinghy into the competition is very attractive particularly to those fleets that struggle to establish a number on the RYA PY system. Equally, the Series has also proven popular with big fleets like the RS Aero who have the strength in numbers to run their separate events, yet still enjoy competing alongside other types of dinghy in mixed handicap competition.

For the overall winner, they will be awarded the perpetual trophy created in 2018 by Seldén, and which will be presented at the prizegiving at the Dinghy Show. The prizegiving has become the biggest opening event of the Dinghy Show weekend, and attracted almost 200 people to the Saturday morning ceremony. Last year’s popular winners were Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge in their 2000 doublehander, but will they be the first team ever to successfully defend their Winter crown?

Entry for the events is now open at



The following events constitute the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2019/20):


  • Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club 23 & 24 November 2019
  • Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club  – 7 & 8 December 2019
  • Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club – 27 December 2019
  • Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club  – 29 December 2019
  • Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club  – 11 January 2020
  • King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club – 26 January 2020
  • John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club – 1 & 2 February 2020
  • Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club – 15 February 2020


You can find out more about the Series here:

Further Information for media:


Current and previous winners of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series

2018/19 Simon Horsfield & Katie Burridge (2000)

2017/18 Alistair Goodwin (Laser)

2016/17 Matt Mee & Emma Norris (RS200)

2015/16 Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe (GP14)

2014/15 Nick Craig & various crews (Merlin Rocket)

2013/14 Michael Sims (Solo)

2012/13 Tom Gillard & Simon Potts (Fireball)

2011/12 Peter Gray & Rachael Rhodes (Scorpion)

2010/11 Andy Peake (Musto Skiff)

2009/10 Olly Turner & Richard Whitworth (Merlin Rocket) is the ‘how to sail and race faster’ website, with hundreds of articles and exclusive interviews with National, World and Olympic Champions. Professional sailing journalist and editor of, Andy Rice, came up with the concept of the SailJuice Winter Series (originally known as the SailJuice Global Warm-Up) as a way of increasing participation levels in dinghy racing during the off-season in the UK.

SailRacer manages event websites and processes online entry for major National, International, Youth and training events, providing online scoring, analysis and advanced sports presentation including GPS tracking and live video.

Seldén Mast Ltd is the world leader in dinghy spars. More races are won by Seldén Spars than any other brand. Dinghy spars are made using our unique XPS aluminium with CNC cut tapers, automated welding and heat treating resulting in the highest quality and most consistent dinghy spars available. Seldén produces about 400 carbon masts per year for boats including high performance dinghies and race yachts using state of the art Mandrel Filament Moulding Technology.



Notice Of Queen Mary Sailing Club A.G.M 2019

Dear Members,

The Annual General Meeting of Queen Mary Sailing Club will take place in the Clubhouse on Sunday 13th October 2019 at 2pm and last about 45 minutes.

It will take place downstairs in the large training room and we do hope as many Club Members as possible will be able to attend. This is an important date in the Club diary and is your chance to hear from your Commodore Richard Steele and Treasurer David Bithell as to how the year has gone and what plans there are for the coming year. It is also an opportunity to ask any questions of your Council.

The meeting will be followed by tea, coffee and cakes.

We hope to see you there

Richard Steele

British Keelboat League Final 2019 at Queen Mary Reservior

The finest teams from every corner of the United Kingdom battled it out this weekend at the British Keelboat League 2019 Finals. 88 sailors, making up 22 teams, from 22 different British based club were tearing up the racecourse at Queen Mary Reservoir. Royal Thames Yacht Club hosted the British Keelboat League Finals with their usual professional flair and PRO Keith Sammons and his team absolutely smashed through the races scheduled.

After a busy registration on Friday morning, teams had the opportunity to get out on the water for some training in the supplied RS21’s before they got down to the racing. Conditions were really challenging with the gradient breeze fluctuating between 5 and 25 knots and with the biggest gusts piling down the lake at 35 knots, teams had to be on their toes. Darker clouds were bringing in the punchier breeze, with favoured sides of the beat flicking between laps. Choosing the right mode downwind was essential, with sailors making massive gains by catching gusts or simply soaking down to the mark dependant on the breeze. Consistency was key with Ullswater Yacht Club and The University of Bristol leading overnight. Teams who carried OCS scores or had a pin-down or two with their kites were lower down the field but after 11 races it was very much still all the play for on day 2.

Sailors arrived on Saturday morning to find the gradient breeze consistently higher but with fewer fluctuations and lower top gusts, therefore the feeling amongst the sailors was that it would be a slightly easier day on the water. The breeze stayed between 15-25 knots all day but the gusts were still punchy enough to lay a few unprepared RS21s on their side downwind. Teams worked hard to keep their boat speed up in the changing conditions and hunted for pressure across the course.

After another packed day of racing and 32 races in the bag, sailors quickly piled out of the club to travel into central London for the British Keelboat League Gala Dinner, hosted at the distinguished Royal Thames Yacht Club. Suits and dresses at the ready the teams looked forward to an evening of great food and great chat. Big wipeouts, epic starts, punchy port tack approaches and one team doing so many turns the umpire had arm ache – there were plenty of stories to share.

Glasses of bubbly were handed to teams on arrival at the Royal Thames Yacht Club and Rear Commodore of Sailing, Jennifer Woods from RTYC made a lovely introduction before the teams tucked into some fabulous food. With the drinks flowing and the forecast looking fresh to frightening first thing on Sunday morning, PRO Keith Sammons made the popular decision to postpone racing for an hour on Sunday morning. Cheers from competitors could be heard throughout the club when he shared the news, with many of them taking the opportunity to have a slightly later night than originally planned.

Teams arrived at Queen Mary Reservoir on Sunday morning to another breeze filled racecourse, but with the biggest breeze already blown through early that morning conditions mirrored Saturdays offerings. The Race Committee was absolutely on it and headed out on the water to kick start the final day of racing but some teams in the first flight were not as punctual and they were seen running down to the change over ribs under a lot of pressure to make the start!

Racing under way, it was another day of snakes and ladders, with pressure scattered across the course it was all about keeping boat speed up through the lulls and knowing where the fleet was around you. With crews becoming more confident with handling the RS21s, decision making was starting to get punchier, with close calls whilst ducking and at windward marks. Many teams fell foul of rule 18.3 and red flags were regularly being raised by jurors. Downwind saw teams mixing between kites and two sails dependant on what had been displayed at the committee boat that start. Trying to keep a clear air on your tail whilst two sail sailing and working down low with the gusts when the kites were flying seemed to be getting teams ahead. Eight RS21s rounding the leeward mark within 15 seconds of each other was a common feature, with quick clean drops and tidy exits from the mark being key to allow teams to have options up the second beat.

With 5 races to go, there was no clear winner. It was going to go down to the absolute wire with the top five teams; Royal Thames Yacht Club, University of Bristol Sailing Club, Haversham Sailing Club, Ullswater Yacht Club and Grafham Sailing Club. With the conditions building up from 20knots and the gusts getting more feisty, teams needed to ensure their last couple of races were low risk so that they could post some consistent scores.

With two 4th places and an OCS, Bristol University bowed out gracefully from the top three and they were clinched by Royal Thames Yacht Club who finished the series with a 3rd, 2nd and 1st for fourth place. With a 6th place two races before the close of play, it looked like Ullswater could be knocked out the top three but they finished the series with a first place which bagged them third overall. Nail-biting to the finish, Haversham Sailing Club were still in with a chance to win in the last two races if they posted two first places but sadly they didn’t get close and with Grafham Sailing Club posting a 2nd and a 1st they were untouchable.

“This is the closest final I’ve ever seen in all my time with the British Keelboat League. It went right down to the wire, in some of the toughest conditions we’ve raced in and teams controlled the RS21s in a really confined space. I’m looking forward to seeing the teams return to compete in the league next year” Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Manager.

Royal Thames Yacht Club delivered an eloquent a punctual prize giving, with thanks given to PRO Keith Sammons and his awesome team, the umpires, change over rib drivers, Queen Mary Sailing Club, RS Sailing and all the sponsors involved in the league; A-Plan, GJW Direct, PA Consulting, Kingfisher Yacht Ropes, Epropulsion, MDL Marinas, Hyde Sails, PFK, Bainbridge International, Draper Tools and Rooster.

Special mentions were given to sailors who had earned themselves the title of ‘tool of the day’, they walked away a little red-faced but with a snazzy Draper Tool kit. Ullswater Yacht Club, Haversham Sailing Club and the 2019 Final champions Grafham Sailing Club all came forward to receive their prizes. The young team from Grafham Sailing Club gave a short speech thanking the Royal Thames Yacht Club and all the people who had made the event happen.

Overall Results:

1 Grafham Water Sailing Club
2 Haversham Sailing Club
3 Ullswater Yacht Club
4 Royal Thames Yacht Club
5 University of Bristol Sailing Club
6 Royal Windermere Yacht Club
7 Newcastle University Alumni
8 Royal Corinthian Yacht Club
9 Budworth Sailing Club
10 Bournemouth University Sailing Club
11 Oban Sailing Club
12 Royal Torbay Yacht Club
13 Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club
14 Royal Southern Yacht Club
15 Wessex Sailing Club (Exiles)
16 Lymington Town Sailing Club
17 West Hoe Sailing Club
18 Dundee University Sailing Club
19 Royal Western Yacht Club of England
20 Carsington Sailing Club
21 Royal Lymington Yacht Club
22 GBR Blind Sailing

Check out the full results here.

by Lynn Billowes

British Keelboat League Finals at QM 27th to 29th September

After an unbelievable season of qualifiers, the grand finale of the BKL is now fast approaching. The Royal Thames Yacht Club have set the stage and are ready to welcome the finest sprint keelboat racers from all of the UK. Taking place from the 27th – 29th September, these teams will be battling it out on Queen Mary reservoir, Ashford.

With the stage set and teams filling up the qualifying places, which teams will be ones to watch in the finals?

Securing their place by winning the 2018 edition of the British Keelboat League, it would be tough to bet against the reigning champions of Royal Thames YC, as after an excellent display in Ullswater in the first qualifier of 2019, they are well suited and prepared for the finals weekend. However, getting the better of them in their qualifier was Ullswater Yacht Club skippered by Jono Shelley. Shelley has a strong racing CV managed to maintain a lead of RTYC earlier this year.

Another hot pick for the finals, has to be the youthful Lymington Town SC team. Skippered by Liam Willis, who recently claimed the RS Aero 9 UK nationals title, Willis and his crew are emerging youth talent, whom will be a team to watch at the finals. From the energetic youth to the seasoned pros, Budworth Sailing Club, were dominant on day one of their qualifier at Draycote water sailing club, sailing excellently well in the light airs.

One more team heading into the finals is the 2019 RYA Club of the year, Royal Torbay Yacht Club. Opening up their BKL account with 3 back to back wins on the race course, they were terrific at getting the boat going in medium airs, taking advantage of local knowledge in Plymouth Sound. But a home waters advantage won’t be in their favour in a few weeks time.

So, there are some of the teams to watch, but during the event there will also be lots to enjoy!

The main social events of the weekend will be a hosted at the Royal Thames Yacht Club head office at Knightsbridge, London. Throughout the weekend, racing at QMSC will be available on social media via a fully commentated live stream from the race course, straight to the BKL Facebook page.

Just like each of the qualifying events, teams will be competing in the new fleet of RS21 keelboats. At each qualifier teams have become quickly familiar with how to get the best out of these boats on the short sprint race courses. Each Boat in the fleet has a sponsor who has helped support the management and delivery of the qualifying series throughout the summer. Teams at the finals will also get the chance to meet our sponsor throughout the BKL weekend, a chance for these companies to be appreciated for their vital support this year. Each of the teams will now be very familiar with the ; names of; Kingfisher Yacht Ropes, A-Plan Marine Insurance, MDL Marinas, PA Consulting, GJW Direct, E-Propulsion, Rooster, Bainbridge International, Draper Tools and RS Sailing.

Good luck to everyone sailing!




Low water hazards + September Sailing News

We start with news that the water level has been dropping in recent weeks and we expect this to continue. Please take care when launching and recovering your boats, working as teams to get up and down the bank.

Low water Hazards

There are sailing hazards below the surface especially as the spit extending out into the reservoir is exposed. An island will soon appear on the far side of the lake which is the dumping ground for BRETT aggregate; it is a build up of their waste material over the years.  We will endeavor to find and mark the island as the water goes down and please look at the daily information board for update information.


Well done to everyone travelling to events this Summer and thank you for representing Queen Mary. Hot off the press – Howard and Lou just back from the RS400 Irish Nationals scoring a win in race four, The QM Lasers had a fantastic week at their Nationals in Largs Scotland and we had an exciting report from our youth windsurfers in Israel which featured in club news (read more). Please let us know your stories if you’ve been sailing away!

But… hold the front page… huge congratulations to Bjorn Handley who started the summer winning the Topper 4.2 National Series and went on to claim second place at the Topper 4.2 World Championships in Medemblik, Netherlands. (He also won a race at the Topper 5.3 Nationals in the Silver fleet, that was in Weymouth) Kapow!

Club news:

  • Congratulations to Howard Fairbrother and Louise Hosken who won the 2019 Wednesday Evening Series – 106 Boats entered the 23 week series with the final race held on Wednesday 4th September, followed by dinner and prize giving.
  • The Club Championships (CC) will be held on Sunday 15th September with the first race counting towards Bart’s Bash – The World’s Largest Sailing Race. This is an open event so please invite sailing friends and competitors from other sailing clubs to join us, although the overall CC winner has to be a Queen Mary Member, obviously.
  • AGM – Save the Date Sunday Sunday 13th October

We end with news that the Sailing School had another record year this time with 733 kids on summer courses, the club is in great shape, … please can we all just do a little rain dance as we end the season.

See you on the water soon..

QM youth windsurfers competing at the Techno 293 European Windsurfing Championships

QM are proud that two of our youth windsurfers are currently part of the 14 strong GB team competing at the Techno 293 European Windsurfing Championships at Michmoret in Israel.

Elektra Day-San (15) and Millie Searle (14) are both graduates of QM training , QM Team 15 with Therese and Paul, and are current members of RYA London and South East Zone Squad, and national squads. They also recently qualified as Assistant Instructors at QM.

It is early days on the racing but they certainly appear to be having a blast!

On top of this; our Team 15 Club the “Queen Mary Skimmers” came 3rd overall in the regional inter-club championships on Saturday! amazing news for our Youth windsurfers all round.

Elektra and Millie have both benefitted hugely from the RYA training schemes for young windsurfers, starting with Team 15 at QM and Zone Squad. Elektra in particular has gone from beginner to international racer in under 3 years. If you have a young U16 windsurfer who fancies going the same route please get in contact with Ben our chief windsurfing instructor at ** for more info.

QM Team sending all the best to Millie and Elektra in their last few days of racing, and also to the rest of the GB squad out in Israel!

Special thanks to Howie for this report!


Topper and RS Tera Race Training Week – 19th to 23rd August 2019

This year we are offering a new training week aimed at experienced sailors aged between 11 and 18. This is for Topper and RS Tera sailors who are already involved in a race circuit. Those who want to fine-tune their racing level and looking to regional and national sailing squads. The week is coached by Ben Kimbell.

This is a race week predominantly aimed at those with access to their own boat looking at race tactics covering: boat tuning, starts, upwind tactics, mark rounding, downwind tactics, boat handling, personal preparation and fitness, and improved wind awareness.

Who is Ben Kimbell?
Ben Kimbell is a past Queen Mary staff member who joined the RYA as a Sailing Development Officer for London and the South East.

Ideally all participants need to be:

  • Involved in a form of race series, like club racing or youth series
  • Have access to their own boat

Date: 19th to 23rd August – Topper and RS Tera


Timings & what to expect

  • The training weeks will run Monday-Friday 0930-1630 on the dates listed above.
  • Boats need to be partially rigged ready for the day’s briefing which begins promptly at 0930
  • A mixture of land-based theory/drills and on-water practical sessions
  • Note – non members can store their boat at QM during July and August.


The 5 day training is £195 for non-members, a 20% discount for members.  

Talk to our team >> Call the club on 01784 248881 |

You’re Invited to do the SUPer Mile!

This summer we challenge you to complete the SUPer Mile.

A one mile courses has been set on the Queen Mary reservoir and we’re paddles ready for all to complete the challenge. You have 1 hour to SUP round the 1 mile course and claim your medal.

Good luck!


Non members are welcome, one challenge per person, price below includes medal.

  • £20 with a QM SUP
  • £5 with your own SUP 

Great for fitness, great for friends and a great way to get out on the water


If this is your first time we will start with a 10-15 minute training session to learn the basics, our QM are on hand to help get you on the water.


TODAY if the wind conditions are right!
The only thing stopping you is if it’s too windy then it is very difficult to control and we don’t allow our kit out for safety. It’s best to give us a call and we can let you know the best time to come and do your SUPer Mile.
Anyone aged 7 and above can take part in the challenge, although those between the ages of 7 and 12 will have to share a board with an adult and anyone between 13 and 16 must be accompanied on the water.