The Russell Trophy this year started with the Grafham Grand Prix.  Four boats from Paxton Lakes SC made there way to Grafham on the 30th December.  Cold water and big winds were the order of the day, Gusts of 35 knots were recorded while racing.  Pat Overs and Andy Anderson competed in the single handed fleet in Solos.  Joe Sharp and William Russell raced a Bosun in the Slow Fleet and Gareth Russell and Paul Carrington took a Hornet into the Medium Fleet.  All four boats completed both races which was better than a lot of the competitors managed.  With a small glitch in the results prepared by Grafham Water it looked like Joe and William may have won the first race, it turned out that the number of laps was incorrect and the result has now been corrected.  The full report is here.

Next stop was the Bloody Mary at Queen Mary Sailing Clun on 12th January.  With slightly warmer temperatures and winds only gusting up to force 5, three boats made the trip this time. Pat Overs took his Solo, William Russell his Topper and Gareth Russell this time with Toby in a Hornet.  The Bloody Mary is a two and half hour pursuit race which tests the fitness and endurance of all sailors.  338 boats entered the race with all three Paxton boats completing the race.  Toby & Gareth came a credible 69th, with Pat Overs coming 171st.  William in his first time out sailing away from Paxton on his own was lapped by some of the front runners, however seems to be lucky in his placing in the overall results scoring 70th one place behind his Dad.  A call from Queen Mary the week after queried if that was correct and he was replaced as 269th.      The full report is here

William Russell in Topper at Bloody Mary 2013

Pat Overs in Solo at Bloody Mary 2013    Gareth Russell in Hornet at Bloody Mary 2013

  Pictures from Alex Irwin

What was originally the final event of this years Russell Trophy the Tiger Trophy was sailed this weekend.  Again a windy one.....  Nigel DeRoeck arrived with his Fireball with Pat Overs crewing and Toby and Gareth entered their Hornet to give a total of 208 boats.  Saturday's conditions were fairly brutal on the boats and sailors with 30 knot gusts.  Nigel and Pat as a new pairing and Pat not having done much trapezeing before were pushed to their limit and their day was cut short with a big swim in the first race.  Toby & Gareth secured three consistent results in the top 50 despite Gareth's best efforts to not rig the spinnaker correctly or at least tie a bowline correctly on the spinnaker downhaul.... Doh...  Also in the second or third race there was a big bang heard in the Hornet going down one of the reaches and the boom lifted an inch or so.  They couldn't find what had caused it so pulled the spinnaker up and carried on.  Being a two day event its a good excuse for a night out and a tradition of the last few years has been a meal at the Anchor with the sharing of war stories over a beverage or six.  The next morning arrived with big breeze.  The race officer promised that it was a "lovely raceable breeze and is due to drop".....  Hmmm didn’t look like that from where I was standing.  However both boats were willing to give it a go and while sorting out the Hornet Gareth discovered what had caused Saturday's bang.  The mast step had compressed into the floor and had snapped.  No more sailing for the Hornet until it has returned from the boat menders....  Nigel and Pat launched and the wind gradually reduced during the race to provide a very enjoyable race for then and coming 139th.  Full report here.

Gareth Russell is currently leading the Russell Trophy with Toby Barlsey-Dale in second, Pat Overs in third and William Russell in forth.  The final event, the re-scheduled Steve Nicholson Memorial Race will be on 23rd February.

Russell Trophy Results after three events