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Gul series #1 Burghfield SC

National 12 Gul series #1 Burghfield 16th March 2019

The forecast was foreboding  with gusts up to 39 knots. Still a dozen National 12s arrived at Burghfield for the first Gul series event of 2019 and surveyed the water.

N12 #1: “It’s windy, really windy!”
N12 #2: “But only in the gusts”
N12 #1: “But the gusts are big, really big.”

After an appropriate amount of discussion of how un-sailable it was, the race officer set a course and a few intrepid 12s launched. Race one wasn’t too bad. Tom & Robbie Stewart had a practice capsize before the start in preparation for their capsize during the race. Jeremy & Luke Hartley led off the line but a decision on which way to pass an island allowed Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne to take the lead by the windward mark. On the reach, the Hartleys found a nice gust and overhauled Graham & Zoe to take the lead which they held to the finish.

A few other 12s were brave enough to venture out with Tom Lee & Jen Bugge, Alan Beeton and Ella Ford, Neal & Freya Lillywhite and Rosie White & Harry De-Greef all tasting the conditions and wisely not staying out too long.  Isobel & Char Stewart also headed out for the second race with a cut down main sail. Unfortunately the wind was rising (rapidly) at this point and even the reefed sail wasn’t enough to save them from a prolonged capsize.

Race two started with three boats still on the line (well almost, Graham & Zoe capsized whilst trying to make it back down to the line). The Hartleys looked good from the start and were being chased by the Stewarts and Graham & Zoe. The intrepid three were battling up the second beat when a particularly large gust came through and flattened most of the boats, except the Hartleys who kept upright and completed race two. Recovery at this point was pretty much impossible and mainsails were dropped and rescue boats deployed to bring the fleet home. Everyone returned safely ashore – battered and bruised but in one piece and were revived with copious amounts of homemade cake.

The Hartleys deservedly won the first Gul series event of 2019. Isobel Stewart was awarded a prize for bravery.

Tom & Robbie Stewart battling the elements   

Tom Lee & Jen Bugge enjoying a downwind blast



Overall results




Sail No





Dead Cat Bounce


Stokes Bay

Jeremy Hartley

Luke Hartley


Very Hungry Caterpillar


Burghfield SC

Graham Camm

Zoe Ballantyne




Waldringfield SC

Tom Stewart

Robbie Stewart

Photos courtesy: Howe Videography