Youth Sailing News

Latest Update July 2024

There’s lots happening in the Grafham Junior sailing world right now. Team Grafham fielded a great team of 5 boats at Ely SC at the latest Cambs Youth League Event on 6th July, with Skye, Abbie, Samual, Lucas and Freddie representing the club in the league. Skye had a great day, finishing second and the team ensured that we held on to our lead in the team event going into the fourth leg at Paxton on 21st September.

Next up is the National Schools Sailing Association (NSSA) regatta at Bassenthwaite SC from 21st to 26th July. This is a national event with our sailors joining with young sailors from other Cambridgeshire clubs to represent the county against other county teams from across the UK. Skye and Adele already have their Lasers packed up ready for the journey north and on Sunday 14th July Lewis and Maxime were out practising for the event in the RS Feva,

Maxime and Lewis recently started sailing a double handed Pico at Team Grafham and clearly loved the companionship this brings and were thrilled to have the chance to sail together in the Feva. Having got to grips with the new challenge of the spinnaker at the Team Grafham coaching session on Saturday, they did further practice on Sunday, including ensuring that they could recover from a capsize, before packing the boat up for the trip to the lakes next weekend. Look out for more reports of Team Grafham’s exploits as they happen.

Cambs Youth League at Grafham

Tim Evans came 1st

The second event in the 2024 Cambs Youth League was held at Grafham on Saturday 1st June. 17 Team Grafham sailors joined 13 visiting sailors to face unseasonably cold and windy conditions, causing most of the Laser sailors to downsize to 4.7 rigs and many of the Toppers to reef down. Our team consisted of 7 Toppers, one Laser Standard, 4 Laser 4.7s, one Tera, one double handed Pico and one double handed Hartley 12.2.

The fleet went afloat for race 1 with the onshore wind at 17 knots and gusts up to 25 knots. The start was split into three flights, with places on handicap combined into one set of results. The race officer had laid a trapezoid course, with an upwind gate allowing results to be calculated on average lap time, given the wide disparity of speed between the fastest (Laser Standard) and slowest (Optimist) boats. Competition at the front of the fleet was very keen, with Tim Evans coming second in a Laser Standard, Adele Burbidge third in a Laser 4.7 and Freddie Reeves 5th in a Topper.

Adele was third

After lunch the wind had dropped a little and some of the Toppers took out their reefs. Competition at the front remained close and saw the same top four finishers in both races 2 and 3. Tim was first followed by Adele in 2nd and Skye Collard moved up to 4th, also sailing a Laser 4.7. Samual Rule took 7th just ahead of Freddie in race 2, with these two taking 6th and 7th in race 3.

This meant that the event was won by Tim, with two firsts. Adele finished third overall followed by Skye in 4th. Freddie finished in 7th, Samual took the 2nd Under 15 prize, finishing in 8th and Mushui Zuo was the 2nd Under 12.

Lewis and Maxime

The two double handers seemed to be enjoying themselves, with Lucas and Izzy Rooke sailing their grandmother’s Hartley 12.2 and Lewis Tinkler and Maxime Norie sailing a Pico with jib.

The team prize is calculated using the best three results in each race by members of each club and was won by Grafham Water SC with a total of 24 points, contributed to by Tim, Adele, Skye and Freddie.

Congratulations to all the sailors who battled very taxing conditions, with most of them completing all three races.

The event results can be found at and the Youth League results so far at All the photos can be found here.

Cam SC Cambs Youth League Event

The first event of the 2024 Cambs Youth League was held at Cam Sailing Club on Saturday 27th April. Five members of Team Grafham made the journey and were greeted by unseasonably (very!) cold weather. The two Laser Radial sailors (Skye and Adele) had sailed at Cam before, but for the three Topper sailors it was their first experience of river sailing. Sophie’s RYA winter training had included a variety of locations, but not a river. For Thomas it was only his second event away from home water and for Samual it was his first open meeting.

Thomas preparing for race 1

Commodore Lorna Cole welcomed the 21 competitors and warned that sailors needed to be aware that there was shallow water near the banks in several places. They were also asked to keep away from the two swan’s nests on the banks along the race track. Due to the width of the river, with only room for six boats on the start line, there had to be several starts. First away were four Optimists (all from Cam), followed by three Topper starts with five boats in each. The Grafham sailors were split across all three and the final start consisted of our two Laser Radials.

Race 1 was a very steep learning curve for the three newcomers, who quickly discovered that, indeed, there is very shallow water in some places near the bank, that the high banks and bending river made for big holes in the already light wind and that, even if the water is deep enough next to the bank, it is very hard to get away if you find yourself stuck against the bank.

Adele finished an impressive 3rd overall

The course headed down-river and upwind from the club grounds to the first buoy which had to be rounded to port before heading back downwind towards the sailing club. The second buoy, downwind of the start line, had also to be rounded to port, before heading back upwind for another lap. There were many place changes as puffs of wind came along, but the two Laser Radials gradually closed the 12 minute gap they had on the first starters, with Adele finishing ahead of all the Toppers and Skye not far behind. Once the times had been corrected for handicap and number of laps sailed, Adele took third place, behind two local Topper sailors who made the most of the home advantage.

After lunch, race 2 got underway, with the wind getting lighter and Adele again managed to take third place at the finish. Sophie avoided the shallow water and beckoning banks and took 8th place, ahead of all but one Cam boat. It looked like the wind had died totally as the sailors prepared to go afloat for race 3, but it filled in again, allowing Adele to take 4th and Sophie an impressive 5th.

Congratulations to all five of our sailors who showed great perseverance under very difficult conditions.

See the full results here.

Skye and Adele show off the trophy at the club Christmas Lunch

The full list of events for the 2024 Youth League is:

27th April – Cam SC

1st June – Grafham Water SC

6th July – Ely SC

21st September – Paxton Lakes SC

12th October – Hunts SC


Team Grafham Triumph at Cambs Youth League!

The competitors at Hunts SC proudly show off the club trophy
Thomas Macfarlane took 6th place at Hunts

The final event in the 2023 Cambs Youth Sailing League took place at Hunts SC on Saturday 14th October. Another fantastic turnout by Team Grafham saw Adele Burbidge sailing her Laser Radial and Thomas Macfarlane, Lewis Tinkler, Lucas Rooke and Mushui Zuo in Toppers. Team Grafham came into the event with a 55 point lead in the Team Series competition and Adele in second place in the Individual series, only a few points behind the leader, but there was no room for complacency with the very strong home team from Hunts snapping at their heels.

Lucas Rooke, 13th in the Individual series

The tricky conditions, with strong gusts, lulls and large wind shifts meant the local sailors’ knowledge was a great advantage. The CYL is both an individual and a team event, with prizes for the winners and winning team on the day and also for the whole series, which consisted of events at Cam, Grafham and Ely, with the series rounded off at Hunts. In the team event, the best three scores from each club in each race contribute to the total points. This means it is vital for at least three club members to sail at each event, to avoid having to count Did Not Sail points. This year we were fortunate to have at least three sailors at each event.

Adele Burbidge, 2nd place

Team Grafham were given an early boost in the series thanks to excellent performances by Adele and Skye at the first event at Cam SC in April and by Tim Evans, Dom Atherton, Thomas Matthews and Adele at the Grafham event in June. Skye put in a great performance at Ely in July but unfortunately had to miss the last event due to injury, and Thomas Matthews was away at an open meeting (congratulations Thomas on your third place there).

Thomas Macfarlane and Lewis, both at their first away event, and Lucas all contributed valuable low points scores to our team total. When all the calculations were complete, Team Grafham led the team series by 33 points. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to this great result, including Imogen Nancekievill and Sophie Thomas, who both provided valuable points at Cam SC and Ely SC respectively.

In the Individual event, Adele came second at Hunts and held on to her second place in the series. Mushui Zuo, who sailed in all the events except Cam, was second in the series Under 12 category, coming 14th in the series.

Many thanks to the parents and grandparents who acted as chauffeurs and boat riggers to allow this great achievement. Next year starts with the event at Cam SC in April and we are hoping to build on this year’s success. The competition will be tough though, as Ely SC in particular are going from strength to strength with a growing team of young sailors.


Team Grafham had another great day in the Cambs Youth League on Saturday 1st July at Ely SC. Five of our young sailors travelled to Ely where the conditions were challenging. Vicious gusts were followed by lulls with a complete lack of wind and the sailors had to keep their wits about them in the shifting breeze Skye Collard was second and Lucas Rooke was awarded the Endeavour prize. Well done to all five of them, including Adele, Mushiu and Sophie, who contributed to keeping Team Grafham in the lead in the team event.

Following the success of Team Grafham in the Cambs Youth League, there are plenty more opportunities for our young sailors to progress in their sailing careers. Team Grafham is run every Saturday afternoon and is open to all with Stage 2 or equivalent experience. Find out more and book here.

Coming up on Monday – Wednesday 23rd – 25th October is Team Grafham Half Term Fun.

On Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th June, GWSC hosted the RYA Eastern Region Junior Championship and many of our young sailors took part. See the report here.