Police Sport UK -
National Dinghy Sailing Championships



Lasers - Tuesday, 11th June, 2008
All Dinghies - Wednesday/Thursday, 12th-13th June, 2008
Venue: Northampton Sailing Club
Hosts: Northamptonshire Police

Paul Heath wins the Laser Series - Frances takes the Dinghy Championship


This year’s PSUK Laser Championships was held in Northamptonshire in the country park setting of Pitsford Reservoir, by kind permission of Northampton Sailing Club. The reservoir is an unofficial nature reserve with hoards of rabbits, large flocks of Canada geese, plus grebes, coots, moorhens and many other water birds. The water itself is teaming with rainbow trout and other fish. It is a great place for fly fishing. The weather was ideal for an excellent day’s racing, with wall-to-wall sunshine and light, but consistent, winds. Fourteen competitors took part, from six different forces.

The undisputed Laser Champion for 2008 was Paul Heath from Greater Manchester. He won two of the three races with consummate ease, and came second in the other race. His boat speed was impressive throughout the day. He did not have things his own way in race two, and had a battle royal with Graham Cook (Metropolitan). They swapped the lead several times, with Graham finally holding the lead to the end.

Graham came second overall, with a first place in race two, and a third place in race one. He was unfortunate enough to capsize in race three, and retired. Third overall was Alistair Cook (Metropolitan) sailing a new boat. He earned the same number of points as Cook by coming second place in race one and race three. He was disqualified in race two for being over the start line. Fourth overall was Andy Taverner (Metropolitan) with a third place and two fourths.

The race officer, Chris Harris, laid three different interesting courses and controlled them from a committee boat. He laid a rectangular course for race 1, and ‘figure of eight’ courses for races two and three. There was enough wind to keep the sailors moving in all races. The wind piped up enough in the last race for there to be several capsizes.


Police Sport UK
Dinghy Sailing Championships, 2008....

Frances Gifford and Peter Walker of the Metropolitan Police, sailing a National 12, are back. After being pushed down into 4th place in the 2007 championship, the 2005 and 2006 police dinghy champions won the 2008 police national dinghy championship convincingly with three first places and two second places in the five races held over two days. They had the luxury of being able to discard one of the second places to earn just five championship points. The runners-up – Nick Hunt (Cleveland) and Paul Heath (Greater Manchester) sailing an RS400 – earned twice as many points with two 1st places, one 3rd place and one 5th place, discarding a 6th. Third place overall went to another RS400, sailed by Pete Walters and Lindsay Ogden from Nottinghamshire, with two 2nd places, one 3rd place and one 4th place, discarding a 7th. The next 16 places went to single-handers, with Alistair Glen, of the Met, heading the list, in 4th place, sailing a Laser hull sporting the new Rooster 8.1 rig. The most spectacular ‘combination’ on the water was Rob Jones (Hampshire) sailing his sophisticated RS700. It is a real, mean flying machine, and although he crossed the finish line first on more than one occasion, his harsh Portsmouth Yardstick pushed him down into 14th place overall.

This year’s PSUK sailing championships were held in Northamptonshire, in the county park setting of Pitsford Reservoir, by kind permission of Northampton Sailing Club. It was a beautiful location, with a menagerie of wildlife on hand, including hoards of rabbits and a large flock of Canada geese, plus grebes, coots, moorhens, cormorants and even a pair of swans with young signets. Swallows continually zoomed backwards and forwards over the water in search of insects. Other unidentified birds sang their little hearts out in the trees bordering the camp site. The dawn chorus was quite ‘deafening’. And the water itself was teaming with trout, making this a popular venue for fly fishing. In fact, 500 adult rainbow trout were added to the reservoir on the morning of the 10th June. Many competitors camped at the club. 27 boats of 14 different classes took to the water, representing 10 different police forces. The weather was mixed, with bright sunshine on the 11th and heavy clouds and light rain showers on the 12th. The winds were light to moderate. The race officer, Chris Harris, controlled the racing from a committee boat, and laid some varied and interesting courses.

Race One was started at 11:05. The sprint to the windward mark was headed by three RSs – two RS400s and a single-handed RS700. The blue RS400, helmed by Nick Hunt, got there first, leaving the RS700, helmed by Rob Jones, the jam in the sandwich, between it and the grey RS400, helmed by Pete Walters. But Rob soon had his sleek machine almost flying, with himself fully extended on the trapeze wire, and took over the lead on the second leg. But his lead was not to last, and it was the RS400s that stayed in front for most of the race and crossed the finish line first. However, it was Frances Gifford, helming her much more simply-rigged National 12, that out-sailed the ‘big boys’ on handicap and won this race, pushing the RS400s of Walters and Hunt back into 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The fourth place went to an older, tried and trusted, mean machine – the Contender of Geoff Norman (Nottinghamshire) It was in this race that a number of Laser sailors chose to use the new Rooster 8.1 sail. The most successful of these competitors was Alistair Glen, coming 5th in this race. See the result list below for the other placings.

Race Two started at 13:34. The first boat to reach the windward mark was the RS400 of Pete Walters. He was closely followed by the Metropolitan giant killers – Gifford and Walker – in the National 12. Then came the super fast RS700 of Rob Jones, with him hanging on to the end of the long, long tiller extension. He was being chased relentlessly by Nick Hunt in his RS400. At the second mark the National 12 was back in 4th place, ahead of Geoff Norman in his sleek Contender. Andy Taverner (Met) was next, leading the Laser fleet with his Rooster rig pulling well. At the start of the third lap it was the blue RS400 of Nick Hunt that led the fleet, 18 seconds ahead of the grey RS400. Pete Walters was just over a minute ahead of the RS700, who was 50 seconds ahead of the National 12. The Contender was 27 seconds behind it. At the second mark on lap four Frances made a rare mistake by not jibing correctly, allowing the Contender to sneak past her. On corrected time, it was Nick Hunt and Paul Heath in the blue RS400 that won this race, with the National 12 come second. The Walters/Ogden team in the grey RS400 came 3rd. See the result list below for other placings.

Race Three was started at 15:55 after one general recall. Roger Glass (Met), sailing a Laser on a port tack, made a brave and spectacular start from the pin end of the line, triumphantly crossing in front of most of the fleet. But his success was short lived when he was ‘black flagged’ for being on the wrong side of the line during the minute before the start. At the windward mark it was the red RS400, helmed by Steve Brisley (Cleveland), that got there first, closely followed by that intrepid National 12. The blue and grey RS400s tagged along behind them, with the blue-hulled Laser of Paul Franklin (Leicestershire) in 5th position. Steve Brisley held his lead only as far as the second mark of the course (a jibe mark) where he spoiled his finest hour by capsizing, allowing his rival 400s to pass him and head the fleet. The National 12 was grittily hanging on to their coat tails. But the flying RS700 was rapidly gaining ground ( - water!), with the first of the Roosters sailed by Andy Taverner, Paul Franklin’s Laser and John Allen (Notts) in his Blaze in the chasing bunch. The RS700 took the lead on Lap 2. Further down the fleet the Muggletons from Leicestershire were sailing their Fireball to good effect, but came unstuck at the windward mark on lap 2 by capsizing. In the second half of the race it was the grey and blue RS400s that stole the show by picking up speed and heading the fleet. They were lapping at around 13 minutes 40 seconds, and completed 4 laps to most of the other boats’ three. On corrected time this race was won by Nick Hunt and Paul Heath in their RS400. Second was the National 12. The third place went to John Allen in the Blaze. Fourth was the Walters/Ogden duo in their RS400, and fifth was Alistair Glen in his Rooster. Other placing are shown below.

On Thursday, Race Four was started at 10:35 under cold, wet and blustery weather conditions. It was a clean start and it was a familiar bunch of boats to reach the windward mark first, with the grey RS400, helmed by Nick Hunt, leading the way, but not for long. The conditions seemed to suit Rob Jones down to the ground, and he had his RS700 screaming along. He soon hit the front and then pulled out a long lead, which he then held all the way to the finish. He crossed finish line well ahead of the grey and blue RS400s. Behind them came the Contender. It was the National 12 that led the ‘3-lappers’ over the line, followed by Ken Daniels (Met) and Andy Carter (West Midlands), both in Phantoms, and then a pair of Met Roosters sailed by Andy Taverner and Alistair Glen. The winners on corrected time were Frances Gifford and Peter Walker in the National 12. Second were Pete Walters and Lindsay Ogden in the grey RS400. 3rd place went to Ken Daniels (Met) in his Phantom, and 4th was the Contender of Geoff Norman. Nick Mason and Paul Heath were fifth in their blue RS400. See the result list for other placings.

The rain showers had cleared away by 12:45, in time for Race Five to begin. Once again the battle for the lead was between the grey and blue RS400s and the RS700. It was the blue boat that reached the windward mark first. But by lap two it was the grey RS400 out in front, followed by the RS400 of Nick Hunt, the RS700, and then two Laser Roosters sailed by Alistair Glen and Andy Taverner. Behind them were the Phantom of Ken Daniels, the National 12, John Allen’s Blaze and two Lasers with Roger Glass and Kevin Coleman at the helm. The RS700 split the two leading RS400s by lap three, and then went on to cross the finishing line first. On corrected time, this last race of the series was won by the National 12. The next 4 places went to single-handers. 2nd and 3rd places went to the Roosters of Andy Taverner and Alistair Glen. Ken Daniel’s Phantom came 4th, and John Allen came 5th in his Blaze. The RS400s came 6th and 7th. The other positions can be seen in the result list below.

The 2009 PSUK dinghy sailing championships are due to be hosted by the Metropolitan Police at Netley Sailing Club on Southampton Water.


Click Here to view Dinghy Results


Trophy Winners

Sunderland Trophy 1st Overall Frances Gifford Met.
Police Review Trophy 2nd Overall Nick Hunt Cleveland
Merseyside Trophy 3rd Overall Pete Walters Notts
Bala Trophy Winner of First Race Frances Gifford Met
West Midlands Trophy Winner of Last Race Frances Gifford Met.
Lancon Bell Highest Placed GP14 not contested  
Mark Peers Trophy Highest Placed Enterprise not contested  
Laser Trophy Highest Placed Laser Roger Glass Met.
Maiden Trophy Highest Overall not having won a National Trophy Andy Carter West Midlands
Spinnaker Trophy Highest Placed spinnaker boat Peter Muggleton Leics
Asymmetric Trophy Highest Placed asymmetric boat Nick Hunt Cleveland
Seagull Trophy First slow handicap boat Frances Gifford Met.
Laurenson-Batten Trophy Highest Single-hander Alistair Glen Met.
Lakeland Trophy Highest Retired officer John Allen Notts
"Spirit of the Event" Trophy awarded for the last  boat which completed all sailed races Steve Brisley Cleveland

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Pictures from the Dinghy Championship



Sergeant Steve Middleditch ,

Northants Police
Sailing Section,
Daventry Police Station,
New Street, Daventry
NN11 4BS.
Tel: 08453 700700 ext 3099
Mobile: 0797-604-8795





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Pictures of the event
Pictures of the event

Avon & Somerset organiser for PAA Dinghy Champs, 2002:
Pete Franklyn


    Results in Stats Section....



Results from previous National Dinghy regattas can be viewed in the 'Stats' Section