Dinghy Racing at Hedgecourt Lake

Thanks to its relatively sheltered inland location and its shallow depth throughout, our home base at Hedgecourt Lake is an excellent venue at which to develop your sailing skills as you move on from the beginner stage. The trees that fringe most sides of the lake mean that the winds we experience here are often variable in direction and strength. Although this can be trying at times, sailing in variable conditions helps you to develop a keen awareness of wind strength and direction that will help you no matter what path your sailing interests follow in the future. And if you become one of those who regularly take part in club races at Hedgecourt, you will soon find that learning to deal with the vagaries of the sailing conditions is part of the challenge!

Something for Everyone

Racing takes place at the lake from late March through to mid December, usually with at least one event each weekend and often more. You can find out more details of the different events in the Club Handbook or by looking at our programme. Races are run with a single start, results are processed in three ways: All Dinghies Handicap, Comets (standard Comet, Comet White Xtra and Comet Black Xtra) and Handicap Fleet which excludes those in the Comet Fleet. The Comet fleet results are processed as a class race. With a few exceptions each series has awards for the following: Double Hander, Single Hander  (excluding standard Comet, Comet White Xtra and Comet Xtra), Under 16 (but over 12, age taken at the start of the season), Under 13 (age taken at the start of the season), Lady, Novice, Comet, Comet Lady, Comet Novice.

The events fall into a few main categories:

Have A Go Racing Sessions

These are sessions are intended to be relaxed and friendly sessions for members to Have A Go at racing, they do not form a race series and the results are not published on HAL, this is to avoid the racing becoming competitive. This really is about taking part not winning. Coaching will be provided from a powerboat. More details can be found on the Race Coaching page.

Racing for beginners

The Beginners series is also aimed at encouraging beginners and improvers to race, our most successful race helms are not allowed to compete as helms. The Beginners races occur once per month following Adult Saturday Club. The race starts at 13:30 and lasts 30 minutes. Adult Saturday Club participants and instructors are encouraged to buddy up for this race, the instructor crewing. Coaching from a powerboat is also permissible. It is intended that there will be an extended briefing and a debrief.

Those beginning to race are welcome at all our races, do not be put off by the more experienced racers, they will be pleased to give advice before and after the races - most of all they will be pleased that you are joining in. We were all beginners once. The Benefits of Racing gives more information on racing.

Sunday Series

There are two Sunday Series Spring Sundays runs from March to May, there are twelve races spread over six days. The Autumn series runs runs from late September to early December, there are twenty races spread over ten days. For both series there are two back to back races in the morning of each day of the these Series.

Saturday Series

On afternoons following Adult Saturday Club there are two races: Beginners and the Once Per Month series. Beginners is not open to series winning helms. The Once Per Month series is open to all comers. There is sufficient time between the two races to come ashore.

The Autumn Saturdays series runs from October to early December, there are six 60 minute races over six days.

Wednesday Evenings

Between May and August a single short race is held on most Wednesday evenings. 

Open meetings

Each year we hold Open meetings for Comet and Topper classes, to which boats from other clubs are invited. These are great days where the whole lake is given over racing a single class of boat. Although there will be some really competitive helms don't let that put you off, an Open meeting is a great way to improve your racing with four races in one day.

Other events

We also usually hold some 'one day' events over the course of the year, these may be one day series of four races or pursuit races.