Welcome to HLSC

HLSC welcomes complete beginners to experienced sailors. Dinghy sailing takes place on a 117 acre reservoir set in the foothills of the Pennines in Littleborough near Rochdale and is easily accessible; just 10 minutes from the M62, junction 21.

HLSC is run by its members for its members with a great family atmosphere, has good fleet racing, is committed to training & developing sailing skills and is an accredited RYA Training Centre.

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Having recently completed a major clubhouse upgrade, HLSC now has modern and smart facilities thanks to generous support from the Sport England Inspired Facilities fund and a number of our own club members.SE_Lottery_Inspired-by-2012





Twenty Lasers from 12 different locations find keeping up with the Jones’s can be quite a challenge

On Saturday 27th September 20 Lasers from 12 different locations assembled at Hollingworth under blue skies with no wind. OOD Dave Smith delayed proceedings until a light westerly filled in from the forecast direction. In the first race a group of four boats broke away from the pack with Ian Jones leading the way, finishing first with Ian Lees second and Wendy Jones third.

After lunch the wind increased and moved to the SW giving better conditions, however after the start the wind tracked to the right giving starboard bias beats. Graham MacWhirter established an early lead chased by Ian Jones and these two opened out from the pack, doubling their lead on the run. Oliver Whitehead, from the home club, sailed clear into third place and the leading boats finished in that order with Graham narrowly in front of Ian at the finish line.

With a first and second Ian Jones had wrapped up the meeting however this did not stop him from stamping his authority on the fleet in the third race sailed in a lightening wind, by choosing the right shifts to establish a narrow lead in the early stages from Ian Lees. These two were joined by David Gambol and Wendy Jones to form a small breakaway group, though the main pack were not far behind. Ian Jones kept his lead taking line honours with Wendy Jones showing great speed in the light conditions finishing closely behind and Ian Lees coming in, in third place.

Overall, Ian and Wendy Jones were first and second respectively with Ian Lees and Graham MacWhirter third and fourth, showing that keeping up with the Jones’s can be quite a challenge at times !!

Click here to view the full results: HLSC Laser Open Meeting results – Saturday 27th September 2014


Bart’s Bash!

Thanks to all the sailors who turned out on Sunday 21st September and participated in Bart’s Bash!

This was a world record attempt at creating the largest sailing race ever, in memory of Andrew Simpson who died while sailing for an America’s Cup team.

Hollingworth Lake SC had 32 boats turn up to participate and we raised £235 for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation charity.

Thanks to all those involved and to those who participated!




HLSC’s Stuart Bithell wins the Merlin Rocket National Championships 

S Bithell at Merlin Nationals

Congratulations to HLSC’s own Stuart Bithell on winning the Merlin Rocket National Champs, crewed by Tom Pygall, down at a windy Looe.  The Club also won the Team Trophy with Stuart, Dave Winder, Pippa Taylor, Richard Whitworth and Commodore Sally Townend.  Julian Parry and Becca Jones won the Silver Fleet.

You can see for yourself how windy it was by having a look at some of the action from the very windy 3rd race on YouTube.  Suggest you go to 14:05 to see how Stuart and Tom deal with heavy weather reaching.  They make it look far too easy!

During the same week the Club was represented at the GP14 World Championships, which were held at the East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, by Graham Knox, Craig Broadbent and Tom Daniel.


Successful Racing Clinic run as part of  ’Friendly Friday’ session 

Racing Clinic #1 - 8 AugustRacing Clinic #2 - 8th August

On Friday 8th August a pleasant breeze, that stayed throughout the evening, led to 13 boats going out on the water for our weekly ‘Friendly Friday’ session.  Martin Brennan in a GP14 took out Jo-Anna Dobbs for some helming practice, Martin Watts in an RS Vision took out a prospective member for a taster session and an Oppie was taken out by new members Tom & Charlie Holmes; these brothers took part in the Junior Stage 1,2,3 course earlier in the summer.

However the main event was a Racing Clinic run by club member Adam McGovern who is also the RYA’s Regional Development Officer North West.  10 Solos attended and after a briefing, with light weather tips, went straight out on the water.  A start line was set up and then a straight windward / leeward course set with Adam coaching from the RIB and Oliver Whitehead plus Pete Bramwell coaching from Daisy Fish.  The next start line was for downwind starts making most realize they did not know how to control their boat for this type of start.  The final race was beat / run / beat.  From the “buzz” in the bar afterwards it was obvious that all had thoroughly enjoyed the evening learning much in the process.

A big thank you goes to Adam and Oliver for arranging the event.


Sailing News!

21st September 2014
by Graham Knox

On Sunday, the Lake Sailing Club joined some 700 other clubs in 68 countries to run a race for ‘Bart’s Bash’, in memory of the late Andrew Simpson. 28 boats took to the water to race and donate money to the foundation in ‘Bart’s’ memory. The results will be sorted by computer on the global basis to qualify for the Guinness World Record. In the light northerly wind, it was always likely that the Merlin Rockets would do well and Steve Crook with Sally Townend won the race, ahead of Bruce Mager and Rosie Richards.

Martin Brennan and Alastair Knott upheld the GP14 honour with third place.
Two further races were sailed in the usual way.

On Saturday, the Club held a successful Training Day for potential new members.
Over the weekend, at the Solo Inland Championship on Rutland Water, Steve Denison finished 8th and David Winder 13th, after being on winning form on the Saturday.


Merlin Rocket-
Race 2: 1.S Crook/S Townend 2.L Bithell/L Ashworth 3.J & Z Parry
Race 3: 1.L Bithell/L Ashworth 2.S Crook/S Townend 3.J & Z Parry

Races 2 & 3: 1. M Brennan/A Knott 2.M Butler/S Caladine 3.C Knott/R Long

Race 2: 1.O Whitehead 2.D Hughes 3.R Simpson
Race 3: 1.D Hughes 2.G Whitehead 3.D Smith

Race 2: 1.R Whitehill 2.E Parry 3.H Daniel
Race 3: 1.H Daniel

RS Feva-
Race 2: 1.W Rowland


14th September 2014
by Graham Knox

Over the past weekend, the Sailing Club entered a team in the annual 24 Hour Race at Southport. This was sailed in very light conditions with the wind coming across the town which made for many wind ‘shadows’ across the Lake. The Club finished 32nd out of 64 teams.

Meanwhile at the Lake on Sunday it was the Solo fleet that was out in force. David Winder was in great form winning the first 2 races by a large margin.

This Sunday the Club will be participating in a planned world record race. Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, an Olympic sailor was tragically drowned in the pre-race series for the America’s Cup. In his memory, Clubs around the world are racing, with results to be combined, to create a World Record sailing race and raise funds for the foundation in Bart’s memory. The race is called ‘Bart’s Bash’.

Races 1 & 2: 1. J Mellor/K Doherty

Race 1: 1.D Winder 2.N Davey 3.D Smith
Race 2: 1.D Winder 2.G Hughes 3.N Davey
Race 3: 1.G Hughes 2.D Smith 3.K Parry

Race 1: 1.W Smith


7th September 2014
by Graham Knox

The Club Championship at the Lake was sailed on Sunday in the most frustrating conditions. Sat under the anti-cyclone, there was plenty of sunshine but the wind proved elusive, so the start was delayed. Streams of light wind came from the Rakewood Road side of the Lake but rarely covered the whole of the Lake. Three races were sailed on a handicap basis between the various classes.

There was close racing between two Merlin Rockets, where Bruce Mager and Ryan Richards gained the early advantage and won the first race. But Nick Brook and Rhiann Bramwell were determined not to be beaten and worked their way to lead the second and third races and win the day.

Young Adam Din, in a Laser Pico, sailed consistently and lead the ‘Silver’ fleet.


3rd September 2014
By Graham Knox

The final Wednesday evening race for this year was sailed in moderate north easterly wind. The portbiased start line saw the Merlins qjuick off the mark. Nick Brook and Oliver Whitehead managed to get past Martin and Rene Watts and Guy Winder with Tom Murphy. Bruce Mager, with Ryan Richards wanted to test the Club GP for its use at the 24 Hour Race in 10 days’ time and beat Martin Brennan and Sophia Miles.

Merlin Rocket- 1.N Brook/O Whitehead 2. M & R Watts 3. G Winder/T Murphy

GP 14- 1.B Mager/R Richards 2.M Brennan/S Miles 3. C Broadbent/A Din
Solo- 1.N Hornsby 2.T Daniel 3.D Hughes
Laser- 1.G Butler 2.R Whitehill 3. J Maguire
Mirror- 1.R Daniel


31st August 2014
by Graham Knox

32 Solo dinghies met to compete at the Lake on Sunday for the Club Open event. This included 16 visitors from as far as Yorkshire, East Midlands and local clubs.

In a late moment of good fortune, local sailor Steve Denison won the first race ahead of Oliver Dumbleton from Nantwich.

In the second race, Steve came second to Andy Friar from Cheshire. Chris Brown from Draycote was third. The best placed other local sailor was Oliver Whitehead who finished 4th in that race.

Brown went on to win the third race. The final outcome was that Steve Denison won the event, beating Chris Brown and Andy Friar by the narrow margin of one point.


27th August 2014
by Graham Knox

The strong easterly made it hard for some to sail out of the harbour. Once out, there was some exciting racing to be enjoyed. With the early mass start, the Merlins were soon away and Steve Crook with Saly Townend were on form planing ahead, while Les Bithell and Rosie Richards battled to keep Bruce Mager and Ryan Richards behind their transom and failed in the later stages. Oliver Whitehead was in a different league to the other Solos and Martin Brennan and Sophia Miles easily won in the GP14s.

Credit goes to JoAnna Dobbs crewing for Richard Mason in some of the windiest conditions. Richard Whitehill and Gary Butler tussled in the Lasers and this time Richard won.

Merlin Rocket- 1.S Crook/S Townend 2.B Mager/R Richards 3.L Bithell/R Richards
GP 14- 1.M Brennan/S Miles 2.R Mason/J Dobbs
Solo- 1.O Whitehead 2.D Hughes 3.M Whitehead
Laser- 1.R Whitehill 2.G Butler 3. J Maguire


24th August 2014
by Graham Knox

Bank Holiday Sunday proved a sharp contrast to recent Sundays with sunshine and a lightish breeze off the Lake Bank shore. On the other hand it gave some of the most fickle winds that gave the opportunity for great place changing.

The GP14 fleet noticed this most, particularly in the third race when the two leading boats were overtaken near the Wine Press. Andy & Emmerence Carter stormed into a lead from which Martin Brennan and Alastair Knott could not recover, despite closing the gap on the final leg.

Richard Blackburn had a good day in the Solos while some practised their recovery techniques in capsizing.

The Solo fleet will welcome visitors on Sunday to the annual Open Meeting.


Merlin Rocket-
Race 1: 1.B Mager/R Richards
Race 2: 1.S Crook/S Townend 2.B Mager/R Richards

Race 1: 1. M Brennan/A Knott 2.G Whitehead/N Thomason
Race 2: 1. M Brennan/A Knott 2.A & E Carter 3.C Knott/R Long
Race 3: 1. A & E Carter 2. M Brennan/A Knott 3. C Knott/R Long

Race 1: 1.R Long 2.G Booth 3.D Smith
Race 2: 1.R Blackburn 2.G Booth 3.G Winder
Race 3: 1.R Blackburn 2.G Winder 3.G Whitehead

All races: Will Smith


20th August 2014
by Graham Knox

A complete contrast from Sunday’s stormy weather gave everyone a pleasant evening sail. The trouble is that such evenings suffer a lot of wind shadow on the Club shore and a dying wind at that. The GP14s were late out to the start and that dictated the results. Roger Mee came out trying a Solo and won comfortably.

Merlin Rocket- 1.G Whitehead/D Thompson
GP 14- 1.S Crook/S Townend 2.M Brennan/M Whitehead
Solo- 1.R Mee 2.K Parry 3.D Kay
Laser- 1.G Butler 2. R Whitehill 3.B Glynn


17th August 2014
by Graham Knox

The stormy weather on Sunday would put off anyone from sailing on the Lake. Three boats did venture out but only one finished a race, and that despite a capsize near the finish line. Oliver Whitehead in a Solo was overwhelmed by the strength of the gusts. So ended the day’s racing.

During the past week, Merlin Rockets held their Championship and GP14s their World Championship in Northern Ireland. The Club’s Olympic medallist won the Merlin Rocket event in a closely fought battle during the final race.

Graham Knox, with crew Craig Broadbent, was racing on the day that hit the national headlines after a major incident was called on Strangford Lough. While many did capsize in a fierce squall, Graham and Craig did not succumb to that and sailed back to the Club and were surprised by all the blue flashing lights ashore of the emergency services and the subsequent media attention.