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Laser Open 2017 - Race Report


Aldenham Laser Open Meeting 11th June 2017

 Thames Valley Circuit 

 Race report 

 On a bright and very breezy day 13 visitor from 11 different clubs joined 10 local boats for what proved to an exhilarating days sailing.

 Race 1

Several of the visitor arrived early keen to get out on the water. This enthusiasm continued into the start of Race 1 resulting in a general recall but fortunately the only one of the day. The predicted 19 gusting 27 knots wind had arrived just before the start and the fleet set off on a good beat down the full length of the reservoir. The leaders of Ross Williams & Mason Woodworth swopping the lead several times while just behind James LeCouilliard and Rob Beere took full advantage of Adam Meekings falling out of his boat.

 Simon Hamment rocked up late and, though helped by the general recall, failed to make a correct start (something to do with an IDM!).  However, his progression through the fleet acted as a warning of speed to come.  Several boats retired and the rescue boat was kept busy recovering the odd boat from the dam wall & the trees.  The stiff breeze stretched the leg muscles up the beats and produced terrific fast reaches especially in the gusts. Ross took the win followed by Mason (last year’s winner) and James.

 The fleet stopped for a well-earned rest and an excellent lunch. Steve Fischer (winner two year ago) took advantage of the break to swop to a smaller rig but was still seen capsizing in later races.

 Race 2

 Unfortunately, some were a bit late for the start of race 2 partly due to people staying ashore for as long as possible but also by James’ boat blowing off the trailer in a gust and blocking one of the slipways. Rob Beere made it up to 8th but James cruised to 12th and allowed himself to be lapped to conserve energy for race 3 (wise move!). Simon, Mason, Tim LeCouilliard & Colin Carver vied for the lead with some close racing and several capsizes. At the end Simon had shown his pace by pulling clear and took the win from Ross and Tim. Mason nipped passed Colin on the line to take 4th.

 Race 3

 The wind moved more westerly for race 3 and the gusts got stronger and shiftier. The Club anemometer had had enough and showed 0 knots!!!  However, the conditions were described by some as ferocious with Elstree airport recording 27 knots and Northolt 36 knots. A short pause while the race officer reset the course and the final race shoot out got underway with Simon, Ros & Mason still in with a chance of overall victory. 17 survivors started cleanly.  Many capsizes and multiple “water starts” - as those that dared to hike got dunked in the headers - caused some snakes and ladders amongst the mid fleeters. The race officer let the race run for the full hour and the endurance and boat handling skills were demonstrated by 13 boats surviving the course. Ross, Simon & Mason looked steadier and pulled clear of the fleet finishing in that order. The spectators were rewarded by some excellent close racing and flat out planing as well as countless capsizes.

 So, overall Ross took a well-deserved win followed by Simon beating Mason on count back. James took 4th from Rob, again on count back and not to be left out of it 6th, 7th & 8th also finished on equal points!!!

 In the Radial fleet Mark Fowler took top spot from Edward Brown & Leila Moore.


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