The 2009 Laser EPS Nationals went to Burton SC on the weekend of the 5/6 September. The courses were sailed on a P shape shared with the Contender open and the 505s on a windward leeward course.
The first race started in a 8-10 knot breeze with Howard Astley-Jones (259) first to the windward mark pursued by Matt Jones (214). Howard maintained his lead until the last lap when his halyard failed allowing Matt through to win with Simon Bates (135) in 3rd place.
Race 2 started in a building breeze and some bigger gusts at times with Claire Ellis (180) first to the windward mark followed by Rob Dangerfield (303) pursued by the pack. At the second windward mark John Codner (127) had gone the right way up the tricky beat to lead from Matt Jones but Matt had good downwind speed to overtake and take the gun from John with Claire and Rob behind.
Race 3 had some big gusts coming down the valleys and helms needed to be sharp to avoid flat out 505s and Contenders. John Codner started with good upwind speed in the breeze with Matt, Rob and Howard still on the pace. On the way to the final leeward mark Matt was just in the lead but John capsized on the gybe allowing Howard to finish 2nd with Rob 3rd to leave Matt Jones with 3 wins for the first day.
Sunday started with the 4th race in a steadier 10-12 knot breeze but the first beat was shifty with winners and losers all through the fleet. Howard regained some pace to win from Rob and Matt with Simon Bates coming in 4th.
The 5th race again became gusty and, following a general recall and the black flag, all got clean away with Howard and Matt slugging it out at the front. If Howard won then it would go to the final race but Matt Jones got in front to take the race and the event with Howard 2nd and Rob 3rd and Andy Leeson a creditable 4th in a big breeze.
The final race was sailed in easier conditions with Simon Bates quickly into the lead which he held to the final leeward mark where Howard passed to take the final race.
Many thanks to the Burton SC for their hospitality and particularly the Race Officer for settng testing courses and despite gusty conditions no serious problems arose.
The final open meeting for Laser EPS is at Llangorse SC on 26/27 Sept,if you own an EPS come and join us for a good weekend sailing.
1st Matt Jones, 214, 7pts
2nd Howard Astley-Jones, 259, 8pts
3rd Rob Dangerfield, 303, 15pts
4th Simon Bates, 135, 20pts
5th John Codner, 127, 25pts
6th Peter Card, 30pts
7th Andy Leeson, 30pts
8th Claire Ellis, 180, 37pts
9th Paul Swainson, 41pts
10th Mike Kerr, 42pts