Photo © Mike Dickinson
Stunning sunshine and just enough breeze provided unexpectedly Mediterranean like conditions for the 25 boats contesting the Papercourt Sailing Club Laser Open Meeting held on 24 March 2012, generously sponsored by Guildford Marine.
The fleet got away cleanly for the first start of the day with 2010 winner, Rob Hardwick, leading at the windward mark from James Dickinson. Hardwick went on to win from Daniel Francis who had come through the field well to just edge out Jadok Gerber from Tamesis. In the combined Radial/4.7 fleet, Sue Michelmore won from Anne Robinson in second and Peter Howe close in third.
Race 2 saw a major wind shift on the start line but Principal Race Office, Martin Smith, held his nerve and rightly so as the wind duly swung back for the gun and increased slightly to make for a great race. At the front, the leading boats were close throughout with Gerber coming out on top to win from Sam Tozer second and Julia Beck third with Hardwick close behind. Michelmore again took the Radial/4.7 win with Robinson in second.
After a break ashore for some much needed refreshment, the fleet headed back out for the final two races. In race 3, Tozer went one better than his second before lunch to take the bullet from Francis who learnt the lesson of his OCS in race 2 to not be one of a number of boats at the pin end over at the start. Hardwick came home third, which meant any of Hardwick, Francis, Gerber or Tozer could win overall going into the final race. Meanwhile, in the Radials/4.7s, Michelmore took her third win of the day to mean she was unbeatable overall with a race to spare.
Race 4 saw Richard Guy first around the windward mark closely pursued by Hardwick and Paul Robinson from Datchet. Guy and Hardwick battled throughout with Guy eventually coming out on top for a well deserved win. Behind them, Robinson chased hard and took third from Dickinson. Francis could only manage fifth and Tozer sixth meaning that Hardwick had done enough to secure overall victory with Tozer beating Francis on a tie-break to finish second overall. Gerber was first visitor in fourth overall with Julia Beck pipping Dickinson for fifth.
Many thanks go to Guildford Marine for donating terrific prizes and helping make the event a great success.
The Papercourt Open was the second event of the 2012 Thames Valley Traveller Series sponsored by Rooster Sailing. The next event is Wembley S.C. (Welsh Harp) on 17 June so plenty of time to practice.