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Laser Thames Valley Grand Prix at Littleton Sailing Club

by Rob Beere 28 Apr 2016 10:15 BST 16 April 2016
Lasers at Littleton © Alan Povey

A fleet of 28 boats gathered on a cold day with a very shifty Force 2-3 coming over the trees for the Littleton Laser Open Meeting, the second event in the Thames Valley Grand Prix. The club put on a great days sailing, with well set courses, a good lunch selection and a free tea of sandwiches and cakes. All for £8! Let's look at each fleet in turn.

Standards (19 boats)

The start of race one saw a late shift to port, giving Rob Beere a flyer that got him to the windward mark first. He couldn't hold it in the shifty conditions as Simon Derham and George Beck read the shifts better. A mix up on the course led to most of the fleet except for Simon D and Adrian Elwood (who got it right) sailing off to a far corner of the lake. By the end Simon D held the lead followed by George, Rob and Adrian.

Race two followed a similar pattern at the start with Simon D and Rob rounding first and second and having a close battle for 5 minutes, swapping places many times. Simon D came out on top by the end with Rob second, Neil Davies picking up third, and Arthur Bruce fourth.

The fleet came back on the water after lunch to a dropping breeze and even more shiftiness. Race three saw Simon Hamment and Nigel Rolfe picking up their game giving George a close battle. In the end George prevailed with Simon H and Nigel following.

The final race saw a shift at the last minute leading to a starboard bias which Rob Beere took advantage of, rounding first ahead of Simon H and Simon D. With the wind dying there were endless changes of place. In fact, the whole fleet order reversed several times in the first couple of laps or so it seemed! Krzysztof Bonicki showed good form, as did Daniel Nield and Chris Nash. On the last long run, George, who was having a tough race until this point, made a really smart move sailing wide of the whole running fleet and emerging first at the other end of the lake. He held this until the finish, followed by Simon H, Daniel and Simon D.

Overall, this gave George Beck a well deserved first overall. He was followed by Simon Derham, Rob Beere, Simon Hamment and Neil Davies. However, Simon D was using a Rooster sail so his results were excluded from the official UKLA positions, but he won a club prize.

Radials (6 boats)

Mark Fowler, Sarah Davies and Melissa Meredith had a great battle all day with the final result not decided until race four. Mark stamped his dominance in race one and two with Sarah and Melissa fighting it out for second place and swapping in each race. In race three, Sarah took the win from Mark, which meant it all depended on the last race. Mark did what he needed to, and won, ahead of Sarah and Melissa.

Overall, this gave Mark first place, ahead of Sarah and Melissa, ahead of Martin Newman.

4.7 (3 boats)

Edgar Povey dominated the 4.7s, despite being hard pushed by Jack Bryant. In third place was Nick Selves.