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RC Laser National Championship at Poole Radio Yacht Club

by Lawrie Draper on 7 Oct 2016 1-2 October 2016

The 2016 RC Laser National Championships were hosted by Poole Radio Yacht Club on the large lakes at Longham, just 6 miles North of Poole, near Ferndown. The boat pond at Poole is still plagued by the dreaded weed.

Sixteen sailors turned up for the event, from the North and South of the country and included two sailors from the Netherlands which added a welcome international flavour to the event. 7 sailors were from the local club.

The weather forecast for the Saturday indicated changeable conditions throughout the day. This proved to be the case with the first few races sailed using the A rig and the final races of the day sailed using the D rig. In between these races the weather threw everything at the sailors and race management team, heavy rain, rain showers, light winds, medium winds, strong winds and very strong winds, and to finish - some sunshine.

The conditions were constantly changing during the races making the selection of rig critical to the outcome of a number of races, too big and broaching, too small and underpowered. All of the sailors used A, B, C and D rigs at some time during the day. Many decisions on which rig to use were taken at the very last minute before the start of a race.

The race management team from Poole were kept on their toes with numerous course changes and tweaks throughout the day to cope with the changeable weather and fluctuating wind direction and maintain a fair course for all sailors.

After the first day of sailing 16 races were completed with the top three of Lawrie Draper, Dave Fowler and Adrian Tomlinson very close on points. Dave was leading the race win log, followed by Adrian and Lawrie.

Sunday morning was a total contrast to the weather of Saturday, sunny, warm and a light breeze drifting across the lake. Once the racing was underway it became clear that one of the major issues for the day was the weed. This had been blown to the side of the lake the previous day and was now being blown back down the course with the 180 deg change in wind direction from Saturday. This had an impact upon a number of boats.

The wind was light and variable throughout the racing period, necessitating a number of course changes. The sailors only required the A rig today in contrast to the previous day. A further 7 races were sailed with the finish called after the wind turned off during the 24th race.

There were 9 different race winners in total showing the depth of talent in the fleet.

This was a great effort by the Race Management team from Poole to run the event in some testing conditions, with ever changing wind strength and direction on Saturday and light and fickle winds on Sunday, what a contrast. Need to lie down in a darkened room after that.

Overall Results: (top 5, 23 races)

1st Lawrie Draper, Poole and Gosport
2nd Dave Fowler, Kingsmill
3rd Adrian Tomlinson, RTYC
4th Taco Faber, Netherlands
5th Chris Jermyn, Poole

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