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Laser Midland Grand Prix Round 5 at Blithfield Sailing Club

by Paul Williamson on 9 May 7 May 2017
Laser Midlands Grand Prix at Blithfield © Hazel Williamson

Whilst rigging for the 2017 Blithfield Laser Midland Grand Prix Open, Round 5 of the 2017 Laser Midland Grand Prix sponsored by Wildwind Holidays and Rooster Sailing, the wind gradually disappeared. At the scheduled start time the race officer sensibly flew the postponement flag, however quarter of an hour later there was a shifty force two which was enough to get the 20 boat fleet away for the start of a fantastic day's sailing.

Jack Hopkins (Delph) and Richard Mason (Notts County) took an early lead in race one. The wind was incredibly shifty and the first 45 degrees windshift caught Jack out with a very near capsize, Richard spotting Jack's misfortune tacked on the shift to take him to the right hand side of the course and out of the wind. It was the boats that sailed to the left hand side of the beat that picked up the stronger wind to lead at the Windward mark. Craig Williamson (Hayling island) and Thomas Woodings (Carsington) were first and second, closely followed by Paul Williamson (Staunton Harold) and Jack Hopkins. Paul had good downwind speed to overtake Thomas but struggled to find upwind boat speed and was overtaken on the final lap by Joe Scurrah (Carsington). Craig gradually pulled away for a comfortable win with Joe in 2nd, Paul 3rd Jack 4th and Mark Abbey (Blithfield) in 5th.

Jack Hopkins didn't make the same mistake in the second race and capitalised on a good start and good upwind boat speed to lead at the Windward mark. Jack was followed around by Craig Williamson and Thomas Woodings. As the race progressed it again paid to go to the left hand side of the beat. Craig spotted this and went further than the rest of the fleet to take the lead. After some very close downwind legs Craig eventually won from Jack in 2nd. This time Mark Abbey used his local knowledge to finish 3rd with Richard Mason 4th and Thomas Woodings 5th.

The wind shifted by 90 degrees for the final race, however as the boats progressed up the first beat there were several 45 degrees wind shifts. This left people thinking they were winning one minute to then find they were buried in the pack the next. Joe Scurrah and D Johnson (Blithfield) took a more central route and took advantage of the final Starboard shift to lead at the windward mark. The race was highly competitive with many place changes throughout the race. A squall on the last lap led to many capsizes and place changes. Joe Scurrah who was on the downwind leg when the squall came through sailed into the distance to win. Thomas Woodings looked set for a second place, but capsized on the final run to let Paul Williamson through into second place. He recovered to finish 3rd with Julian Bassett (Blithfield) 4th and John Lees (Blithfield) 5th.

Overall Results:

1st Craig Williamson (Hayling Island)
2nd Joe Scurrah (Carsington)
3rd Paul Williamson (Staunton Harold)
4th Jack Hopkins (Delph)
5th Thomas Woodings (Carsington)

Laser Midland Grand Prix Series: (after Round 5)

1st Andy Allan (Trimpley)
2nd Thomas Woodings (Carsington)
3rd Joe Scurrah (Carsington)
4th Richard Mason (Notts County)
5th Paul Powell (Trimpley)

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