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Laser Open at Aldenham Sailing Club

by Colin Carver 1 Jul 2017 11:08 BST 11 June 2017

On a bright and very breezy day 13 visitors from 11 different clubs joined 10 local Aldenham boats for what proved to an exhilarating day's sailing.

Race 1

Several of the visitors arrived early, keen to get out on the water. This enthusiasm continued into the start of Race 1 resulting in a general recall, fortunately the only one of the day. The predicted 19 gusting 27 knots wind had arrived just before the start and the fleet set off on a good beat down the full length of the reservoir. The leaders, Ross Williams & Mason Woodworth, swapped the lead several times, while just behind James LeCouilliard and Rob Beere took full advantage of Adam Meekings falling out of his boat.

Simon Hamment turned up late and, though helped by the general recall, failed to make a correct start (something to do with an Inner Distance Mark!). However, his progression through the fleet acted as a warning of speed to come. Several boats retired and the rescue boat was kept busy recovering the odd boat from the dam wall and the trees. The stiff breeze stretched the leg muscles up the beats and produced terrific fast reaches, especially in the gusts. Ross took the win followed by Mason (last year's winner) and James.

The fleet stopped for a well-earned rest and an excellent lunch. Steve Fischer (winner two year ago) took advantage of the break to swap to a smaller rig, but was still seen capsizing in later races.

Race 2

Unfortunately some were a bit late for the start of race 2, partly due to people staying ashore for as long as possible, but also by James' boat blowing off the trailer in a gust and blocking one of the slipways. Of the late starters Rob Beere made it up to 8th, but James ycruised to 12th and allowed himself to be lapped to conserve energy for race 3 (wise move!). Simon, Mason, Tim LeCouilliard & Colin Carver vied for the lead with some close racing and several capsizes. At the end Simon had shown his pace by pulling clear and took the win from Ross and Tim. Mason nipped passed Colin on the line to take 4th.

Race 3

The wind moved more westerly for race 3 and the gusts got stronger and shiftier. The Club anemometer had had enough and showed 0 knots! However, the conditions were described by some as ferocious with Elstree airport recording 27 knots and Northolt 36 knots. A short pause while the race officer reset the course and the final race shoot-out got underway with Simon, Ross and Mason still in with a chance of overall victory. 17 survivors started cleanly. Many capsizes and multiple "water starts" - as those that dared to hike got dunked in the headers - caused some snakes and ladders amongst the mid-fleeters. The race officer let the race run for the full hour, so the endurance and boat handling skills demonstrated by 13 finishers were considerable. Ross, Simon & Mason looked steadier and pulled clear of the fleet finishing in that order. The spectators were rewarded by some excellent close racing and flat out planing as well as countless capsizes.

So, overall Ross took a well-deserved win followed by Simon beating Mason on count back. James took 4th from Rob, again on count back and not to be left out of it 6th, 7th & 8th also finished on equal points!

In the Radial fleet Mark Fowler took top spot from Edward Brown & Leila Moore.

Overall Results:

PosRigSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1stStandard197369Ross WilliamsGrafham1‑212
2ndStandard207731Simon HammentPapercourt(DNC)134
3rdStandard209190Mason WoodworthAldenham2‑424
4thStandard207086James Le CouilliardAldenham3‑1269
5thStandard209411Rob BeereFrensham Pond4‑859
6thStandard206327Peter EdelKing George8‑10412
7thStandard209002Colin CarverAldenham‑105712
8thStandard208996Adrian ElwoodWembley66‑912
9thStandard203302Tim Le CouilliardAldenham113(DNF)14
10thStandard181899Andrew McLeishRYA7‑141017
11thStandard208998Steve FischerAldenham9‑11817
12thRadial176285Mark FowlerLittleton127(DNF)19
13thStandard181358Adam MeekingsMaidenhead516(DNF)21
14thRadial206466Edward BrownBroxbourne‑1691322
15thStandard164566Darren HeslenBroxbourne13(DNF)1225
16thRadial202543Leila MooreDocklands Sailing and Watersports Centre15(DNC)1126
17thStandard147698Colin WrightAldenham1713(DNF)30
18thStandard210360Dave KilleyMaidenhead14DNF(DNC)33
19thRadial166603Richard HolmesAldenham1815(DNF)33
DNQStandard188286Mike WilcockAldenhamDNF(DNC)DNC45
DNQStandard207080David LambertAldenhamDNF(DNC)DNC45
DNQStandard154735Jeremy DoranThorpe Bay(DNC)DNCDNC48
DNQStandard189083Mark PattenAldenham(DNC)DNCDNC48