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Whitstable Yacht Club LaserFest '17

by Steve Gray on 18 Jul 15-16 July 2017

LaserFest was conceived as a weekend of tight Laser racing and great socials with the objective of getting as many WYC Lasers on the water as possible. Looking back on a great weekend of racing, an amazing BBQ and some amusing banter its mission was accomplished – and in some style.

With a turnout of 38 boats over the two days, we welcomed 6 visitors to add to 32 WYC boats – the envy of some of our other club fleets. PRO Mark Barnes ran a tight ship (least said about the last race) with long accurate courses to take on Saturday's brisk conditions and shorter challenge to match Sunday's softer breeze.

The first race was a bruiser out in the bay – home boats were stunned to see the radials of Jeff Loosemore from Australia and semi-local Rob Cage giving the best standard rigs a hard time. Jeff comfortably led home B14 sailor Simon Hadley and Nigel Brown to lay the marker down with thrills and spills throughout the fleet.

There was no let-up in the conditions for the 2nd race with the radials again making a strong start together with Fireball (and local Laser) sailor 'young' James Goodfellow leading to the first mark. With a twist in the wind and strong tide much of the fleet overstood the 1st mark meaning that those taking the direct route prospered but Jeff managed to bag another win from James with Nigel adding a further 3rd to boost his chances.

Broken bodies returned to the beach grateful to the shore crew for help with trollies, to Christina Brewer and team for a great BBQ and the assembled Lasers for the company, ending with renditions of Spice Girls songs – can't think why James!

An earlier start time of 13.00 saw a softer breeze and a course well out in the bay. With an incoming tide under the fleet and a much shorter course (was the first beat really the length of Saturday's start line Mark?) it was going to be interesting. Queue deja-vu from race 2 as many overstood the first mark having got a little too enthusiastic of their leeward end starts and forgotten to tack. First round was Steve Gray followed by 'Young' James and Nick Stephens; all standard rigs from WYC. Despite some big shifts which led to a lopsided beat and a very reachy run the James took the win from Steve and Nick – but note that 4th was taken by Niall Martin WYC's very own Canadian ex-pat. So where were the bandit radials? Jeff managed 10th, an amazing result in the light conditions and Rob was judged OCS – a little harsh perhaps?

The breeze faded a little for the last race and twisted just before the start to allow both ends of the line to tack and lay the first mark on port (that's if you could tack and get a clear lane fast!). Bill Edmondson from the home club led round from Niall Martin and WYC class captain and event organiser 'Pukka' Pete Gowing. After a slightly processional race Niall took the win from ex-WYC Commodore Andy Jackson and Peter Gowing.

We were privileged to recently receive a legacy from long time WYC and international Laser sailor Peter Raymer, and his trophy was awarded to the best WYC boat by his son John.

When the sums were done it was apparent that youth had triumphed with James Goodfellow the most consistent in both strong and lighter conditions to become overall winner and 1st WYC boat – well done Baby Spice!

Runner up was Niall Martin thanks to his 4,1 on day 2 pushing Nigel Brown down to 3rd with radial Jeff Loosemore taking 4th – we are glad he's joining WYC so we can learn just a few of his secrets (and get trashed again).

Prizes were awarded throughout the fleet with special awards for first lady, Ruth Oliver, first cadet radial Tom Oliver and especially for 10 year old Christopher Marsh from Thailand who finished every race in his 4.7.

Laserfest 17 was a successful event on every level – 38 boats was above expectations, and so great to see WYC Lasers who've struggled to race this year due to family commitments having a go at big fleet racing. Let's hope it stimulates even better turnouts for the rest of the season and encourages the rest of WYC to do the same.

For those who don't know Whitstable it's the best estuary sailing in Kent with strong fleets of Lasers, cats, Merlins and Tasers – if you fancy taking the challenge please contact WYC on 01227 272942 or visit

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoRigClubAgeR1R2R3R4Pts
1James Goodfellow192742STDWYC3142157
2Neil Martin179947STDWYC35‑45694111
3Nigel Brown210359STDWYC46‑55335811
4Jeff Loosemore207357RadialWYC56+11101812
5Steve Gray197717STDWYC56+842914
6Andy Jackson172568STDWYC46‑5511106218
7Nick Stephens191114STDWYC56+71231422
8Peter Gowing198535STDWYC46‑5513716323
9Simon Hadley174917STDWYC46‑5523391324
10Rob Cage206504RadialWYC56+55401727
11Christian Brewer3110STDWYC56+98111228
12Kevin Hall185653STDWYC46 to 55106131929
13Mark Grinter186022NAWYC56+1215181037
14Bill Edmondson208216STDWYC56+171440637
15Paul Kelly183125STDWYC46 to 551913142046
16Chris Jarret195226STDWYC35‑452740121150
17Mike Oliver179746STDWYC56+2140151551
18John Silk165310STDWFSA46‑5540408452
19Jonathan Bentman173360STDBSC46 to 552218172557
20Ruth Oliver115387RadialWYC201619242859
21Edward Poet187150STDWYC35‑452320192160
22Mark Holweger208326STDWYC46‑55404071663
23Tony Clements204549STDWYC46‑552640202268
24Peter Heyes192813RadialWYC56+2424222470
25Nick Hawkins192840STDWYC56+2011404071
26Rien Zilvold18602RadialWYC56+1516404071
27John Sinclair174574RadialWYC56+1817404075
28Christopher Marsh2089964.7WYC102923262978
29Tom Oliver154760RadialWYCUnder 183040232679
30Roy Loveridge164571STDWYC35‑454040212384
31Kevin Tolson184334RadialWYC56+2521404086
32Jamie Pope175672STDWYC35‑451433404087
33Charlie Campion197150STDWYC56+404040787
34Ali Nicolson120520RadialWYC35‑452822404090
35S Luckhurst42712STDWYC35‑454040252792
36Jon Ducker125733RadialWYC35‑4540402740107
37Oliver Bayes‑Shelton174542STDWYC2731404040111
38Sally Newcombe183304RadialWYC46‑5540404040120
39John Kelly129888STDWYC56+40404040120

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