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Laser Thames Valley Series Open at Welsh Harp Sailing Club

by Steve Cooper on 5 Oct 30 September 2017
Thames Valley Laser Open at Welsh Harp © Luke Howard

A gentle 9 knot breeze was forecast. The swans sat in the mirror patches around the marks and the aroma of bacon butties rose undisturbed into the atmosphere. With one competitor confessing that he'd, "taken to greasing his blocks off", there was a sense that such preparations were worthy of better conditions.

By 11am the wind had arrived and from a favourable South Westerly direction. A long beat up the lake towards the Wembley arch, windward mark, a starboard rounding, short reach across towards the clubhouse then round on starboard again for the downwind legs. A mark on the south shore converted a reach into an awkward run before the relief of getting back onto the beat.

After two rucks at the pin end, the black blag was flown and the fleet got going. Ross Williams took the honours in race one overtaking Marcus Bird on the second lap.

Williams started well in race 2 but was constantly under threat from Peter Austin and Danny Stegmeier. Tentative, defensive, sailing was the order of the day on the run, where sitting still and communicating with your deity of choice seemed as effective as an extravagant gybe to sit somewhere less crowded. The beat was the crux of the race, with boats going too far into the middle missing the favourable shifts along the South Shore. Through some astute tacking Williams shook off the attention of Stegmeier and got the first hoot, with Austin finishing third.

After lunch another black flag, another early lead for Ross Williams, with four boats breaking away from the fleet there was more to occupy the leader over his transom. Wembley sailors Paul Beard, Peter Dann and Julian Bradley harried the leader. Dann stayed with Williams, the lead reduced to a few boat lengths at the last mark. Some diligent covering, a third event winning victory for Williams.

An extra downwind mark was introduced for the last race, this provided two awkward runs separated by a short tight reach.

Alain Renauld of WHSC lead at the end of the first lap. On the short run to the new downwind mark, Renauld was forced to sail high to protect his wind, letting in the boats sailing a lower course. The wind was backing and the reach across the lake was becoming very close, late tacks to lay the mark. Little separation in the fleet throughout. Peter Dann led at the end of lap two. On the final lap Julian Bradley, blocks running freely, gained the inside line and the lead at mark 3. Bradley hangs on until the leeward mark, the backing wind brings longer port tacks to the finish, reducing the options to seek out a favourable shift on starboard. Bradley first, followed by Dann and Beard.

Close competition in the 4.7s and Radials, Ben Salva won the 4.7 class from Jack Graham-Troll. Leila Moore was the first Radial Sailor.

Thanks to all at WHSC for an excellent event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st204728Ben SalvaBLYM‑22114
2nd206715Jack Graham‑TrollBanbury SC11(BFD)24
1st202543Leila MooreDSWC1‑2124
2nd143568Magnus HandleyQMSC212‑35
3rd177861Alison StevensSESCA‑33317
1st197369Ross WilliamsGrafham SC111(DNF)3
2nd130596Julian BradleyWembley SC(DNF)54110
3rd3Paul BeardWembley SC4‑73310
4th205771Peter DannWembley SC9(DNF)2213
5th142800Danny StegmeierWembley SC‑726513
6th176837Marcus BirdWembley SC265(DNF)13
7thWHSC 9Alain RenaudWelsh Harp SC64‑8717
8th209411Rob BeereFrensham Pond3‑1010619
9th181358Adam MeekingsMaidenhead SC5‑1412421
10th210356Chris NashMaidenhead SC887‑923
11th209002Colin CarverAldenham SC‑12991129
12th194566Darren HeslinBroxbourne SC1113‑14832
13thWHSC2Tom GeeWelsh Harp SC101211(DNS)33
14th184015Muffin GreenWelsh Harp SC14‑16161040
15th7Peter AustinWembley SC133(DNS)DNS41
16th181899Andrew McLeishN/A‑1511151541
17th139197Tim De KlerkWembley SC17(DNF)131242
18th205121Tomasz SzakolaWelsh Harp SC‑1815181346
19th186043Gareth WilsonWelsh Harp SC16‑17171447
20th155964Mike SmithWelsh Harp SC191819(DNS)56
21stWHSC 1Richard MaldenWelsh Harp SC‑2220211657
22nd193703Cat BrownWelsh Harp SC23(DNF)201760
23rd183185Gerry WoodcockWelsh Harp SC2119(DNS)DNS65
24th205122Mahmood ShamsuddinWelsh Harp SC20(DNF)DNSDNS70
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