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Wildwind / Rooster Laser Midlands Grand Prix at Staunton Harold Sailing Club

by Phil Hardcastle & Grahame Newton 11 Oct 2017 07:44 BST 8 October 2017
Laser Midlands Grand Prix at Staunton Harold © Hazel Williamson

49 sailors arrived at Staunton Harold Sailing Club for the last race in the Wildwind/Rooster Laser Midlands Grand Prix Series, to find a bright autumn day with a light and shifty NW wind.

The first race began with the traditional mass false start with several boats over the line when there were several seconds to go. After the inevitable general recall, race 1 saw Rich Bennett take an early lead followed closely by Rachael Rhodes (SHSC) in a borrowed boat, impressive given neither are regular Laser sailors. Grahame Newton (SHSC) managed to take the lead on the 2nd lap and built up a decent lead which he held to the finish. Craig Williamson (SHSC) also came through the fleet to finish 4th.

Race Officer Tim Gray started race 2 under a black flag, which resulted in some disqualifications as competitive and over-eager sailors hit the line too early. Grahame Newton took an early lead, but was then passed by Ed Higson (Bartley) and Craig Williamson. Ed held on to win while Grahame got a shift to pass Craig on the last beat and finish 2nd. Matt Lathoud (SHSC) also passed Craig on that beat to get 3rd.

The wind for the third race dropped slightly and became very tricky and shifty. The black flag was raised again and Grahame Newton, starting at the pin end, took advantage of a wind shift, tacked onto port and was first to the windward mark. He held on to his lead to the finish, chased round the course by another SHSC sailor John Blundell, only for John to lose out on the last beat as Ed Higson and John Ling (Bartley) came through to take second and third leaving John Blundell with 4th.

The overall result of a great day's racing was that Grahame Newton took 1st place, Ed Higson 2nd and Craig Williamson 3rd. Grahame also proudly received the 'Dave Newton Memorial Trophy' for the first SHSC boat, presented in memory of his father, a founder member of the club and long-standing successful laser sailor. Rachael Rhodes not only took first lady by a long way but was 4th, beating many top class, regular Laser sailors, a brilliant achievement!