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Laser Pico Nationals at Gurnard Sailing Club

by Simon Bean 9 May 2007 11:53 BST 5-7 May 2007

Gurnard Sailing Club kicked off the 2007 Championship Season with the Pico Nationals. 66 entries took part over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

The Club set out to hold a friendly regatta that any Pico sailor would be able to take part in. The morning fleet used training rigs and the afternoon fleet the larger sport/race rig. This was a successful mix with families and friends teaming up plus a host of experienced sailors joining in.

The Laser Centre helped with the loan of new black mylar Sport rigged Picos. This rig is super cool and gives the Pico designer style that white sail classes only dream of.

The morning racing started with a light breeze. Tom Harrison (14) kept his head out of the boat and romped home to victory. Ben (16) and Matt Green(10) were second with Cordelia Ellis and Danny Atherton(8) third. Then the sun came out and the breeze spiralled away, leading to a tow home.

In the afternoon the breeze revived. James French (15) nailed the start and kept clear air all the way. Charlotte Skinner (15) chased him home for second.

The next race had the best breeze of the weekend. The Clubhouse tacticians debated whether Derek Ness’s long tack into the bay would pay or was it just bonkers? When tacks crossed, Derek was down the pan but Andy Paterson had it to perfection. Off wind Charlotte kept closing the gap, but Andy’s experience of sailing the bay helped him keep control.

On Sunday conditions were testing. A chunky sea and a solid 18 knots. Racing went ahead with some substitution of crews to help build confidence. The bear away at the windward mark resulted in great surfing for some and lurching death rolls for others. The safety crews were kept busy but the Pico is robust and, once righted, boats could be sailed ashore.

Victory went to Cordelia Ellis and Josh Atherton (10), Ben and Matt Green revelled in the chase to win the Pico Junior Plate for best U16 crew. Kate Denton (13) won the prize for persistence.

The afternoon fleet knew what they were about to take on, with more wind, waves, tide and then three attempts to get a clean start. This was a great race but hard work with much swimming, Hugo Peckham (14) perfected the Eskimo roll recovery. A third of the fleet retired, but still no breakages. Result: Derek Ness, Brett Aarons and Richard Ellis.

With natural selection completed, the next races were very tight. Brett Aarons stylishly won the fourth. The fifth was a stunner when just 2 tacks from the finish Richard Ellis missed his toe strap and Andy Paterson pounced to win. James French kept his series together for 3rd overall.

The Monday races were all abandoned with winds of 25-35 knots.

Designer Jo Richards and Adrian Hart of the Laser Centre presented the Cowes Town Cup to National Champion Andy Paterson and the Designer’s Cup to Cordelia Ellis and crew.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubPts
1st 10362 Andy Paterson Gurnard SC 10 
2nd 10364 Brett Aarons Gurnard SC 11 
3rd 3398 James French Gurnard SC 14 
4th 10037 Richard Ellis Gurnard SC 16 
5th 9809 Derek Ness Gurnard SC 17 
6th Ben Green Gurnard SC 31 
7th 10446 Elliot Mitchell Yarmouth SC 32 
8th 9621 Judith French Gurnard SC 35 
9th Jane Peckham Gurnard SC 37 
10th James Skinner Gurnard SC 44 

Other key trophies went to:
James French (15) : WightCable Junior Cup, Isle of Wight Council trophy & Pico Open Plate
Tom Harrison (14) : Pico Junior Open Plate

Plus there were loads of goodies from OceanWorld, Aquatogs, Jolliffes Chandlery, Fat Face, ShipMates, Rick Tomlinson and the Laser Centre.

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