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Laser 5000 Inlands at Rutland Sailing Club

by Matt Topham 17 Oct 2007 08:34 BST 13-14 October 2007

Waking up to a fine drizzle and still water did not seem the right way to go about starting the 2007 Laser 5000 Inland Championships at Rutland Sailing Club. The Race Officer gave his briefing at 10:30 and asked us all if there was a minimum wind we could sail in. This did not bode well!

However, as this was the biggest attendance of the season for the 5000 fleet, we were all keen to have a go, and as luck would have it, the drizzle started to thin out and a pretty constant force 2 breeze started to blow. This was a good sign, and we all set out for the start line, in amongst the Laser 2000, Vago and 4000 fleets.

The Race Officer set a short upwind-downwind course, with an outer loop for the slower 2000s and Vagos and the inner loop for the 4000s and 5000s. The intention was to have 3 races and at pretty close to 12:30 the first fleet got away. 9 minutes after that, the 5000 fleet were all on the start line, heading up to the windward mark.

Simon Spolton and Fiona Tylecote in 5069 got away to a good start with Thomas Sauvel and Alistair Farman (5231) close on their heels. This seemed to set the trend for the entire event. Following on close behind were Mark and Nicky Rushton (5249) and Taff Owens and Andy Mount (ArmySailing.co.uk, 5233) giving them a run for their money.

Positions at the front of the fleet were pretty consistent throughout the racing, with Simon/Fiona and Thomas/Alistair exchanging the lead at various points throughout each of the races. Simon and Fiona have returned to the fleet after a gap of quite a few years and their performance gave the veteran Thomas/Alistair team a bit of a shock! However, they pulled it out of the bag on the first day, with the French helm taking two firsts and a second.

Things were also close in the fight for third with Mark and Nicky Rushton showing Taff and Andy a clean pair of heels in 2 out of the 3 races. Meanwhile, at the back of the fleet, much experience was being gained, and the stark difference between the skills now and those shown during the Nationals at Weston at the beginning of the year were a joy to see.

So, into the evening entertainment – well the band turned up, but had to contend with the England/France match, so, the audience was otherwise engaged watching the 2 televisions provided by the club. Thomas (French Chairman of the GBR association) was conspicuous by his French accent and was noticeably quieter by the middle of the second half – ah well, never mind mate!

So dawned Sunday, brighter and with some wind – great we all thought! Unfortunately the wind gradually became lighter than Saturday. Things were so close for 1st/2nd (Thomas/Alistair on 4 and Simon/Fiona on 5) and 3rd/4th (Mark/Nicky on 10 and Taff/Andy on 11) that we just had to go out there! Those of us in 3rd and 4th did not reckon on Nial in Radii getting his rig sorted out and coming out of the blocks on Port like a bullet! Come to think of it, none of us expected it, and he had a great lead up to the first mark on a longer course, but seemed to fluff his kite hoist, which gave Simon and Fiona the chance to get through, closely followed by the rest of the fleet, poor old Nial! Even Paul and John had smiles on their faces.

With two races remaining the two lead boats were neck and neck and things were turning very tactical. The wind was getting lighter and lighter, and every mistake was being punished by the opposition. This time, Thomas in 5231 got a good start off the line and once again the race was tight with 5231 finishing ahead of Fiona/Simon by only a second. ArmySailing.co.uk had a terrible start and was lying at the back of the fleet, but through a matter of hard work, clawed back to 4th and was once again biting on the heels of 5249!

All was down to the final race. With a superb start, the entire fleet, less Mark/Nicky managed to get to the windward mark together, which made for an interesting rounding, with Taff/Andy getting there first, but somehow coming out 5th – how did that happen? Simon and Fiona came storming through and from that position managed to hold on to first place for the remainder of the race, despite at one stage the wind dying off all together!

What a close event, and the Simon and Fiona combination in 5069 just managed to beat Thomas and Alistair in 5231 on count back.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubPts
1st 5069 Simon Spolton  Fiona Tylecot  Rutland Water Sailing Club  
2nd 5231 Thomas Sauvel  Alistair Farman  Grafham Water Sailing Club  
3rd 5249 Mark Rushton Nicky Rushton Grafham Water Sailing Club  17 
4th 5233 Taff Owens  Andy Mount  Army Sailing Association/Port Dinorwic Sailing Clu 18 

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