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Laser 5000 National Championships at Filey Sailing Club

by Taff Owens 29 Jun 2011 07:37 BST 25-26 June 2011

In an effort to encourage participation from the Laser 5000 sailors in the north of the country and from Scotland, the UK Laser 5000 Association held its annual National Championships at Filey Sailing Club over the weekend of 25th and 26th of June as part of its annual regatta. The Championships were kindly sponsored by Northampton Sailboats, our equipment supplier. Entrants came from far and wide, with teams from Loch Lomond, Plymouth, Pembrokeshire, Suffolk, North Wales and the centre of England.

Filey is situated on the East coast of Yorkshire, just south of Scarborough and faces east across a sandy bay and when the sun is out, it is a stunning venue. This was the site that greeted the 8 boats that had made the trip for the event.

The crews set to preparing the boats to get out onto the race course for the 3 races that were due to be held on the Saturday, however it soon became apparent as people were launching the boats that the force 4 winds forecast were not a true reflection of the real wind conditions, with a very shifty SW wind blowing at sometimes over 30 knots, the rescue fleet became extremely busy across both courses set for the day. After a delay to the start of nearly two hours and the wind continuing to build, the race officer decided to postpone racing for the day. That however didn’t stop Thomas Sauval and Alistair Farman, the 2010 National Champions from getting out onto the water to test their skills. The rest of the fleet watched from the veranda with a nice cool beer!

Sunday however was entirely different, with a start time of 1030, the race officer was very prompt in getting racing underway in a good force 4. The lads from Loch Lomond – Alister Kinsman and Paddy Adler were soon showing the same form that won them the European Championship in 2010 and set a fast pace up the first windward leg with Taff Owens/Nigel Sims hot on their heels. However, they always seemed to have the edge on the upwind legs resulting in them setting a very large gap between them and the 2nd boat. Taff and Nigel tried very hard to catch them on the downwind legs, but never quite got in front at the leeward gate. Mark and Nicky Rushton from Grafham Water were always in contention for 2nd place, but Taff/Nigel managed to hold them off. Unfortunately, with some technical difficulties caused by a spinnaker imitating a trawling net, Thomas and Alistair didn’t manage to get to the start line in time for the sequence and were left struggling to catch up; to their credit did get as high as 4th in that race.

With the wind dropping to the low end of a force 3 and with most people still on their heavy wind settings, Race 2 started and once again, Alister/Paddy (who had managed to change to light wind set up) scored a bullet, leading right from the start. Thomas and Alistair were pushing hard for 2nd but Taff and Nigel once again showed some blistering speed downwind, managing to hold them off to take 2nd in the race. Ade Bevan-Smith and James Williams managed to show some blistering speed upwind in the lighter airs and gave everybody a scare as they moved up to 2nd place during the race, however they were unable to hold their place as Taff/Nigel managed to cut inside them at the upwind mark, closely followed by Mark/Nicky who managed to hold those positions until the finish.

This led to an hours break for lunch, during which the wind became very light and everybody changed to their light airs setting. This caused some dramatic effects on the race course. Thomas and Alistair came into their own, scoring a bullet from the start line, leading half the fleet up the left hand side of the course, and Taff and Nigel, having had a terrible start going right with the other half of the course, this in fact proved to be the favourable side and GBR 5233 managed to make up some of the ground lost at the start, getting to the windward mark in 2nd place. This however was not good enough! During this race, Paul Burns and Ed Beckett showed how a well set up boat and some good drills can improve performance. They had some great upwind speed and were soon trying hard to catch up with the front runners, Thomas/Alistair and Alister/Paddy, however, once again, their leads were unassailable and managed to show everybody else a clean pair of heels.

In the final race, Alister and Paddy, having done enough to win the event (with 3 races to count) and with Paddy carrying an injury sustained during some tree climbing ‘antics’ in France, decided to return to the shore. The start for this race was frenetic, with some windward boat call on the line and a small infringement between a tiller extension and a mainsail, resulting in a 360 for Thomas and Alistair in GBR 5231, this didn’t hold them back however and they soon climbed back to first place. However, in the first upwind leg, Neil and Ben Luckett in GBR 5035 showed some great awareness and upwind speed, leading the fleet from the start line, unfortunately they fluffed a tack which let many past. By this time, Mark and Nicky in GBR 5249 had found their feet and were close to Thomas and Alistair leading, closely followed by Ade and James, who were showing the rest of the fleet how all the training that they’ve been doing in Plymouth really is paying dividends. By this time Taff and Nigel were practically sailing backwards and posted a disappointing 5th place.

Overall Results:

1st GBR 5307, Alister/Paddy (Loch Lomond) 4pts
2nd GBR 5231, Thomas/Alistair (GWSC) 5pts
3rd GBR 5233, Taff/Nigel (Army SA/Dale YC) 8pts
4th GBR 5249, Mark/Nicky (GWSC) 10pts
5th GBR 5248, Ade/James (Cargreen YC) 12pts
6th GBR 5269, Paul/Ed (GWSC) 13pts
7th GBR 5035, Neil/Ben (Felixstowe Ferry) 21pts
8th GBR 5196, Alan/Ed (Porthmadog) 22pts

Travellers’ series positions will be posted soon.

Thanks to all at Filey SC for the excellent organisation and warm welcome. The next open event will be at Loch Lomond SC during their dinghy weekend, and there are already over 10 boats that have expressed an interest in attending, brilliant.

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