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Laser 4000 Nationals at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club Report

by Luke McEwan 22 Aug 2000 14:54 BST

Fifty-nine Laser 4000s enjoyed a fantastic week's sailing at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club on 14-18 August. Sandy McPhail and his many helpers laid on one of the best-organised 4000 events in living memory, including haggis, seals, jellyfish, whisky, bouncy games, a Ceilidh, a 70s disco, top Liverpudlian band Hush and a trip to the Edinburgh Festival. Even the weather turned out unScottishly good and provided sunshine and breezes every day.

The racing was close and exciting, the medium winds providing everyone with an opportunity to get to the front (or the back) of the fleet. The start and first beat of every race were critical and all the front-runners had upsetting races when they got it wrong. In fact if any boat had finished fifth in all their races they would have won the event comfortably.

As the week developed, the overall lead was taken by a different boat each day. On the first day "SP Systems" (Luke McEwen and Emma Evans) dominated with a 2nd and a 1st in the first two races. The next day they were overtaken by old-hands "Preferred-IT" (Doug Baker and Hilary Sutton) who were by now getting into their stride with two 2nd places in races 4 and 5. On Wednesday only two races were sailed, both of which were won by "Audi" (Ricky Tagg and Vanda Zadorozny) who now led overall. Thursday saw "SP Systems" repeat their first-day performance with another 2nd and 1st to lead the series going into the final day.

With force 1 to 3 forecast for the final day and three races scheduled, the event could have gone to any one of the eight top boats. In the end "Audi", despite helmsman Ricky wearing the 'Duckhams Frock', won a nail-biting race in failing winds to take the overall lead. As the wind died away for good, this left "Audi" 11 points ahead of the rest of the fleet and winners of both the Nationals and the overall Euro Cup series.

"SP Systems" disastrous final race left them in second place overall. A consistent series and 3rd place in the last race put Hugh Watson and Helen Lloyd on equal points with "SP Systems" but they ended up in third place on the 'most firsts' tie-break. "SP Systems" have Gavin Homer and John Mucklow to thank for taking 2nd place in the last race and denying Hugh and Helen 2nd place overall. "Preferred-IT" managed to snatch fourth place overall for the third year in a row, making them possibly the most consistently successful team never to win the Nationals. "Adobe" (Pete and Lisa Nicholas) took fifth place and Pete now heads off to Sydney to crew for Simon Cooke in the New Zealand 470 at the Olympics.

Swiss/Italian pairing Ralf Plaenkers and Luca Dragonetti were the first non-British boat at 6th place overall; the other continental entry "The Undutchables" (Judith Migchelsen and Rob van der Akker) finishing slightly further down the fleet.

Other notable achievements came from EuroCup organiser Pete Harrison, sailing with an unfamiliar crew, Rob Hooker, in "Neilson Active Holidays" and finishing 7th overall. In 8th place were Ian and Carol Calder who returned to form in their 4000 by winning the first race after a two season child-rearing break. They were also the only boat to equal "Audi"s three race wins, and nearly made it four wins but for a slightly over-zealous start. Just behind overall in 9th place was "Mission Critical" (Richard Smith and Ian Turner) while local sailors "MGT" (Ronnie Millar and Gillian Hooton) were 10th. Other race winners included Peter Scott and Charlotte Ferriday, "Owen Sails" (Chris Owen and Scott Graham),

Many thanks to Dalgety Bay and the sponsorsGordon & MacPhail, Ronstan, Russell Athletic, Trident UK, BP, Shell and Exxon for laying on a superb National Championship. Congratulations to Ricky Tagg and Vanda Zadorozny for winning it and winning the EuroCup series.

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