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RC Laser and DF65 Northern Autumn Series at West Lancs - Day 1

by Tony Wilson 16 Oct 2017 20:28 BST 15 October 2017

West Lancashire Yacht Club at Southport was the first location for the Autumn 5-part sailing series up North. A great venue with good facilities which is also used for a large variety of other full-size sailing dinghy classes. Fleetwood, Burwain and hopefully Fairhaven Lake will also be used for the remaining Sunday race days leading up to Christmas.

Dragon Force 65 were also down for this joint venture, but due to an unforeseeable clash with the Weechers Reservoir DF95/DF65 TT day at Keighley, only local members would likely be attending, so I thought. In the end we just had two sailors from Birkenhead.

Marginal wind conditions had Alan set the course up in the bay of the lake by the road. Only 8 skippers initially turned up for the Lasers and there was a nice calm atmosphere, as we hadn't been here for a while since the Nationals in July when it was very busy. The first race was a triangle then sausage for the second lap on a small course to see how things worked out. We were thinking that an 'A' plus rig would have just been fine at that moment, but by the end of the race the wind started to fill in.

With the true Southerly winds it is very hard to set a good start line for all to see, so the one we had was virtually enabling folks to beat to the first buoy in one go as the wind started to veer round slowly.

By race three Rob turned up and had decided to forfeit his first 2 discards as you get a 'did not start', which is fleet plus one, giving himself an uphill challenge to get back in the scores.

We put up with the set race plan up until race 5, and by now the wind was more favourable in front of the clubhouse. A coffee break was called while Alan shuffled the pink buoys. The new start line was now mid-course with two laps to be sailed of a much bigger skinny triangle. All the while the wind was getting up and by lunchtime most had gone through 'B' and were now using 'C' rigs.

The aroma of hot lunch was starting to waft around and was called at about 12:45. I must say it smelled very enticing, but myself being very disciplined, settled for my usual Laser race day menu of a carrot and piece of cabbage leaf diet... why?

Back on the water and we were able to continue with the same pattern, although some were now reaching for their 'D' rigs. David Foster had been in with some good scores in the morning picking up an odd first place along with Rob Wheeler. Tony had abandoned most of his toy cameras and was now able to concentrate on the task at hand, picking up three first places in a row even though he was overpowered on the run.

Skip picked up a couple of firsts and, apart from one entanglement with another boat's lines, seemed to be having a fairly descent day, even if he was still suffering from massive jet-lag from his cross Atlantic voyage the day before. Alan also picked up a first place and it seemed like most were having a good share of some nice places.

Ken sneaked out of nowhere to get a second and was finding it easier now with the storm sail, as was also our new Laser recruit Jason who seemed to be settling in fine. Up until the last race in the afternoon, Rob, Tony and Dave had persisted in not joining the rest for the smallest sail, and then to our surprise as there was a hint of the wind dropping, the Southport duo Skip and Alan, quickly threw on their 'B' rigs to finish on for the last race.

Sixteen races had been squeezed in to maximise a total of three discards. Nobody really objected to the long day as we all had great fun and to what most would say, was one of the most enjoyable times we've ever had at this venue.

The Dragon Force guys had sailed along until about lunchtime using the usual format of the inner circuit. A shame that there wasn't more of the little boats, but I'm sure they also had a good day over towards the Pennines.

Day 1 Results:

RC Laser
1 Dave Foster 30pts
2 Tony Wilson 32pts
3 Rob Wheeler 34pts

DF65
1 Roger Lincolm 6pts
2 David Williams 12pts

The next race for Lasers on the revised timetable is at Fleetwood on the 5th November.

Please keep an eye on the Fairhaven website for any amendments.

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