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Suntouched 2018

RC Laser and DF65 Winter Series at West Lancashire Yacht Club - Day 3

by Tony Wilson 6 Feb 09:29 GMT 4 February 2018

With a wind direction from the North East, we were in with a bit of luck to preserve our eyeballs. As we know from a lake with a clubhouse facing South, it can be sometimes a bit of a blinder, hence Alan's constant reminder to come well prepared with a pair of your favourite Ray Bans.

There was lots going on for this weekend. The Dragon Force were having the first TT of the year and a forewarned 10K Mad Dog Fun run had us all arrive an hour earlier to make the most of the day and to prevent us from being locked out from what was going to be a great Sunday.

With the car now packed with all the essentials and windscreen defrosted, it was off to the races, unless you had braved a night in the yacht club house car park all snuggled up in your camper van. Some had even made a long weekend and enjoyed a natter over a beer or two in the local feeding stations or used a hotel.

Just seven RC Laser skippers had arrived for what was their race day, but the honours would have to go to the Dragon masters that must have had at least thirty enlist for the day. Some would have sailed the bigger brother DF95 on Saturday, marshalled by Tim Long also great in numbers, but today the DF65's were under the watchful eye of John Tushingham.

Normally we would all use the same course with a short start interval, but today it was decided to try for two separate races at the same time. Alan had laid the Dragon course to the East of the club house, while the Lasers were to use a slightly shorter course towards the bay bridge. The start Auntie would be used by who ever got there first, with a choice of a minute or 2 minute count-down.

The Dragons were off first and looked a great site, something like one of those starling murmurations. Then on with the Lasers start we suddenly decided to do only one and a half laps of our course as the boats just seemed to be struggling to get going in the light airs. The Dragons had their second option and could use their A plus sails while we just hung on drifting for that first race.

By the start of the second race, we reverted back to our two and a half laps originally planned as the wind started to fill in again. Shaun seemed to be the leader in his usual form and the rest of were just waiting for any hopeful mistakes that he would make to take advantage.

You could hear the sound of the Sea Cadet band drumming in the distance along with something like a Gospel choir singing on the opposite side by the pier, while the road runners ran peacefully along the road and all without the noisy roar of cars purring along the promenade that we are normally custom to.

By lunchtime the Lasers had completed 8 races and were set on managing 16 for the day to hopefully qualify for the 3 discards. The Dragons had managed about 5 as they had a larger course and they had far more boats to manage. A fuller report and results can be found from Tim and John on their dedicated website.

After lunch we were out first and after a slight alteration to the course we were off again. Alan was pressing to get a race done in about 15 mins on average, but we were romping along and completing the last few in about 10 mins each. As our races started to over lap we sometimes found that we could use and synchronise the same start sequence with the Dragon gang. May be this is a first or even a new format for having twin courses run. One of our races had us all finish with a good grouping of about a minute. Jason certainly seems to be making good progress and on the second to last race he was in second position for three quarters of the race even though he had moved down to B rig.

There was some good racing going on and battles were well evident as you saw simultaneous tacking with Skippers trying to outwit each other. Four separate sailors posted at least one first, but again Shaun had most of the rest thus winning the day.

Although there was a slight freshness to the day with low temperatures, it felt pleasant enough for a very good days sailing to be enjoyed by all and to complete 16 races and 11 for the Dragons was a good success for one of our biggest displays at West Lanc's Yachting club, may more be on the way.

Day 3 Results:

RC Lasers
1 Shaun Holbeche
2 Skip Reaser
3 Alan Tickle

Dragon Force 65
1 John Brierley
2 Derek Priestly
3 Nigel Brown

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