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Suntouched 2018

RC Laser National TT and Northern Series at West Lancashire Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 9 Apr 07:55 BST 8 April 2018
RC Laser National TT and Northern Series at West Lancs © Susan Sharman

With the temperatures rising all the while we were now into Spring. As my wife looked out of the window, she commented that it was very steamy outside. Because of the light or no wind, plus all the rain, we had fog. With her being of foreign origin I just agreed with her as she wears the lederhosen. My Mother also used to say it was fockey outside? And that's going to be the place for our European RC Laser Championship this year with 26 entrants from 6 nations already entered, including four of us Brits ferrying over to Northern Germany for a great competition.

Back to the day's proceedings and we were at Southport for one of the early TT events. From the seven on the calendar we are fortunate to have four scheduled for us Northerners, so a great opportunity to qualify and get 3 sailed. There would be no worries for today if you your new D sail hadn't arrived when the old John Tushingham sail becomes outlawed, as it was going to be A sail all day, once the fog had cleared.

The car park was fairly filled although a handful of folk were full size skippers. We had 13 guys in attendance which actually looked more. The wind also looked to be full for the first race, but was it to last? Our first beat was towards the South, a spreader to separate and back down to the bridge for the leeward mark and repeat the triangle twice. This was the format for the whole day, just moving the course around as the wind changed.

Rob won the first race, he is a master when it comes to the A sail, and usually the last one to change down with reluctance. This race went quite well and was fairly quick and then on to the next one, with again only the one minute countdown. Everyone just about managed the first lap, then the wind went. Starting with a light drift, then within minutes totally gone. Some of us had been expecting the wind to die round about lunchtime but not so early. After about 20 mins of stillness the race was eventually abandoned.

With the boats taken off the water and a lengthy break it was decided to add on half hour to our lunch break to let the wind decide to what it was going to do. The wind eventually returned from the sea side of the lake, coming from a North Easterly direction, so the windward mark and the rest of the buoys were swivelled round. We now went clockwise instead and were still only on the second race. Now Adrian Tomlinson started to show the Northerners his fighting colours and was battling it out with Dave Fowler for the lead places.

Trevor was doing his best to keep the races flowing as quickly as he could with the one minute countdown as he was under pressure to squeeze in 8 races for a half descent TT. One guy's batteries fell out of his transmitter, Dave had a couple of radio issues, the patrol boat engine wouldn't start, two boats got fully tangled up and then somebody fell in the lake after rescuing the same two boats that got tangled up the first time. So yes, we had a few hiccups.

The wind turned again, working up to nearly 90 degrees to the start line, so that the last couple of races were more like a sprint for the windward mark. Movement of the buoys became necessary and a change of leeward mark.

We had an idea of who were the leading couple of boats, but John Sharman and Rob Wheeler were also making their impact and mixing in there quite well. Others too were having some good race results and no one was really left that far behind.

It was agreed that an additional 2 races should be held to make it ten as the wind had now picked up and the running had been going good. Boats were beginning to nose dive and we were hanging on and fighting the urge to drop down a sail size as time was marching on and getting really close now to the 3pm deadline. Dave was the only one quick enough on the last race to throw on his B rig.

Our furthest travelling skipper from Ramsgate won the day with Dave F. in second place followed by John Sharman in third. The next TT and again Northern Series RC Laser meeting is at Fairhaven Lake on the 27th May and we hear that the lake has had a good flushing out to clear all the weed.

Overall Results: (top three)

1st Adrian Tomlinson (RTYC) 10pts
2nd Dave Fowler (Kingsmill) 16pts
3rd John Sharman (Burwain) 22pts

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