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Laser Radial Qualifier at Swanage Sailing Club

by Jon Emmett 26 Mar 2006 21:15 BST 25-26 March 2006

The second Qualifier of 2006 was testing for race officer Ken Falcon and competitors alike. However nearly 100 Radials raced at Swanage on the last weekend of March in everything from 5 to 25 knots of shifty off shore breeze.

Race one was meant to start at 12:00 but thick fog meant safety was a real issue and the fleet was told to sail to shore. However as soon as the flags were raised the breeze started to fill in and slowly the fog cleared. Before most sailors hit the beach they were sent back to the start area where 15 knots of breeze was waiting for them!

There were no general recalls and the start got away cleanly. Jon Emmett came out from the pin end and worked the left side of the beat to lead at the windward mark. Initially he pulled away from the fleet but near the gybe mark the wind died, and David Jessop sailed over the top of Emmett. However Emmett repeated the favour on the second reach, rolling Jessop to take the lead again.

The final lap saw Emmett remain clear from Jessop, who was in turn clear of the chasing pack, which was led by Ross Harvey in third place. Harvey showed excellent speed upwind but was also low on the fleet, which worked well in the difficult conditions.

Race two and the fleet was badly behaved. Several general recalls and as many disqualifications finally allowed the race to get underway, led by the those who played the right hand side of the beat. Laura Baldwin was among the initial leaders but suffered a broken top section which put her out of the race.

At the top end of the beat Steve Cockerill emerged as the leader and was never challenged, but however he failed to finish correctly, believing there was another lap, which allowed Jessop, Adam Fox and Penny Clark all to pass him.

On the Sunday it looked unlikely we were going to have race three! The fleet launched on time but once again the fog made it impractical to have a race… you couldn’t even see the pin end of the line!

However at 1:00pm things looked better and the fleet launched at around 1:15 for what turned out to be the final race of the series.

Race three once again saw the leaders come from the left and Emmett was first at the top mark but once again ran out of breeze at mark two, and Adam Fox sailed under him and held a very narrow lead until the end of the run where he thought the race was finishing, despite shouting from Emmett.

Emmett carried on sailing for a comfortable win, with Steve Cockerill and Lizzie Vickers both passing the unfortunate Fox.

Overall Results:

1st Jon Emmett, Weir Wood 2pts
2nd David Jessop, Grafham Water 3pts
3rd Steve Cockerill, Stokes Bay 5pts
4th Adam Fox, Grafham Water 9pts
5th Lizzie Vickers, Royal Thames 9pts
6th Penny Clark, Navy 10pts

1st Open Jon Emmett
1st Lady Lizzie Vickers
1st Junior Alex Mills-Barton
1st Youth (female) Anna Dobson
1st Youth (male) David Jessop
1st Master Steve Cockerill

Full results and the current ladder may be found at www.laser.org.uk

The top girls are now flying off for the Princess Sofia regatta where their boats are already out in Palma so they can get in some training before the regatta starts. Bonnie Holt will also be driving out to join the RYA supported sailors, her first stop Barcelona Olympic classes regatta. The next Qualifier will be held at Pwllheli over the first weekend of May.

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