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Laser South Coast and South West Grand Prix at Sutton Bingham Sailing Club

by Chris Jones 2 Oct 11:07 BST 29 September 2018
Beautiful sunshine and competitive light air sailing during the Sutton Bingham Laser GP © Saffron Gallagher

The annual Laser Open meeting at Sutton Bingham, held on Saturday 29th September, attracted sailors from as far afield as Plymouth and the Isle of Wight despite a dismal wind forecast. The joint South Coast and South West Grand Prix traveller series sponsored by Rooster Sailing attracted 14 entries, the majority being local club members.

Sailors were greeted by brilliant sunshine, but hardly a breath of wind and the entire lake was like a glassy mill pond. Gradually a few ripples appeared in patches, which was enough to tempt the keener sailors to get out on the water to test the conditions, but Race Officer, Tim Robertson rightly postponed proceedings until something approaching a steadier breeze materialised.

A lunch of Jacket Potatoes fuelled competitors for two afternoon races, which finally got underway at around 2pm. The predominantly northerly breeze meant that racing for the two fleets; Standard and Radial rigs, were held up and down the Halstock leg of the lake. Just prior to the first start the wind swung southward and it looked like it would be a downwind start rather than the preferred upwind first leg, however, in the closing minutes before race 1 got under way the wind reversed in direction and increased a little to provide some decent racing.

The name of the game was definitely hunting for the best pressure and maintaining momentum in the light airs. In the Standard fleet it was series leader Jon Emmett who quickly developed a commanding lead, whilst close racing ensued behind. During the race it was young Archie Coates and Mervyn Clark that broke away from the bunch to take 2nd and 3rd. In the second race youths, Will Owen and Archie Coates made the best decision off the start line to benefit from better breeze up the first beat, however, Emmett's experience showed, coming through to win the race by a comfortable margin. The lower order Standard rig sailors decided to head for shore early to be first to enjoy the complimentary tea and cakes.

There was close action in the Radials with Chris Jones taking an early lead but being overhauled by Arthur Farley on the second beat. Jones closed the gap on the final run, but didn't quite establish an inside overlap at the final mark before the short beat to the finish line.

The second race determined the overall standings in the Radial fleet with Jones securing the race win by eaking out a slight speed advantage to overtake Farley in a nail-biting finish. With points tied Jones took the fleet win on count back.

At the prize giving the Race Officer was congratulated on getting two satisfactory races in under testing conditions and making it an enjoyable and worthwhile event for the travellers and club members alike.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2Pts
Standard Rig
1st210430Jon EmmettWier Wood SC112
2nd174483Archie CoatesSutton Bingham SC235
3rd4William OwenSutton Bingham SC628
4th136020Kelsey GreenSutton Bingham SC549
5th201481Graham DyerRestronguet SC7512
6th176843Mervyn ClarkSutton Bingham SC3DNF15
7th115372Tony StrugnellSutton Bingham SC9615
8th192843Richard HeatonSutton Bingham SC4DNF16
9th86260Ed CrutchleySutton Bingham SC8DNS20
10th214190Sally OwenSutton Bingham SC10DNS22
11th143519Max RoberstonSutton Bingham SCDNSDNS24
Radial Rig
1st210262Chris JonesSutton Bingham SC213
2nd214000Arthur FarleyRoyal Victoria YC123
3rd143610Kristian ShaferBrading Haven YC336

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