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Laser Midland Laser Grand Prix series at Bartley Sailing Club

by Louise Craig 20 Oct 2018 13:51 BST 14 October 2018

Sunday 14th October saw the final event of the Midland Laser Grand Prix series held at a very welcoming Bartley Sailing Club. The weather however was not so welcoming, with torrential rain and a 10 degree drop in temperature! This did not deter 42 hardy sailors from challenging the leaders in the relative fleets and trying to better their individual results.

Race 1: After a clean start in 8 knot winds, home club sailor and fleet captain John G Ling took an early lead at the first mark and continued to build on this, so at the third mark John had an unstoppable mark and a half lead and held on to this,

The race for the rest of the top five places was being more closely fought, with Commodore Caroline Whitehouse trading places with Paul Keeling (Blithfield), Simon Hardiman (Bartley) and Ellie Craig sailing a Radial (Draycote) with the race ending in this order.

Race 2: Us armchair sailors thought it would be a done deal that John would repeat his performance in race 2, but Simon Hardiman had an excellent start and turning the tables on John and hanging on to the lead to the end, with John finishing second, and Lazarus Adronis – new Father from Midland - finishing third, Paul Keeling fourth and Ellie Craig fifth.

Race 3: The rain was starting to abate and a significant delay ensued whilst the wind steadied and the start line reset following a shift, who would win this race!

Jeremy Higson (Bartley) who had just returned to sailing following a skiing accident last Spring took advantage of clean air on a port end flier and gained good spead on the tight beat up to the first mark. The field was much less spread out and a slight increase in wind strength was helping the Radials and 4.7s.

The fleet bunched up at the second mark and it looked like the race was up for grabs! A few strong gusts rattled through and made it interesting and cold and a couple of boats retired, but the fleet started to open up. Jeremy started to pull away, showing that despite the injury, his sailing skills had not lessened! John had got his act together and started to accelerate and hunt Jeremy down... but didn't quite get there.

The final result was Jeremy, Ellie in her Radial, and then John.

Special mention to Michael Homer from Midland who managed to capsize five times in the last race but didn't give up!

Bartley results:

1st John G Ling
2nd Simon Hardiman
3rd Eleanor Craig (Radial)

Midland Grand Prix

This year's Grand Prix series consisted of 26 events, from North Derbyshire, Leics, Derbys, Warwickshire, Notts, Northampton shire and Birmingham with over 300 sailors taking part and not all full rigs. With the new handicap system, there have been a significant number of Radials and 4.7s taking advantage of the competitive racing

Most of the season has been challenging conditions, in the form of very light wind which has certainly tested everyone'e skills and patience.

The fleet have been made very welcome t all of the clubs that have hosted events this year and special thanks to Paul Williamson (Staunton Harold) for managing the results and all of the many on shore helpers! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Huge congratulations to John G Ling for winning the series in the full rig, every event he went to, he won in convincing style, and still managed to be his charming and helpful self- encouraging the less experienced sailors and helping with rigging issues and breakages! John also hosted what must be the longest and most entertaining prize giving, with everyone going away with many prizes.

Many of the regulars and Laser stalwarts finished in the top ten this year, showing that despite advancing years in both boats and age of sailor, you can still be competitive. Adam Hague, new to the circuit this year, made a great debut to finish tenth overall.

The Radial fleet was won convincingly and humbly by Ellie Craig, who despite the frustrations of the light wind events, never gave up.

Thanks to sponsors Rooster Sailing and DinghyBuyer Direct.

Overall series results after 26 events:

1st John G Ling Bartley SC 6 points
2nd Joe Scurrah Carsington 11 points
3rd Paul Williamson Staunton Harold 15 points
4th Paul Keeling Blithfield SC 23 points
5th Andy Allan Trimpley SC 26 points
6th Simon Hardiman Bartley SC 28 points
7th Eleanor Craig Draycote SC 35 points RADIAL
8th Jamie Cuxson Earlswood SC 35 points
9th James Dalby Trent Valley SC 43 points
10th Adam Hague Ogston SC 44 points

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