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Laser Grand Prix at Denver Sailing Club

by Chris Hall 11 May 2006 16:25 BST 7 May 2006
Drizzle and light winds for the Home Counties and Eastern Region Laser Grand Prix at Denver SC © Chris Hall

The first Home Counties and Eastern Region Laser Grand Prix was held at Denver Sailing Club on Sunday 7 May. Despite poor weather conditions on the day, sailing honours were keenly fought for by the 9 competitors that took to the water. For some of the visitors, river sailing would be significantly different to their usual sailing conditions.

Despite the rain and a northerly breeze that was reluctant to exceed 5knts, 1st across the line in the morning race was Matthew Frary of Waveny and Oulton Broad YC. During the first leg, a long (1.5mile) downwind leg to the railway bridge, the race split into 2 distinct packs with Matthew Frary, Alan Bishop and Jarvis Simpson breaking away to a commanding lead. Although Matthew had set a blistering pace in the early part of the leg, it was Alan who rounded the downwind mark first. The first Denver sailor to the mark in 4th place was Chris Hall, however, this was not to be Chris’s race when he inadvertently fell off his boat on the upwind leg! Line honours in race 1 were taken by Matthew Frary in 1st place, Alan Bishop in 2nd place and Jarvis Simpson in 3rd.

Lunch was followed by 2 races back to back over a short course within sight of the Club House. With the rain clearing the wind seemed to be on the up but by the time the boats had completed the first lap of race 2 it was back to more of the same 3-5 knts witnessed in the morning. Nonetheless, following a clean start it was Matthew Frary who once again took command of the proceedings and led the race from start to finish. The 3 sailors in 2nd, 3rd and 4th jockeyed for position finishing lap 2 of a shortened race with Alan Bishop taking 2nd place, Chris Hall taking 3rd place and Jarvis Simpson in 4th.

The start of race 3 saw the wind drop to less than 2knts very soon after the start and with Matthew Frary electing not to compete in the final race, this left the field open for the others to gain a chance of getting that all important 1 point. First around the downwind mark was Alan Bishop pursued by Chris Hall and Jarvis Simpson. With the wind dropping all the time, race 3 was becoming a battle of determination and wits which soon resulted in the retirement of Paul Pearson, Hunstanton & Ouse Amateur SC, Matt Summers, Denver SC, Jon Hanby, Grafham SC, and Annaliese Jones, Denver SC. The 4 remaining sailors were determined to battle it out to the bitter end with Alan Bishop taking 1st place and Chris Hall taking second. With a late flourish Jarvis Simpsons’s hopes were dashed as John Young, of Denver SC overhauled him to gain a well deserved 3rd place.

Despite the dismal weather and the lack of a decent wind the first Laser Open to be held at Denver was deemed by all to have been a resounding success. That long, not so windy, tack back towards the Club in the first race will be difficult for some to forget. Prizes were awarded by the Denver SC Officer of the Day, Dave Hawkins ably assisted by the Commodore, Dave Pilcher.

Overall Results:

1st Matthew Frary, Waveny & Oulton Broad YC, 2 points
2nd Alan Bishop , RYA, 3 points
3rd Chris Hall, Denver SC, 5 points
4th Jarvis Simpson RYA, 7 points
5th John Young, Denver SC, (Grand Master) 9 points
6th Paul Pearson, Hunstanton & Ouse Amateur SC, 10 points
7th Matt Summers, Denver SC, 14 points
8th John Hanby, Grafham SC, (Radial) 16 points
9th Annaliese Jones Denver SC, (Lady) 18 points

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