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SailingFast Laser 4.7 World and European Qualifier at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Acade

by Keith Videlo 15 Mar 10:16 GMT 9-10 March 2019
SailingFast Laser 4.7 World and European Qualifier at Weymouth © UKLA

Weymouth was the venue for the seventh ladder event of the 2018-19 season. So far this year, the Laser 4.7s have had lost 3 out of 4 days due to gale force winds. The sailors were all hoping the predicted forecast was wrong and we would have two good days of sailing...

This event was combined with the Laser standard and Radial qualifier, giving 4.7 sailors a great opportunity to watch and learn directly from the experts. The forecast throughout the week had been looking doubtful. The sailors arrived to rig their boats in 25 knots of breeze; luckily the forecast was for the wind to ease throughout the day.

Race 1 started in 20 knots. Leading from start to finish was Harvey Leigh from Llsc and Trearddur Bay SC. Battling for second place was Scott Forbes (Loch Lomond SC) and Sam Dickenson (HISC). Scott successfully squeezed Sam out at the last leeward mark to secure second place.

In the girls' race, Lizzie Beardsall (Warsash SC) won convincingly from Charlotte Rocket (Barnt Green SC) and Gemma McDonnell (Hollowell SC) in third.

After a quick turnaround, Race 2 saw the wind moderate to high teens, again Harvey won, followed by Scott and Theo Gumbley (WWSC).

The girls' race saw Lizzie again win from Charlotte with Keelin Greene (HISC) in third place. Just before race 3 started, the wind dropped to 12 knots and swung left by 15 degrees, catching out a few of the sailors who started at the Committee boat end. Taking advantage of the shift was Drew Gibbons (West Kirby SC) who started at the pin end and led from start to finish, leaving Sam and Harvey to fight it out for second place.

In the girls' race, Lizzie continue to dominate the event, from Catie Warburton (Loch Venachar SC) and Gemma.

The last race of the day saw the wind increase back to 20 knots making sure the physical pressure on the sailors continued. The boys' race was won by Scott, followed by Harvey and Theo. Lizzie was a trailblazer not only for the girls. She finished second overall. Gemma was second girl and Catie third.

Congratulations must go to Stuart Childerley (PRO) and Paul Jackson (RO) for organising 12 races (for all fleets) and not a single general recall.

The sailors came ashore very tired having had a good day's sailing in challenging conditions. The race team were left to look at as many weather forecasts for the Sunday as possible. Every forecast showed winds of up to 70mph for the next day. It was a relatively easy decision to cancel Sunday's racing and present prizes on Saturday evening.

Thanks go to the staff at WPNSA for running the event so smoothly. With a special thanks to Sally Reynoldson and Stuart Childerley for organising the event and to SailingFast for their continued sponsorship and support of the Laser 4.7 events.

Overall Results: (top three)

1st Harvey Leigh
2nd Scott Forbes
3rd Sam Dickenson

1st Lizzie Beardsall
2nd Gemma McDonnell
3rd Charlotte Rocket

Full results can be found here.

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