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Expert Sailing Skills by Tom Cunliffe
Expert Sailing Skills by Tom Cunliffe

UK RC Laser Association TT at Medway

by Jamie Blair 17 Apr 2019 12:40 BST 14 April 2019

Barton Point Coastal Park was the venue for the UKRCLA TT Open Meeting on Sunday 14th April.

The Medway fleet had lost two out of the last of their Winter Series due to high winds above 30 knots so despite the hail and rain before 7am today it was very pleasing to see both sun and a 10 knot wind from the east. Numbers looked good with 17 boats entered in time for the briefing at 9.45.

This was event two of the UKRCLA TT series and with Adrian Tomlinson winning in Southport last weekend and Dave Fowler wanting to do better it was good to see them both on the entry list. Three other visitors, John Armstrong, Roger Atkins and Amy Brown also made the trip to enjoy the day of racing.

Our Race Officer, Tim Townsend and his team of Race Angels set themselves up early for a day of action but with the wind direction and configuration of the lake course tweaking was important. The course for the first three races was set as a triangle sausage with all on B rigs. Tim in his briefing reminded all that sailing was a no contact sport and whilst there was no specific on the water observers he would be watching and could call out "contact" when he observed rule infringement. The racing call of "Sorry" firmly excluded.

In Race one with the pin end biased Adrian Tomlinson took full advantage of start along with John Armstrong and Jamie Blair. Adrian continued his dominance taking race two and three. Dave Fowler recovered from a difficult first race to collect two second places.

After three races the course was changed and a trapezoid configuration was set. The wind also increased and "C" rigs appeared across the fleet.

A new winner in Race four with Tony Owens taking the bullet and Jamie Blair second; Adrian and Dave close behind. So close was the racing that what looked like minor wind shifts up the beat showed that places could be won and lost. Some found a wind bend close to the café building After race four there was only 4 points between 1st and 4th place.

Six races were sailed before the lunch break with a course change and coffee break included. Adrian took three of these, Dave two and Jamie one. Tony and Jamie sparring in all races for 3rd and 4th place and at the break Adrian a clear leader by 9 points to Dave. 5 points separated 2nd to 5th, including John Armstrong. Of the other locals Jon Moon was stringing together a good set of results. David Townshend also "magiced" up a 2nd. The theme of close racing in the mid fleet gave 6th to 11th place only separated by 12 points at lunch, so all to play for after the lunch break.

For those who have not been to Barton Point we have a wonderful location with no trees and today exposed to the easterly breeze. The course was close to the café allowing safe walking up and down the course. Some even used the static furniture to get a better view and sometimes heckle the fleet.

After the lunch break Tim, the race officer, with agreement of all set a further six races so the travellers could get away relatively early.

In the six races all started on C rigs with the wind still around 15 knots. In the race fifteen John Armstrong changed up to the B rig but was still beaten by the C rigs into 5th place. Adrian had scored well in these five races with Dave chasing hard. Jon Moon jumped ahead of John Armstrong in race 12 but couldn't hold him off at the finish.

Covering the opposition was a big lesson today with the shifting breeze and throughout the whole fleet places continually changed. Rule observance on the whole was good with many shouts and reference to a well-known optician's when boats missed buoys.

For sixth race in the sequence B rigs appeared on three boats Adria, Jamie and Dave with Dave taking this race and an additional 17th Race.

Of the seventeen races there were four individual skippers who had firsts.

The clear winner of the day was Adrian Tomlinson, followed by Dave Fowler, Tony Owens and Jamie Blair. John Armstrong who had travelled from Wales went home with 5th and Jon Moon 6th.

If you missed this day, don't worry as we have a list of at least eight TTs and also Northern events throughout the year with your best three to count for each of either series. Details of location and start times on www.rclaser.org.uk/events

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