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Sailing Chandlery Laser Super Grand Prix at Blithfield Sailing Club

by Phil Mason 12 May 2019 21:56 BST 11-12 May 2019
Sailing Chandlery Laser Super Grand Prix at Blithfield © Phil Base and Phil Mason

As the sun sets on the calm beautiful waters of Blithfield reservoir, it's time to reflect on a super weekend spent with super coaches, enjoying super company and a super days racing, thanks to our super sponsors, Sailing Chandlery.

On Saturday morning 22 eager Laser friends from across the counties gathered at Blithfield Sailing Club, to be met by wholesome breakfast baps and 4 super coaches planning out their day of world class enlightenment for club sailors. Olympic Gold medal coach Jon Emmett, together with Alistair Goodwin, Craig Williamson and Paul Williamson gave a masterclass on boat rigging and tuning, before taking to the water for River Boat and other challenging exercises with multiple starts to optimise practice time. The weather was doing its bit too, raining on the boat rigging parade, light wind drifts for starting practice and good breeze and sunshine for the afternoon schedule.

Tired yet happy faces left the water around 5pm straight into a multimedia de-brief by the coaches. Quickly followed by showers, refreshment and social BBQ on the veranda overlooking the water. The evening entertainment came from Jon Emmett, firstly a very interesting presentation and very engaging open floor Q&A, secondly by Jon's attempt to prepare and fit out his new boat in-between cooking his steak, keeping the Lasers entertained and dealing with media commitments, a skilled multi-tasker. A leisurely and friendly social evening continued late into the night.

Sunday morning saw plenty of sunshine and a nice steady breeze, but as the morning passed the wind disappeared leaving a mirror like surface on the lake. Our PRO, Ian McDonald, briefed the competitors (keen to try out their newly acquired skills), and the fleet set forth. At 11am the fleet attempted their first start of the day, but some were too keen and a general recall was set. The dreaded 'Black Flag' made an appearance and 5 boats were lobbed from the subsequent start. The wind was almost non existent as the OD shortened the course after 1 lap, John Ling leading the way home in first, followed by Paul Williamson in second, Paul Keeling in third, Tom Brindley in fourth.

Following a 120 degree wind shift, race 2 course was set and the dreaded 'Black Flag' flew again, as the starting whistle blew four boats were lobbed. The race was on, after a very closely fought battle John Ling took line honours for the second time, followed by Dan Johnson in second, Paul Keeling in third and James Dalby in fourth.

A much welcome lunch break awaited the competitors, legendary wholesome food was provided by the clubs very own Jayne and Steve Tatton. During lunch the wind showed no signs of putting in an appearance and the decision was made to postpone indefinitely. The day was concluded on a series of two races without discard, leaving those with black flags little opportunity to make amends. Spare some thoughts for both Dan Johnson and Paul Williamson, each with a second place and a black flag.

Huge thanks to our sponsors Sailing Chandlery for helping to make the event special, lots of goodies and significant awards to accompany the glassware. Also a huge thanks to: The Coaches, Jon Emmett, Alistair Goodwin, Craig and Paul Williamson; scrumptious lunch, Jayne and Steve Tatton; lunch support, Barbara Gibbons; race officers, Ian McDonald and Jon Gibbons; safety officers, Paul Hollis and Paula Mason; results, Peter Male; Bar and Bosun, Tracy and Rich Smith and special thanks to Michelle Keeling and Paula Mason for helping the whole weekend in every way possible.

Overall:

1st John Ling
2nd Paul Keeling (plus the Blithfield Cup)
3rd Alistair Goodwin

Radials:

1st Lydia Barber
2nd Jamie Mason
3rd Greg Cornes

Youth:

Under 21 - Dan Johnson
Under 19 - Tom Brindley
Under 17 - Evan Base

Category:

Lady - Sarah Mason
Apprentice Master - Jon Emmett
Master - Paul Powell
Grand Master - Tony Jacks
Great Grand Master - John Lees

Special Super Grand Prix recognition:

Keith Walker
Brian Walker

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