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Harken 29er Grand Prix Round 4 at Largs Sailing Club

by Tom Storey 2 Jun 2019 18:44 BST 26-27 May 2019
Harken 29er Grand Prix at Largs © 29er UK Class Association

On the bank holiday weekend Largs Sailing Club hosted the HARKEN 29er Grand Prix. The wild weekend started off with two days of training by 49er sailor and Scottish squad coach, Gillies Munroe.

It's fair to say as the sailors first launched on Friday, everyone was a bit rusty with capsizes happening here, there and everywhere. However, everyone found their feet and, after no time at all all, sailors were blasting up and down the channel. It was an enjoyable and productive two days training before the Grand Prix started.

The first day of racing, Sunday, brought fierce winds and rain. Cries of 'they told us it would be sunny' were heard from the Irish camp. But the racing was everything that had been promised.

On Sunday we had 5 strong races with GBR 2787 (Ewan Wilson and Fin Armstrong) wInning all but one. The first three races brought competitive, heavy wind, races challenging sailors with gusts and shifts from all directions. The forecast had said that the wind would build as the day went on and the Scottish Meteorologists were not wrong. As the start gun of race 4 went off the sailors were hit by a squall causing mainsails to flog and 29ers to fly upwind off the jib alone. On the downwind many took a long time to build up the courage to gybe, making for easy gains to those with the confidence to attempt to gybe set.

The squall continued into race 5 where many sailors had prepared this time with daggerboard up, jibs eased and controls altered. Once again Ewan and Fin emerged in front as those around them capsized. The IRL 29er duo Rory OSullivan and Rob Keal were awarded best pitchpole for a spectacular capsize into the leeward mark.

The sailors came home on Sunday to tired muscles and an early bed time. Unfortunately, it was not an early bed time for the 29er parents who attended the social organised by Social Secretary Mr Robbie Wilson.

On Monday the sailors awoke to a much lighter and friendly breeze. We launched on time but unfortunately the breeze vanished half way up the first beat forcing the race committee to have to abandon the race and the day's sailing.

All those who made the effort to come to Largs agreed that it truly was a great 3 days of sailing. GBR 2787 ended up first boys. GBR 2507 (Athena Vogiatzi/Maddie Wylie) were first girls and second overall. First Mixed was GBR 1157 (Suzie Sturrock/Eoghan Oosterhoorn). GBR 2898 (Aled Llewellyn-Jones/Ben Willett) earned first Juniors after amazing survival skills from all the junior boats. It was a shame the juniors and beginners didn't have a time to shine in the lighter Monday breeze. However, all the sailors had a great time and that is what sailing is truly about.

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