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Laser UK Masters Championship at Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by Guy Noble 13 Jul 19:20 BST
Laser Masters Championship at Royal Torbay © Guy Noble

There are certain mysteries in racing that seem only the select few have solved - who invented Neil Peters* is one and, more importantly picking the right side of the course at the start is another. James Grey, the overall winner of the standard fleet didn't know the answer to the first question but his judgement was impeccable when it came to the latter. Incidentally, talking of mysteries Agatha Christie's dad was a member of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club and in 1901 Agatha, while swimming in the ladies-only bay had to be rescued after being caught in the strong current.

These days weather forecasts are almost as accurate as tide times and it seems we can now be fairly certain of the conditions three days before an event - the predicted 4/5 knots may of accounted for slightly reduced overall number of entrants compared to last year although several Radial sailors switching to Standard rigs boosted the Standard fleet to a reasonably healthy 48. The intention was to race three races each day but this was always looking optimistic, compounded by the Standards complete inability to start without several general recalls and many black flags.

After a postponement then a general recall race 1 got under way in 4/5 knots. Those who pushed out to the left benefited from slightly more pressure and a lift back to the mark. However shortly after the majority had rounded the windward mark the race was abandoned. After the restart the same side was favoured and James Grey took line honours, Roger O'Gorman second, Mark Lyttle third and Peter Young fourth.

Race 2 was postponed for about 45 mins; eventually it got under way with the right being slightly favoured. Conditions meant playing the shifts was crucial - the wind shifted massively towards the last 50m of the run which meant that rounding the right gate paid as the boats on the left side of the beat could almost make the shortened course finish. David Binding won but the day ended with Roger and James tied on 4 points each, followed by Alan Davis.

Saturday's racing was due to start at 11am, with four races scheduled and the wind struggling to reach 5 knots a delay of three hours made two races more likely. With 5 knots of breeze at 150 degrees and a pin bias line it paid to tack off to the right, but it was only after four general recalls that race 3 actually got under way, with James Grey coming out on top followed by Mark Lyttle and Neil Peters' best result of the weekend: third.

Race 4 started with a handful of boats convinced that the left would pay and they were rewarded when all those on the right sailed into a hole. Shortly after the leaders rounded the windward mark the breeze slightly increased and compressed the fleet. About 150m from the gate the wind dropped to almost nothing - what there was shifted 90 degrees and as the leaders were now beating to the gate - boats just metres behind were on a dead run. Seven or eight boats struggled round while 40 others all arrived at the gate simultaneously - pandemonium ensued but this didn't worry John Curran from Wembley SC who was way out in front, Alan Davis second, Mark Lyttle third, and Andy LeGrice fourth, while several of the top guys including James Grey (who could only manage 15th - his only result outside the top three) were left scrabbling around for the leftovers.

Sunday race 5 had James first Mark second and Tony Woods third. Race 6 it was Lyttle, Roger O'Gorman and James third. Possibly the most contentious race was the last. Eight boats had been black-flagged in the previous race and were waiting patiently gradually sailing nearer and nearer to the club - would the RO put the final race on, or put us all out of our misery? As the pack were coming down the final run a shorted course just allowed the boats to get back to the start line before the cut-off point of 2:30 (the RO put the first warning signal up at 2:29!) Many had gambled that this wasn't going to happen and had gone for an early shower. Several boats lost places because they didn't compete - not a good end for them - while others took advantage of the reduced competition.

The racing may have been frustrating and mentally arduous but the entertainment and company was, as always with the Masters, terrific. Laser Performance were there on the final day doing what they have unfailingly done now from many years: supporting this great event. Joel, now an official grown-up dad, has handed over to Simon and Dan to put on a perfect prize-giving and give some great discounts on equipment - thanks chaps.

* And thanks also to the bloke who invented Neil Peters: NP provided a very entertaining quiz on the Saturday evening - this great guy is going to sail around Britain raising money for a prostrate cancer charity - oh yes in a Laser! Check out and look out for him in more reports.

As usual thanks go to RTYC and all the great helpers from the club, the RO and his team, and our terrific sponsors Wildwind, Fernhurst Books, Southeast Sailboats, Rooster and Minorca Sailing. Congratulations to Tim Leggott from RTYC who won the Wildwind Holiday prize.

Overall Results:

PosFlagsSail NoClubCategoryHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1stGBR212110Stokes Bay SCAMJames GRAY131‑1513110
2ndGBR213699Oxford SCGMAlan DAVIS54722(BFD)323
3rdIRL209122Queen Mary SCAMRoger O'GORMAN2210(BFD)82226
4thGBR211165QMSCGMMark LYTTLE392391‑1427
5thGBR209833Bough Beech SCMPeter YOUNG4711‑13771046
6thGBR206716Chew Valley LakeGGMPeter SHERWIN81316(BFD)116660
7thGBR154030Parkstone YCAMChris WHALLEY14179‑3849962
8thGBR213773QMAMNeil DAVIES20‑31819613470
9thAUS199016South of Perth YCGMBruce UTTING1920136(BFD)12575
10thGBR210848Parkstone YCGMAndrew HARTLEY18‑256142211879
11thGBR214610Qmsc / SbscGMTony WOODS158143634(DNC)80
12thIRL215933Wembley SCMJohn CURRAN‑40282311710786
13thGBR213005PBSCMNeil PETERS2432312(BFD)51187
14thGBR213052Weir WoodGGMDavid BINDING1012925238(DNC)96
15thGBR182979Stokes BayAMTim PEARSE1319122014(BFD)2199
16thGBR211257Qmsc and Stokes Bay SCGMDavid CASALE‑41301710241713111
17thGBR209265Queen Mary SCGGMMichael HICKS661821(BFD)BFD12115
18thGBR213463Queen Mary SCGMGuy NOBLE262424715(BFD)19115
19thGBR212407Parkstone YCMBob CUDMORE‑3312339201627117
20thGBR211870Wembley SCMJoza CIC3016211725(BFD)15124
21stGBR214073Weirwood SCMDavid GODDARD164225821(BFD)17129
22ndGBR203316Queen Mary SCAMAnatoly KRIVELEVICH31103255(BFD)DNC135
23rdGBR214299Blackpool & Fleetwood YCMPeter MCCHRYSTAL1244152327(BFD)18139
24thGBR186793Barnt Green SCAMOliver RIDGWAY3623‑4018162323139
25thGBR208888Bosham SC & Stokes Bay SCGMSimon RADFORD223641111814(BFD)142
26thGBR204644Keyhaven YCMStuart HUDSON7184(BFD)10DNFDNC143
27thGBR213640WarsashMAndy LE GRICE115204(BFD)BFDDNC144
28thGBR182219Blackpool and Fleetwood YCGMMalcolm MARSDEN91122(BFD)30BFD26150
29thGBR207700Chichester YCGMJulian WILKINS2541‑4229321516158
30thGBR215174RutlandMSimon STONEHOUSE1727193213(DNC)DNC160
31stGBR209003Wembley SCGMMark GREENSTREET39‑403724192022161
32ndGBR207084Parkstone YCGMDonald MACDONALD352130401224(DNC)162
33rdGBR188783Mounts Bay SCGMNick STOTEN‑42293135261924164
34thGBR215376Stokes BayAMNicolas VAN TIENEN38342626(DNC)2220166
35thAUS211511Royal Perth YCGGMJohn ROBERSON283836223127(DNC)182
36thGBR215231Blackpool and FleetwoodGMKeith CREBBIN271544(BFD)28BFD25191
37thGBR179660Lancing SCMWill APPS432627(BFD)2918DNC195
38thGBR194345Starcross YCMWill PAYTON45‑463927352628200
39thGBR187515QMSCGMDavid BATES463945163325(DNC)204
40thGBR216400Parkstone YCGMMichael ATKINSON2345533(DNF)DNCDNC210
41stGBR171914Oxford S.c.GGMNicolas LIVINGSTONE324334(BFD)3421DNC216
42ndGBR200931RestronguetAMPaul SCULLION2914(DNC)28DNCDNCDNC227
43rdGBR204966Parkstone YCMColston NICHOLS44352830(DNF)DNCDNC241
44thGBR205302Parkstone YCGMGary WAKEFIELD37333534(DNC)DNCDNC243
45thGBR195867SalcombeGMTim LAW2122(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC251
46thGBR210560RTYCMTim LEGGOTT34373839(DNC)DNCDNC252

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