Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Botin Fast40
Product Feature
The Laser Book by Tim Davison
The Laser Book by Tim Davison

Laserfest 2019 at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Jon Bentman 16 Jul 17:25 BST 13-14 July 2019

The third annual Laserfest at Whitstable YC - sponsored by Sailing Chandlery and Lothbury Wealth Management - will be remembered for light winds and long hours on the water. Patience was rewarded, however, as the weekend's programme of four races were all successfully completed - no one left drifting on the tide - and there was in fact much close racing among the 48-strong Laser fleet.

Olly Cage-White (Broadstairs SC) managed the conditions best with a near-perfect four points from the three races counting to take the win. His strongest competition came from James Goodfellow, down from Ardleigh Sailing Club in Colchester, ahead of Pierce Seward (Broadstairs SC) and Christian Brewer, the best of the Whitstable sailors.

Radials had dominated the top rank in 2018's Laserfest, but this year in the lighter winds the full rigs held sway in this handicap event (standard, radial and 4.7 all sail together). So top radial was Max Hunt in eighth overall, ahead of a noticeably sharp-sailing youth in the form of Christopher Marsh, 16th.

Both days had promised much with decent 10-12 knot winds sweeping across the Whitstable beach during morning rigging, but both days this breeze died away. On the Saturday it died as the Lasers launched, on the Sunday, teasingly, as the first warning sounded.

Nonetheless, on the Saturday - after much searching around the estuary - wind was found (around five knots), the course relocated and the racing got under way. Race Officer Mark Barnes has a good record in national competition and delights in bringing to Laserfest the big race big course championship experience. A big course and a long race, to be exact. Race lengths remained the full four laps each time and this typically meant over 100 minutes racing per race! Quite a feat of endurance for the regular club sailors. In fact from launch to recovery the Lasers were afloat for five and half hours on the Saturday.

Time afloat didn't diminish the value put on time ashore, and the Saturday evening was riotously partied away with a barbeque and band (Sold on Soul). It wasn't until midnight that most found their beds - for many of the visitors this was a bed in the club's bunkrooms, or perhaps kindly billeted with WYC members.

Laserfest also includes the Laserfest Tri-Series, a teams competition based around three regattas held over the summer on the North Kent coast - the first hosted by Broadstairs SC, this one at Whitstable YC and the finale at Herne Bay SC (September 1). Whitstable YC had taken the lead in both the Elite and Club teams categories at round one, but at Whitstable the Broadstairs Elite team fought back strongly to take the Elite win on the day and to carry a slim nine-point advantage to the final round where they hope to retain the shield they won in 2018. In the Club teams competition both Whitstable and Broadstairs entered 'ringers' (ie Elite sailors feigning incompetence - all part of fun and games) but even after weeding out the bogus entries Whitstable were again clear winners and now look favourite to retain the Club shield at the final round.

As ever, Laserfest is about fun and inclusivity. Everyone is welcome and know that class-compliance on kit is overlooked for this series. If you fancy joining in the fun come along for the final round at Herne Bay SC (enter a club team if you can muster one). And if you find yourself sat in raft of six Lasers, gunnel to gunnel, at the gybe mark (as found at this round), it's not an occasion for protest - just all part of the fun! Find all you need to know at www.laser-fest.com

Related Articles

Lasers at Bartley
Midland Grand Prix Series Finale The final event of the Midland Grand Prix started with a first for the club; a social event on the preceding evening including various nautical and non-nautical games followed by a sleep over in the clubhouse. Posted today at 4:37 am
Lasers at Chichester
South Coast Grand Prix Series finale After gales on Friday, and high winds forecast again for Sunday, Saturday brought a lull in the wind. Unfortunately it also brought a damp mist and minimal wind. Some keen Laser sailors made their way to CYC hoping for sailable conditions Posted on 14 Oct
Lasers at Burghfield
Thames Valley Series Finale The season finale at Burghfield Sailing Club on Saturday the 12th October had meant to be the event of the year. All week it was looking to be great sailing conditions, but on the day we were met with rain, rain and more rain. Posted on 14 Oct
One Design PROtect Tapes
A set of cut pieces tailored to your class PROtect Tapes are a broad range of high-quality protection tapes for dinghies, racing, cruising and super yachts. PROtect Tapes provides a pro-active solution to chafe and wear prevention. It enhances performance and ultimately promotes safer sailing. Posted on 10 Oct
Sail Sandy Regatta closes in on 200 entries
Just two days until racing gets under way With just two days until the 2019 Sail Sandy Regatta gets under way at the Sandringham Yacht Club, entry numbers are closing in on the double tonne, with 187 boats entered at midday on Thursday. Posted on 10 Oct
One Design or Two?
David Henshall looks at control (and abuse) of hull shapes over the years Science fiction and the Terminator movies introduced us to the notion of shape shifting, but in the real life of the sailing dinghy world, how IS a shape defined? Posted on 9 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 4
The skippers are just about done with the demanding passage across the Bay of Biscay. Virtually all the competitors are opting to pass inside the Cape Finisterre TSS, aside from four sailors who are going for broke to the Far West, a move they hope will pay off. Posted on 8 Oct
Lasers at Datchet Water
Thames Valley Series Open event A reasonable turnout of 18 Standards and 7 Radials made the event at Datchet. It was a gorgeous sunny day, made better by the light to medium winds forecast. Posted on 6 Oct
SailingFast Laser Qualifier at Sunderland
Big turnout for first of three winter World and European qualifiers On the weekend of the 28-29th September 48 keen Laser Radial, 20 Standard and 36 4.7s sailors made the journey to Sunderland to kick off the first of three winter World and European qualifiers. Posted on 4 Oct
Team GB reveals first athletes for Tokyo 2020
Hannah Mills and Giles Scott are among 12 sailors selected The Rio 2016 champions are joined by a host of elite sailors representing eight of the 10 Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at Haven Holiday Park, Rockley Park in Poole. Posted on 2 Oct