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Laser Midlands Grand Prix 2019 at Trent Valley Sailing Club

by James Dalby 9 Sep 16:57 BST

Summer is out, and John Ling's (Bartley SC) two years of dominance on the Laser Midlands Grand Prix looks like it could finally be challenged by the tenacious Joe Scurrah (Carsington SC), both on near equal scores, and with only six opens now remaining.

John returned to the river once again after his close call at Nottingham SC and an unconventionally regrettable time at Midland SC. After yet another classic Trent Valley open, it proved John hadn't lost his touch after all. But unfortunately for him, Joe Scurrah also turned up, and he didn't appear to have lost his touch either!

Taking advantage of a feisty westerly breeze, the 1st race utilised the full course at Trent Valley SC, from the clubhouse they ventured upstream to loop around the western stretch of the river. The fleet made a speedy start, but once past Billy Stones, helms were agonisingly battling amongst the swirl of winds as they penetrated the line of trees on the north bank. Upon return, John Ling crossed the line in 1st, with James Dalby (Trent Valley SC) close behind in a dignified 2nd after recovering from a lackluster start.

Lunch was called early, and soon after the course was made shorter where winds were more plentiful, a better view was provided for spectators across the victorian promenade, and made for more hard working, more fun and more exciting racing, with death rolls aplenty!

After two races were done, John Ling, Joe Scurrah, and James Dalby were in with a shot of claiming the prize of the day if any of them could win the final race. It wasn't the smoothest start for John and Joe, but the race continued without serious repercussion. James slumped down the order, and despite John's efforts to climb the fleet, Joe crossed the finish line 1st, and with that, the Francis Turner Challenge Cup.

After an impressive demonstration of well executed race starts and boat speed, you almost couldn't spot George Fereday of Earlswood SC racing without seeing a smile on his face, which became much more warranted from achieving 3rd place, and 1st of the non-standard rigs for the day, prophesiding an impressive debut in the top 5 final standings of the Laser Midlands Grand Prix.

The cup winner from 2017 resident laser helm Ben Richardson also deserves credit for his ruthless defending against the contenders but lost out on 5th overall to Mark Harris of Nottingham SC, who earned 3rd place in the second race from James Dalby's unfortunate last lap death roll.

Amongst the Bartley team, who travelled along was the delightful Jennifer Foort. This time last year, she took wonderful photographs for us from the safety boat. For 2019, she returned with her own Laser Radial to compete in her very first river open.

"Lovely day at the TVSC laser open. Still has the best lunch on the circuit! I am so very much a novice at this sport but the opens are a great chance to have a go at racing with the sports best sailors and learn from them and try other stretches of water. I had never sailed on a river before and can confirm it is exhausting! We went from no wind to very strong gusty winds but my victory for the day was not falling in and not coming last. Happy with that!"

She finds sailing within fleets outside the club a fantastic way to learn new skills, and is keen to encourage other female sailors to have a go.

A special shout out to Wendy and David Gibson for their acclaimed luncheon. To the race team, involving Guy Browne, John Cosslett, John Ollerton, Paul Turner, and to the other members of Trent Valley SC and other visitors present for their generous contribution to the Laser open this year. Lastly, we would like to take this opportunity to hand out a commendation to Andy Hunter for taking part in breezy conditions with a broken ankle!

Overall Results:

PosHelmRigSail NoClubR1R2R3Pts
1Joe ScurrahStandard213563Carsington SC‑4112
2John LingStandard215260Bartley SC12‑33
3George FeredayRadial213608Earlswood SC3‑825
4James DalbyStandard201645Trent Valley SC24‑56
5Mark HarrisStandard213599Nottingham SC‑6369
6Ben RichardsonStandard213151Trent Valley SC5‑649
7John RichardsonStandard215693Trent Valley SC‑87714
8Megan Hardiman4.7141464Bartley SC‑1251015
9Simon LimbStandard213600Nottingham SC7‑9815
10Alexander HomerStandard186067Midland SC9‑10918
11Andy HunterStandard158539Trent Valley SC10‑121121
12Jennifer FoortRadial162786Bartley SC1111(DNC 14)22
13Richard MasonStandard211259Notts County SC(RTD 14)(DNC 14)(DNC 14)28

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