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RC Laser final event of 2019 at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 30 Dec 2019 10:15 GMT 22 December 2019
RC Lasers at Fleetwood - last race of 2019 © Susan Sharman

After our last couple of outings at Fleetwood, were we going to get more of the same with little wind and the awkward direction to contend with. The forecast was for 8 to 10 MPH picking up slightly and from a South Westerly. Not great but doable.

Something was wrong because "mill pond" comes to mind. A couple of Lasers went drifting past the clubhouse windows. Were they being pulled along by a bit of string as there was no evidence of any wind. An imaginary course was set to where we thought the wind would or should come from and with another great attendance, nine skippers placed their boats on the water.

Big rigs all round obviously and like magic the first draft of wind started to filter through from where we were heading. Beat up the lake to about half way, back across diagonally to the sand hills and a short run down to the pump house, then beat up to about a third to finish by the top end of the car park. Short races. Derek won this first one. By the end of this race it was already looking like we needed to drop a dress size. Derek was the only one to grab his 'B' rig, probably thinking the rest would follow suit very shortly as it was said to get windier.

It certainly looked like 'B' rig strength but there were holes in the lift to contend with and the biggest challenge was that top mark by the nearside bank. The biased start line looked about right as, if you were brave enough to come towards the port start you might just run out of wind.

The next races leading up to lunch went just as well. Tony won race two, then Jim won one, then Ian followed and then Walter's turn next. Walter's sail setting looked perfect, spilling off all that excess wind from the leech. A quick re trim and Tony won the last couple of races leading up to lunch.

The wind strength looked similar, maybe a little more or a tad less. Those that were in two minds whether to drop a size were still non the wiser. It was a mixed bag as the fleet went 50/50. The big sails looked they might have just been doing a little better, even though Derek won race eight and a then a few more. His morning had been always waiting for the big gusts to catch the rest out, although he had still managed a string of second places earlier.

Tony only risked the first couple of races going smaller and then went back to what had worked for him in the morning. It really seemed and looked like the stock sail was the safe option and one to go for, although those windless pockets could stump you. A badly set 'A' sail does no favours for anyone and if in doubt take the safe option as the dunking of the nose is just as bad.

Peter also went back big, but Ian and Martyn preferred the more controllable option. The start had three or four regulars ready to pull the trigger on the start line, while Derek at about 10 metres behind and speeding in ready to dip and set off on port just as they've passed. Tony and Derek seemed to be the first pair nearly up to the windward mark and then the fluky air had others usually catch up and sometimes sneak in.

Half way through the afternoon the wind had crept around a little and the windward mark was getting easier although the racing was still good. Tony sometimes with a great lead let Derek snatch it all away on the last beat leg. Derek had hung on to the smaller sail all day, so again it was down to what was favoured by whichever skipper as the results were also mixed between sail sizes. Peter won the last race and we finished with fourteen races sailed just as it had started to rain. We had six first places from individual skippers, so it wasn't all one way sailing giving many the joys to a good race.


1 Tony Wilson 32 pts
2 Derek Priestley 34 pts
3 Jim Lydon 38 pts

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