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Medway RC Laser Winter Series event 7 at Barton Point Country Park Lake

by Jamie Blair 20 Jan 15:21 GMT 19 January 2020
RC Laser Winter Series event 7 at Medway © Mark Penny

Phew, after the rain and wind of the preceding weeks we hoped for a respite this Sunday. With the temperature diving to "thermals on" weather, the log burner in the café would be our saviour.

The early arrivals were expecting huge breeze with the local weather station showing 28 knots but were pleasantly relieved with a wind around 10 knots from the NNW. The direction of wind allowed the triangle-sausage configuration to have a start that all could see and a longer course than of late. The windward mark was upwind of the café giving an area of shifty wind that would have all the sailors think which way to take the beat.

B rigs were chosen by most with a brief flight by Tony Alexander with the A rig that was rapidly put back in the car. Nine racers even had time for a practice race before the official 10.00 start.

Race 1 saw the right end of the line favour and a line up that provided rule calls for windward boats. Those that hung back found a gap to be in the most windward lane. Pete Freeman (83) was in this pack and lead at the windward mark. Those that did bow down to get initial speed found themselves below the pack and despite pushing forward the tack back on port was always going to be an issue, particularly the closer to the windward mark you were the better the lift on starboard.

The wing mark position was relatively deep downwind making it mor of a run to the leeward mark that gave a beat of nearly 100m for the third leg. Again, the question for the first race - which way up the beat to manage any shelter from the café and shifty breeze. Pete chose the right way and maintained his lead and went on to win the race; Tim Townsend (45) second and Richard Stone (83) third. Of the 9 only 7 finished with two in technical for mainsheet and comms issues.

Race 2 very similar and the group that started down the line were again locked out by the boats on the starboard lay line going in to the windward mark. Tim was first there and stretched his lead out over the remainder of the course. Jon Moon spoiled the result for Pete by taking second.

Seven races were completed before the coffee and bacon baguette break with Pete stamping his authority on four of the seven races but not ahead because Tim was on equal points. The starts provided much scrabbling for position and with the shifting wind a number started on port. Tony Alexander (04) made it pay in one race with a well-timed start on port to cross the whole fleet. The middle pack scores at the break were all very close with Jon Moon (84), Richard and Jamie Blair (51). Mark Penny (03) was unable to solve his comms issues so joined our RO Fiona to adjudicate at the starts.

Pete and Jamie stormed out for race 8 and with Jamie leading in the last few yards to the finish it all looked set for his first bullet of the day. The tack to the line was too early and didn't hold Pete out to the left enough, allowing Pete to accelerate forward to take the win by a whisker. Tim was somewhat behind the pack at the start and provided his only blip with a fifth place.

With so many races each one becomes merged with the next but the level of competition, concentration and even times of banter when marks are missed or contact, shows that each sailor is on the ball. Roger Gibb (32) after a week off was well in the pack and brave enough to try some port tack starts. His spoils included some thirds and fourths.

We completed fifteen races before the 12.30 cut off. Tim's eight race wins and three discards gave him a well-earned win for the day. Pete in second and Jamie third. A jump in scores to fourth with Jon 8 points clear of Richard. For the other boats their scores were spoilt by either technical issues or an early leave.

In the overall scores for the Winter Series Jamie is just holding on to his lead but the gap has closed with Tim only a few points adrift. Pete is also close.

Next for Round 8 - Sunday 26th Jan. Details of location & start times on www.rclaser.org.uk/events

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15Pts
1st45Tim Townsend2132‑511‑5121121119
2nd63Pete Freeman1‑3111331‑413332225
3rd51Jamie Blair‑5‑5252244232214437
4th84Jon Moon4254‑65‑62545543351
5th83Richard Stone364‑73‑753376455559
6th4Tony Alexander(DNF)(DNC)DNC64627667666678
7th32Roger Gibb747384767547(DNC)(DNC)DNC79
8th82Scott Atkinson676(DNC)7888888(DNC)DNCDNCDNC104
9th3Mark Penny(DNF)(DNC)DNCDNCDNFDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC130

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