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GJW Direct 2020

ILCA / Laser Midland Grand Prix at Midland Sailing Club

by John Couperthwaite 19 May 15:11 BST 16 May 2021

Leaden skies and the occasional sharp shower couldn't dampen the spirit of the 18 Laser sailors who gathered at Midland SC on Sunday 16th May, to compete in an enthralling second round edition of the Laser Midland Grand Prix Series.

A total of five clubs were represented in the races, with three each from Bartley SC and Trimpley SC, one each from Bowmoor SC and Earlswood Lakes SC, and the remainder from the host club. A light, but changeable, south-westerly breeze proved to be a challenge for all sailors (and the race officers), but the quality of sailing by all competitors proved to be of a very high standard.

Following a prompt 11am start, it was soon clear that the battle for leadership would be keenly fought over by a small group of boats that quickly asserted themselves on the rest. With all leaving the start line on a starboard tack, Chris Winters was alone in taking a port tack, reaching the first mark ahead, closely followed by John Ling and George Fereday. The lead changed hands several times before John Ling secured the win, with the other two close behind. Simon Hardiman achieved his highest finishing position of the day (4th), just overtaking Lazaros Andronis on the line.

Lunch was taken early to avoid a lull in the wind, so all returned to shore to revive with sandwiches and hot drinks. Not long later, after some adjustments to the course, with wind filling in, and boats more laden than before, we were ready for the second race... only for the wind to die completely as all waited on the line. The first beat was a severe lesson in light-wind sailing taking the leaders 20 minutes to reach the windward mark, but before long, with the wind steadily increasing, John pushed ahead followed closely by George but was never overtaken. Dean Jung had an impressive race crossing the line a short way back from the leaders but Andy Allan chasing hard in the Radial clinched 3rd after handicap adjustment.

The final race was again keenly fought over. The wind shifted again, veering this time to the South, but becoming less gusty. John Ling initially gained a small lead chased by Chris Winters, George Fereday and Neil Crosby. However, after sailing toward the wrong mark at the end of the first lap Chris and George slipped ahead. The lead continued to change hands, with George outsmarting Chris on the final run to take the lead up the final beat, meanwhile John took advantage of the battle to close up and split tacks with George and Chris up the beat. George held his nerve to take the race win with John coming back strongly on the right hand side of the beat to slip across the line just ahead of Chris. Lazaros had his best result of the day working his way out of the pack to take a convincing 4th place. Further down the fleet racing was no less intense with boats finishing within split seconds of one another.

The overall victory went to John Ling, with George Fereday (2nd) and Chris Winters (3rd) offering strong competition. Other notable performances were from Andy Allen (1st Radial, and 4th overall), Josh Oates (1st Youth, and 10th overall), and Maria Hibert (1st Woman, and 15th overall). This was also the first open event for Midlands sailors, Maria, Ilana and Paul, who will hopefully be inspired to join many more. Well done to all sailors, the race officers, and the event organiser, for a superb meeting and a very enjoyable day.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st 217407John LingBartley SC11‑22
2nd 213608George FeredayEarlswood Lakes SC/ Bartley SC.‑2213
3rd 133256Chris WintersMidland SC.3‑936
4thRadial214110Andy AllanTrimpley SC‑15358
5th 2Lazaros AndronisMidland SC5‑649
6th 212061Simon HardimanBartley SC4‑10711
7th 208674Neil CrosbyBowmoor SC.6‑7612
8th 186436Michael DalzielTrimpley SC85‑1213
9th 165490Dean JungMidland SC(DNC)41014
10th 180713Josh OatesBartley SC78‑915
11th 102727Oliver MasonMidland SC11‑16819
12th 186067Mike HomerMidland SC9‑131322
13th 136054Phil PimbleTrimpley SC1211‑1623
14th 172283Rob ThorpMidland SC10‑171424
15th 77637Maria HilbertMidland SC13‑141124
16th 201354Philip DeeleyMidland SC1412‑1526
17thRadialNO NUMBERIlana DavisMidland SC‑17151732
18th 164734Paul WolstenholmeMidland SC16‑181834

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