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Laser Thames Series Open at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Godfrey Clark 28 Jun 10:55 BST 19 June 2021
Fishers Green Laser Open © Kevin O'Brien

Fishers Green SC held their annual Laser open meeting on 19th June. Seventeen Lasers from seven different clubs weren't put off by the light forecast and made the journey to this picturesque location for the open which is part of the Thames series.

Two weather forecasts were compared and both agreed on a gentle F2 from the NNE veering east later leaving the RO to set the course for the prevailing wind but be mindful of the expected change. NE is the least favoured direction at FGSC, especially in light conditions when the wind shallows are most significant, so temporary marks were widely used to keep the fleet in good wind. Thankfully this year the lake is weed-free, so at least all the area could be used as needed.

Race one got away cleanly with local helm Mike Atkinson leading from start to finish, whilst two visitors battled it out for the remaining podium positions, with Gary Bullock 2nd and Jamie Blake 3rd. The fleet returned to shore for a superb lunch, organised by the wonderful Jane O'Brien.

For race 2, RO Godfrey Clark took the fleet to corners of the lake that even the locals hadn't ventured to, with the start line tucked in the very most south west corner of the lake to give the competitors the best chance of a decent beat. Again, the start got away cleanly. Most of the fleet were still locked together at the windward mark with Matteo Mancini of FGSC one of the youngest on the water much in the fray and joined by Jamie Blake and Gary Bullock in the leading pack, Mike Atkinson cut away from the chasing pack, and went as low possible on the downwind leg which paid big dividends as he emerged leading the fleet. Matteo wasn't going to let Mike have all his own way and the hunt began. On the penultimate leg Matteo sneaked/pushed/barged/floated/eased into the lead, to take the honours from Mike, and well ahead of Gary in 3rd.

So into the final race, one of three could take the trophy and with that in mind came the 1st general recall of the day. It was getting tense and at the 2nd time of asking the fleet were away, Mike had a shocking start and was buried mid-fleet with Matteo doing penalty turns, Gary knowing only a victory would do, was also down the fleet, - it was as if no wanted to win the open. Andrew Hill-Smith from Papercourt took the lead and his own words, was struggling with navigation all day, Firstly he sailed to the wrong mark but maintained the lead until he sailed around the correct mark the wrong way which allowed local helm Christian Hill to briefly take the lead. There was no stopping the pace of the two in the hunt for the top spot, as Gary took the risky route through the uncharted shallows. Some of the fleet followed while others took long safe route round with one of the title challengers coming a cropper in the shallows. Gary hit the front, Matteo was hot on his heels it was now a two horse to the finish, Gary held the lead with his final tack with Matteo 2nd, and Christian 3rd.

This left three sailors with 3 points each and the result decided on the discarded race according to the local SIs. As intended, consistency was rewarded, with Gary never outside the top three and successfully defending his trophy.

The fleet came ashore and were graced with some legendary Victoria sponge created by FGSC 'Master Baker' Genevieve Lappage which was worth the travel on its own. A massive thank you to all those who were involved.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st209998Gary BullockMaidenhead2‑313
2nd195812Mike AtkinsonFishers Green12‑83
3rd202093Matteo ManciniFishers Green‑10123
4th199009Jamie BlakeGreat Moor3‑847
5th210356Chris NashMaidenhead44‑68
6thBlankChris HillFishers Green6‑939
7th160347Andrew Hill‑SmithPapercourt57‑1212
8th161375Graham NewmanFishers Green‑76713
9th67480Blake NewmanFishers Green85‑913
10th120300Simon WilliamsFishers Green9‑12514
11th149316Jeremy ClaydenFishers Green‑11101020
12th181899Andrew McLeishFairlop Waters‑12111122
13th209009Toby HuntRoyal Harwich‑15131326
14th172164Roberto ManciniFishers Green‑14141428
15th134233Nina BabaieFishers Green13‑151528
16th91101Karen SugermanFishers Green‑16161632
17th201639Emily ShearsReading‑17171734

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