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ILCA Northern Grand Prix at West Riding Sailing Club

by Guy Cokill 1 May 06:44 BST 27 April 2024
UKLA ILCA Northern Grand Prix at West Riding © Soeren Vonsild

It was a strange day at West Riding Sailing Club on Saturday 27th April. There was some wind for the ILCA (still Laser as far as I am concerned) Open Meeting for the first time in living memory, and Ian Jones didn't win it, although to be fair to Ian, he wasn't there! There was also the sight of 20 Lasers being re-assembled on the club lawn, for the first time in many years.

The first race got under way in a light to moderate cool North Easterly breeze, with only Radial sailor Lewis Bacon from Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, straying over the line. WRSC sailor Tim Keighley had left nothing to chance, even buying a new boat, especially for the event. He saw an immediate return on his investment, as he rounded in the lead at the first mark, with fellow WRSC sailor, Hamish Gledhill in close pursuit and Paul Heath from Leigh and Lowton completing the top three. The order was maintained until the second beat on the second lap when Paul and Hamish caught a shift to leave Tim in 3rd. However by the end of the third lap Tim had regained the lead, which he held tn to the finish with Paul in second and Lewis fighting back impressively from the individual recall to take 3rd in his Radial ahead of Hamish.

The fleet adjourned to allow the athletes to restore their electrolytes with a nutritious lunch of Pie and Peas and prepare for the final two back-to-back races.

The second race got away cleanly despite a serious kafuffle at the pin end. Hamish emerged from the chaos in last place. Spurred on by the misfortune, he got the bit between his teeth and began to chase Tim down. Tim completed the first lap in the lead, with Leigh and Lowton's Stuart Belfield in second and Paul in third. Hamish had manged to move up through the fleet into fourth position. By the end of the second lap Hamish had moved into second behind Tim with the two WRSC sailors pulling a gap on the fleet. Hamish took the lead on the third lap and held on to the finish to cap a memorable come back. Tim was second and Lewis won his Radial battle with Jacob Bennett of Glossop Sailing Club to take another impressive third place.

With a single discard available, the third race was a shoot-out between Paul, Hamish and Tim for the overall win. The tension was increased by the first general recall of the day before the fleet got away at the second time of asking. Tim took his customary position at the head of the pack, completing the first lap ahead of Will Dyson of Delph SC, Paul, and Hamish. On the second lap Tim Paul and Hamish rounded the second leeward mark in close company. Hamish spotted a big shift to the right, tacking off, for what appeared to be a decisive move, only for the wind to fill in from the other side leaving him in a distant third at the end of the beat. Tim held on to the lead ahead of Paul for the rest of the race giving him the title with Paul and Hamish completing the podium in second and third respectively. The ever-consistent Lewis pipped Hamish to third place on handicap in the race, to take fourth overall and the prize for first Junior.

Prizes were distributed on the decking by WRSC Commodore and Race Officer, Soeren Vonsild, who thanked the visitors for supporting the event and contributing to a great day's sailing and Tim thanking his home club for organising the event.

The Open Meeting season is in full swing at WRSC with this event sandwiched between the successful NE Youth Travellers Regatta and the 2000 fleet visiting over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend for the first round of their Latitude Series.

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