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Laser Stratos Nationals at at Rollesby Broad Sailing Club

by Daren Pike & Sophie Jezierski 2 Nov 2002 15:17 GMT 26/27 October 2002

Five boats braved the atrocious weather forecast to compete in the Laser Stratos Nationals, sponsored by Laser and Dinghy Sailing Magazine, at Rollesby Broad SC, Norfolk, on 26 & 27 October. The worst forecast was for Sunday so competitors agreed with the Race Officer to run three races on Saturday.

The force 5 South westerly wind allowing the full length of the broad to be sailed, the Race Officer sent the fleet to all four corners, maximising the possibility for tactics and place changes.

A line shy fleet for race 1 allowed the local crew of Jon Sallis and sons to take a lead at the first mark, which they refused to relinquish despite the attentions of Jim Thomas, crewed by Trevor Brown, and Doug Rivers and sons. A couple of capsizes in the 35 mph gusts meant that none of the fleet opted to fly asymmetric spinnakers but this did not stop them planing across the water, to the enjoyment of the spectators and competitors' families.

The wind eased considerably for race 2 and this produced the closest fleet start on the narrow line. Jim Thomas established a good lead by the windward mark but on the next reach was hunted down by the Sallis boat. On the second round, tacks were crossed and wind protected with the pursuing boats of Doug Rivers and Alister Beveridge joining the fray. A close battle ensued, with spinnakers being flown at every opportunity to gain the slightest advantage. A fluffed spinnaker drop by the Sallis crew on the final mark allowed the honours to be taken by Thomas and bBrown from on Sallis, with Alister Beveridge in third.

With the breeze again building and ties for first and third places, it was all or nothing in the third and final race. The fleet got away cleanly but split tacks all along the first windward leg. On the second lap the wind suddenly dropped and turned, leaving the fleet hunting for any small gusts that would push them on their way. With no option but to shorten the course at this new windward mark it was a final run that would sort out the placing for the Championships. Just 40 seconds before the race time limit expired, Jon Sallis and sons pipped Jim Thomas and Trevor Brown by half a boat length to become Laser Stratos National Champions for the second year.

Warm congratulations and thanks to Rollesby Broad SC, their Race Officer, safety boat crews and other members who turned out to feed us, spectate and contribute to the excellent atmosphere of the weekend.

Overall Results:

1st Jon Sallis  Tom & Jacob Sallis Rollesby Broad SC 
2nd Jim Thomas Trevor Brown Herts County YC 
3rd Doug Rivers  Chris & Michael Rivers Leigh on Sea SC 
4th Alister Beveridge Michael Broadbent Queen Mary SC 
5th Marek Jezierski Sophie Jezierski Queen Mary SC 

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