Open meeting round up from 27/28 April
The Laser 2000 circuit returned to Lake Bala in North Wales for what was scheduled as the first of seven Open Meetings of the 2002 Millennium Cup series sponsored by Crewsaver.
Five races were scheduled, three to count over the two days, two on Saturday and three on Sunday. A cold and sleety day greeted the eight Laser 2000 competitors who arrived for the first race at 1pm on the Saturday. Unfortunately there were no competitors for the Laser 3000 meeting. The wind strength was F4 with some stronger gusts adding to the excitement. The race officers Dave and Kate Eccles set a windward leeward course.
In the first race regulars Trevor and Caroline Bradley were first to the windward mark closely followed by Helen and Andrew Phillips and Keith and Paul (14 years) Watson. The Bradleys pulled ahead of the fleet to be clear at the windward mark. The local boat sailed by John & A Lloyd capsized at the leeward mark, the boat turtled was eventually abandoned to be recovered later as the icy water got the better of the crew.
In the beat up to the windward mark the Philips followed closely behind the Bradleys, however a prolonged dry capsize on a gybe on the downwind leg allowed David Bradley and S Davidson and the Watsons past. Two more laps were sailed with the first four places remaining unchanged. Russell Eden and Phillip Titterton made good progress catching up with Helen and Andrew before slipping back again. Michael and Nicolas (12 years) Lockyer, newcomers to the fleet made a valiant attempt starting the race but were unable to finish due to the bluster conditions. Also failing to finish were Geoff Thompson and Mark Henley who capsized.
The wind strengthened into the second race. First to the windward mark were Helen and Andrew closely followed by Trevor and Caroline who had a poor start missing the gun and crossing behind the fleet on port. David Bradley and S Davidson were third to the first mark. Once around the mark Trevor and Caroline pulled ahead of Helen and Andrew who remained in second place only to be passed by David Bradley and S Davidson at the leeward mark.
The first and second positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race, however the finish was very close with first Trevor and Caroline, 2nd David and S Davidson, 3rd Helen and Andrew, 4th Keith and Paul. Russell and Phillip capsized and had a close encounter with the committee boat while posing for photographs. Geoff and Mark managed five capsizes and failed to finish, but felt it was a learning experience.
At the end of Saturday the positions were Trevor and Caroline 1st, David and S Davidson 2nd, Helen and Andrew 3rd and Keith and Paul 4th.
Sunday began blustery with wintry showers, the wind a F5 gusting 6 was forecast to get up to F8-9. Several crews decided discretion the better part of valour leaving only three crews willing to sail: Trevor and Caroline, Helen and Andrew and Keith and Paul. A short windward leeward course was set with all three boats taking to the water fully reefed. First to the windward mark were Trevor and Caroline closely followed by the other two boats.
On the down wind leg Keith and Paul got in front of Trevor and Caroline only for them to regain the lead on the upwind leg and Helen and Andrew pulling up into second place. These positions were held for the remainder of the race. Some strong gusts lead to exciting sailing with fast down wind plaining and the need to ease off up wind. The wind picked up to toward the end of the race with all three boats coming into the downwind finish with spray flying, high on the plane with most of the hull out of the water.
The strength of the wind resulted in the remaining two races being abandoned. With two out of three races counting toward the final results which were:
1st Trevor and Caroline Bradley, Littleton Sailing Club
2nd David Bradley and S. Davidson, Shotton Sailing Club
3rd Helen and Andrew Phillips, Cardiff Bay Sailing Club
4th Keith and Paul Watson, Blithfield Sailing Club
The generous Crewsaver sponsored prizes were added to with glasses form the Bala sailing Club for the first, second and third and Cameras donated by Kodak which were awarded to Nicolas Lockyer and Paul Watson as the youngest sailors on Saturday and Sunday respectively. A Kodak Camera was also awarded to Helen and Andrew Phillips for their spectacular racing dry capsize.
The next Laser 2000 and Laser 3000 Open Meeting is in a weeks time, 4/5 May, at the Queen Mary Reservoir , in West London.