Fifield takes Laser Club Nationals

John Emmett reports from Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy

Tuesday September 10th 2002, Author: Jon Emmett, Location: United Kingdom
Sixteen knots of breeze greeted nearly eighty standard rig sailors at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy on the 7th and 8th of September. Racing was extremely close throughout, even though top sailors are banned from this national final of the UKLA Laser Club Championship.

The first race was dominated by Bruce Bonar who worked the middle of the course to pull out a good lead by the first mark. Bonar was never challenged and moved away from the fleet which was led by Mac Courts.

The wind increased a couple of knots for race two and tiredness was beginning to show as the gybe mark became somewhat of a graveyard with Laser centreboards sticking out of the air like tombstones. However, eventual champion James Fifield rose to the occasion, achieving particularly good speed downwind, showing second place Mac Courts his transom disappearing into the distance.

For the last race the wind increased another couple of knots, bringing it to over 20 knots, and this proved too much for some of the competitors with the race officer sensibly abandoning racing for the day.

This meant three races were sailed on the Sunday, and with just four knots of breeze the pressure on the event leaders to stay consistent was huge.
Fifield scored another first to pull away from the chasing pack, with Mark
Keast's second place making up for a poorer performance the previous day.

Race four and Peter Bickerton showed the fleet how to sail in six knots of
breeze, pulling himself up the fleet with a first place. Fifield got buried
in mid-fleet with previous mid-fleet sailor Peter May scoring a second.

Race five and Peter Bickerton was even faster in the eight knots of breeze, but ended up not doing enough to distance himself from Fifield, who finished six places behind, enough to stay three points clear and take the event. A second place in the last race was just enough to give Clive Eplett a top 10

Top Youth was Alex Furze in 24th place with Peter Bickerton taking the first Master's prize as consolation.

1st James Fifield (Stokes Bay SC) 14pts
2nd Peter Bickerton (Oxford SC) 17pts
3rd Paul Nicholson (RAF SA) 42pts
4th Mark Keast (Beer SC) 43pts
5th Richard Patrick (Great Moor SC) 46pts
6th John Ling (Upton Warren SC) 49pts
1st Youth Alex Furze (Barnt Green SC), 1st Master Peter Bickerton, 1st
Grandmaster Bill Watson (Blithfield SC).

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