Newbies claim championship
Joe Llewellyn, Nigel Wakefield and Ben Vines on Henri Lloyd – Forelle Estates have been crowned winners of the 2011 Zhik UK Laser SB3 National Championship, concluded on Tuesday at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble.
Racing on the final day of the Championship was abandoned due to the wind conditions. With less than 4 knots of steady pressure, Race Officer Tony Lovell abandoned racing to ensure a fair result for the event. Had a 10th race been run in poor conditions, a second discard would have been applied to the fleet’s results.
Catching up with Llewelyn after the prize giving, he explained: “We're so pleased with our decision to buy our own boat and join the Laser SB3 fleet. The racing is so close and this event has provided the best sailing you could ask for, with great conditions, strong competition throughout the fleet and first class race management as always from the Royal Southern. Nigel and Ben have been awesome to sail with and I'm absolutely over the moon to have won the event!”
Joe Llewellyn wins the Laser SB3 UK National Championships for a second time, having previously won the event in Largs with Jerry Hill in 2008. Ben Vines replaced Jerry 'Pasty' Vigus, who is recovering from surgery having dislocated his shoulder in the penultimate race at the 2011 World Championships in Torquay.
Henri Lloyd – Forelle Estates also won the Best New Comer trophy as Llewellyn owned and helmed his own Laser SB3 for the first time in this National Championship. However, being the gentlemen that they are, they passed their prize to second-placed best newcomers Doug Paton, Matthew Thomas and Roddy Anderson on Superfly, who travelled from Glasgow to compete. Ray Davies, Ray Newman and Graham Bridle on healthyone.co.uk won the Salty Sea Dog prize, awarded to the best placed crew with an average age of 50+ years.
After 10 years of great racing, the Laser SB3 class remains the number one sportsboat sailing choice in the UK. A newly formed fleet of boats will race in Scotland, based on The Clyde in 2012; Torquay remains a strong fleet and there is also regular racing in Brightlingsea on the East Coast as well as the large Solent fleet. Jerry Hill and Craig Burlton, both previous World Champions and long term owners in the Laser SB3 class enjoy racing the boat so much they both claim: “There’s nothing else they’d rather be sailing.” The 2012 calendar is in the final stages of planning, so if you’d like to get involved in this great fleet, contact Katie Ashworth here.
Thanks from the UK Class Association to our title sponsor Zhik and our supporting sponsors Hamble Yacht Services and LaserPerformance who all contributed to making the event the success it was.