D Zero/Laser Open at Clevedon Sailing Club - 3rd June
Champagne sailing conditions greeted visitors who travelled from Netley, Cransley, Emsworth, Hitchin, Bartley, Bowmoor and as far away as Yorkshire. OOD Ian Hotchkiss set an Olympic style triangle sausage course in the bay, with a beat along the shore to Wains Hill against a South Westerly force 2 - 3 increasing to 3-4 breeze.
D Zero race one saw current National Champion Ian Morgan and local sailor Robin Goff get off the line well, short tacking inshore to stay out of the tide. Goff’s good start was short lived however as by the windward mark he’d dropped to 5th and it was Morgan, David Valentine, Tom Southwell and Steve Bolland who lead the way to the gybe mark, with Gordon Stewart and Nigel Austin bringing up the rear. Lap two saw Valentine drop to 4th but he was passed on the last run by Goff. Up front it was Morgan who took the gun with Southwell 2nd and Bolland 3rd.
By the start of race two the wind strength had increased to 4 gusting 5 and again Morgan showed the rest of the fleet a clean pair of heels up the first beat, opening up a sizeable lead by the windward mark, with Bolland & Southwell in 2nd & 3rd. These positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race, followed by Goff, Valantine, Stewart & Austin.
Goff decided he’d had enough excitement for one day and decided to sit out race 3, but was soon joined by Morgan who retired just after the start with a broken Cunningham line. This left Southwell and Bolland to fight it out for the win, with Southwell doing just enough in what was a very close race to claim line honours. Austin sailed well in the testing conditions to come in 3rd with Valentine close behind and Stewart 5th following a capsize.
The Laser fleet of 12 boats got away to a clean start first time and saw some close tacking up the shore to stay out of the adverse tide. This inevitably led to 'close encounters' as boats passed ahead of each other. Local sailor Martin Gibson lead at the first mark closely followed by John Lapes. These 2 led for the rest of the lap but Lapes slowly fell back and was overtaken by Tim Keighley and John Ling. Gibson led to the end of the 2 lap Olympic course with Ling second and Keigley third.
The wind had increased by the start of race 2 and after a good start Ling established a good lead on Keighley and the rest of the fleet. Lapes managed the increased wind strength and large waves without difficulty to take third place.
The tide had changed by race 3 with the advantage out to sea rather than hugging the coastline. The big waves and force 4 wind saw some exciting off wind sailing and a few capsizes. Ling once again led away from the start line followed by Keighley and Stuart Turner sailing with the smaller but more manageable Radial rig. With the tide change many of the leading boats overstood the first windward mark allowing Gibson to slip into fourth place and eventual overhaul Turner on the last run before the finish.
D Zero Results
1st Ian Morgan (Hillhead SC) 2nd Tom Southwell (Hillhead SC) 3rd Steve Bolland (BC YC)
1st - John Ling (Bartley SC) 2nd - Martin Gibson (Clevedon SC) 3rd - Tim Keighley (West Riding SC)