Photos by Saffron Gallagher
The annual Laser Open meeting at Sutton Bingham, held on Saturday 29th September, attracted sailors from as far afield as Plymouth and the Isle of Wight despite a dismal wind forecast. The joint South Coast and South West Grand Prix traveller series sponsored by Rooster Sailing attracted 14 entries, the majority being local club members.
Sailors were greeted by brilliant sunshine, but hardly a breath of wind and the entire lake was like a glassy mill pond. Gradually a few ripples appeared in patches, which was enough to tempt the keener sailors to get out on the water to test the conditions, but Race Officer, Tim Robertson rightly postponed proceedings until something approaching a steadier breeze materialised.
A lunch of Jacket Potatoes fuelled competitors for two afternoon races, which finally got underway at around 2pm. The predominantly northerly breeze meant that racing for the two fleets; Standard and Radial rigs, were held up and down the Halstock leg of the lake. Just prior to the first start the wind swung southward and it looked like it would be a downwind start rather than the preferred upwind first leg, however, in the closing minutes before race 1 got under way the wind reversed in direction and increased a little to provide some decent racing.
The name of the game was definitely hunting for the best pressure and maintaining momentum in the light airs. In the Standard fleet it was series leader Jon Emmett who quickly developed a commanding lead, whilst close racing ensued behind. During the race it was young Archie Coates and Mervyn Clark that broke away from the bunch to take 2nd and 3rd. In the second race youths, Will Owen and Archie Coates made the best decision off the start line to benefit from better breeze up the first beat, however, Emmett’s experience showed, coming through to win the race by a comfortable margin. The lower order Standard rig sailors decided to head for shore early to be first to enjoy the complimentary tea and cakes.
There was close action in the Radials with Chris Jones taking an early lead but being overhauled by Arthur Farley on the second beat. Jones closed the gap on the final run, but didn’t quite establish an inside overlap at the final mark before the short beat to the finish line.
The second race determined the overall standings in the Radial fleet with Jones securing the race win by eaking out a slight speed advantage to overtake Farley in a nail-biting finish. With points tied Jones took the fleet win on count back.
At the prize giving the Race Officer was congratulated on getting two satisfactory races in under testing conditions and making it an enjoyable and worthwhile event for the travellers and club members alike.
1st Jon Emmet, Weir Wood SC
2nd Archie Coates, Sutton Bingham SC
3rd William Owen, Sutton Bingham SC
1st Chris Jones, Sutton Bingham SC
2nd Arthur Farley, Royal Victoria YC
3rd Kristian Shafer, Brading Haven YC
Full results at: http://www.suttonbinghamsc.net/w/download/race_results/race_results_2018/Laser-Open-2018.htm
Photo 1: Mervyn Clark awards Laser Radial fleet trophy to Chris Jones at Sutton Bingham Sailing Club - photo, Saffron Gallagher
Photo 2: Mervyn Clark congratulates Laser Standard feet winner Jon Emmett and Sutton Bingham Sailing Club - photo, Saffron Gallagher