Neil Pryde UKLA National and Open Laser Championships – Overnight in Mount’s Bay the wind blew hard, but come daybreak it had eased so that the initial overnight forecast was a little over optimistic. However, with Radio four discussing the large swell that was forecast for the west of Cornwall, conditions were set to be interesting.
Unfortunately, with the wind very up and down in strength and with continual shifts it proved to be a challenging day for competitors and race committee alike. Both the Standard and 4.7 fleets launched as scheduled this morning, with the two Radial flights kept ashore until the first start had been made. As a result of the conditions, all fleets, both those ashore and those afloat, were kept waiting for about two hours for a reliable breeze. At around 2pm, racing began for the Standards and 4.7s, and the Radial fleet was launched.
For the Standards, the first race began in around five knots of wind, but this filled in from the right during the second beat. James Gray, Laser Podium Potential Squad and National Youth Squad Coach, showed the rest of the fleet how to handle the tricky conditions by finishing in first and Martin Evans, yesterday’s leader, was in second. In the second race, the wind picked up to eight to 12 knots and Jack Wetherell took first position with Martin Evans in second.
With four races now taken place with one discard being applied, Jack Wetherell is on equal points with Martin Evans, but he is placed in first position on countback. James Gray is in third and, with two very consistent fourth places today, youth sailor, Sam Whaley, is now lying in fourth overall.
As in the Standard fleet, the 4.7’s the first race began in very light winds which picked up towards the end. With an average start, Alex Butler went to the right and was first around the windward mark. From that point on he kept a good lead to take the win. Benno Marstaller, the winner of both of yesterday’s races, worked his way through the fleet to take second.
In the second race, the wind picked up in strength from the first and became more consistent. Marstaller led from the start to take his third win of the event and Butler, who was fourth at the first mark, ended up in second.
For the Radials, the first race was completed in 10–12 knots, whilst the second was in 12+ knots. As a result, the second race was completed with flat hiking and planning.
Yesterday’s leader, Hannah Snellgrove kept her lead over the fleet with two more wins. However, with at just one point behind Hannah, Ben Elvin is in second place. Ben said that, ‘Today was all about the waves. Really technical sailing to keep up the boat speed which was the most important factor of the day.’ Top placed Youth sailor is Matt Whitfield who is currently in third overall.
With an increasing wind, all of the day’s races were completed. The forecast for the day had proved correct although it came through later than anticipated. The swell got up to approximately two metre and is forecast to increase to about 4m tomorrow.
An added bonus for the sailors today was the sighting of a small group of dolphins who sailed alongside some of the sailors.
After racing, all the sailors returned to the shore before attending the evening UKLA AGM where, as well as the meeting, a draw was held for items generously donated by Harken and a sail donated by Laser Performance.
1 Jack Wetherell, five points
2 Martin Evans, five points
3 James Gray, eight points
1 Hannah Snellgrove, three points
2 Ben Elvin, four points
3 Matt Whitfield, seven points
1 Benno Marstaller, three points
2 Alex Butler, eight poits
3 Gethin Owen, 12 points