The Lasers had a very successful Otter Week this year with a fleet consisting of three 4.7s and eight Radials. The windy conditions that persisted throughout the week produced some very difficult sailing conditions and therefore resulted in a high number of (minor) injuries, from pulled muscles to torn ligaments. However, the Lasers dealt with it all, grinned and bore it so that they could enjoy the amazing sailing conditions. All together the Lasers must have done enough capsizes throughout the week for the number to reach triple figures and many of us managed to survive the Force 7 gusts that were blowing through.
On the first Sunday we all made the most of a training day with Kirsty Bonner, an RYA Laser coach, who had been European Champion in the Laser Radial herself. Kirsty put us all through our paces and taught us many tips for sailing in heavy winds making our lives slightly easier. I'm sure that many of the Lasers will agree with me that this was a very worthwhile day's training.
During the rest of the week we had a series of six races, as well as a long distance race and a handicap race.
Due to strong winds the planned day of team racing was abandoned, as it was likely that a large amount of damage to boats may have occurred; instead we did some time trials down the river. The aim was to pass between two pairs of buoys, set about half a mile apart, in the fastest time. The Lasers managed some truly astonishing times in the steady Force 6 that was blowing, with most of the 4.7s finishing with times around 1.48 mins and the Radials averaging 1.41 mins - Alex Hill then joined us on his windsurfer and completed the course in 43 seconds, making our times look slightly inadequate! This day was the highlight of many of the Lase sailors' week.
There were also many social events after the sailing throughout the week ranging from the fancy dress - it was an unusual sight to see the Laser boys dressed up as the 'King of the Swinger's' monkeys from Disney's Jungle Book, not to mention Mickey and Minnie Mouse! - to the Casino Night and Prize Giving Dinner.
After a successful Karaoke evening the Laser group was joined by the 420 sailors when we all noticed a large partially eaten chocolate cream cake which had been left out - this prompted a cream cake fight in the bar, much to the annoyance of Tony the Steward! The following morning, after much apologising and duly chastened, we scrubbed the carpet clean throughout the bar!
All in all it was a great week's sailing and socialising and I, along with the rest of the Lasers, hope it is as much fun next year. See you there!