The north east wind kept on building throughout the morning and by the time we launched it was a steady Force 5. In the end, the Laser fleet consisted of two 4.7s and eight Radials, with Alex Harley arriving on the race area, half an hour after the main fleet, just making the start.
The blustery conditions created a few minor problems and breakages, such as broken vangs, rudders and booms. It was not only the boats that got a battering but the helms as well, including several with nose bleeds. Whilst all this was going on, the rest of the Lasers gritted their teeth and managed to complete 1 of the 3 scheduled races, in the incredible sailing conditions. Of the ten Lasers that went out only four managed to finish, with Richard de Boltz winning. Racing was abandoned for the rest of day, once the tide changed and the sea state worsened.
On Sunday, we all arrived at the club for bacon butties. It was easy to tell that everyone was drained by the sheer lack of enthusiasm at the time. The wind was forecast to lighten up slightly, yet to no avail; it did quite the opposite and strengthened. We rigged our boats and by then the wind was blowing a Force 5, gusting 6 and the adrenaline was pumping again. We headed up to the barges to the race course; our aim was to complete 3 races to compensate for Saturday. There was the same outcome, with copious numbers of capsizes. We managed to squeeze in 1 race as the wind was becoming unmanageable. Only four boats were able to finish this race as well, which was won by David de Boltz, the overall winner.
I think that the Lasers alone managed to complete enough capsizes to last the rest of the season. The highlight of the weekend for the Lasers was seeing Katherine Prestwich being rescued from the nature reserve by the RNLI; she is now considering taking up bird watching!
Despite the tricky winds and strong tides, Paul Noonan set particularly good courses taking into account the adverse conditions for those of us who completed it. Mick 'the mark layer' Hill 'had an issue' which entailed wrapping a marker mooring line around his prop; so he was not his usual efficient self. It seems that we were all a little rusty.
So, all in all, after a very wet and windy weekend where the Lasers coped extraordinarily well under the circumstances, it was an excellent weekend's sailing.
Overall Laser Results
1st David de Boltz
2nd Richard de Boltz
3rd Alex Harley
1st William Ayre
2nd Ella Brown