Room at the mark!
Despite the weather 36 lasers travelled to the Midland traveller series finale at Bartley on Sunday 14th October to sail in a North North Westerly in the pouring rain!
Race office Steve Ward and his crew quickly set a great course maximising the beats and runs on the lake to make the racing tight for the fleet. With the course being windward - leeward it was important to get ahead of the fleet and into clear air which John Ling managed to do from the start leaving the chasing pack covering each others wind and slowing themselves down. Numerous battles took place throughout the fleet, most noticeably between Bartley commodore Caroline Whitehouse and Paul Keeling from Blithfield fighting for second place who exchanged places throughout and reminded us all that Lasers are not a class you can win by throwing money at new equipment with both boats over 30 years old. In the end it was Caroline who played the final beat right taking second from Paul.
If nothing else the first race showed that the new handicap racing for radials and 4.7s for the Midlands series could really mix things up with Ellie Craig taking 5th place in a radial from Megan Hardiman in a 4.7 in 6th place and Jamie Mason and Greg Corves both placing their radials in the top 10 - fantastic news for junior and youth sailing.
Steve (frozen rigid) lashed to the fantastic new flagpole arrangement on the Jaffa courtesy of David Badger
After race one the fleet were glad to come into the warm and dry and refuel on curry and chilli con carne expertly prepared by Dee and the Galley crew and some time to catch up with friends from the circuit and a few former Bartley sailors (Hello Anna and Izzy!).
There was a slight reluctance to get back out into the rain but Steve got us all motivated and race 2 was on. This time it was me who managed to pop out of the front of the fleet and disappear into the distance leaving John Ling and Lazaros Andronis to follow on in 2nd and 3rd and Paul and Caroline to battle it out again for 4th and 5th in the standards.
In the radials Ellie once again showed the way taking 5th overal ahead of Jamie Mason and Greg Corves.
The 4.7s were very closely contested with each of the competitors leading their fleet at some stage in the race. At the finish line it was Megan Hardiman from Josh Oates and Harrison Allen, who were determined not to be beaten by a girl for the third time in the final race...
The only photo of me in the lead ever taken - so its going on the blog!
Race 3 saw a change of course as the wind swung to the North one minute before the start was about to take place. Steve and team quickly rearanged the start line and got us off to a race of beats and runs the length of the water. This time it was Jeremy Higson who got ahead at the start and never looked back despite John's best efforts to catch him. Paul Keeling remained as consistent as every to take the 3rd Standard spot, with a few people deciding they were not wet enough and going for a swim (Mike Homer - 5 capsizes, Adam Hague - learning that toe-strap maintenance is important, Caroline Whitehouse - remembering what windward capsizes feel like, to name just a few). The real suprise for many of us came when the results were published as the course was clearly great for radials with Ellie Craig taking 1st radial and 2nd in the race, Dan Keenan 2nd radial and 4th overall, and Greg Corves 3rd radial and 5th overall. In fact over half of the top 12 places were taken by radials and 4.7s.
In the 4.7s Harrison finally got the better of Megan to take 1st 4.7 and joint 11th in the race overall - the banter continued long into the afternoon...
Commodores caption competition - entries to
With the sailing done for the day the soggy sailors returned to the bar for a mega prizegiving for the day and for the traveller series. Thanks to John for organising a great day and prizegiving, thanks to all who travelled from both Midlands and Wessex regions, and thanks to the race and galley teams for organising us all.
Full report for the event and the series can be found on Yachts and Yachting. Full results for the open will be published shortly on the 'results' page.
1st John Ling
2nd Simon Hardiman
3rd Paul Keeling
1st Ellie Craig
2nd Greg Corves
3rd Jamie Mason
1st Megan Hardiman
2nd Harisson Allen
3rd Josh Oates
(another) One for the album!
The elite atheletes that are 'the Midlands Travellers'...