83 paid up entries with 81 boats taking to the water for this the 10th Anniversary National Championships of the Laser 2000 Class Association.
The ‘10th Anniversary Cruise’ on Sunday was cancelled: the thought of 60 plus boats tacking back through the Itchenor Reach into 18 – 21 knots of south westerly was just too much.
So we all met up and had tea and cakes (provided and served by Dell Quay SC) instead.
Raining. It stopped about 10:00, just in time to take the boats to the beach. All 80 boats were lined up as the sunshine came out, with a very nice 8 knots from the West.
Once released, we headed out of the harbour, on a long single tack to the outer end, before tacking and heading for the racing area: about a 45 minute sail, with the wind rising gradually from 10 knots to 20 knots.
Race 1 had the inevitable General Recall - a fairly short line, lots of waves knocking the boats about, biased to the starboard end and no-one wanting to bear away too far down the line. The second start was clean under a black flag. Tough beats; 6 ft waves rolling down the course and a very steep chop to contend with.
Very fast runs flying down the front of the waves, hoping not to bury the bow at the bottom. 20 knots steady, with gusts up to 24. 3 laps later, Matt and Clare Sargent took the gun, with Dave and Scott Adams taking 2nd and Mike Hart & Sally Kilpatrick taking 3rd.
Quite a number of capsizes, tricky bearing away at the top mark, tricky gybe and the opportunity of having to gybe again for the leeward gate if you got the angle wrong.
Then we waited while the course was swung around and just after the start line was set, the 2nd race was abandoned with a BIG squall in the distance blacking out the rest of the Solent. We were sent back in; although by the time we landed the sun was back out again and the wind had (temporarily) dropped. Further squalls blew through in the afternoon.
Turned up for 3 heavy wind races in the Solent: (No, we don’t want to look at the sea on the way to the club, we will see quite enough of it during the day) only to be told that the wind was stronger and the waves were bigger than Monday. So we waited for enough tide to allow us to have 3 races in the harbour.
Reasonable length courses (2/3rd mile beat) as long as the beat was against the tide: but a bit short once the tide had turned.
First race: clean start with the tide holding people back. Blue-it (your writer) sailed from the committee boat end across the fleet on starboard, before tacking on the edge of the Winner Bank to get to the windward mark fairly much out of the tide. The second boat was about 40 yds behind! Nerves got to us as always, and we were reeled in, and lost the lead just around the final leeward mark (the last run we made sure we completed it, rather than going for maximum speed). But we then managed to plane through to leeward on the 2-sail reach to the finish, grabbed a wave and took the lead by 6 inches at the finish.
Second race was also a clean get away, with many more people getting the tide correct. Mike and Sally Hart built a good lead during the race. The wind was still gusting over 20 knots: but the waves were much easier to manage than we had on Monday. Interesting twisting breakers on the edge of the Winner Bank, so it was worth delaying the gybe until clear of them!
Third race and the tide had dropped / changed. So a general recall was required. Tim Hulley has some good video of everyone down near the pin pushing ahead too much! Clean away after the black flag: with Jon Holroyd and Jane Rusbatch taking the lead from the pin end, and building up a big lead (to make up for / add to his 2nd in the first race).
The first 2 races most people employed the 1-gybe strategy, but by the last race with the lighter wind and changed tide, it was well worth gybing early to prevent having to stem the tide at the end of the reach.
Fewer capsizes and only one bent mast, but this morning (Wednesday) there were quite a number of people fibre-glassing and taping the boats up after the bumps that happened around the course.
Thanks to Clare Turnbull (Fotoboat) for braving the conditions, Laser Performance for keeping the fleet afloat and all the Hayling Island Teams looking after the fleet both on and off the water.
No racing Wednesday as the crews took time out to recover and play at being tourists. Curry night Wednesday where we continue to drink for charity (Seafarers) hoping for some relief in the weather conditions Thursday and Friday. With four races and four different race winners nothing is decided yet - watch this space!