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SA Laser State Championships - Magnificent sailing in Pt Lincoln

by Andrew Darcey on 4 Feb 2011
Close racing in Masters fleet of South Australian Laser States - South Australian Laser State Championships Clayton Schmerl
2010-11 SA Laser State Championships - While the heat was building over the last weekend in January, plenty of hot racing was being held on Boston Bay during the first leg of the Championships. Close to 30 competitors met the starter's gun over the weekend of racing, with the variety of wind conditions giving every boat a chance near the lead during the four heats that were held.


On Saturday we were greeted with a picture perfect 35 degrees, clear skies and a light on-shore North-Easterly. The morning saw two heats held in 5-10 knots. Local youth sailor Ryan Kelly proved a hit when he stepped up from the Radial to the Full Rigs and dominated the morning with two heat wins. The Radial fleet had an interesting morning, with their first race turned on its head when the leaders sailed past the first leeward mark and Luke Stephens turned his last place to a heat win. Luke Hookings then showed he had made a successful return from injury to win Heat 2. The 4.7 fleet saw all competitors sail the incorrect course in the first race, with Largs Bay SC youth sailor Mikayla Thompson winning Heat 2. After lunch the breeze tried to fill in from the South East seabreeze, and while the third heat got underway, it had to be abandoned on the second lap when the breeze failed and no more racing was completed for the day. A magnificent dinner was held on Saturday evening and visitors from Adelaide were shown the true Pt Lincoln experience with plenty of refreshments had whilst recounting the day's racing.


While lack of wind was the problem on Saturday, Sunday’s dawn bought a 25-30 knot hot Northerly in the morning which delayed the start until the breeze dropped to under 25 knots around 11AM. During the first heat the breeze slowly softened and swung left, allowing SALA President Sean Homan to use his years of experience to come away with a win in Heat 3. Luke Hookings won the Radials again, and Ben Knoop who stepped up from the Radials the day before, winning the 4.7 fleet. The breeze continued to soften and became very unstable, a nightmare for race officials. Heat 4 got away to a clean start but the majority of the fleet sailed into a large hole with no breeze, with only a handful of Full Rigs skirting around the edge of the course with clear wind when the race was abandoned. A long wait in 40+degrees was only countered by the generous support from Pt Lincoln locals ensuring all sailors were kept well hydrated, topping up everyone’s drink bottles.


The race committee waited and waited for the breeze to settle, and when it swung and strengthened from the South West, it looked like a fourth heat might happen prior to the 1:30PM deadline. However, the breeze suddenly strengthened and soon after a massive dust plume over Pt Lincoln heralded a 10 minute period of 35+ knots, wiping out most of the fleet with sailors sheltering on their up-turned boats or enjoying the best blast-reaching of their sailing lives. Once the sting was blown out of the breeze, it settled down to 10-20 knots, and Heat 4 was got away with only 5 minutes to spare. Todd Hughes finally put it all together in the Full Rigs and snuck through a persistent Ryan Kelly to claim his only heat win for the weekend. Luke Hookings again dominated the Radials and Ben Knoop showed the class that has him in the top ten youth 4.7 sailors in the country to win that fleet.


So after an eventful weekend’s sailing (wind varying from 0-40 knots from all points of the compass), four heats were completed, with competitors taking all these points into the second leg to be held at Adelaide Sailing Club on Saturday 12th March 2011 as part of the Adelaide International Regatta. The Full Rigs have Ryan Kelly in the lead, Andrew Darcey having consistent results over the weekend to finish second and Todd Hughes’ heat 4 win moving him into third. The Radials see Luke Hookings easily in first place, Luke Stephens in second and Joe Kelly in third. The 4.7 fleet is tight, with slow starter Ben Knoop in the lead, Mikayla Thompson in second and Greta Garnaut in third. We look forward to an exciting conclusion on the March long weekend.






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