Nigel Price, a founding member of the recently formed Sunshine Coast Radio Yacht Club, sailed a superb tactical series to pick up first place at the 2008 Radio Controlled (RC) Laser Queensland state championship.
The hotly contested event was held at Lake Kurwongbah, Petrie on August 30th and 31st.
Price beat off Paul Martin and Graham Brown, two would be southern raiders, to secure the major trophy. Brown and Martin had travelled up from the Dobroyd RC Laser club in Sydney, hoping to become the first non-Queenslander to lift the annual trophy.
After establishing an early lead in the twenty-two race series, Price was seldom threatened as he quickly mastered the sometimes tricky conditions and turned them to his advantage. By the end of the championship, Price had won twelve of the twenty-two races and secured a top three finish in seven others. This represented one of the best overall wins of any championship event held in Australia over the past three years.
Another Sunshine Coast sailor, Brendan Cleaver sailed consistently and came in fourth, a heart-breaking 1 point shy of the bronze.
Martin sailed particularly well on Saturday and held 2nd place comfortably ahead of a bunch of sailors including Brown and Cleaver who were slugging it out for 3rd. On the second day, the gap progressively closed with Brown and Cleaver both sailing well and gaining confidence with every race. The final count showed that Martin had managed to hold Brown off by a meagre three points to deservedly pick up the silver prize. Brown, a relative newcomer to the sport was more than pleased to wear the bronze in only his second major regatta.
Price commented at the end of the racing, 'The best thing about this championship was the spirit in which everyone raced. We were all trying to win each race but never at the expense of fun and fair play. This is a hallmark of RC Laser sailing and a credit to the organisation of the Pine Rivers Radio Yacht Club, the race officials and all of the competitors.'
'The winds were terrific and tested us throughout the two days', remarked Martin. 'On Saturday morning we were sailing with the large sails in light fluky winds. Tactics became important, particularly being able to pick wind shifts and where to sail on the course. A few hours later the challenge was to keep control as the millpond turned turbulent causing hurried sail changes.'
The next championship event is the Tasmanian states to be held at Lake Trevallyn, near Launceston on Sunday 9th November.
The RC Laser is one of the most popular professional level radio controlled yachts in the world. A quarter scale model of the iconic Laser dinghy, it was designed by renowned yacht designer Bruce Kirby and is sailed all around the world. According to Price, the advantages of the RC Laser are its one-class design, its rugged construction and superior sailing performance. 'Another thing I love about the RC Laser', added Martin, 'is that to travel to interstate regattas, we simply check the bag onto the plane just as we would a suitcase. It’s that easy'.
Radio controlled sailing is a rapidly growing sport in Australia appealing to enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. The boats are entirely wind-powered and the skills involved are essentially the same as sailing a full-size dinghy – ability to tune the boat, manoeuvre for position at the start-line, pick wind shifts, trim for boat speed and round buoys are all essential skills for the front-runners. Although there is a lot of skill involved at the top level, an attraction of the sport is that novices are able to quickly master the basic skills. Even championship events like this one attract and welcome sailors of all levels.
For information about the RC Laser or joining a sailing club, visit www.radiosail.com.au