Rooster Laser Masters National Championships 2011, sponsored by Rooster Sailing, was held at Whistable Yacht Club in Kent from 1st to 3rd July.
The event attracted an entry of 94. The fleet was split 54 standards and 40 radials, each with their own start. The championship was also the second UK world-ranking event for the 2012 World Masters to be sailed in Brisbane, Australia.
The forecast for the three days was dire to say the least, indicating a maximum gust wind strength of 5 - 7 knots if any. The possibility of not sailing at all was a very real possibility.
On Friday the weather went to forecast with the reasonable morning wind dropping off to an inconsistent 3 knots by the scheduled start time of 13:00 hrs. Race Officer Ken Falcon went afloat looking for consistent wind and to determine if it was possible to set a course. The result of the search between Southend and Whitstable was there was none and fair racing could not take place. The fleet rigged, remained on shore and it turned out to be a good idea not to put on a wetsuit as the temperature under the clear blue skies reached 22 deg C. At 16:00 hrs the day was abandoned, the boats de-rigged and solace sought in the Whitstable YC bar. Later in the evening Phil Beed from Stokes Bay presented the annual Laser Masters trivia quiz that happened to be won by a group of Stokes Bay sailors. Everyone was assured there was no prior knowledge!
Saturday started off as though it was going the same way as Friday with an early reasonable wind, little cloud and rising temperatures. The first race start had been brought forward by an hour to catch this wind and possibly complete two races so there was at least a series. In fact the wind remained all day, averaging 8 knots, reaching 12 knots at times and only dropping to 6 knots late afternoon from a NEE direction. This enabled four races to be sailed bringing in the discard.
Races one and two started without any need for the black flag but by the time it came to start race three the tide had turned to the ebb. Although not particularly strong, boats found themselves being carried over the start line resulting in the standard fleet having three general recalls, two under the black flag. One of those to suffer was last year’s winner Orlando Gledhill. The radials met the same fate on their start but only had one general recall.
On returning to shore, following the racing, competitors were given a bowl of pasta by the Whitstable YC
galley after what had been a long but worthwhile day on the water. This was followed later by the championship dinner on a very pleasant summer’s evening!
At the end of Saturday Steve Cockerhill was leading the standard fleet on three points having scored 1, 2, 1, 1 followed by Alan Davis on seven points and Orlando Gledhill on 12 points. In the radial fleet Ian Jones was leading with five points having scored 3, 1, 1,11 followed by Ian Gregory on six points and Ann Keats on seven points.
Sunday morning did not even have the early morning wind of the previous two days and the prospect of sailing looked small especially as there was no sign of a sea breeze. What wind there was, followed the forecast starting off west moving north and then towards the east.
The fleets rigged and the race committee went afloat to search the estuary for consistent conditions. Now and again the sails rustled in the boat park to entice the sailors but this was only the local land effect. However, just after 12:00 hrs the fleets were called afloat, as from almost the same direction as Saturday, a 6 - 8 knot wind had appeared. This enabled two more races to be sailed to finish the event.
Cockerhill maintained his position in the standard fleet with one and two to give six points total from Davis on 12 points and Gledhill on 21 points. In the radial fleet Keats overhauled the two Ian’s scoring two and one to finish on 10 points from Gregory on 11 points and Jones on 13 points.
Thanks go to Rooster for sponsoring the event, Whitstable YC’s army of volunteers for putting on the event, in particular Tom Bailey who acted as their front man, David Lowe the club commadore for presenting the prizes, Ken Falcon for RO and Robert Owens for being the International Judge. Results
(overall in brackets)
1st Steve Cockerhill (1st) Hill Head
2nd Alan Davis (2nd) Oxford
3rd Thomas Muller (4th) ESTM Germany
1st Orlando Gledhill (3rd) Queen Mary
2nd Rupert Bedell (5th) Queen Mary
3rd Anatoly Krievelich (12th) Queen Mary
1st Peter Sherwin (7th) Chew Valley
2nd Mac Courts (9th) Stokes Bay
3rd David Binding (14th) Weir Wood
1st Chris Jones (4th) Sutton Bingham
2nd Bruce Snelling (9th) Burghfield
3rd Andrew Chapman (13th) Netley
1st Ian Gregory (2nd) Frensham Pond
2nd Ian Jones (3rd) Dovestone
3rd Mark Jones (7th) Oxford
1st Ann Keates (1st) Parkstone
2nd John Reay (6th) Island Barn
3rd Dave Holloway (8th) Highcliffe
1st Keith Wilkins (5th) Chelmarsh
2nd Ian Rawett (14th) Grafham
3rd Mike Kinnear (15th) Starcross UK Laser Association website