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RC Laser and DF65 Winter Series at West Lancashire Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 22 Jan 2019 03:53 PST 20 January 2019

This was our second visit in the Southport series and this time it was with the smaller brother of the Dragon boats.

Skip had again jumped ship as he has now acquired a new-to-him boat complete with all rigs, but Alan had returned to the Laser brotherhood for the day. (I can't really say anything bad as I have also got both of the Dragons and hope to join in on a couple of their Traveller series dates around the country.)

Could it be any worse than our last outing when we barely had more than a breath of wind? Alan's Laser was put to water after he had set a shortened promising course, but the craft was refusing to move. With hardly any wind at all and not even a ripple on the lake, an abandoned start was agreed on and it was back to the boat house.

After a lengthy coffee and some chatter, someone noticed a slight flutter from one of the telltales on the perched Lasers.

Six Lasers and five registered Dragon Force 65s eventually made to the start line at well gone 11am after Alan had now reversed the course and we would be heading west instead of the predicted east direction. Gusting maybe 1mph if you can call it that, the Lasers went first again.

John Armstrong had taken his boat out of hibernation and had joined us from somewhere down Wales direction, miles away. He was telling us he hadn't sailed his Laser since November and then it was only a practice day up in Scotland. He had travelled in all about a thousand miles to a couple of abandoned races, so was really looking forward to this one.

The first bullet went to Tony and John wasn't far behind. Skip in the meantime was giving his students some good race tips from the side line and helped in the trimming of Colin's and Ken's boat. His main aim for the day was to get them up to the start line and to be on time and in with the mix.

The next race went to John and then it was Alan's turn to get a win. Five races had and it was lunch time. It was all going a bit slow, but we were getting there.

The wind had dropped to nothing but was ordered to return for the afternoon session.

Tony's racing was a bit here and there and he seemed to be doing a lot of faffing around with the sail adjustment. A helpful tip from our master and suggested it was because of too much bend on the mast in the very light winds.

Back on the lake and it was just about manageable. John was in the lead by a fair few points and Peter was close in second. Being all of similar ability it was open to any ones guess to how it would pan out through the day. John then gained a few more wins, but so had Alan, Tony and also Peter. Ken and Colin could have come in first and second place on one race had they not fluffed the start. Everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable and fairly reasonable day.

As the wind held up we soon started to rattle off the races. Trevor increased the race length to two complete laps as it also helped in keeping us free out of the way from the Dragon Force when finishing. As soon as they were in, the Lasers were ready to go on the start line again. All six now seemed to be starting together and the occasional penalty from someone or other meant we were all trying.

Peter and Alan were both doing well and probably only separated by the odd point, so all was important to how you played each race.

Thirteen races had been had and Trevor had been back and forward counting to tot up the results in between and shuffling two sets of scores as they were coming in.

John Tushingham had been dominating the Dragon gang and although it looked like Skip had been struggling in his races he eventually made third place for the day, which sets him up nicely for the Dragon TT weekend in a fortnight's time. He wanted to use these last couple of race meets to get to know his other boats well. Skip is already a master with the Laser and what he doesn't know about sail setting hasn't been written yet.

Despite what some people say about the ugliness of a Laser, calling them a glorified ironing board or a plastic bath tub, I think they're a great boat. A good hardy, easy to rig up for the day and all said and done, we have been sailing the quicker of the classes for the last two sessions that suited the conditions best.

Results for the day.

RC Laser results:

1 John Armstrong 24 pts 2 Islands
2 Peter Iles 27 pts Fleetwood
3 Alan Tickle 29 pts WLYC

Results for DF65:

1 John Tushingham 11pts Keighley
2 John Brierley 21pts Birkenhead
3 Skip Reaser 37pts WLYC

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