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ILCA/Laser Midlands Grand Prix Round 15 at Trent Valley Sailing Club

by James Dalby 9 Sep 08:24 PDT 5 September 2021

Gentle breezes veering from the North-East and baking hot sunshine was not quite what the forecasters had in mind for Trent Lock on the return of the 2021 Midlands Laser/ILCA Grand Prix, but the sailors didn't seem to mind.

The winning trophy is honourably attributed to Francis Turner, once a notable figure of the club who was known best for his rigorous attention to duty as race officer, but couldn't compete due to spinal injury, and it just so happened his own son Paul Turner was assigned race officer. The peculiarity of the changing winds persuaded Paul to set running starts upriver for the first two races, which some of the competitors dared to question, but nevertheless had no choice but to flee to their boats and abide by the challenge.

Finishing positions remained relatively consistent throughout the day, with John Ling (Bartley SC) finishing first, George Fereday (Bartley SC / Earlswood Lakes SC) in second, and multiple challenge winner and leading club helm, Ben Richardson finishing third. I must also take this chance to give my humble thanks to all three for each paying generous contribution in helping me resume sailing after my vang tang snapped during the first race.

The competition once again demonstrated how races are never lost, even from the back of the fleet, and can offer chances to helms to prove how far they can crawl back. Despite starting his first race at the back soon after the start, George Fereday still winded his way up following John Ling's aft to the finish. As someone who also took part in the competition, I even managed to charge up the field to claim third place in the last race despite falling into the river at the start after his leg strap snapped.

Notable credit also to Paul Wolstenholme, who was invited by a fellow compatriot of his from Midland SC to compete, having only recently taken up sailing, and having never competed in river sailing prior: especially on a course as demanding as the River Trent.

Thanks to his win, John Ling has achieved enough results to claim top spot on the season's table with his four aces and a second from Hollowell SC. With five events to go, unless there were someone to throw down the gauntlet to John upon the next round at Trimpley SC, it appears there is no-one in sight who could possibly grasp a whiff of his podium.

... If that wasn't enough, John also has plans to eradicate Ben Richardson's win record for the Challenge Cup. Somebody please stop him! I'm looking at you Mr Fereday!

Series website:

Round 15 Results:

PosRigSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1standard217407John LingBartley SC1122
2standard213608George FeredayBartley SC2213
3standard213151Ben RichardsonTVSC3346
4standard201645James DalbyTVSC(RTD)538
4standard217014Simon LimbNottingham SC4478
6standard215693John RichardsonTVSC56510
7radial214110Andy AllanTrimpley SC68612
8standard201354Philip DeeleyMidland SC771014
9standard158539Andy HunterTVSC89917
10standard7368Brian WilmottTVSC1010818
11standard164734Paul WolstenholmeMidland SC9(RTD)1120

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