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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Laser / ILCA Midlands Grand Prix at Chase Sailing Club

by Chris Anderson 22 Apr 22:51 PDT 20 April 2024
ILCA Midland Grand Prix at Chase © Dave Watkins

On Saturday 20th April 2024, The Chase Sailing Club orchestrated a thrilling Laser/ILCA open meeting, blessed with ideal weather conditions - a gentle north-westerly breeze, promising a splendid sailing experience. As participants gathered and the marks were set, anticipation surged for what was poised to be an exhilarating event!

Race 1 commenced with high expectations, but an unexpected twist in the wind forced the race officer (OOD) to halt proceedings momentarily, necessitating a course reset. Despite the challenge, the OOD adeptly managed the situation. Under a sunny sky adorned with white fluffy clouds and a steady force 3 breeze, the starting sequence finally unfolded. Amidst the competitive flurry at the start line, Alex Berry from Chase S.C. showcased impeccable skill with a stellar start.

The fleet engaged in fierce competition upwind, with Berry leading the charge to the windward mark, closely trailed by Craig Williamson and John Ling. Downwind, the excitement soared as Berry asserted dominance, swiftly establishing a significant lead by mid-race. However, the shifting wind conditions posed a formidable challenge to maintain this advantage.

A significant wind shift during the second lap proved pivotal, as Berry's untimely tack on a downwind leg saw him slip to fourth place in a blink, granting Williamson and Ling the edge in the final stages of the race.

Amidst the lively competition, it was striking to witness the ILCA6 Radial Rigs holding their own against the larger ILCA7 sails. Despite the inherent contrast in sail size, sailors in the ILCA6 showcased remarkable skill and strategic prowess, challenging the notion that size doesn't dictate sailing proficiency. This aspect added an extra dimension of excitement to the race, demonstrating the adaptability and competitive spirit of sailors across various rig configurations. Ultimately, Jack Oakley's victory in the ILCA6 class underscored his adeptness in navigating these tricky conditions, while Elsa Minton and Megan Hardiman's podium placements highlighted their skilful manoeuvring and tactical intelligence across both ILCA variants.

The race culminated in a nail-biting finish, with the top four boats crossing the line in rapid succession. Upon calculating the results, Jack Oakley secured first place in his ILCA6, closely followed by Elsa Minton (ILCA6) in second and Megan Hardiman (ILCA6) in third. Fourth place overall and the first ILCA7 finisher was John Ling from Bartley S.C. - truly an exhilarating contest!

After completing race 1, the sailors returned to shore for lunch and were treated to delicious hot meals meticulously prepared by the galley volunteers.

Race 2 was announced, prompting sailors to swiftly rig their boats and head out onto the water for an afternoon of intense competitive sailing, with races 2 and 3 planned to be back-to-back. The wind had slightly increased for the second race, adding an extra layer of challenge and tactics to the competition. Despite the heightened difficulty, the sun continued to shine, the marks were set, and the race officer was stationed ready to initiate the race.

As the starting gun sounded, all 24 boats got off to a clean start, with Craig Williamson (170605) and John Ling (224155) showing exceptional skill and determination, battling it out with the fleet towards the first mark. Williamson reached the mark first, closely pursued by Ling and Christine Statham from Attenborough S.C. amidst a flurry of activity and excitement.

With the wind occasionally reaching a marginal force 4, the ILCA class experienced exhilarating downwind legs, although the conditions proved too challenging for two boats, which retired from the race. LING and Williamson continued their fierce competition, establishing a half-leg lead over the rest of the fleet and maintain their dominance throughout the race.

Notably, Eden Hyland from Chase S.C. delivered a remarkable performance, surging from 14th place around the windward mark to podium status by the end of the race. The ILCA6 boats showcased exceptional sailing in this challenging race, demonstrating their ability to compete effectively against larger boats.

On the water, Craig Williamson (ILCA7) secured first place, with John Ling closely trailing in second and Eden Hylan clinching third. Once the scores were tallied and handicaps calculated, Craig Wiliamson (ILCA7) emerged the overall winner, followed by John Ling (ILCA7) in second and Elsa Minton (ILCA6) in third.

Race 3, as the race officer (OOD) and rescue teams adjusted the marks and set the course for the final race, sailors had a brief 10-minute window to collect themselves and focus on the decisive race that would determine the ILCA/Laser Midland Chase Champion. With the buoys in place, the sun shining, and wind now a steady force 4, the stage was set for the ultimate showdown with only 22 boats vying for glory. As the 5-minute gun fired, anticipation mounted, but a last-minute wind shift created a port bias on the line, catching some off guard. Alex Berry of Chase S.C. briefly considered a port end flyer before wisely opting for a safer manoeuvre as the fleet charged towards him on a starboard tack. Ultimately, John Ling and Alex secured the best starts amidst the strong competition as the starting gun sounded.

The battle ensued fiercely up the first beat to the windward mark, with positions shifting amidst the congestion. Ling emerged victorious, rounding the mark first, followed by Berry and Oakley in third, leading the way for the ILCA6 fleet, the short downwind legs added to the challenge, marked by intense competition and vocal exchanges at the marks. Ling maintained his lead on the downwind leg, with Berry in pursuit, but an incident at the mark forced Oakley to take a penalty, altering the dynamic of the race.

As the race progressed into the second lap, the wind began to drop, keeping the competition tight among the top five. However, a momentary lapse in concentration from Ling and Williamson saw them veer off course and sail to the wrong mark, allowing Berry to seize the lead. With everything to play for, the costly mistake bunched up the fleet once more, setting the stage for an exhilarating final lap. The boats raced fiercely to the finish line, with Paul Heath (Leigh and Lowton S.C.) clinching victory, followed by Alex Berry (Chase S.C.) in second and Eden Hyland from Chase S.C. securing third.

With the conclusion of the Laser/ILCA Midland open at The Chase Sailing Club, sailors returned ashore, and as they packed away their boats, the results were calculated. The commodore of the Chase Sailing club Dave Watkins extended his gratitude to the OOD Adam Froggatt for orchestrating a challenging yet successful day, the galley for providing excellent food and drinks, the rescue volunteers, and most importantly, the sailors whose participation made the event a resounding success. Finally, it was time to crown the champions, with John Ling from Barley S.C. finishing 3rd overall in his ILCA7, Craig Williamson from Staunton Harrold S.C. securing 2nd in his ILCA7 and Elsa Minton from Chase S.C., achieving top honours as the first lady, first in the ILCA6 fleet and first overall.

Overall Results:

PosFleetClassSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1stLadyILCA 6 / Laser Radial210917Elsa MintonThe Chase Sailing Club23‑85
2ndMenILCA 7 / Laser170605Criag WilliamsonStaunton Harold51‑76
3rdMenILCA 7 / Laser224155John LingBartley‑4246
4thMenILCA 7 / Laser197694E HylandThe Chase Sailing Club‑12437
5thMenILCA 6 / Laser Radial197307Jack OakleyClwb Hwylio Dyfi / Dovey Yacht club17‑98
6thMenILCA 7 / Laser221314Paul Heathleigh and lowton sailing club8‑919
7thMenILCA 7 / Laser206471Alex BerryThe Chase Sailing Club7‑829
8thMenILCA 7 / Laser210288Finley WatsonThe Chase Sailing Club‑95510
9thMenILCA 7 / Laser212061Simon HardimanBartley‑66612
10thLadyILCA 6 / Laser Radial212087Megan HardimanBartley3‑161114
11thMenILCA 7 / Laser222774Ben RichardsonTrent valley SC‑13111021
12thMenILCA 7 / Laser108827Paul KeelingBlithfield10(RET)1222
13thLadyILCA 7 / Laser182627Christine StathamAttenborough sailing club1112.5‑2223.5
14thMenILCA 6 / Laser Radial214110Andrew AllenTrimpley SC‑15101424
15thMenILCA 6 / Laser Radial213563Mike PainBurton SC‑1612.51325.5
16thMenILCA 7 / Laser165537Steven ThomasBartley1414‑1528
17thMenILCA 6 / Laser Radial67023Grey RimmerBurton SC‑22151631
18thMenILCA 7 / Laser218700Andrew Foxleigh and lowton sailing club(DNS)171734
19thMenILCA 7 / Laser197774Carl AveryBurton SC18‑201836
20thMenILCA 7 / Laser165490Dean JungMidland17‑212037
21stMenILCA 7 / Laser157159Mike RuddThe Chase Sailing Club‑20181937
22ndMenILCA 7 / Laser217014Simon LimbNottingham Sailing club1919‑2138
23rdLadyILCA 6 / Laser Radial123939Robyn TaylorTrimpley SC2322(DNS)45
24thMenILCA 7 / Laser113386Ken CollinsThe Chase Sailing Club21(DNF)DNS47
25thMenILCA 7 / Laser209454Callum AndersonThe Chase Sailing Club(DNS)DNSDNS52

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