A record fleet of 40 boats registered with 34 boats starting in the the 2015 RC Laser National Championships over a weekend where fickle wind conditions caused significant course changes on both days. Kirwan Robb of Victoria took out the top spot with 31 points, followed closely by Scott Fleming also of Victoria taking second on 32 points and Graham Brown of NSW on the podium for third place with 52 points.
Because of the size of the fleet, it was decided to run the competition in 2 fleets, with 4 boats to progress or retire from each fleet. PRO Gary Bromley set interesting courses that were a challenge to the local sailors, as well as the visitors.
Day 1 – 2015 RC Laser National Championships
Saturday saw light winds coming from the west, and then moving around all over the place – so much so, that only the seeding races and the fleets for the first race were completed at lunchtime. It was a day of difficult starts, with many restarts being the order of the day. Everyone was on the A sail for the day, and all had tales of woe at the end of the first day in which 7 races were finally sailed. With winds moving around all the time, contacts were many and varied. Boats were being smacked down by eddies and flurries of the wind. Heat results were quickly entered into a computer and progressive results quickly available after races. At the end of the first day the leaders were Kirwan Robb and Scott Fleming from Victoria with Graham Brown and Paul Derwent from NSW very close behind.
The Club hosted an excellent dinner for the skippers and their partners on Saturday evening. The Dobroyd Aquatic Club is a perfect venue with great facilities and terrific views from the upper decks over the course above the race area and across the water to the Sydney skyline.
Day 2 – 2015 RC Laser National Championships
Day 2 of the Championships started with a much more promising breeze that appeared more steady from the south west, but causing some challenging starting line set-outs. The first few races had the starting line almost running east west, and competitors found it difficult to get a proper sight along the line . The big decision was whether to run with an A or B sail. Decisions were being made within the countdown sequence of the first race. Most changed back to the A as the wind was dropping off, but with gusts coming through.
As the day progressed, the wind again became more varied in direction and strength, causing large course changes – finally settling on a south-easterly course. Sailors dropped down to the B sail for most of the day; and a few dropped down to a C sail for the last sequence of races.
There was a lot hanging on the final set of races, with nearly all competitors spending some time in the B fleet. Perhaps the unluckiest sailor of the day was Jurgen Luther – in his final race, he was sailing on a C sail – one of the few to do so; and was sailing to climb out of the B fleet to consolidate his overall position. He was leading by the country mile down to the last mark and only had to turn for the line, but completely lost the wind – he fell into a hole, and had enough competitors sail past him to stop his progress into the A fleet. Oddly enough the same thing happened in the A fleet race where the leader had left the carnage behind, but repeated Jurgen’s efforts on the bottom mark. That is the way the championship was.
Gary Bromley awarded the Sportsmanship Award to Carl Sparre – well deserved too. Congratulations to everyone who participated – you all deserve a medal! Everyone had hard luck stories.. Graham sailed without much luck on both days; Peter Burton sailed well, but had his share of problems including his radio; Paul Derwent sailed very quietly and consistently, concentrating on his sailing; Peter Newman had his share of hard luck but finished well; I also have the tales to tell, but am happy with the result; Phillip got really beaten up a number of times that I saw; Robin sailed without luck, as did Hugh, who was caught in the A fleet/B fleet Zone – I think he had the most racing over the 2 days; Rob Fielding achieved a reasonable result, Alan achieved a second and a fourth in the B fleet; Carl sailed without luck, but had his moments; as did Paul Martin. Mark found the going rather difficult, and Gerry was really beaten up in most of his races – that was really unfortunate because he is a much better sailor than his result shows; Narelle had her moment in the sun; and it was good the see Steve participating under very difficult conditions for him.
We look forward to next year’s RC Laser National Championships to be held in Victoria.
Noel McPherson RCL#65