The South Australian RC Laser Series Rounds 1-5
Radio yachting is humming along in South Australia and we are now halfway through this year’s RC Laser series having just completed round 5. This year, three from our last year’s RC Laser fleet have left us and we have gained one, resulting in between four and six regular sailors for the series. The big difference for our fleet this year is that we are a recognised class in the Mawson Lakes Model Yacht Club and we are now having Sunday afternoon sailing at the club once per month.
The 2017 season is proving to be very different to 2016. Last year we had mostly moderate to strong winds, but this year the weather has been much more stable with four of the first five rounds of the series being held in very light conditions.
Mark Easton and I have consistently taken the first two places in all but round 5. This has largely been due to the absence of Jurgen Luther, who won the series in 2016, and Lindsay Sawyer’s temporary absence on a caravan trip. Much of our work this year has been to get John Berry, who is relatively new to radio yachting, and Don Turnbull, who is experienced in radio yachting but new to RC Lasers, to a level where they are competitive in the fleet. This process is well under way with Don Turnbull already finding a place in the middle of the fleet and John Berry having his first ever win during round 4.
The level of enthusiasm has been remarkable as the whole fleet, with the exception of John Nieuwenhuizen, will be attending the Championship of Nations at the Gold Coast in November. There is a great eagerness to learn and to experiment with rigs, and learning how to achieve maximum boat speed in light shifty conditions has been the key task so far this season.
Mawson Lakes is not an easy place to sail, but I suspect it is not dissimilar to Emerald Lakes on the Gold Coast. We certainly hope that there are similarities between the two venues! During round 2 the difficulties of Mawson Lakes were in evidence, with lots of wind shifts around buildings and a struggle between a north-easterly breeze and the south-westerly sea breeze. Round 5 was won by Lindsay in very fickle conditions and featured some of the closest racing between six boats that I have ever witnessed.
South Australia Radio Yachting – RC Laser Series Results
We will sail the remaining five rounds of the series prior to the Championship of Nations, and use these rounds as a key part of our preparation for the November championships. My reading of our fleet is that, given the general rate of improvement, all of us should be able to mix it fairly well with the other 50-60 boats attending the Championship of Nations.
Words by Adrian Heard