The UK Laser Masters circuit gathered on Friday 22nd June 2018 in Hayling Island SC for their primary event of the year, the three-day Masters Nationals and Eurocup event.
Report by Niall Peelo (with assistance from Mark Lyttle)
In excess of 100 sailors, not just from all over the UK but with visitors from Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and USA, counted 59 in the Standard and 48 in the Radial fleet. Notably, the entry included two Legends (sailors over 75 years) in Roger Williams and Ninian Eadie, and no less than 15 Great Grand Masters (over 65 years). Many of these visitors were no doubt hoping for a little last-minute practice for the Masters World Championships which takes place in Dublin in September where entries currently exceed 300 boats.
The fleet was greeted by superb Hayling weather: sunny, warm and a great forecast for the more sun and heat… but one thing was lacking in the forecast – WIND!
At the briefing, Race Officer Tim Hancock was hopeful that some wind would make an appearance, but having looked at four different forecasts he felt there could be as little as 4kts or as much as 12kts, and the direction was variable. Not very encouraging…however, as competitors left the briefing hopeful of a suntan, a few beers, good food, and maybe winning a spot prize or two, there only seemed an outside chance of some decent sailing. One competitor had even floated the idea of Masters go kart racing competition, given the forecast!
Nevertheless, the fleet launched in a light southerly sea breeze. On reaching the race area, all were surprised that there was in fact enough wind to race. The efficient and professional race management team from HISC wasted no time in getting set up and were straight into a sequence.
Rupert Bedell lived up to his rhetoric of being highly competitive without having trained at all by leading at the first mark in a steady 8 knot wind until he was passed on the final run by Mark Lyttle and a very fast-finishing Nick Harrison, and Thomas Mueller from Germany.
As the wind built for the second race, the Masters eased into their toe-straps and it was Lyttle being chased by Alan Davis, former champion (multiple times), Mueller and Stuart Hudson. Bedell let his exuberance go this time with a UFD for an early start.
The final race of the day was enough to ensure most of the fleet had aches and pains by the end, but it was Tim Law putting the pain of the serious knee injury behind who closed Lyttle throughout the race after the latter got away at the start.
The Radial fleet had a general recall before getting a clean start. After a very close first beat, it was Ian Gregory who led at the first mark, followed closely by Ben Elvin with the rest of the fleet in hot pursuit. The wind built steadily as the race progressed. Ian and Ben were battling it out at the front with a sizeable lead over the rest of the fleet. Elvin managed to work past Gregory to win the first race. This was to be the first of many wins for Ben. Roberta Hartley managed to keep ahead of the remaining boats to finish third.
The sea breeze continued to build and race 2 got under way with minimal delay. Elvin continued to show his superior speed with a huge lead at the first mark. Niall Peelo was a distant second, just ahead of the rest of the fleet. This is how it continued until the finish (Elvin being so far ahead, no-one could actually see him!). Andrew Byrne finished 3rd.
Most sailors were sceptical that there would be any racing at all on the first day, so by the start of race 3 most were surprised that the wind was at 15kts. Yet again Elvin led, Andrew Holdsworth (formerly from Yorkshire but now living in San Francisco), found the conditions to his liking and finished 2nd with Ian Jones in 3rd.
The Masters circuit is much more than just sailing. Back on-shore the social side kicked off. Most sailors started in the bar, where there was nothing but admiration for the race committee after three fantastic races. HISC is a great location for a big event as at 7pm the restaurant opened and the social continued over food. Spot prizes for day 1 included David Binding winning a Southeast Sailboats voucher. The irony is that David has bought almost everything Southeast Sailboats sell, so Max Hunt will need to design something new just for him!
There was also a very interesting presentation from Michael Beckett (British Sailing Team) on what life is like training and competing in regattas around the world. Many of the Masters sailors were amazed to hear people actually train for regattas!
The social for some moved back to the bar, and after closing time the stragglers were last heard singing and playing guitars on the beach late into the night. The Masters fleet really does cater for everyone!
Day 2 for many started with a hangover. The standard cure for this seems to be one of HISC’s fry-ups followed by a full day’s sailing. Three races were scheduled, and despite lighter winds and tricky conditions, the race committee managed to deliver the three races.
Five Standards were black flagged in the first race but it did not stop Tim Law leading from start to finish. The second race of the day caught many sailors out with a big right shift, but not Bedell, who led at the first mark closely followed by Chris Whalley until Lyttle and Law eased past with Bedell slipping back. Unlike the Radials after them, the final race saw a return to more predictable conditions with the usual suspects up front.
This day will be remembered for several reasons; the day that provided tricky choppy light conditions; the day Elvin didn’t win a race (Byrne managed to break the winning streak to take race 6 after a very tricky shifty short race); and the day of the black flags. Nine sailors fell foul of the black flag, but Gareth Edwards was obviously influenced by the World Cup managed to score a hat trick of black flags!. Max Hunt, fresh back from Kiel Week and not wanting to let Gareth feel alone, also scored a black flag hat trick.
There was also a protest, just to tick all the boxes a top regatta must have!
On arriving back at the beach, the fleet were greeted by Joel from Laser Performance, one of the event’s very generous sponsors, with his wife Sian who were handing out free beer and cider in the dinghy park. This kick-started the social for Saturday evening which culminated in more spot prizes and a draw for the Wildwind holiday won by Allison Hutton of the Radial fleet.
The Laser Masters fleet claims to be the only sailing fleet with its own band, and after the prize draw, sailors were treated to tunes from Tony Woods (saxophone), Rupert Bedell, David Trout, Gareth Edwards (guitars) and David Freeman (vocals). A true “Laser Performance”… we hear the Isle of Wight festival are looking to sign them up for next year, provided there is no clash with a Laser event!
Day 3 started warm with no wind. The Race Officer postponed, confident that the sea breeze would kick in. The breeze did kick in, and the sun continued to shine for the remainder of the races.
Lutz Hirsch from Germany won Race 7 by a country mile with Roger O’Gorman finally finding his pace in second from Whalley. Tony Woods didn’t let his performance the previous night get in the way of his best result of the weekend in fourth just behind Andy Le Grice and ahead of Michael Hicks, the leading Great Grand Master.
Yet again Elvin led the way around the race course, with Hartley and Ann Keates taking up the next two places. Rob Cage, UKLA Vice Chairman, finally found his mojo and posted two 4th places. After Black Flag Saturday, it was a welcome change to cross the finish line and see the white board showing no sail numbers, instead ‘1/2 time England 5 Panama 0’!
Once ashore, the prize giving was held. Thanks to such great sponsors and organisation of the whole event being led so superbly by Gareth Edwards, some commented that they had never seen so many prizes at an event! Thanks go to Laser Performance, Southeast Sailboats, Tideway LLP, Rooster, Fernhurst Books and Phoenix Marine, as well as several sailors in the fleet who have helped fund new perpetual trophies.
Mark Lyttle (1st overall Standard fleet) summed up the event by saying it had been superbly run both on and off the water, and to spread the word because Laser Masters sailing is “the best gig in town”.
The next UK Masters event takes the fleet to Pevensey Bay SC 1st and 2nd September 2018, and promises to be another superb event. A number of the Masters also plan on heading to Plymouth for the UK Laser Performance National and Open Laser Championships 21st to 27th July 2018 – the event promises to include great racing and social for Laser sailors of all ages.
|2nd||GBR||195867||GM||Tim LAW||Salcombe YC||8||‑12||2||1||2||3||7||2||25|
|3rd||GBR||174621||GM||Nick HARRISON||Stokes Bay SC||2||6||5||5||5||4||‑8||5||32|
|4th||GBR||213699||GM||Alan DAVIS||Oxford SC||‑12||2||3||3||11||11||10||6||46|
|5th||GER||173330||M||Thomas w. MUELLER||SCLM||3||3||4||7||8||24||‑26||8||57|
|6th||GBR||204644||M||Stuart HUDSON||Keyhaven and Spinnaker||10||4||‑23||2||16||2||11||16||61|
|7th||GBR||210671||GM||Tony WOODS||Qmsc / Sbsc||14||7||8||13||7||12||‑16||4||65|
|8th||GBR||213145||GM||Chris ELLYATT||Queen Mary SC||15||8||11||4||10||8||‑18||14||70|
|9th||GER||205207||M||Lutz HIRSCH||Mühlenberger Segelc||5||19||34||6||6||5||1||(DNC)||76|
|10th||GBR||154030||AM||Chris WHALLEY||Parkstone YC||17||13||16||9||3||‑19||3||19||80|
|12th||GBR||213646||M||Gareth GREENFIELD||Oxford SC||7||‑37||18||17||15||13||4||12||86|
|13th||GBR||213640||M||Andy LE GRICE||Warsash||(DNC)||26||6||15||25||6||9||3||90|
|14th||GBR||209265||GGM||Michael HICKS||Queen Mary SC||6||25||14||11||22||10||(DNC)||7||95|
|15th||GBR||209121||AM||Dave FREEMAN||Queen Mary||9||14||7||19||20||(DNF)||20||10||99|
|16th||GBR||182979||AM||Tim PEARSE||Stokes Bay SC||19||9||9||(BFD)||4||20||35||11||107|
|18th||GBR||210595||AM||Jim Fifield||King George SC||38||21||(DNC)||18||23||9||13||13||135|
|19th||IRL||185730||AM||Rupert BEDELL||Queen Mary||4||(UFD)||12||BFD||9||26||17||9||137|
|20th||GBR||213005||M||Neil PETERS||Pevensey Bay SC||30||5||38||10||30||(UFD)||6||21||140|
|21st||BEL||206433||M||Michel MAJON||CN Altea||25||10||15||24||‑44||14||28||29||145|
|22nd||GBR||197237||AM||Olly BUSH||Weir Wood SC||20||‑45||22||20||26||15||14||28||145|
|23rd||SUI||207315||GM||Markus OCHS||WSV Doordrivjers||13||‑32||24||12||21||32||23||22||147|
|24th||GBR||208270||AM||Neil Davies||Queen Mary||16||22||27||28||18||‑36||25||20||156|
|25th||GBR||214073||M||David GODDARD||Weirwood SC||27||23||30||33||19||21||‑42||18||171|
|26th||FRA||202123||GM||François MEESEMAECKER||C N Wimereux||24||24||29||14||24||35||24||‑37||174|
|27th||SUI||208305||GM||Beat HEINZ||Royal Varuna YC||22||16||25||(BFD)||31||37||22||23||176|
|28th||GBR||201942||M||Bob CUDMORE||Parkstone YC||‑52||11||13||21||36||40||33||26||180|
|29th||GBR||206716||GGM||Peter SHERWIN||Chew Valley Lake||34||40||17||22||17||25||27||‑45||182|
|30th||GBR||212061||M||Simon HARDIMAN||Bartley S.c.||29||18||41||32||14||‑42||30||35||199|
|33rd||GBR||201939||GM||Ashley DEAKIN||Overy Staithe||18||39||26||(BFD)||33||33||38||17||204|
|34th||GBR||191029||AM||Simon RIDDLE||Stokes Bay SC||‑57||51||40||27||13||46||12||27||216|
|35th||FRA||211183||GM||Gilles GRENIER||C N Schoelcher||33||27||21||34||‑39||39||34||33||221|
|38th||GBR||214299||M||Peter MCCHRYSTAL||Blackpool & Fleetwood YC||37||41||42||35||27||(UFD)||29||43||254|
|40th||AUS||210150||GGM||John ROBERSON||Royal Perth YC||36||29||(DNC)||43||55||28||36||32||259|
|41st||GBR||208888||GM||Simon RADFORD||Bosham SC||39||‑49||33||38||47||17||47||39||260|
|42nd||GBR||194879||M||Mark Rahn||Dovestone SC||40||48||47||30||37||23||44||‑55||269|
|43rd||GBR||210979||GM||David HARTGILL||Parkstone YC||50||36||28||50||53||29||‑54||31||277|
|45th||GBR||207700||M||Julian Wilkins||Chichester YC||44||44||32||49||29||‑52||39||47||284|
|46th||GBR||201625||M||Rob WHITTON||Stokes Bay SC||‑46||38||44||39||34||38||46||46||285|
|47th||GBR||182219||GM||Malcolm MARSDEN||Blackpool and Fleetwood YC GG||45||‑52||46||40||35||27||43||50||286|
|50th||NED||213990||M||Rutger FLIERMAN||WSV Doordrijvers||48||43||‑49||42||48||45||31||36||293|
|51st||GBR||69||M||Colston NICHOLS||Parkstone YC||51||34||31||(DNC)||42||47||53||42||300|
|53rd||GBR||214266||GM||Carl DOWNING||Stokes Bay SC||49||46||‑51||45||38||43||45||49||315|
|56th||TRI||204014||GM||Ivan WESTERN||West Wittering||54||54||48||44||49||54||‑57||52||355|
|57th||GBR||211406||M||Andrew CROSHER||Aldenham SC||‑58||55||53||47||56||48||56||53||368|
|1st||GBR||208663||AM||Ben ELVIN||Stokes Bay SC||1||1||1||1||1||‑3||1||1||7|
|2nd||GBR||213589||M||Ian JONES||Dovestone SC||4||5||3||2||2||2||‑8||2||20|
|3rd||GBR||204969||M||Roberta HARTLEY||Parkstone YC||3||‑9||4||6||4||4||2||7||30|
|4th||IRL||212225||AM||Andrew BYRNE||King George||5||3||7||5||5||1||‑9||8||34|
|6th||GBR||200510||M||Ian GREGORY||Frensham Pond & Queen Mary||2||8||8||(BFD)||3||26||6||3||56|
|8th||GBR||213641||GM||Rob CAGE||Thames SC||7||14||30||7||(BFD)||5||4||4||71|
|9th||USA||213558||M||Andrew HOLDSWORTH||ST. Francis YC||14||4||2||12||14||22||‑25||9||77|
|11th||GBR||213052||GGM||David BINDING||Weir Wood||‑27||11||19||8||7||13||15||6||79|
|12th||GBR||204031||M||David CATTO||Hunts SC||8||10||15||(BFD)||20||9||10||10||82|
|13th||GBR||197742||M||James Stewart||Netley SC||17||‑31||20||4||9||10||7||16||83|
|16th||GBR||212403||GM||Ann KEATES||Parkstone YC||13||20||32||(BFD)||16||12||3||23||119|
|17th||GBR||213093||GGM||Mike KINNEAR||Grafham Water SC||12||‑44||12||9||24||18||18||27||120|
|19th||GBR||210848||M||Andrew HARTLEY||Parkstone YC||21||6||6||19||17||27||44||(DNC)||140|
|22nd||GBR||212531||AM||Tulloch PRIEST||Bough Beech||20||‑37||27||24||18||24||17||28||158|
|23rd||GBR||202547||GGM||David TROUT||Lancing SC||25||29||‑35||10||15||19||32||29||159|
|24th||GBR||210047||GGM||Glyn PURNELL||Leigh & Lowton||23||23||33||33||26||‑34||11||13||162|
|25th||GBR||213565||M||Wesley ABSOLOM||Thorpe Bay YC||‑40||22||17||37||21||28||27||14||166|
|27th||GBR||213579||GGM||Ian RAWET||Grafham Water SC||24||‑39||34||15||23||36||28||18||178|
|30th||GBR||203323||GGM||Kevin PEARSON||Thames SC||34||13||31||17||28||(DNC)||35||34||192|
|31st||GBR||201709||GM||Robert DRAPER||Stokes Bay||‑46||38||40||18||39||16||26||26||203|
|32nd||GBR||212199||L||Ninian EADIE||Queen Mary SC||35||24||18||26||38||‑39||31||32||204|
|33rd||FRA||211190||GM||Claudine TATIBOUET||C N Schoelcher||37||35||14||38||34||20||‑41||33||211|
|34th||GBR||203320||GM||Gareth EDWARDS||Queen Mary SC||22||21||29||(BFD)||BFD||BFD||19||25||214|
|35th||GBR||209188||GM||Pete BELL||Royal Lymington YC / Highcliffe SC||39||36||36||‑40||29||29||23||22||214|
|36th||GBR||185608||M||Mike Shepherd||Stokes Bay SC||41||32||13||(DNF)||27||31||37||39||220|
|37th||GER||205206||M||Alexandra BEHRENS||Muehlenberger Segel‑club||16||34||39||30||(BFD)||32||21||DNC||221|
|38th||GBR||210360||GGM||David KILLEY||Maidenhead SC||30||43||‑45||32||33||15||33||40||226|
|41st||GBR||152585||GM||Sue RITCHIE||Newport Boatc||33||40||44||29||25||40||‑46||30||241|
|42nd||GBR||209453||M||Elizabeth BROWN||Royal Burnham YC / Burnham SC||‑43||27||28||36||36||38||42||36||243|
|44th||GBR||207984||GGM||Alison HUTTON||Budworth SC||45||‑46||42||31||40||37||38||43||276|
|46th||GBR||206502||GGM||Hilary THOMAS||Locks SC||31||47||(DNC)||39||41||DNC||43||41||291|
|47th||GBR||200307||M||Dariusz SADOWSKI||Bough Beech SC||‑47||45||43||41||42||35||45||42||293|