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BBSC Laser Open/SE Grand Prix Report 25th March, 2017

Peter Winbourne  |  31-Mar-2017

This will be a short report.  It has to be and it will become clear why. On the 25th March, there was a lot of activity, but there was not a lot of racing going on.

The BBSC weather God did it again.

The early morning of Saturday 25th March seemed ok.  There was a promise of sunshine and a useable wind (though the forecast loomed).

Skip to Sunday, and that was was ok too.

In between was awful. Sunny, but awful.

We have come to expect strong winds for the BBSC Laser Open.  That has been the case for several years.  But Saturday was something else.  The wind was strong (5 gusting 7) as forecast, but, coming over the Greensand Ridge from the North East, it swirled between the trees, and arrived in gusts at almost any speed and direction including from above.

Karen Irons, race officer for the event, set an interesting figure-of-eight course with two gybe marks and an additional buoy number 4, making a run from the second gybe mark number 3.  While any part of the course was difficult in the conditions, this particular leg almost became a spectacle to match many a blood sport as the fourth buoy shifted closer and closer to the dam wall leaving little space for error.

There were 20 entrants for the event: 7 Standards, 11 Radials, and two 4.7s.

Despite two anchors on the committee boat, it was difficult to hold a line without leaving excessive port bias, but racing did eventually get underway with the first leg a festival of capsizing.

Most of the Standards managed to complete one lap, unfortunately not all.  However the Radials and 4.7s did manage to get through the line.  But by the time the latter had come through there were 4 safety boats which, despite their efforts, were on the edge of failing to manage the number of boats upside down or in danger of ending up on the concrete wall.  While the 4.7s and the Radials had done enough to achieve a result for the first race, the Standards had not.

Karen Irons very wisely abandoned the race, and sent everyone off the water.  While there was an understandable reluctance to go out again, discussions with the three Laser types over lunch lead to a decision that another race would be held on a shorter more sheltered course that would give all an event result.  Two Standards and five Radials went out in the afternoon; the 4.7s, having already achieved a result in the morning, declined. 

Results:

A big thankyou to everyone involved in this event.  Particularly the brave (foolhardy?) competitors who set sail, the safety crews, who had their busiest day for some time, Karen Irons (RO) and her team on the committee boat, and all those others that gave their time and support to what will surely become a day seared into their memories.

Next events: 
Masters Inland Championships, Chew Valley SC, 8th-9th April Chipstead SC Laser Open, Sunday 23rd April


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