Radial Lasers at Stokes Bay
8th and 9th March 2014
Following on from the successful weekend at the Dinghy Show the Radial fleet produced 113 entries for the first of the Spring UKLA World and European Qualifiers sponsored by Noble Marine at Stokes Bay last weekend. Apart from a slight postponement on Sunday morning to allow the wind to settle the weekend was an ideal start to the season. A decent SE'erly breeze let everyone stretch their legs and get the stomach muscles working.
By popular request this year the maximum number of races each weekend has been increased to six with an additional race being sailed on Sunday. Whenever the number of entries exceeds 100 Saturday's racing is divided into four flights which sail a Round Robin in order to establish the Gold and Silver seedings for Sunday's races.
Race 1a immediately brought into focus the contest between last year's two main protagonists. John Booth and Jon Emmett were both in the first start and after judicial use of the Black Flag to restore order to the fleet they succeeded in leading the way round the course with Nik Fround finishing 3rd. In Race 1b newcomer Jack Cookson made an immediate impact taking the gun ahead of Conor O'Beirne and Rheanna Pavey. The tide was still a significant factor in the starts of the 2nd race and with the 'BF' still in force a handful of boats transgressed. With Emmett and Booth separated Emmett made light work of Race 2a finishing ahead of Hannah Snellgrove and Anthony Parke. In Race 2b Cookson proved that his first win was no fluke by taking his 2nd gun of the afternoon with Chloe Martin 2nd and O'Beirne 3rd. By the final race of the day the tide was easing and the wind was starting to become inconsistent. Emmett took his 2nd gun in Race 3a ahead of Chloe Martin and Georgina Povall. After the race both Séafra Guilfoyle and Danielle Maman were given redress to 2 and 3 points respectively. The changing conditions suited Oren Jacob who secured her first win in Race 3b. Jamie Calder and Alistair Goodwin took the minor places. After the discard had been applied Jon Emmett and Jack Cookson were tied on 2 points apiece going into Sunday's racing.
When racing started on Sunday even with the Black Flag in use there was a lot of indiscipline at the starts and some General Recalls hindered the smooth running of the racing. Martin, Booth and Froud were amongst those excluded from the first Gold fleet race which was won by Cookson. Martin redeemed herself in the next race by winning ahead of Emmett and Booth and in a shortened final race, with the wind fading quickly Emmett took his 3rd race of the weekend ahead of Ellie Cumpsty and newcomer Laura Gilmore. This win was enough to allow Emmett to discard his 6th place and take the overall victory. In Silver fleet starting discipline was no better and this did have a knock on effect with the final race of the day being a single lap race as the wind faded faster than the boats could sail. As is often the case in the Silver fleet the results showed highs and lows for virtually every competitor. Best on the day was Alice Woodings who having sailed consistently on Saturday recorded a 1, 2, 9 scoreline and ended with 61 points, equal with Bronze fleet helm Merrick Stanley but taking the overall title by her race win. There were also race wins for David Haw and Katie Wood.
There is no rest for the fleet as the next Noble Marine Qualifier is at Pevensey Bay next weekend with the final Spring Qualifier at Highcliffe the weekend after that. Full results can be found on the UKLA website, www.laser.org.uk.