Bewl Valley Laser Open 2012 – Race Report.
Sparkling conditions with sapphire-blue skies and a brisk North Easterly wind greeted sailors at the 2012 Bewl Valley Laser Open, the last in the SE Grand Prix Series. 32 competitors were there to enjoy the conditions including eight Radial and four 4.7 rigs. About half were visitors and the numbers warranted a separate combined start for the Radials and 4.7s.
There were early minor glitches with the automated start system and a drifting windward mark but with the buoy tethered and systems put to manual the first race got away in tricky shifting conditions. Simon Barrington and Dave Goddard secured early places at the front of the fleet, with Rob Cage, Sergio Messina and Martin Brooking in hot pursuit. On the second beat Martin managed to find a few shifts that brought him into third place, with Rob Cage relegated to fourth. At the line the order was Barrington, Goddard, Brooking and Cage. Race two followed on back-to-back. Martin Brooking eased towards the right of the beat having started from the middle of the line. A strong lift on Starboard tack gave him an early and sizeable lead which he held to the end from Rob Cage and Sergio Messina.
In the Radial’s first race Oliver Cage-White lead after the first lap ahead of Hamish Streeter and Iona Dixon – the places were unchanged at the end of the final second lap. Positions were swapped in the second race with Dixon taking the win, Streeter a dependable second and Cage-White third.
The 4.7s saw Ross Banham winning the first race from Allen Cameron and David How. In the second race Banham lost his early lead to finish third; Cameron took the win followed by How.
After a pleasant lunch in the comfortable surroundings of Bewl’s clubhouse, the third race was difficult to start due to wind shifts up to 60° attempting to turn upwind leg into a close reach. The committee wisely and quickly reset the course, which stayed the same for the remainder of the afternoon. Another tight start and shifty first leg saw Simon Barrington take an early lead, with Rob Cage, Sergio Messina and Dave Goddard trading tacks up to the first mark. On the second beat Martin Brooking used his local knowledge to find a route to the top mark bringing him into a small lead over Rob Cage. The remaining race was a close match between Cage, Brooking and Messina, but eventually Cage took the lead on a downwind leg and Messina secured second place with some good use of wind shifts upwind, leaving Brooking in third.
In the final race the points between Brooking and Cage were so close that provided both finished well, the victor would be the one who finished ahead. Rob Cage made a very good start from the centre of the line, with Martin Brooking a little further back and nearer the committee boat. David Goddard also made a good start and rounded the first mark in second place from Cage. Cage and Goddard held on to the lead well, with Brooking and Messina fighting out the next two places. In the end the order was Cage, Goddard, Messina and Brooking.
The result of the third race for the Radials was a repeat of the first with 1,2,3 to Oliver Cage-White, Hamish Streeter and Iona Dixon. The final race saw Cage-White ahead of Dixon at the end of the first lap – positions they remained in to the finish. Streeter, who was in third place at the end of the first lap managed to lose a couple of positions allowing Peter Grzelinski to steal third place at the finish.
In the third 4.7 race first place went again to Ross Banham followed by Allen Cameron and Millie Hopkins. Race four saw Banham complete his hat trick of wins with David How gaining a place on the final lap to come second with Cameron in third.
The racing was followed by the prize giving accompanied by tea and cakes in the clubhouse. Rob Cage (Bewl) held on to the winner’s cup for another year. Martin Brooking (Bewl) took second, with third going to Sergio Messina (Chipstead). In the Radials Oliver Cage-White (Bewl) came first, Iona Dixon (Docklands/Bewl) second and Hamish Streeter (Bewl) third. The 4.7s had Ross Banham (Bewl) first, Allen Cameron (Emsworth/Royal Lymington) second and David How (Weir Wood) in third. Full results can be found on the Bewl Valley SC web site. http://www.bewlvalleysc.co.uk/sail/open-events/
Prizes for the Laser South East Grand Prix series were then handed out with Simon Barrington (Weir Wood) taking the series trophy.
Everyone agreed the weather was perfect September sunshine, but the breeze was a little too shifty for some. In all the meeting was a fantastic final meeting for the Laser SE Grand Prix.
Martin Brooking and Martin Dennant.