Laser Sailing at RHYC

The Laser fleet is the largest dinghy fleet at the RHYC (over 30) and is made up an eclectic group of individuals. We have sailors from all ages and sizes, reflecting the Laser national squad training fleets, with Grand Masters, Masters, Radials and increasing numbers of 4.7s.

We sail nearly every Sunday and Wednesday evening during April to December, racing in our own class with our own start. In 2015 our fleet grew with both adults and juniors joining in with the regular competition in the fleet. The Laser open for 2017 will be held on Saturday 7th  October and we’re aiming to attract as many sailors from the East Coast as possible to this event! It will be the final event in the 'Three Rivers Laser Series', following behind Aldeburgh and Waldringfield. More details soon!

There are ongoing discussions about a “buddy” system which is hoped to run as an ad hoc race day pairing of the top end of the fleet with those from lower down so that pre race briefing and post race analysis can be done with a view to identifying and correcting the errors that cause the lower sailors to lose touch with the top end. I find that quite often when those from the lower end are close to and competing directly with the top sailors they do sail a lot better by virtue of having an immediate role model to copy. Imitation maybe a sincere form of flattery but it is also the quickest way to learn the right things to do to win races.  

We are a friendly fleet and plan to have some socials and training during the season as we are very keen to give everyone an opportunity to increase their  sailing ability, eat and drink amongst a group of fellow club sailors.  If you have any questions or want to get involved with the Laser fleet, do not hesitate to get in contact!  See you on the lawn!

Graham Ireland, Laser Class Captain
01245 450568

Laser News - Review of 2016 Racing 

This season (2016), as predicted in the pre-season outlook, our prizes have been spread around a little more than previous years. In the spring series Harry Wallhead continued where he left off in the Alton frostbite series and in the absence of Ashley took the top spot, followed by a rapidly improving Will Finch and Graham Ireland in 3rd. 

George Finch put in a couple of appearances winning both but seems to be concentrating on honing his skills in the National 12. For the summer series we were joined by Ed Harrison when his racing yacht got damaged and put out of action for a while. He then remembered exactly how exciting close quarters dinghy racing can be and with borrowed boats took the series down to the very last race, edging Graham out by 1.8 points over 18 races. Graham just made 2nd over Harry by 1 point. 

This series showed how it is not just getting enough races to avoid counting 'did not sail' results but to have enough races to actually get good results on the board in the absence of others. The margins are getting closer. The autumn series was won by Graham followed by Will and Tim power in 3rd.  In this series George would have won had he competed in one more race after winning the last four races. 

Also through the season there were a number of one day special races and the Laser class made a good showing on most of those. The main multi class event for the Smuggler's Trophy and the slow handicap fleet was dominated by the one off  appearance of Alex Davey, who made the testing conditions look fairly easy to take the series from Graham who just held off Ashley for 2nd place. 
Our showpiece event for the season was the open meeting which took place on October 1st. The event attracted 12 boats but the standard of entrant was extremely high including at least one past Lark class national champion from Waldringfield amongst the five visitors. After last years’ non event things were not looking particularly good again as the day dawned rather flat. Some wind did appear and our race officer Chris Brown got us out and away. The wind held and the first race became a runaway victory for Steve Videlo from Waldringfield. Graham was busy trying to sort out the new boat purchased a couple of weeks earlier but still sneaked  through to 2nd in this race. The second race was a near repeat of the first but Graham got beaten into 3rd by Ed Harrison who got the better of some intense exchanges during  the race. In the third race the wind began to become more variable as the heat of the day stirred up the atmosphere and the tide began to change. Graham went for a left hand attack on the beat and found some very favourable conditions to pass Steve just before the weather mark. Ed called this a lucky shift on the left but it set up a very tight and competitive final run to the leeward mark where Graham just got in front and covered Steve hard to the line. This set up a final race decider between Graham and Steve. Graham had to win but Steve only had to beat Graham to win the event. 

Graham did not have a good start and opted to go behind most of the fleet and work the right hand side of the beat. A rather nice gust and right hand shift in the last few yards to the mark, now relaid nearer to the channel to allow for the huge right hand wind shift after the 3rd race, found Graham just pop round the mark in equal first with Ed but Steve a little way down the fleet having been out on the left of the beat. Graham had the edge down the run as the new boat appeared to have much superior boat speed and at the leeward mark held a solid lead. The next beat really demonstrated the advantage of Graham’s new boat speed as his lead extended significantly. Steve was now suffering with traffic and had dropped to 4th by the finish thus allowing Graham to snatch the event at the death. 

The winter series is now underway and after about half the series Graham is fighting out the lead with Chris Mayhew in his Solo, Ed has had a few flashes of success but seems to be held back by the standard of boat he is borrowing to compete in. George Finch has returned to his Laser because his N12 crew (girlfriend) finds winter too cold and has beaten Graham a couple of times but hasn’t won yet and is running 3rd in the series. 

There is still all to sail for in this series as the result is still too close to call,  much will depend on the wind strength as Graham struggles with strong gusty conditions more than his younger competitors.