RC Laser 2012 Nationals Page.
AYR BAY MODEL YACHT CLUB
Laser Nationals at Castle Semple, 22nd/23rd September, 2012.
Hosted by ABMYC
RC Laser Nationals at Clyde Muirishiel Regional Park, Castle Semple Lochwinnoch, 22-23 Sept 2012
Report by Patrich Johnston OD for the event
John Tushingham from Keighly Club sailed an immaculate series to win the 2012 RC Laser National Championships with Dave Fowler in a strong second place. The event was hosted for the first time by Ayr Bay MYC and held at Muirishiel Country Park on the mostly clear waters of Lochwinnoch, (which is close to Glasgow airport) in beautiful rural surroundings and unseasonably pleasant sunny weather. The course was weed-free, but the first shards from Autumn trees occasionally became attached. One magnetic competitor managed to get snagged five times - who was that poor man - but this was the exception.
14 races were sailed in 2 fleets, giving the 23 competitors a variety of mainly light and sometimes variable conditions. The travellers, as so often happens, left with the bulk of the treasure, with the first 6 places going to English visitors. Top Scottish achiever was Gordon Allison, sailing a borrowed boat, who finished a commendable seventh overall in an unfamiliar class against high calibre opposition.
Good starts, clear air, over-standing the weather mark and avoiding the dreaded "caught in irons" condition, which is particularly easy to achieve with a Laser carrying top rig, once again proved to be crucial. And, of course, picking the wind shifts.
Saturday achieved 7 completed races in light NE winds in the morning, flat calm over the extended lunch and light S-SW in the afternoon. At the end of the first day John Tushingham had established himself at the front from Adrian Tomlinson, Dave Fowler and John Sharman.
Sunday produced a 10 knot NE in the morning. This went crazy at noon with a major veer, and continued to oscillate for the rest of the day between E and SW at top / second rig strength, driving your reporter (the event RO) to extreme pipe tobacco abuse and quite a lot of muttering. My thanks again to the mark laying boat crew who laboured heroically all through the event. The onshore wind resulted in a difficult windward mark rounding at extreme range of vision. This destroyed several promising first beats when boats failed to lay the mark and had to battle back through the incoming starboard tackers.
Sunday again belonged to John Tushingham with a string of firsts and seconds, worst result over his day being a sixth in the last race. Dave Fowler and John Sharman sailed consistently well, just managing to edge past Adrian Tomlinson in the overall results.
The RC Laser Class Association in the UK, recognising the indestructible construction, sometimes mushy handling characteristics, wide beam and long booms of the boats, have sensibly amended the normal Sailing Instructions to allow touching marks (other than at start and finish). This worked well and in no way diminished the validity of the racing. Maybe other classes should take note, as it would greatly reduce the problems of dodgy vision in our aging population.
The second innovation requested by the Class Association was to have no appointed observers. With this situation, each boat is expected to police the boats immediately in front or close alongside by calling observed contacts. In theory, this increases the onus on all competitors to observe the rules and take turns to avoid protests. The Nationals were held without observers and only 3 protests were brought, but in two of these, the skippers' statements of fact were completely different. These might have been easier to resolve with observer testimony. On the other hand, the event was generally very well mannered and probably hundreds of penalty turns were taken over the two days. My personal jury is still out on this one. . . .
Particular thanks are due to Gordon Neil of ABMYC for the event organisation, Dave Fowler of the RC Laser Class Association, David Smith and Jim Reid for faultless scoring and heat management, Bob Hughes and Ian Fleming for tireless mark duties, Bill Lees for video footage and the much decorated Hughie Shields for backup and support.
The event organisers would like to repeat our thanks to the management and staff of Clyde Muirishiel Regional Park for their active co-operation with the event, and to Councillor Christopher Gilmour, Chairman of the Park Authority Board and Councillor John Caldwell, Deputy Provost of Renfrewshire and Elected Member of the Park Authority Board who were kind enough to present the prizes.