2016 Laser 4.7 Nationals
The 2016 Laser 4.7 Nationals were held at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy between the 7th and 12th of August. This year’s event was graced with good weather all week and generally fantastic sailing conditions (perfect Rooster Thermaflex weather) other than day four and what turned out to be a rather controversial Race 7 - more on this later.
The format for the event was two races per day, with all three classes sailing on the same course. Standard starting first and sailing an outer loop, 4.7s second, also on the outer loop, and Radial’s starting third on the inner loop.
Day one was the perfect start for me, 10-12 knots south-westerly sailing in the harbour with two race wins. On day two we headed out into Weymouth Bay and were greeted by a fresh but shifty north-easterly. My results for the day were two solid second places, so starting to build a consistent set of results for the series.
For day three we were back in the harbour. We had a short delay for the wind to fill in from the south-west which built to 12knots for the first race, increasing to 16 knots for the second. My results for the day were mixed, scoring a 3rd and a 6th, but with the first discard applying after four or more races, the 6th was discarded.
Day four was our second foray into Weymouth Bay. Conditions were light and shifty but the race committee were able to get the Standards and 4.7s started. With the wind dropping, the Standards were able to finish as planned and the decision was taken to finish the 4.7s at the second windward mark. After a mixed day three I was pleased to get back on track with a 1st. The Radials had been unable to get their race started so the decision was made to move back into the harbour with the hope for a stronger and more consistent breeze. Conditions for our second race were 10-12 knots and I was pleased to come out on top again. The first race of the day (race 7 of the series) was subject to a request for redress from a number of sailors (due to unfair conditions on the second beat) and the Jury took the initial decision that it should be re-sailed. This was all explained at the daily briefing at the start of day five – so race 8 would be a re-sail of race 7 and three races would be sailed on the final day to complete the overall series.
Heading out into the harbour for day five, the conditions were again fantastic – sunshine and 15-20 knots from the west-north-west. In the first race I scored a solid 2nd place and I was able to go one better in the second race to finish 1st. Back to the race seven story – at the end of day five the Jury were asked to re-open the redress hearing by a number of sailors with the view that positions had not changed significantly on the second beat. After lots of debate this was ultimately accepted and race seven was re-instated.
The sixth and final day of the event delivered champagne sailing conditions to finish a fantastic week. I managed to score 1st and 3rd in the final two races and was delighted to finish the event 1st overall in the 4.7 fleet as well as first Junior.
Congratulations to Jack Wetherall and Hannah Snellgrove who convincingly won the Standard and Radial classes.