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Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy
17 - 18 Oct 2020

Racing updates


Pictures from the Laser Nationals

British and Open Laser Nationals - Prize Winners

Day 6 - Friday - OVERALL
Before a sail had been rigged a TV crew from BBC South were set up in the dinghy park interviewing some of the main contenders in each fleet ahead of the final day’s racing. With high water at 09:00 there was limited space to launch the boats and so the Laser 4.7s were the first fleet afloat. Out on the water the wind had swung to the WNW overnight but, although the mean direction stayed fairly constant, the offshore wind was subject to large shifts as it came off the land.

It was one of these substantial shifts that caused the second race for the Standards to be abandoned and re-sailed. In the first race the overall leader, Portugal’s Gustavo Lima, had sailed safely to finish 12th, allowing him to use this as his 2nd discard. The race win went to Martin Evans ahead of Jee-min Ha and Lorenzo Chiavarini. In the final race re-sail Jee-min Ha finished the week in fine style recording his 2nd win. Lima was 2nd and Open Champion. Jack Wetherell was 3rd but, with Chiavarini finishing in 6th place, it was not enough for him to take the UK Title. In the final analysis the Top 10 was a good mix of six UK sailors and four international helms. Henry Wetherell was highest placed youth sailor in 11th position.

John Booth & Jon Emmett have been engaged in a season long battle for top spot in the Radial fleet and they went into the final day’s racing in the Gold Fleet tied on 9 points each. The first race was again a close fought affair with Emmett edging the result and taking the gun. Booth finished 4th behind American Brad Utting and Alistair Goodwin. In the final race some classic pre-start tactics by Emmett left Booth nowhere to go and he was left towards the back of the fleet whilst Emmett managed to clear himself from the fleet and, by the finishing line, had the whole fleet behind him. These victories were enough to seal his overall title. Booth finished a clear measure ahead of Ryan Glynn in 2nd place whilst Matt Whitfield was 4th two points ahead of Bard Utting and Susannah Pyatt, both on 49 pts. Brad took 5th place on countback and Susannah finished top Lady in 6th.

In the Silver fleet Ireland’s Patrick Cahill had been very handily placed after his two wins on Thursday but he was uncomfortable in the changed conditions on Friday and could only manage two mid-fleet results. It was the burden of having to count a black flag from the qualifying series that really sunk his chances of the overall title. On the day there were race wins for Jake Farren-Price, ahead of Ben Swyer & Rosie Charnley, and Sophie Otter with Georgie Houston 2nd and, more importantly, Jake in 3rd place. However the overall Silver fleet winner was Hugh Braidwood who had sailed consistently both in the qualifying series and the final series without having had a Top 3 result. Jake finished 2nd and top Junior in the fleet. Ben’s 2nd place today saw him edge past Patrick into 3rd and another junior helm, Kieran Graham finished 5th.

The Laser 4.7 is often seen as a brief stepping stone between the junior classes and moving on to the Radial rig. Consequently young British helms are often matched against their older continental peers at international events. At 16 Lithuania’s Romas Ovcinnikov was a couple of years older than his nearest British rivals and this age gap was significant when looking at the overall results. Until he transgressed the ‘I’ flag at the start of Race 9 Romas had scored seven wins & a 2nd. His 7, 2 scoreline today was enough to keep him well ahead of overall 2nd placed Ross Banham, who counted no score worse than his Race 5 6th place. The other race winner today was Alexander Lee, who finished 6th overall.

A prompt turn round of the results meant that the championship Prizegiving was held nice and early allowing all those travelling home today to get away with plenty of daylight left. Thanking the club on behalf of the competitors Open Champion Gustavo Lima congratulated them, the class association and the sponsors on a very fine event, both on and off the water.

Speaking afterwards Jon Emmett, the Radial Champion, said that this year’s event had been one of the best Nationals for a number of years. The support from the sponsors NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors) had added a great deal to the social side of the event and this together with the level of competition afloat, particularly with John (Booth) in the final series, had made for a really good week’s regatta.

Day 5 - Thursday
The almost obligatory postponement was again in force as competitors arrived at the dinghy park to find an early morning calm in the bay. PROs Ken Falcon & Sean Semmens held everyone ashore for a couple of hours to allow the expected sea breeze to build. There followed a further short postponement afloat to allow the breeze to finally settle and racing for the Standards & Radial fleets started at 13:15 with a good SW’erly 10 – 15 kts giving everyone a brilliant afternoon’s racing.

Both fleets have been racing under the ‘black flag’ (‘B.F.’) all week and in today’s first race for the Standards both Jee-min Ha & Ben Cornish fell foul of this curse. Also Gustavo Lima’s unbroken string of five wins went out the window as his compatriot Rui Medeiros Silveira who took the gun ahead Lorenzo Chiavarini , the Andrews (Green & Brown) with Gustavo 5th. The tension was getting through to the sailors in both fleets, Standards & Radials, as each of the three starts for the second race involved General Recalls and boats excluded with the most notable of these Gustavo in the Standards. South Korea’s Jee-min Ha made up for his earlier ‘B.F.’ by recording his first win of the week. He was followed home by Lorenzo, youth sailor Michael Beckett & Cameron Douglas. Hector Simpson finished 5th, his first Top 5 position. With nine races now completed the 2nd discard kicked in and whilst Gustavo still remains at the top of the overall standings he still needs to sail well in the final two races on Friday to keep his lead.

With the Radial fleet now sailing in Gold & Silver starts John Booth & Jon Emmett are finally in the same start and the title is almost certain to go to one or the other. Booth started the final series better. He took a small lead into the 2nd beat of the first race, went out to the layline, found more pressure and sailed away from the fleet for a comfortable win. Emmett fought back to finish 2nd ahead of Ryan Glynn, Bradley Utting & Geoffrey Sherwood. All the leaders kept out of trouble at the starts of the 2nd race and whilst it was a much closer run race Emmett managed to be ahead at the line with Alistair Goodwin 2nd, Booth 3rd and Whitfield & Glynn 4th & 5th respectively. Emmett & Booth are still tied on 9 pts each making tomorrow’s two races vital.

In the Radial Silver fleet Ireland’s Patrick Cahill won both races. He would have been ranked in the Gold fleet but he had had three ‘B.F.’s in the Qualifier series. As is often the case in Silver fleet the other podium places in the races were spread through the fleet as the less experienced helms get a chance to shine in less crowded conditions. In the first race Oliver Smith finished 2nd with James Torr 3rd and in the next race Cameron Allen was 2nd with Kieran Graham 3rd.

On the Laser 4.7 course Romas Ovcinnikov won the first race, his 7th win of the week, but then had a rush of blood to the head and was one of two boats found to be OCS in the next race. This allowed Ireland’s Jocelyn Hill to take the win and move her up to leading girl helm in the fleet. Whilst the title should be Romas’s , barring any major catastrophes, the next three places are wide open with only a few points separating Ross Banham, Fionn Conway & William Bedford.

Ashore after a great day’s racing the club laid on a Hog Roast with refreshments provided by local solicitors Nutshellaw. This was followed by the NeilPryde Grand Draw with the additional prize of a new sail from LaserPerformance, which was won by Radial sailor Niall Houston.

This year’s championships are sponsored by NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors).

Day 4 - Wednesday
Conditions were always forecast to be difficult today. An early decision was made to have a 3 hr postponement, making the first start time 14:00. The Committee boats went out after mid-day and were rewarded with a 5 kt breeze. As this built towards 7 kts all three fleets were released from the shore. By the time they arrived at the course area the wind was back to 5 kts and becoming increasingly fitful. Racing was abandoned shortly afterwards and everyone had to be towed back in.

The Radial fleet have now finished their qualifying series and have been re-assigned into Gold & Silver fleets. There is an improving weather forecast for the next two days and the Race Officers’ intentions are to run two races each day for all fleets.

Socially this evening is a free evening but tomorrow evening will see NeilPryde and Nutshellaws hosting the Hog Roast on the Green.

Day 3 - Tuesday
With virtually no wind first thing yesterday morning, an early decision by the Race Officers to postpone the first start by two hours until 13:00 gave everyone the chance to relax for the morning. As the Committee boats went out at mid-day the breeze was starting to build and by the time it came to set the courses there was a steady 8 – 10 kts of SSE'erly, which stayed all afternoon but there were changes in pressure across the width of the course making it important to get in phase with the pressure bands.

Unusually for the Standards their first start was subject to a General Recall, the first of the week. They got away fairly cleanly at the second attempt under black flag with only a handful of boats being caught OCS. Gustavo Lima was just ahead of the pack at the first mark and he then sailed away from the rest to win by a comfortable margin. He was followed home by Lorenzo Chiavarini, Cameron Douglas, Michael Beckett & Ben Cornish. In the afternoon race it was more of the same. Gustavo won, Luke Elliott, having been black flagged earlier, finished ahead of Jee-min Ha with Chiavarini and the younger Wetherell brother, Henry, filling out the top 5 spots.

With nearly half the qualifying series sailed the two main contenders in the Radials, John Booth & Jon Emmett, will not meet until the fleet splits into Gold & Silver for the last two days' racing. Emmett was first away in the Yellow Group but, uncharacteristically, had a poor start and first leg and was buried in the pack at the top mark. Good sailing over the remaining legs brought him up to 2nd but Scotland's Jamie Calder held on to win. Emmett was followed home by Matt Whitfield, Ireland's Ryan Glynn and Georgia Booth, whose poor run of form this week has belied her ability. John Booth continued his winning form in the Blue group start with St. Lucia's Stephanie Devaux-Lovell recording her second 2nd place ahead of Hamish Eckstein & Georgina Povall.

The second Yellow race of the day produced a surprise winner, Alistair Goodwin. Alistair had started well on Sunday with a pair of 3rds had a poor day on Monday with two black flags and so today's win made significant amends to his overall fortunes. Emmett again had to come from behind to finish 4th behind Ryan Glynn and Australia's Bradley Utting.

In the Blue start John Booth's air of invincibility slipped slightly as he could only finish 3rd. The race win went to Ben Elvin with Hamish 2nd and close behind John were Georgina Povall, with her second 4rh of the day, and Niall Houston. With seven races now completed there should be only one more race tomorrow to complete the full qualifying series. Then the Booth / Emmett contest will begin.

The Laser 4.7 fleet has so far been a Lithuanian benefit week, Romas Ovcinnikov has won all his races so far and he added another bullet to his tally in the first race. There were new faces behind him with Matthew Viney & Josh Haynes having their best results so far in 2nd & 3rd. However Romas's winning streak was at last broken when George Ford beat him to the line in the second race. Ross Banham consolidated his 2nd place overall by taking 3rd ahead of Jordan Giles & Fionn Conway.

The evening's main entertainment was the well-attended Curry & Quiz night at the club. In fact the evening could have filled the larger marquee on the Green. The Quiz winners were the Radial team of Kieran Graham & Simon Witherspoon who beat Stokes Bay's Bob Cudmore's team. Both teams received prizes from Harken UK. The winner of Monday night's new sail has been revealed as Radial helm Sam Whalley. There is another sail to be won at the NeilPryde Hog Roast evening on Thursday.

Racing continues until Friday.

This year's championships are sponsored by NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors).
Day 2 - Monday
Paignton S. C. – Monday 5th Aug.

Early conditions on Monday morning were very similar to Sunday’s, SSW at 15 kts, but during the day the breeze faded, shifted unsteadily right, wobbled around a bit before ending up at 15 kts but out of the Northwest. Tricky stuff! Add to the fact that the forecast going forward into the next couple of days looks not very promising, very light winds, so the Race Officers decided to try and run three races instead of two for all fleets and get ahead of the game. No pressure then.
Although neither Paul Goodison or Nick Thompson are sailing at Paignton this year there is double Olympic representation in the Standard fleet with both Portugal’s Gustavo Lima and South Korea’s Jee-min Ha having competed at Weymouth last July. After Sunday’s racing there was a group of 11 who were starting to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the fleet. After today’s racing that group is now down to 8. Gustavo is showing everyone how it should be done by taking all three guns and, with the first discard now kicking in, having a perfect score line of four out of four. Behind him Jack Wetherell, Martin Evans & Aussie Luke Elliott are all sailing consistently, good but not quite Carling!

In the Radial fleet the overnight leaders, John Booth & Jon Emmett, were kept in different groups. Emmett won three out of three today whilst Booth won his first and last race but could only finish 18th in the middle race, which was won by Freddie Chiddings. With the discard now applied Emmett & Booth share the lead but behind them Iain McLaughlan has been able to discard yesterday’s black flag and is tied with Matt Whitfield in joint 3ed place. Behind these four are another six helms all with Top 10 results and able to make further gains if the leaders get careless.

Another outstanding performance today has been by Romas Ovcinnikov (Lithuania) who won his three races in the Laser 4.7 fleet and stands above the rest of the fleet by some distance. The best of the rest are proving to be Ross Banham (Bewl Valley) and Ireland’s Fionn Conway both of whom have all Top 10 finishes. George Ford, William Bedford & Alexander Lee are just a few points adrift and if the weather does turn light there could still be challenges from other helms.

Holding the third race made for a much longer day afloat but everyone was back ashore in good time for the A.G.M. This was followed by a grand draw for Harken prizes, TJs dinner and a new sail from LaserPerformance, which was won by A.N.Other (identity withheld for reasons)

Racing continues with two more races scheduled for Tuesday, weather permitting.

This year’s championships are sponsored by NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors).

Day 1 - Sunday
With registration and measurement safely out the way the racing for all three fleets, Standard, Radial & Laser 4.7, got underway just after midday on Sunday. The schedule for the week calls for two races each day with the Standards & Radials racing on one course with Assn Chairman Ken Falcon as P.R.O. The smaller Laser 4.7s have their own course with Sean Semmens as their Race Officer.

Ken's fleets will be using a trapezoidal course alternating Outer loop, Inner loop because the Radials, with an entry of 120 boats have been divided into two groups Yellow & Blue each with their own start. Depending on the overall table at the end of each day's sailing the Radial helms will be re-assigned to a new group each day. Sean has the option of either an old 'Olympic' style course or a trapezoidal course for the 4.7s.

Conditions for today's racing were very good. Although the sun didn't really shine and there infrequent spells of persistent drizzle the wind at 20 kts and just West of South (190 – 200 degrees) gave some great offwind reaches. The sea was mainly flat but there was a confused sea at the top end of the main course as the waves came round Berry Head.

In the Standard fleet first blood went to Gustavo Lima (Portugal) who finished ahead of Australian Luke Elliott (is this a sign of things to come?). Martin Evans, Ben Cornish & Jack Wetherell rounded out the Top 5. In the next race Jack Wetherell improved to finish ahead of Martin Evans with Lorenzo Chiavarini 3rd. Korea's Jeemin Ha finished 4th with Luke Elliott solid in 5th. Already the Top 11 helms are starting to draw away from the rest of the 53-strong fleet.

In the Radial Fleet Youth sailor Iain McLaughlan pulled off a surprise win in the first Yellow Group race beating several more prominent helms. Apprentice Master Jon Emmett tried hard to catch him but had to settle for 2nd ahead of Matthew Stephens, Ben Elvin & Niall Houston. McLaughlan then blotted his copybook by being one of nine helms who were black flagged at the next Yellow Group start. Emmett & Matthews both moved up one place in this race to finish 1, 2. Australia's Bradley Utting finished 3rd ahead of Matt Whitfield and Rheanna Pavey. Irishman Patrick Cahill was probably the unluckiest sailor in this group. With the 'Black Flag' in operation he copped two premature starts (Oscar Wilde's quip comes to mind). In the Blue Group races John Booth, who has been in good form recently, won both races. Freddie Chiddicks & New Zealand's Susannah Pyatt recorded a 2nd place each with Alistair Goodwin finishing 3rd in both times.

On the other course the Laser 4.7s saw a comprehensive one, two with Lithuanian Romas Ovcinnikov (two 1sts) and Ross Banham (two 2nds) firmly in command. Alexander Lee (3, 4) and Ireland's Fionn Conway (5, 3) are also there or thereabouts. With such a mix of UK and international sailors doing well already the week is set to become one of the more interesting nationals for some time. Monday's forecast is for more Southerly wind but with an increased chance of rain during the mid-day period.

This year's regatta is sponsored by NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors).
Welcome to Paignton SC
The members of Paignton Sailing Club extend a warm welcome to all competitors including families and friends taking part in sailing events at Paignton. We hope you will take full advantage of the facilities in the club and participate in all the social activities.

Don’t forget you are in a beautiful part of the country and we hope you or your family/friends will find time to explore some of the scenery in the area. There are many amenities and attractions for families in and around Paignton.

One thing we can’t control is the weather but if the sun shines and the winds are good there is no better place to sail than in Torbay.
NeilPryde to sponsor UK Laser Nationals
The UK Laser Association are delighted to welcome on board NeilPryde as the Title Sponsors for the UK Laser Nationals being sailed under the burgee of Paignton Sailing Club between the 3rd & 9th August.

Brand Manager Simon Bennett said "NeilPryde are absolutely delighted to be the title sponsors for this year's Laser Nationals. The Laser has in many ways been at the centre of NeilPryde's strong progress in the performance sailing apparel market whether it be in terms of product development or athlete sponsorship and so to be closely linked in support of such an important regatta is an exciting milestone in the brand's development."

UKLA Chairman Ken Falcon commented “I was already looking forward to this year's Nationals being hosted by Paignton S.C., my home club, and expecting a very good week. The addition of NeilPryde as title sponsors will lift the week to another level and hopefully encourage even more entries.”

On hearing the news Paignton Commodore, Trish Walker, said “I am delighted that NeilPryde, which is such a well-known supplier of top sailing gear, will be present as the lead sponsor at the 2013 UKLA Laser Nationals at Paignton. We think that the sailing in Torbay is second to none and NeilPryde's presence will enhance what promises to be a great week of racing.”

The championship, which regularly attracts over 250 sailors, is returning to the Devon club for the first time since 2009. Entries have already been received from both Ireland and New Zealand and with the Men’s World Radial Laser Championships in Ireland a couple of weeks after this regatta there is a strong possibility that there will be many more foreign helms attending.

Besides the normal Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions there are only three rules for attending this Nationals; enter early (Late entry fee applies from 20th July), book your accommodation now and come and enjoy yourselves.

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