I think it was after last year’s GP14 Open that George Barber suggested we do the same kind of event for Lasers. So I scheduled it in, forgot about it and got on with varnishing my GP over the winter. As the 2014 season progressed, this new event loomed ever larger in my thoughts. And then Team Tollesbury came to the Rescue. George produced the poster and sent it round. Kevin followed up with a reminder to every sailing club from Clacton to Southend and had the medals engraved. Martyn organised boats and crews: Adrian, Alex, Bob, Colin, Hazel, Hugh, and Kevin. This gave us the reassuring presence of four safety boats and a lead boat. Carol, Diana, Sarah and Sarah bought prizes, cooked food and arranged to be on site to run the pre- and post-race catering; crewing safety boats in between for good measure. Commodore Derek agreed to act as Race Officer again, ably supported by Ade, Andy Beharrell and John Parker. Lucy stayed on behind the bar for an eight hour shift, keeping it open for post-race banter and a much needed pint or two.
The club Laser sailors responded magnificently, putting ten Tollesbury boats onto the water. Some had never raced a Laser before. One had never even sailed one before, but was reassured that it was ‘just like a big Topper, really’. I suspect those words of mine were ringing in his ears as a capsize back-flipped him out of the boat, which rapidly disappeared downwind. Sorry, Bing. Conditions were superb, really: a fresh F4-F5 but not gusting too much, with sunny intervals, to the delight of eight visitors from three other clubs.
Robert Laurie showed everyone the way on the water, but two of the Thorpe Bay Laser Radial sailors had the edge on handicap, leaving Robert the prize for First Full rig. We had different winners for each race, needing a count back to decide between them; Chris Tillyer taking the First Radial and Overall winner’s laurels. Vicki Sharman of Harlow (Blackwater) SC came in fifth overall and first Lady helm. Under 18 prizewinner was Will Porter and he also edged Martin Smith as First Tollesbury sailor.
I am really grateful to all of Team Tollesbury for rising to the challenge and making this a superb event. Please forgive me if I haven’t mentioned your contribution. Results are on the web site, also photos, courtesy of Hazel, Jilly and Kevin. Let’s do it again next year.
Rik Alewijnse, Dinghy Captain