Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thrills and spills in the Lasers

The 30 knot gusts which were reported on Sunday morning had eased by the time the 14 Lasers launched for two more races of the DMYC frostbite series in Dun Laoghaire harbour. 

However, the gusts were still approaching 20 knots and the direction was unstable as the fleet started the first race. Elmes won the pin and led the fleet out to the left. It was Elmes who rounded the first mark in the lead, closely followed by Cahill and Harding. Helms appeared nervous as the unpredictable gusts took the fleet down the trapezoid course but casualties were limited on that first run. Up the second beat Harding took the left once more, and passed Cahill, who favoured the more stable conditions on the middle of the race track. Down the subsequent run Harding closed up on the leader, as Elmes capsized whilst avoiding an upturned Finn and a Laser Vago, but it was Elmes who still led the fleet into the final lap.

Elmes at speed
The fleet battled on as the wind increased slightly and the rescue crews were kept busy. Elmes led the fleet down the final set of runs from Harding, O'Leary and Hodgins. With the results seemingly settled, a fierce gust hit the leaders on the final reach, which seemingly caused Elmes to drop his mainsheet; his boat heeled gracefully to windward before bearing away and capsizing. This allowed Harding to take the win from O'Leary and Hodgins with Cahill fourth.    

O'Leary tacks
The line was a little more square in the second race and Cahill lead the fleet up the first beat after starting from the middle of the line. At the first mark. the fleet was tightly bunched, but Cahill led from Hodgins and Harding. The racing was very tight across the fleet in this second race as the wind had moderated slightly. As the fleet embarked on the final set of runs, Cahill led from Harding and Hodgins, and all three boats planed into the leeward mark for the short beat to the finish. Harding secured the favoured committee boat end for the finish and he inched past Cahill to take the race win. Cahill was second, with Hodgins third and Flanagan fourth.

Harding now leads the second series by 5 points from Cahill, but Cahill leads the overall (first and second series combined) by two points, with Flanagan well positioned to pounce on any mistakes from the leading two. All to play for on the last weekend of the series! 

Report by Richard Harding. Photos by DMYC Frostbite.
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