Tuesday, June 3, 2014

LogMeIn Irish Laser Masters

This race report, 2nd June 2014 first appeared on afloat.ie

Event winner, Nick Walsh
Every championship regatta is a network of many moving parts that organisers pray will mesh neatly on the day. The biggest moving part in our sport of sailing is of course the weather and over this we have no control. In the RIYC on Friday morning after 5 months of planning the 2014 LogMein Laser Masters Championship began to grind into action. As boats were being branded with decals from sponsor LogMeIn a perfect breeze under a clear sky kicked in. Suddenly it appeared as if the whole thing just might work.   And it did!

A crowded startline
Saturday morning dawned the same as Friday, overcast skies and a pleasantly warm air temperature. By 11am the weather pattern was repeating itself as clouds burnt off, a blue sky revealed itself and thank you thank you thank you the first zephyrs of breeze began to appear in the flags on the mast above the RIYC forecourt.

LogMeIn, event sponsor.
Boats arrived all morning from the major Laser sailing centres of Cork and Ballyholme though the turnout from closer fleets like Howth was very disappointing for the organisers. Local sailors didn't need to bring their boats to the RIYC and launched from their own clubs. This gave the visiting sailors in the RIYC extra breathing room on the deck and during launching and recovery which at a Laser event can sometimes be a hectic experience.

The fleet approaching the finish
Out on the Race Course PRO Henry Leonard and his team setup in the pre-chosen race area located in the western area of Seapoint Bay. The Lasers had opted for for this race area weeks earlier in discussions with DBSC to make sure all of the fleets racing in the bay at the weekend could co-exist peacefully. It's good to talk. 

(For the rest of the article, click "read whole article" link below)


Race 1 was set off in a light southerly 6-8kts. To compete in this regatta you must be over 35 so this was perfect to get the Masters sailors limbered up gently. Nick Walsh (Master, over 45) from Cork set the early tempo and opened his account with a runaway bullet on the excellent Inner Loop Trapezoid course. 

Race 2 saw Nick post another bullet in slightly fresher conditions of 10-12kts and he completed a remarkable hat-trick in Race 3 as the wind again clicked up and topped out at 12-14kts. He couldn't have scripted his day, neither could the organisers have scripted how their's was going. 

As the sailors began the long haul back from the race course, on the deck of the RIYC the barbecue was being readied. By 4.30pm the forecourt of the RIYC was alive with Laser Masters and the group was bolstered as the local guys from the RStG and NYC arrived. The Laser Masters is a friendly fleet. 

Rugby was next on a lot of the Masters minds, it served as a neat interlude and a few hours to relax before the fleet mustered in the RIYC for what was billed as the Master Class Steak Dinner. Gareth McGinty and his Dining Room A-Team in the RIYC took the concept of Master Class to heart and quite simply put on an amazing dinner. 

Well known Laser Coach Thomas Chaix, defending his Masters Title, had generously agreed to lend his set of race trackers to the event. After coffee the sailors retired to the bar for replays of the days racing on the big screen. The event cogs we're still moving smoothly as day one merged into day two. 

On Sunday morning sailors launched an hour earlier into a steady 10-12kt breeze still largely from the same Southerly direction. Henry Leonard set up shop closer to the harbour and using a slightly shorter course than the Saturday. This planning ensured that the prizegiving in the club would be on time which in turn meant that visiting sailors could get de-rigged and back on the road in a timely manner. Masters sailors are not getting any younger either so there were no complaints. 

Nick didn't get it all his own way on the race course. Local sailor Theo Lyttle took a big lead on the first beat of Race 4 and held on to bag himself a bullet, a popular win amongst all the competitors. In Race 5 Nick got another win and could probably have started to relax a little. With this sort of form he was headed for a tidy scoreline. Thomas Chaix finally found his mojo in Race 6 to seal a win and that was it for the sailing. 

Back on shore Laser Fleet stalwart Ron Hutchieson busily did the maths in the back room. He didn't even need all his fingers to count up Nick's final tally of 9 points. Second place went to Apprentice Dan O'Connell who sailed a quiet, neat and tidy regatta. In third was another Apprentice Roger O'Gorman visiting from Cork. First Grand Master was Chris Arrowsmith. 

For the full results broken down by the master Categories, Apprentice, Master and Grand Master visit 

Prizes were presented by current RIYC Commodore James Horan who took a great interest in the whole Masters concept and was delighted to be addressing a dinghy event in the RIYC. As the thanks were wrapping up sponsor LogMeIn got a deserved big round of applause for their generous contribution to the event and then old Laser friends were saying goodbye one more time. The talk shifted immediately to the next event on the regional calendar, "..see you in Lough Derg for the Connaughts on Jun 28th?" 

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