Skip and Chay Atkins from Stone Sailing Club won last weekend's Laser 2000 open meeting at Queen Mary SC

The first of seven open meetings making up the Laser 2000 Millennium Series for 2004 was held over the weekend 17-18 April at Queen Mary reservoir in West London.

The weather was predicted to be changeable with a Force 2 on Saturday and a Force 5 on Sunday. However, the 20 boats, which lined up for the first race on Saturday were greeted to brilliant sunshine and a gentle Force2. By the end of the race it was more like a Force 3. It was the regular attendee Trevor Bradley sailing on this occasion with his son Richard who led over the line and for most of the first beat. However, it was to be another outstanding weekend from our series champion Skip Atkins sailing with his son Chay who led at the first mark and quickly developed a sound lead.

Competition was fierce for second through to sixth with positions changing frequently as gusts moved down the reservoir. Andrew Barraclough and his daughter Alice eventually took second.

After lunch, the sun departed, dark clouds gathered and the wind grew to the top end of Force 4. Skip and Chay won both the 2nd and the 3rd races showing their ability to handle the boat in all conditions. Trevor and Richard came second their combined weight giving them the advantage in the heavier conditions over some very stiff competition. Tim McMillan and Billy Butler from the Royal Hospital School had been competing hard throughout the second race but broached 50 yards from the finish line, their quick recover was enough to see their third drop to a fifth.

The dark clouds were still there on the Sunday Morning with the wind blowing a good Force 3. For Sunday the water was to be shared with the RS700 and the Laser 3000 fleets with the RS700 setting off first. But by the time of the first race of the day the wind had dropped to a Force 1, which was very unfortunate for Andrew and William Sloper who had decided to reef.

The fourth and fifth races saw some of the most competitive racing in the five-year history of Laser 2000 open meetings. Although no one could challenge Skip and Chay, it was new comers Joe Pascoe and Amy Hulley from Weir Wood SC that challenged Andrew and Alice Barraclough for second. Andrew and William had shaken their reef out on the water during the fourth race and managed to finish fifth in the fifth race. The fleet returned to the clubhouse for lunch only to return to a Force 2 and a constant cold drizzle.

As the RS700 fleet finished the last of their three back to back races the wind shifted 45 degrees. The race officer relayed the course only to find the wind had veered another 45 degrees, so after a 30-minute cruise in miserable conditions the fleet set of for the final race. The honours after some very close racing eventually went to Andrew and William Sloper who showed they can sail much better without the reef.

Overall Results

1st Skip and Chay Atkins – Stone Sailing Club

2nd Andrew and Alice Barraclough – Rickmansworth SC – 14pts

3rd Joe Pascoe and Amy Hulley – Weir Wood SC – 15 pts

4th Trevor and Richard Bradley – Littleton SC – 18 pts

5th Tim McMillan and Billy Butler – Royal Hospital School – 22 pts