Fifteen boats made the trip to North Wales to Bala SC for the penultimate Laser 4000 Grand Slam event of the season last weekend

Fifteen boats made the trip to North Wales to Bala SC for the penultimate Laser 4000 Grand Slam event of the season and were faced with light and shifty conditions last weekend.

Race one started with Frier and Greer OCS and Gatehouse and Hamilton returning to protect their race. Hepplewhite and Schooling in McCalman Kilts were first around the windward mark, closely pursued by Hodgson and Reed in RSM. The wind fluctuated in strength during the race, catching the middle order out with a number of capsizes, the lead boats held good however, to the finish

Race two got off to a clean start which unusually for this fleet was repeated for the remainder of the event. Hepplewhite and Schooling led from the start and developed a large margin which they maintained throughout the race. The breeze continued to build, but with no obvious side of the course paying. Robinson and Edwards secured second place with Frier and Greer third.

The third race of the day saw 2002 new comers Wilson and Barker take an early lead which they continued to extend and finished a comfortable first. Behind them, places were exchanged both upwind and downwind between Greer and Freer, RSM Robson Rhodes and Hepplewhite and Schooling. In the final downwind leg, Gemma Greer went right and collected new breeze and finished a satisfactory second with Al Hodgson in RSM just making it on the line for third.

Sunday dawned cloudless with a light north-easterly filling in as the morning progressed. Despite the light winds, the day was to turn into a comedy of errors for the top teams. Race four kicked of with a flying start from Greer and Freer who were being towed to the line within the start sequence. A subsequent protest saw them disqualified for having outside assistance. Wilson and Barker led from the start, but missed the shortened course flag and sailed to the leeward mark on the last downwind leg, dropping two places to third and allowing JAM to finish first with RSM Robson Rhodes second.

Race five saw Hepplewhite and Schooling assert their authority again with an early lead which they held on to. The fleet behind battled a close game and played the available shifts to their advantage (or disadvantage). RSM Robson Rhodes decided they didn’t like being third on the second downwind leg and capsized while gybing. After blaming each other, Hodgson and Reed sailed backwards to finish down the fleet. Frier and Greer were second with Wilson and Barker third.

The final race proved to be a bit of a lottery as wind became increasingly variable although Hepplewhite and Schooling proved worthy winners with Robinson and Edwards second and Macintyre and Macintyre third.

Overall Results

1st McCalman Kilts – Hepplewhite and Schooling

2nd Wilson and Barker

3rd Robinson and Edwards

4th JAM – Alp and Morrison

5th RSM Robson Rhodes – Hodgson and Reed

6th Frier and Greer

7th Macintyre and Macintyre

8th Annan and Young

9th King and Carr

10th Warner and Warner