Pete Barton and Simon Knatchbull were the overall winners of the Laser 4000 Grand Slam event at Mumbles last weekend

Twenty-nine boats gathered in the warm Welsh sunshine last weekend (3-4 August) to race in a light north-westerly breeze for a Laser 4000 Grand Slam.

After a clean start, newcomers to the fleet, David Edwards and Rob Slaughter were first round the windward mark closely followed by Ian Sanderson and Bird Watson then Andy Palmer-Felgate and Jon Modral in one of the two Team Control boats.

Heading towards the leeward mark there was a bit of a pile up but Mike Owen and Liz Aldous escaped unscathed and emerged from the pack.

Some good hard work from Luke and Emma in Printware saw them pull up from seventh round the leeward mark to second on the beat. As the course was shortened to three laps, the rain set in and the wind began to drop a little. This didn’t affect the lead boats and they held together right to the finish. It looked like Ian and Bird would take the race, but David and Rob pinched it from them on the line, with Printware third and Andy and Jon in Team Control fourth.

The second race of the day saw the 4000 fleet return to their usual behaviour with a general recall. Frustration then followed as the race committee took almost an hour to re-lay the course due to wind shifts. Once the course had been laid, the wind shifted again but the race started nevertheless. Mike Owen appeared to be in the centre of trouble again, capsizing on top of the pin end mark. A very speedy recovery saw him climb through the fleet to a respectable 16th place. As the sun re-appeared, Pete Barton and Simon Knatchbull in the other Team Control boat led to the line, but Mark Cam and Jetske Roodvoets took the inside lane and made it round the windward mark first, closely followed by Ian and Bird. It was a closely fought race throughout with the top five boats continuously swapping positions, making for some exciting spectating. Ian and Bird took revenge for being beaten at the line in the first race by taking the second with a comfortable lead. Second place went to Luke and Emma in Printware followed by Pete and Simon in Team Control for third place. Also deserving of a mention were Pete and Charlotte Scott who stuck with the leaders for the whole race to take fouth.

Race three saw a return of the big black clouds and also the black flag start. Four boats had a quite convincing ‘head start’ and were rightfully deemed OCS for their efforts. The marks had been moved again due to more wind shifts, this time with the course being shorter and of an angle which allowed boats to lay the windward mark from the start line and the leeward mark from the windward mark. This novelty made for lots of chaos and a fair few capsizes. Three crews went for a swim at the windward mark, then a capsize for 4409, just short of the leeward mark, saw Mike Owen back in trouble as he was unable to avoid them and got his pole stuck on the hull of the other boat. A capsize swiftly ensued with a spinnaker attractively wrapped round the shrouds. In the meantime, the two Team Control boats took control of the race, with Pete Barton first, Andy Palmer-Felgate second and Luke and Emma in Printware taking third.

Sunday was hot and humid with a distinct lack of wind. General consensus was that no-one particularly fancied going for a sail. Any wind which came was very light and very inconsistent. After a two-hour postponement it was deemed that the wind was sailable and the boats took to the water. Two minutes before the start signal, the wind dropped and it was a float round the course in increasingly heavyrain. The event finally went to Pete Barton and Simon Knatchbull snatched from overnight leaders, Luke McEwan and Emma Evans. Ian Sanderson and Bird Watson took a well-deserved third.

Overall Results
1 4523, Team Control, Pete Barton and Simon Knatchbull
2 4138 Printware, Luke McEwen and Emma Evans
3 4637 Ian Sanderson and Barbara Watson
4 4422 Team Control, Andy Palmer-Felgate and Jon Modral
6 4539 Tohoe Pete and Charlotte Scott
7 4606 Matt Johnston and Claire Wood