Andy Shorrock Sailing with Ian Gotts beat a fleet of nearly 60 boats to win the second round of the Crewsaver Laser 4000 UK Series
Andy Shorrock Sailing with Ian Gotts beat a fleet of nearly 60 boats to win the second round of the Crewsaver Laser 4000 UK Series at Stokes Bay this weekend 4-5 May.
The forecast for clear skies and medium northerly winds was spot on leading to some challenging sailing as the offshore wind was extremely variable in both strength and direction often changing direction significantly several times on each beat.
On the first race Pete Barton and Simon Kantchbull were first round the windward mark and disappeared into a huge lead as they hoisted and picked up a gust which no one else saw. However, such was the nature of the conditions that they were eventually closed down by the chasing pack although they held on to win from Luke McEwan and Emma Evans sailing Printware with Iain and Hamish Calder third. The second race was very close on the first lap with a large group vying for the lead on the first run. Hugh and Helen Watson scraped round the first leeward mark in the lead but slipped to third after getting on the wrong side of a shift on the second beat allowing Andy Shorrock to take a lead he would not lose and Jason Kirk and Scott Dawson sailing Frijj through into second.
Through the day many boats had fallen foul of the black flag, with numbers reaching double figures for some races and, in the last race of the day the Calder brothers were sent home after the first general recall meaning that they could afford no mistakes on Sunday if they wanted consolidate their second overall at the Grafham event. Pete Harrison and Chrissie Clampett led the race from start to finish but they too were judged to have jumped the start allowing Barton and Knatchbull to take the win from Ronnie Millar and Peter Marshall with the Watsons again third.
As the wind dropped off and the sun went down the evening started with a Pimms party on the club roof followed by a disco inside.
Sunday morning and the wind was stronger and slightly more across shore. The first race started exactly on time just as some large gusts came through. In particular on the first downwind leg with many boats veering off course at high speed only to have to drop their spinnakers and head back up to the leeward marks. A close race at the front ensued between Shorrock, McEwan, Barton and the Calders. Barton dropped out of contention with a capsize, McEwan led onto the final run but Shorrock and the Calders caught up on a gust, in the final few hundred meters the Calders were caught port and starboard by McEwan. This allowed Shorrock through to win the race from McEwan and the Calders, after a quickly executed 360 degree turn. The second race on Sunday saw some good sailing from the Summerhay twins, who finished second and then spectacularly capsized on the line as Liz and Jerry Collyer came in third.
Another fast newcomer to the fleet, Andy Palmer-Felgate won the race, with many of the other leaders back down the fleet including Shorrock who could only manage 20th leaving him still requiring a good result in the final race despite his previous consistency. The sixth and final race started with again no delays. The Calders brothers did all they could by leading the race from start to finish but third place from Shorrock and Gotts was enough to secure them the overall win from the Calders. This result was the same as that of the first round at Grafham, another event with very difficult conditions, these two teams demonstrating an intelligent and consistent approach which is easy to see but harder to mimic.