The second event in the Laser 5000 European series, the TNG Watches Eurocup series, took place at Stavoren in Holland from 1-3 June

The second event in the Laser 5000 European series, the TNG Watches Eurocup series, took place at Stavoren in Holland from 1-3 June.

The north-easterly Force 4-5 promised for a good first day’s racing, to be run by Sailing Club Workum. Mark Emmett and Johnny Backhouse on Appleton Signs set the theme for the event with a race one win.

Race two saw Roger Lewis and Matt Best at the front of the fleet for the first few laps, only to be beaten by Appleton Sign’s upwind speed mid-way through the race; Laurence and Pippa Hildersley again taking third.

Race three and the Hildersleys made a bold effort at holding off Appleton Signs, finally relinquishing their lead in the closing laps. Despite their boom falling off during the last downwind leg, they managed to stay ahead of latecomers Glen Truswell and George Rice on Gerber and hold onto second. Lewis/Best, meanwhile, were discovering that filling the boat with water through leaks in the bow and stern is not fast.

Day two started in a southerly Force 4 with the crews no-longer sailing in the shadow of their sails. Appleton Signs dominated the day with three race wins: the real battle was taking place for the next three places between Gerber, Lewis/Best and the Hildersleys.

Race four saw close quarters racing with second, third and fourth going to Gerber; Lewis/Best and Hildersleys respectively.

By race five the winds had eased such that while twin-wiring upwind, the crews were condemned to go before the mast for the downwind legs. Positions behind the leader changed several times, with a rushed kite hoist by Gerber letting Lewis/Best and the Hildersleys comfortably through. By the finish Gerber had clawed their way back to third behind Lewis/Best in second.

Race six saw more close racing. Gerber finally sorted out their hoists to take second ahead of Lewis/Best, with Andrew and Alex McKee making their strongest performance so far to take fourth.

The final day was slightly cooler with a southerly Force 2-3. The seventh race was largely processional with Appleton Signs again at the front, followed by Gerber and the Hildersleys.

The laylines for the top mark in race eight were thrown into disarray as one of the many large three-masted classic barges which prowl the Ijsselmeer arrived upwind of the windward mark at the same time as the fleet: her superior sail area resulted in some premature layline calls. Once this obstacle was negotiated the fleet settled into the same positions held in the previous race. The final race and Appleton Signs, finding themselves a number of places back at the windward mark and with sufficient points for a conclusive series win, made the tactical decision to retire and avoid the later queues at the narrow marina slipway.

Lewis/Best held onto their lead to record their first European win. This was, however, not enough to regain second overall, which went to Gerber by one point.

The fleet enjoyed excellent sailing thanks to the superb organisation by the Royal Yacht Club Sneek and the Dutch Laser 4000 class association. The generous prizes from the sponsors TNG Watches and Magic Marine all contributed to a wonderfully slick and enjoyable event.

Overall Results (9 races, 2 discards)

1st GBR 5272 Appleton Signs (Mark Emmett/Johnny Backhouse) 7 pts

2nd GBR 5240 Gerber (Glenn Truswell/George Rice) 16 pts

3rd GBR 5130 (Roger Lewis/Matt Best) 17 pts

4th GBR 5287 (Lawrence Hildesley/Pippa Hildesley) 21 pts

5th GBR 5025 (Andrew McKee/Alex McKee) 38 pts

6th NED 5136 (JTC Augustijn) 47 pts

7th NED 5090 (Robert Vink) 48 pts