The sun and wind gods blessed Plymouth Sound again yesterday (Thursday 30 August) for the fourth day of the Audi/Gul Laser 5000 National Championship

The sun and wind gods blessed Plymouth Sound again yesterday (Thursday 30 August) for the fourth day of the Audi/Gul Laser 5000 National Championship. Three races were held in a building breeze which by the end of the day’s sailing was topping Force 5. With the skies clearing during the afternoon and sunshine breaking through, this day will rank alongside Tuesdy’s blast as one of the best 5000 days ever.

The day’s racing was sponsored by Quba Sails, the Salcombe-based clothing company, who provided an excellent selection of jackets, fleeces and shirts as prizes.

Close racing was the order of the day and with all the boats now well practiced in the big breezes it was noticeable that more boats were making it round the course upright and in competitive mode. The first race was a cracker with a neck and neck battle between Mark Emmett / Anthony Esse (Hermes/Ronstan/Juice Plus) and the Richards brothers (mStation/Gul) never more than about 10 seconds apart the whole way round and the lead swapping at every other mark. Eventually mStation pulled through to pip Hermes on the line. Mark and Olly Ponsford (Hyde Sails) continued their charge up the leader board with a third while the eer-improving Nick Jones and Spencer Schlachter put in a strong fourth. The second race would prove to be a good win by Jamie Shelton and Graham White (Mylor Rigging / Westcountry Watersports) who led from start to finish. Hyde Sails and Hermes battled for most of the race for the second while mSration had a shocker start and spent the race working their way through the fleet. On the last downwind however, the Richards brothers had moved up to fourth place and with only 10 seconds seperating places two to five for the last downwind good hoists and gybes would prove to be crucial.

By the finish line mStation had gybed off onto the favoured starboard side and managed to pull through to second while Hyde Sails finished consistenly in third again. Hermes squeezed into fourth while Justin Deal and Nick Bubb (Crewsaver/Mormaii) came back on form with a fifth. The third race proved to be a straightforward one for the Richards brothers when they got off to a great start and never looked back with only Mark Dicker and Malc Reed pushing them in second place. Going into the last day with potentially four races to be run, the forecast is again for sunshine and even more breeze. mStation need to just hold it together for another race to retain their championship crown. Second place is however, a completely different story with four boats only eight points apart. Hyde Sails (currently leading the Newcomers Trophy) and just ahead of Mylor Rigging, Hermes and Andrew and Lizzie Fairley. With four race to go in this the big wind and seas anything could happen and tensions are high as the boats set off this morning.

Results (with four races remaining)

1st mStation Andy and Dave Richards 9 points

2nd Hyde Sails Mark and Olly Ponsford 25 points

3rd Mylor Rigging / Westcountry Jamie Shelton / Graham White 26 points

4th Hermes/Ronstan/JuicePlus Mark Emmett/Anthony Esse 29 points

5th RNCYC Andy and Lizzie Fairley 33 points