So, for the last week in August, 6 intrepid QM Helms and a support team of associated "Super Mums" made the LONG trip to Lands End and Mounts Bay for the Laser Nationals. NominallyAmy Foreman (Super Mum Margaret), Steph Macaulay (Super Mum Chris), Andrew Rawson (Super Mum Catherine), Jack "God I'm Laid back" Gell (Super Mum Jane), Harry Harding (Super Mum Amanda), Dave Freeman (Adopted by all Super Mums). Mark Barnes was also on site repping for Zhik but sadly unable to sail.
It would be fair to say that the weather was mixed. On Sunday, the practice races were abandoned with the wind dropping away completely, bit rainy was well. Monday however was a belter with 20-25knots (although in the wind driven chop and Atlantic swell coming from different directions, it felt more like 25-30!) and loads of sunshine. In the Radial Silver Fleet both Amy and Steph dug deep in the challenging conditions posting 35.34,42 and 58,51,41 respectively (62 boats in fleet). Andrew, toughing it out in a very competitive Gold fleet , posted a very creditable 22,24,28 (63 in fleet). Jack, Harry and Dave found it hard going, being lake sailors-and-all (well that's my excuse), posting (32, 20), (17,31) & (11,9) respectively from a fleet of 48. In truth the condition were awesome, if knackering. Dave actually sailed into a Basking Shark on one of the down wind legs.......... it was a surprise I can tell you!!!
Day 2 brought similar wind conditions. Did the team have anything left in the legs? (Dave didn't!). Amy and Steph sailed with consistency in the sun and the wind posting 47,48,38 & 59,54,51 ("consistency wins the day".......I'm told). Andrew too held his shape with a solid 21, 23 and a creditable 18. Jack, I think had gear failure in race one but posted a 26 & 29 in the other two to give him a good mid fleet position after day two. Hazza, having lost his Mo-Jo slightly in the tough conditions and with his under weight 74kgs, finished the day with a DNC, 25, 25 leaving him about 25th over night (you're better than that Hazza, get your finger out!!) Dave, with legs now made of jelly (no endurance, must get fit!) posted 21, 10,16 leaving him with 11th overall........managed to avoid the sharks this time!
Thank God (for Dave who could barely stand), day 3, Weds, was cancelled due to some shocking windy, rainy, shifty conditions and very poor visibility. Hazza et al went surfing on the North Coast of Cornwall for the day, Dave booked himself (and his legs) into a local Hotel-Spa, leaving his tent to rot on the campsite!
Day 4 produced some beautiful sunshine but sadly little wind. The Radials didn't get away. The Standards managed to get one shortened race in. Tall Jack struggled slightly crunched up in the boat with his 11' legs, posting a 41. Hazza thrived in his favoured light conditions getting to the windward mark in 4th but suffered on a very light down wind leg where there was more luck than judgement. A very late shortening of the course by the committee didn't help him either, leaving him with a 13th. Dave gave himself lots of work to do with a bad start and then got pinged by the jury boat, awesome, giving him a brace of 16th's in his results.
Day 5 the final day reminded us all why we don't play golf at the weekend! 15-20 knots, brilliant sunshine, tremendous!! Everyone got three races, in an effort to catch up. Amy dramatically improved her average by carving up the fleet posting steadily improving results 38,29 & 18 leaving her a creditable 26th overall in the Silver Fleet. Steph struggled with the wind shifts off the land with 51,60,60 leaving her 54th over all. Andrew struggled to find "the groove" and dropped his average with 37,35,30 leaving him 30th in the Gold. Jack, who suddenly burst into life on the final day, realising his potential with an 11th!! a 35th and a 31st, leaving him 30th. Hazza having refound his Mo-Jo cracked on with a another 13th, a DNC after an unfortunate down wind swim, and a 20th, leaving him 24th over all (you're better than that Hazza!!). Dave, struggling to shift his hangover early on (what was I thinking?!!) finishing with 20,20,13, leaving him 14th overall.
All-in-all a great week. Many thanks to the Super Mums who kept us all fed, watered (cuddled when necessary, including me) and duty-fully dug out our trolleys from the huge pile on the beach at the end of each day. What did we learn? - sand gets everywhere, sailing into sharks isn't fast, camping's over-rated, hotel-spas rock, drinking doesn't help, always take your Mum (or adopt one!), get fit!
Lets hope it's not 700 mile round trip next year................Largs probably!