KIA Motors Laser Nationals at HYC - 28th to 31st August
Author: Gallagher & Smith Posted on: 31/8/08 Print Version

137 Lasers head out of Howth Harbour for the Nationals

Rigging & Launching the 137 Lasers
Strong Ebb Tides Caught Some Sailors at Starts
by Harry Gallagher

Bright sunshine and a fair westerly breeze greeted the sailors in the final race of the eleven-race series for the National Championship of the Laser Class on Sunday.

137 entries from the three rigs - Standard, Radial and 4.7 - contested the 11-race series which started on Thursday in strong south-westerly winds. A strong ebb tide across the start line made starting difficult for some but three races were completed as planned. With a reaching finish, recording on the finish line caused major difficulties and results were delayed while back-up sheets and mark rounding sheets were checked.

Further problems arose on Friday when a south-easterly wind and a strong ebb tide tended to push the boats over the line and multiple black flag starts were necessary to get the fleets away.

The race management team under Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove (with the approval of the class), introduced a change to the course configuration on Saturday which resulted in a beating finish and thereby eased the problems with recording at the finish.

However, starting problems persisted with more black flag starts, particularly with the Radial Fleet, and again largely caused by the strong ebb tide. The more benign conditions of wind and tide on Sunday gave recall-free starts in the two last races but caused problems for the sailors at the windward mark. Such are the joys of racing in Howth on Spring Tides!

Espey Retains Laser Title With Ease
by Graham Smith
In the Standard fleet, defending Champion James Espey of Ballyholme YC emphatically retained his title at the Kia Motors Laser National Championships in Howth with an impressive string of results in the 11-race series sailed in light southerly and south-westerly conditions.

Four race wins, four second places and a 3rd and 4th were more than enough to see off the challenge of clubmate Ryan Seaton, 9.5 points adrift in the runner-up spot in the 42-boat standard rig fleet. UK visitors filled four of the next six places while Ian McSweeney was the best placed HYC entry in 14th overall.

James Espey
Ballyholme YC
In the Radial fleet, British entry Alison Young from Stokes Bay dominated proceedings with nine top six finishes and although runner-up Barry McCartin from Cushendall recorded three race wins, he couldn’t match Young’s consistency and was 24.5 points behind after discards.

And he only had 0.75 points to spare over Olympic contender Debbie Hanna of East Antrim who recovered from an average first half of the championship to put the pressure on in the last two days. The Radials had the biggest fleet of 51 boats.

Alison Young
Stokes Bay SC
While entries from north of the border enjoyed the limelight in the Standard and Radial divisions, it was very much a Howth affair in the 4.7 fleet.

Local boats filled the top four places, with former Optimist National Champion Diana Kissane taking the honours by 4.25 points ahead of Scott Flannigan, Mark Condy and Ali Dix while Katie Malcolm was only a few points away in 6th overall in the 43-boat event.

Diana Kissane
Howth YC
Standard Rig >>
Radial Rig >>
4.7 Rig >>
Prize Giving Photos >>