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!