SUTTON Bingham Sailing Club hosted the Laser Class for their annual South Coast Grand Prix event last Saturday with 19 sailors battling it out over a series of three races.
The Laser has three sail sizes and there were two fleet starts for each race; Laser Standards followed five minutes later by the Laser Radials and 4.7 rigs.
The shifty north-westerly breeze gave Principal Race Officer, Mike Riley a challenging task to set good courses but he succeeded in testing the competitors to get the best from their dinghies on all points of sailing.
The full spectrum of conditions were experienced during the day with everything from rain and squally gusts which caused a few capsizes, to bright blue sky accompanied by lighter winds.
In the Laser Standard fleet it was Rob Dyer, former Laser 4.7 national champion, who mastered the conditions and although pushed hard at times by Greg Bartlett, secured victory with three straight race wins.
In the Radial/4.7 fleet Sutton Bingham sailor Andrew Frost, quickly got to grips with a borrowed boat to win the first race in a close tussle with Martin Cowell. Blustery conditions in the second race saw Chris Jones take an early lead but as the wind moderated Frost and Alex Butler caught up and a close tactical battle ensued.
In the end Frost got away to take the win and the Laser Radial title and Jones slipped ahead of Butler on the final beat and covered him to the finish. This set up a three way challenge for second place overall between Jones, Butler and Cowell. Jones lead the final race until the second lap when he was overhauled by Butler, who won the race and Laser Radial runner-up.
Standard Fleet: 1st Rob Dyer, Sutton Bingham SC (1,1,1), 2nd Greg Bartlett, Starcross SC (2,3,2), 3rd Peter May, Spinnaker SC (6,2,4).
Radial/4.7 Fleet: 1st Andrew Frost, Sutton Bingham SC (1,1,3), 2nd Alex Butler, Hayling Island SC (4,3,1), 3rd Chris Jones, Sutton Bingham SC (5,2,2).