RC Laser National Titles Report
The 10th Australian RC Laser National Titles were sailed at Mawson Lakes, South Australia from Friday 28th September to Monday 1st October 2018. The titles were sailed in good weather with moderate to light breezes and the conduct of sailors was excellent. It was great to have two New Zealanders competing in an Australian national title – Graham Watson and Linton Little.
The first day started with a light and variable south-westerly, and the seeding races were all sailed on A rigs and were won by Scott Mitchell, Roman Wenger and Graham Watson. By the end of the next set of heats, most sailors were down to B rigs and Scott Fleming after advancing from B division to A division showed everyone a clean set of heels. Scott together with Scott Mitchell continued to dominate for the rest of the day as the wind steadily increased to 15 knots.
Some sailors had their first experience of A division sailing including Stephen Cibich, Darren Cathie and John Nieuwenhuizen. Graham Watson completed a race with a disintegrating B mast – and still won – an amazing feat. In C division some great racing was taking place between the likes of John Berry, Gary Hein, Noel Christison, Linton Ward and David Woolner. Cliff Bromiley had a good day, showing some great boat speed in B division.
By Sunday the wind had swung 180 degrees to the north-east and B rigs were the choice of the day. Graham Brown had some excellent races in the morning and began to present a threat to Scott Fleming’s dominance. Noel McPherson also sailed well during the morning with some high placings in A division. Brad Hein began to work his way into contention after what had been a difficult first day for him, and Peter Burford sailed consistently all day. By the last two races A rigs began to appear in the fleet, but Scott Fleming’s two firsts in the A division heats all but sealed his win for the series.
The wind remained in the north during Monday morning with big shifts due to a left-hand breeze coming from NNW and a right-hand breeze coming from the north-east. It was hard to pick which breeze was going to dominate on the first windward work and most sailors had a difficult race where they picked the wrong side of the start line. I remember seeing Graham Brown get caught at the leeward end of the line as the wind swung north-east, and then watching him work hard to recover. In the middle of the day the wind slowly moved to the west causing a delay in sailing, and then later dropped to very light conditions for the last race. Lindsay Sawyer, Rob O’Brien and Bob Whitehead spent all or most of the day in A division, and Noel Christison had a brief foray in A division as well. John Berry and Don Turnbull enjoyed some time in B division with Don having his best day for the series. Brad Hein sailing in A division, corrected a horror finish where he failed to sail through the finish line in the second last race with a win in the last race. Congratulations go to Scott Fleming, Graham Brown, Scott Mitchell, Peter Burford and Brad Hein for filling the top five places.
It was a great event. Thanks to Johno Johnson and Mario Gulic as race officers. Mario Gulic, Lorraine Berry and Jayne Fleming did the scoring. Stewart Ross set the courses. The rescue boat crews included Dean Bonnett, Peter Simmons, Brian Marshall and Roger Wilkey. Other helpers included Barry Jones, Sue Hayter, Yvonne Tiss, Peter Tiss, Janet Lee, Gerry Geibel, Chris Levi, Bob Goldie, John Dockerill, Meredith Reardon, Janet Luther, Robert Jones, Geoff Fox, Bruce Roberts, Ken Stone, Gerry Lee and many others. The event was supported by Salisbury Council and Mawson Lakes Living magazine. Many thanks to you all.