3 Sad Old Blokes take Laser SB20 Nationals Title in Largs
The final day of the Laser SB3 National Championship dawned windless and it looked like overnight leaders Jerry Hill and his crew of Joe Llewellyn and Sam Minns on ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’ would be announced National Champions without leaving the dock. However the wind had other ideas and by midday a small breeze had developed in the channel off Largs Sailing Club and the postponement flag came down.
Despite going into the final day with a thirteen point lead, with the possibility of a further four races and a second discard that would come into play after ten races, ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’ couldn’t afford to be complacent.
Starting the first race of the final day under black flag the fleet literally split in half with some boats deciding that the mainland shore would be advantageous and others, including ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’, ‘Baloo’ (Martin Boatman), Mark Rushall, ‘Team VW Touareg’ (Jono Shelley) and ‘Doolali’ (Colin Simonds) all making a quick dash for the island shore. For ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’, it was one of the only tactical decisions that they had got wrong all week and they had to watch as all the boats on the left hand side of the course rounded the first mark in front of them, seeking solace in the fact that many of their closest rivals had made the same choice and were behind them.
The race win went to ‘Bod’ (Richard Hall) who sailed their best race of the championship to score their first result in the top ten. ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’ crossed the line ninth, with Mark Rushall and his team tenth, ‘Team VW Touareg’ sixteenth, ‘Doolali’ twentieth and ‘Baloo’ twenty-third. With the race committee able to sail up to four races on the final day, Hill did not know whether he had the championship sewn up and the only way to be sure was to stay out and sail all the races.
Despite going light towards the end of the first race, the wind picked up enabling the race committee to start a second race. For ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’ it was still a case of staying out of trouble, which was helped enormously by the fact that ‘Team VW Touareg’ and Mark Rushall all started prematurely and were penalised with a black flag disqualification, forcing them to sit out the race. With the pressure alleviated, ‘3 Sad Old Blokes’ sailed a faultless race to rack up their fifth win of the championship and, when the race committee signalled that no further racing would take place for the day, the national title by an impressive twenty point margin.
A seventh in the final race saw ‘Baloo’ take second place, four points in front of the Simonds family boat, ‘Doolali’, who moved themselves up the scoreboard after scoring a third in the final race. Mark Rushall had to settle for fourth with ‘Team VW Touareg’ taking the final spot in the top five.
A delighted Hill said:
“I am very happy with our results this week. We were quick and sailed very well tactically. I am glad that we managed to sail on the last day as it was pretty tricky conditions and it would have been very easy to lose it but we managed to stay with our opposition and beat them in the first race of the day. Two of our main rivals then got black flagged in the second race which took the pressure off and we managed to win the last race and, with it, the championship.”
I am now looking forward to the rest of the Laser SB3 season with Torquay, Cowes Week and then the inaugural world championships in Ireland in September which will see some great sailors competing and we hope we will be able to continue our form.”
Thanks for a great week must go to everyone at Largs Sailing Club, the Scottish Sailing Institute and Laser SB3 sponsors VW Touareg for their help and support during the championship.
Top 5 Overall Results (10 races, 2 discards)
1, 3 Sad Old Blokes (J Hill/J Llewellyn/S Minns) 21 pts (4,1,1,1,8,1,(12),4,(9),1)
2, Baloo (M Boatman/I Turnball/J Outhwaite) 41 pts (3,6,(11),5,2,3,7,8,(23),7)
3, Doolali (C Simonds/E Simonds/G Simonds) 45 pts (2,7,9,(22),4,10,4,6,(20),3)
4, M Rushall/J Baxter/L Rushall/C Savage 47 pts (1,4,2,9,(23),13,1,7,10,(BFD))
5, Team VW Touareg (J Shelley/J Modral/C Blackburn) 49 pts (11,5,3,4,1,4,5,(23),16,(BFD))
Full results can be found at http://www.largssc.co.uk/Results2008/Results_files/sb3/f15classd4os.html