Once again, our annual midwinter regatta the South Pacific Laser Masters (SPLM) has been held with almost 60 boats turning out in glorious Queensland winter weather. This year the Laser Standard fleet was strongest with 34 entries while the 4.7 fleet had enough entrants to justify their own start.
As has become customary the event kicked of with a Laser Forum on Thursday evening. Our guest speaker was Mark Hipgrave who apart from sailing his Laser has competed recently in the single handed trans Atlantic race and double handed Melbourne to Osaka race in his Jeanneau Sunfast 3600. Mark provided remarkable vision and discussion of the storms and other perils of short handed ocean racing. Many thanks to Mark for his effort in putting together this address.
Brisbane winter weather is usually either beautifully sunny and calm or strong, cold gusty westerlies. On Friday we got lucky with an 8-13knt westerly wind that held in all afternoon enabling the race organisers to get three races in the bank as insurance against the forecast calm days. The wind provided great racing with enough breeze to have everyone hiking and tricky shifts to keep it interesting.
Saturday was a great day for fishing but unfortunately a glassy blue bay provided enough breeze only to sail out but not back. Racing was cancelled around 1:30pm and the fleet towed home.
An early start was ordered for Sunday to take advantage of the morning land breeze that had been in evidence each day but our luck was not in as a fickle westerly faded and the fleet once again was towed back to shore. After a pleasant few hours basking in the sun the breeze built and the Race Officer ordered us back on the water for two light wind races in a westerly.
A promising forecast for Monday saw us on the water at the scheduled time but a promising 10- 14knt westerly faded to nothing just as racing was commenced. However, it was soon replaced by a wonderful 7- 11knt northerly sea breeze and that saw the Radials get in three races to match the 4.7s and complete their quota of eight races while the Standard rigs could only squeeze in two races before the time limit expired.
Congratulations to all competitors for entering and making this such a great regatta and special thank to RQYS for running a great series in difficult conditions.
All results can be found here