NATIONAL POLICE LASER and
PAA DINGHY SAILING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2003
Results, reports and photos below.
This year’s championship was a hard fought competition between 16 helms representing 8 different police forces. Three races were held, with the best two results to count. The police sailors had the traditional weather for Manchester – rain! The winds were light south-easterly for the first race, and then swung to south-westerly for the two afternoon races.
Race 1 had a committee boat start from buoy number 2 at 11.22am. The course was:- buoy 8 (port), 3 (starboard), 7 (starboard), 9 starboard), 1 (port), X (port) and 2 (starboard). The fleet got away cleanly first time. At the windward mark (8) it was Tim Mercer (Merseyside) in the lead, followed by the two Andys - Taverner (Met) and Hayfield (GMP), then Graham Cook and Stuart Jenkins (both Met). But at the next mark (3) Hayfield had pulled to the front. At the end of the first lap he had pulled out a 26 seconds lead over Cook, who in turn was 24 seconds ahead of Taverner. Jenkins was the next one in line.
At one stage on lap 2 Cook managed to close within 4 seconds of Hayfield, but by the end of that lap the GMP helm had pulled away again and regained his 24 seconds lead. These two continued to lead the fleet, but on the third lap Jenkins managed to get ahead of Mercer, but not for long. The race was shortened after 3 laps at buoy number 8, and after sailing for just over an hour Hayfield crossed the finish line 32 seconds ahead of Cook. There was then a gap of 2 minutes until Mercer finished in 3rd place, 25 seconds ahead of Jenkins and Taverner (just 1 second apart). Veteran, Dick Sivers (N’hants), finished 6th 12 seconds in front of Roger Glass (Met).
Race 2 was started from the committee boat at 2.09pm at buoy number 3. A ‘figure of eight’ course was set using buoys 8, 9, 4, 7 and 3 (all marks to starboard). The wind was light, south-westerly. It was Cook who took an early lead at the windward mark, chased by Taverner, Sivers, Alan Husk (Essex) and Hayfield. Sivers improved his position by the end of that lap by slipping into 2nd place. At the end of the second lap Cook had pulled out a 20 seconds lead over Hayfield, Taverner, Mercer, Glass and Sivers. On lap 3 Cook and Hayfield were only 8 seconds apart, but these two were well ahead of the rest of the fleet. The race officer shortened course, finishing the race at buoy number 8. After sailing for 43 minutes, Cook crossed the finish line 16 seconds ahead of Hayfield. 63 seconds later Taverner finished in 3rd place, 33 seconds in front of Mercer. Then came Glass (6 seconds), followed just 5 seconds later by Sivers.
Race 3 started at 3.49pm from buoy number 3. The course this time was around buoys 9 (starboard), 2 (port), X (port), 7 (port), and 3 (port). At the windward mark it was Cook and Hayfield heading the fleet, with Husk, Mercer, Glass and Taverner in hot pursuit. But then, inexplicably, Cook capsized on the beat between marks 2 and 1, allowing Hayfield and Mercer to slip by him. However Cook made a quick recovery, and by the end of the first lap he was in second place, only 14 seconds behind the GMP Laser.
At the end of the second lap the storming Hayfield had pulled out a 46 seconds lead over Cook, who in turn was 47 seconds ahead of Mercer. Taverner was just 5 seconds behind him. During lap 3 the winds appeared to strengthen allowing the Lasers to plane on the run from marks X to 7. This allowed Hayfield to increase his lead. When the race was shortened part way through the 4th lap at mark number 9, Hayfield crossed the finish line (after sailing for 46 minutes 36 seconds) 1 minute 51 seconds ahead of Cook, who was 13 seconds in front of Mercer. Taverner finished 36 seconds later, over 2 minutes ahead of Glass, Sivers and Jenkins.
So with three races completed, that made Andy Hayfield the undisputed Police Laser Champion for 2003, with two wins to count towards the results. Graham Cook was the runner-up with a 1st and 2nd place to count, and Tim Mercer was 3rd with two 3rd places to count.
Report by Len Gooch
The 28th PAA Championship (and probably the last under the PAA title) was sailed very competitively by 30 helmsmen and crews from 14 different forces, sailing 11 different classes of dinghy. The Metropolitan Police entered 8 boats, Avon & Somerset, Cheshire and Essex entered 3 boats each, Cleveland, Nottinghamshire and Sussex entered 2 boats each, and Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Kent, Leicestershire, Merseyside, Northamptonshire and West Midlands entered one boat each. The most popular dinghy by far was the Laser (16), the next was the Albacore (3), and then the RS300 (2) and Comet Trio (2). The largest boat was the Flying 15 from Nottinghamshire, and the smallest was the Comet from Cambridgeshire.
Weather conditions for the two days could be called challenging. The winds started off fairly light, but soon blew up to a gusty force 4 to 5 in race 2, and remained for race 3, and then returned for races 4 and 5. This caused capsizes galore and kept the rescue boats on the hop.
The heavy weather suited the Flying 15 chosen by the Notts team of Peter Walters and John Allen. They used these championships as a trial run for the Flying 15 World Championships coming up soon. They were the first to finish on the water in 4 of the 5 races, and were far enough ahead of the pack to win two of the races on handicap, come 2nd in two others and come 3rd in the other one. So they were convincing champions for 2003. The defending champion – Alan Husk from Essex – sailed his Phantom well enough to win two races, come 2nd in one race and 4th in the other two races. He came second overall. The other man in contention was the local helmsman, Andy Hayfield, sailing a Laser. He won one race and came 3rd in three others. He finished 3rd overall.
The Cleveland pair of Nick Hunt and Dave White sailed their Albacore consistently well to come 4th overall. Their colleague – Steve Brisley – showed early promise in another Albacore, but found the heavy weather too much for his novice crew. They capsized a number of times. Ian Ingram, from West Midlands, sailing an RS300, also showed early promise, by being the first boat to finish in race 1 (4th on handicap), and 6th in race 2, but he could not cope as well with the stronger winds in races 3, 4 and 5.
Race 1 took place in fairly gentle weather conditions. There was total cloud cover with the threat of rain. 11 o’clock on Thursday morning found 30 boats jostling for position on a very short start line at buoy number 4. The short line led to a general recall. The line was quickly lengthened and the second start went OK. The fleet was off on a long beat to the X buoy at the western end of the lake. The course was almost a ‘figure of eight’, using X (starboard), 1 (starboard), 7 (port), 3 (starboard) and 4 (starboard). The finish was at the club line (opposite the clubhouse). The mixed fleet soon became well spread out, but after 50 minutes, the race was shortened to 3 laps and it was the RS300 of Ian Ingram that crossed the line first. He finished 35 seconds ahead of Alan Husk’s Phantom. Two seconds later it was the Nottinghamshire Flying 15’s turn to cross the line. This leading trio finished a convincing 3 minutes in front of Andy Hayfield in his Laser, the 4th boat over the line, and the rest of the fleet. On handicap the RS300 was pushed back to 4th place. Only one boat failed to finish this race.
Race 2 was started at about 2 o’clock over a similar course to race 1. The weather conditions were similar too, for the first part of the race. The 30 boats were away first time as the flags came down on the committee boat at mark 4. As the race progressed so the winds became stronger. Boats began to capsize left, right and centre. The Flying 15 revelled in the windier conditions, and romped over the finish line after three laps 45 seconds ahead of the West Midland RS300. Ingram in turn finished 49 seconds in front of the Essex Phantom. Trailing them by almost 2 minutes was Andy Hayfield in his Laser, closely followed by another RS300, sailed by the veteran from Nottinghamshire – Geoff Norman. Then came the white Albacore from Cleveland and the RS400 that had travelled all the way up from Sussex to take part, helmed by Paul Miller. A fleet of Lasers came next sailed by Graham Cook, Andy Taverner, Roger Glass, Tim Mercer and the veteran, Dick Sivers. Once again Ian Ingram was pushed down the results by his handicap number (to 6th place). This race was won by the Flying 15, with the Phantom 2nd, the Hayfield Laser 3rd and Graham Cook’s Laser 4th. Only two boats failed to finish this race.
Race 3 was started back-to-back with race 2, and was held in very windy and gusty conditions. The heavier crews thrived, but many of the lesser mortals were struggling to survive. The race officer seemed to have taken a fiendish pleasure in setting a zig-zag course to give as many jibe marks as possible along the length of the lake. This was challenging stuff indeed, and resulted in some synchronised capsizing. With the wind blowing from the west the race started from buoy 4, then there was a beat to 9 (starboard), a reach to 2 (port), and so on to X (starboard), to 7 (port), to 3 (starboard) and back to 4 (starboard). The rescue boats were kept very busy.
The Flying 15 stormed around the course, and after only 48 minutes had completed 3 laps, and was given the finishing signal by the race officer at the club line. It finished 66 seconds ahead of the second boat – the Allen Husk Phantom. 21 seconds later the Nick Hunt Albacore crossed the line, some 31 seconds ahead of a quartet of Lasers sailed by Andy Hayfield, Tim Mercer, Andy Taverner and Roger Glass. On handicap, the Flying 15 was pushed down to 3rd place, and the leading Laser was boosted into first place. The white Albacore was 2nd and the Phantom was 4th. 8 boats failed to finish this race. The wind continued to increase after race 3, causing boats to be blown around on the hard. Helmsmen and crews were forced to tie their dinghies onto their road trailers to prevent them being blown over. Fortunately the winds moderated in time for the barbecue in the evening.
Friday 20th June dawned brighter, but the strong westerly winds were back by the time racing began. Race 4 was started at about 11 o’clock from mark 5. The course was X (starboard), 1 (starboard), 8 (port), 3 (starboard) and back to 4 (starboard). Once again capsizes were the order of the day for many of the boats. If anything, the Flying 15 flew around the course faster than ever, completing the 3 laps in just under 49 minutes. It crossed the finish line almost 4 minutes ahead of the next boat – the Cleveland Albacore of Hunt and White. They finished 50 seconds ahead of Tim Mercer in his Laser. The Phantom trailed the leading Laser by 18 seconds. Then 93 seconds later the Hayfield Laser came in, followed 68 seconds later by Graham Cook in his Laser. The handicap results left the first six places unchanged. 12 boats failed to finish this race giving a strong clue as to the conditions..
Race 5, the last race of this series, was sailed under similar conditions to race 4. There was a slight change of course, starting at buoy 5 again, X (starboard), 1 (starboard), 8 (port), 4 (starboard) and then back to 5 (starboard). This time the Flying 15 did not have it all its own way. It did manage to stay in front of the fleet, but not by such a large margin as in race 4. It took just under 51 minutes to complete the 3 laps – finishing nearly 53 seconds ahead of the Phantom. But these boats were over 3 minutes ahead of the next dinghies – a pack of five Lasers sailed by Andy Hayfield, Tim Mercer, Andy Taverner, Graham Cook and Roger Glass. The Phantom won the race on handicap, with the Flying 15 2nd. Dave Burrows from Cheshire, sailing with a young lady crew in a GP14, sailed very well to finish 7th on handicap, ahead of many ‘faster’ boats, pushing Roger Glass down into 8th place. Eleven boats failed to finish this race.
Congratulations must go to Paul Heath and his team from Greater Manchester Police Sailing Club for organising the event. Things went very smoothly. Our thanks too should go to the race officer and Commodore of Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club for running the races and for the use of their facilities (their changing rooms were brand new). It was a very enjoyable event.
As regards being the last of the PAA Dinghy Championships – John Burbeck came all the way up from London to tell us that changes are to be made to the organisation of police sport later this year. No longer will it be headed by the PAA. The new organisation will be called Police Sport UK, and will have a much wider mandate than the current structure. Amongst other things, it should make it easier to get sponsorship for police sporting events in the future. Whether it will make more personnel take up police sporting activities, only time will tell. Let us hope it will.
Report by Len Gooch
organiser for PAA
Dinghy Champs, 2003 was:
Avon & Somerset
organiser for PAA
Dinghy Champs, 2002:
Results from previous National Dinghy regattas can be viewed in the 'Stats' Section