A 10 to 14 knot south westerly breeze provided good sailing conditions for the fifth day of the Laser Masters World Championship.
For the first time since the start of a predominantly light-wind championship, the Grand Master and Radial fleet raced on the most seaward of the 3 optional course areas. In spite of the long sail, those that wanted waves were rewarded with a left over Atlantic swell that provided a complete contrast to the flat water of the inshore course that had previously been used.
Mark BETHWAITE (AUS) in the Grand Master fleet clearly enjoyed the change of conditions to lead both races from start to finish, giving him his fifth and sixth bullets of the week and also the overall lead from Keith WILKINS after the second discard comes into play. Racing on the same course area, Peter SEIDENBERG (USA) shared race honours with Tom SPEED (NZL), each gaining a first and second place. These two have been locked in battle throughout the Grand Master series and are now well clear of Bill Watson GBR. In the Apprentice fleet Mark LITTLEJOHN (GBR) also scored two race wins, which gives him a 12 point lead over Steve COCKERILL (GBR). Littlejohn had a close race with Cockerill in the first race, chasing him for most of the race until the last downwind, when he was able to just get in front. From then on he had to work hard to protect his lead to the finish.
In the second race, Cockerill's 18 place leaves him needing to win the last two races, with Littlejohn only needing to finish fourth or better in one race. Anders SORENSSON (SWE) held on to his overall lead in the Masters fleet, after a 3rd and his worst result in the series so far, a 13. He said: "In the first race I was pretty good from the beginning but the second race was a bit tricky. It was very shifty and I also had a bad start, which put me back in the middle of the fleet. I was able to work my way back to 13th but I am satisfied as the competitors behind me did not have a good day".
Sorensson now has a comfortable lead over Chris RAAB (USA), who moves from fifth to second, with a sixth and seventh place and being able to discard both his results from the previous day. Raab swaps places with Alexander NIKOLAEV (RUS) who had a disastrous 21st and 28th. Wilmar GROENENDIJK (NED) in the Laser Radial Apprentices was the third sailor to score a clean sheet, to secure his overall first position ahead of Thomas DEIMLING (GER). Roberta HARTLEY (GBR) kept the flag flying for the women with a second and a third place, which leaves her in third, only one place behind Deimling.
In the Laser Radial Masters, Alastair MCMICHAEL (AUS) now has a 5 point lead over Bruce Martinson USA, after leading his group home in both races. It was the same story for Alden SHATTUCK (USA) in the Laser Radial Grand Masters. His dominance of his fleet throughout the week gives him a 9 point lead over Henk WITTENBERG (NED), and the overall win with two races to spare.
Overcast skies and light rain on the final day gave little hope of a good racing breeze, even though at the weather briefing the meteorologist suggested there was a chance of a sea breeze if the sun broke through. Although the sun appeared briefly after lunch, it was not enough to produce a thermal, and at 2.30 pm the race committee abandoned any hope of racing for the day.
Final Results are available on the event website at the address below.