Sunday 3rd April saw the Northern Laser Grand Prix circuit kick off at West Riding Sailing Club. A sunny forecast with a promising breeze resulted in a competitive fleet. Unfortunately, as the fleet rigged, the breeze failed to build as much as hoped.
After a short postponement OOD Jonathan Gledhill got the fleet away in what appeared to be a building breeze, however hopes were dashed when the breeze died as the fleet approached the windward mark.
Ian Jones navigated his way through the lulls to round first. Behind him place changes were extreme in the ensuing game of snakes and ladders. As the fleet completed the first lap, Jones was well in control though pursued by Tim Keighley and Adrian Sandilands. Behind them the pack was continually being shuffled, until the race was shortened just two legs into the second lap, with Jones taking the honours from Keighley, Sandilands and Dave Poore who battled through the fleet to take fourth place on the last leg.
Whilst the competitors sat in the sun to eat lunch the breeze built to a promising F2/3. After a general recall the fleet got away in enough breeze to allow a decent debate about the merits of Mk2 sails. Hamish Gledhill got away cleanly at the pin end and was able to tack to cross the fleet on port. However it was Charlotte Greenhalgh who navigated her way up the first beat to round first, being pursued by Ian Jones, Keighley and Gledhill. Jones went to work to reel in Greenhalgh, followed by Keighley. Behind them the battle raged with Gledhill, Graham Macwhirter, Adrian Sandilands, Patrick Hamilton and Ian Lees exchanging places. Jones went on to win from Keighley, with Macwhirter pulling ahead of Gledhill.
The wind which looked so promising softened for the last race as the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt. Gledhill rounded the windward mark first ahead of Jones and Greenhalgh. Ian Jones pulled ahead to take his third bullet of the day leaving a battle for second place between Greenhalgh and Gledhill, who were also joined by Dave Poore and Wendy Jones. Greenhalgh pulled clear with a lap to go, leaving Gledhill with a battle to stay ahead of Poore in fourth and Greenhalgh in fifth.
In the end Jones took the day, ahead of Keighley, Gledhill and Greenhalgh. The close racing meant three boats were tied on 8 points, three on 17 points and two on 24, providing plenty of ifs and buts for discussion in the bar afterwards.
In accepting his prize, one of which rattled more than it ought to after a clumsy exchange of prizes, Jones thanked West Riding for hosting the event and look forward to the fleet re-assembling in the next leg of the northern Grand Prix Circuit at Delph SC on Saturday 16th April.
Full results for the event can be downloaded here.