Laser 4000 has gained certain reputation and status of classic racing dinghy worldwide due to many of its positive features and properties. Along with that, there are numerous dinghy competitions organized annually featuring various Laser 4000 models and attracting numerous audience, as well as many sailors competitors.
Laser 4000 sailors from around Europe descended on Lake Garda for a scorching championship in 35 degree heat. The thirty boats reveled in four days of ‘classic Garda’, the famous Ora wind not dampened by the temperature.
The fleet comprised seasoned regulars to the Laser 4000 fleet as well as several new members including Stewart Patience and Jenny Persson who were consistently seen to be grinning from ear to ear on the blast around the course. The most distant attendees joined us from New York to be reunited with their boat for the first competition appearance in a few years.
The nervous tension in the boat park on the first day was soon blown away by the Ora as Martin Boyde and Toby Linnell demonstrated superior pace in the race to the cliffs following the start. Al Hodgson and Sue Ogg had the most successful first day and led over night with a barrage of competitors hot on their heels.
Day 2 saw Martin and Toby put in 3 top races with Chris Gould and Penny Hooper suddenly changing gear to rise up the leader board where they would stay for the remainder of the regatta. The 4000 fleet descended on Torbole for a mid-regatta meal with a full cohort of Italians and French joining the British contingent. Once again sailing proved the international language despite some colourful Italian translations.
The competition throughout the regatta was incredibly close with 5 different boats winning races. Standard Garda tactics were not sufficient to get to the front with several shifts on day 3 making good layline calls to the windward mark absolutely essential. Martin and Toby, after another consistent day, realised that there was a chance to win the regatta with a day to spare. Despite the enthusiastic jostling which accompanied the start of Race 9 they kept their cool to clinch 3rd and with it the 2010 European title.
Day 4 saw an intense battle for the remaining podium spots and in the end Chris and Penny clinched 2nd with Al and Sue in 3rd. The medal ceremony saw three union flags rising behind the podium accompanied by an enthusiastic rendition of the national anthem by one of the medal winning crews (best that they remain nameless)! Another unforgettable Europeans at arguably one of the best sailing venues in the world.
1st Martin Boyd/ Toby Linnell (GBR) (15 points)
2nd Chris Gould/ Penny Hooper (GBR) (19 points)
3rd Alistair Hodgson/ Sue Ogg (GBR) (22 points)
4th Mark Richards/ CC Williamson (GBR) (31 points)
5th John Warburton/ James Clapham (GBR) (33 points)