Australian Laser Championships

Wearn consolidates his lead in Australian Laser Championships

Melbourne, January 5,2020: Three races were held at the Australian Laser Championships today as organisers sought to make up for yesterday’s cancellations owing to high winds.


A cold and wet Melbourne morning greeted the sailors, but the forecast moderate southerly winds had settled in, providing good racing conditions. All 277 entrants were successfully launched in time for the 12.45pm start.


With the wind strength varying between 12 and 18 knots and oscillating, experience, skill and a little bit of luck were all needed.


Standard Rig

Australia’s Tokyo 2020 representative, Matt Wearn, struck the first blow, winning the opening race ahead of Duko Bos (NED) and Richard Maher (AUS). Double world champion Nick Thompson (GBR), who won both races on the first day of competition, found himself on the wrong side of wind shifts to finish 14th.


Matt Wearn leads the 2020 Australian Laser Championships. Photo Jon West Photography.

It was “all change” in race two, with Wearn down in 12th place and Thompson in 15th. However, as the fourth race of the series had been sailed, the first of two discards came in to play, leaving Wearn still at the top of the leaderboard. The race was won by Fillah Karim of Canada, from New Zealanders Sam Meech and George Gautrey.


Meech, who is ranked third in the world, won the final race from Wearn and another Aussie, Mitch Kennedy.


The top three in the final race are also the top three on the leaderboard, with Wearn holding a four point lead over Meech, and a seven point lead over Kennedy.


Both Wearn and Meech were satisfied with their day’s work, saying the conditions were shifty but readable.


Wearn called it a solid day. “The second race seemed to get real funky and I seemed to miss every shift, but I’m happy with the results,” he said.


Meech said that the conditions were similar to Auckland Harbour but the waves were a bit bigger. “The right was pretty strong all day,” he added.


Nick Thompson had a consistent day but the numbers were a lot bigger than his two bullets on Friday. He recorded 14, (15), 13 to sit in seventh overall, 18 points off the lead.


Laser Radial

Experience came to the fore in the first race of the Radials, with 2016 Rio Olympic Champion, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) winning in Purple fleet from Marie Bolou (FRA) and Paige Railey (USA). The Dutchwoman had an excellent day, scoring 1, 3, 1 to finish on top of the leaderboard.


Defending champion and overnight leader Mara Stransky was seventh in the first race. She and Mirthe Akkerman (NED), who both scored two bullets on the first day, remained neck-and-neck as Akkerman finished seventh in Yellow fleet. That race was won by Rio silver medallist Annalise Murphy (IRE) from Silvia Zennaro (ITA) and the first of the male sailors, Henry Otto of NSW.


With the wind continuing to vary in both strength and direction, the second race mixed up the leaderboard considerably. Race winners were Maxime Jonker (NED) and Pernelle Michon (FRA). Mara Stransky finished 14th in Purple fleet while Mirthe Akkerman was 18th in Yellow fleet. They could both discard these high numbers, and re-focus for the final race of the day.


With the weather still cold and overcast, Annalise Murphy decided she’d had enough. Suffering from a cold picked up on the flight to Australia, she decided the fifth race could become her drop too, preferring to get warm and dry, with her eyes fixed firmly on next month’s World Championships.


The final race didn’t go to plan for Mara Stransky, who dropped her tiller while rounding the bottom mark, impeded some starboard tackers and had to do penalty turns.


“It was going well until I decided to be an idiot,” she said with customary good humour. “It wasn’t the best day.”


The damage wasn’t terminal, with the Queenslander finishing that race in 12th place, which leaves her fifth overall, 11 points behind Marit Bouwmeester.

Australia’s leading Radial sailor, Mara Stransky, had a day to forget at the Australian Laser Championships. Photo Jon West Photography.

Western Australian Stefan Elliott-Shircore leads the men’s fleet, in eighth place overall.

Laser 4.7

Conditions were tough for the young sailors in the 4.7 Class, but at the front of the fleet they were handling it well. Jonathon Lio from Singapore won all three races but Toby Coote from WA leads the regatta by three points after a consistent day where he scored two seconds and a third. Russell Yom has the same points as Lio, but is third on a countback.

Toby Coote leads the Laser 4.7 Class at the Australian Laser Championships at Sandringham. Photo Jon West Photography.


As is common in the less experienced fleets, there were a number of sailors black-flagged for being over the line at the start after a general recall at the first attempt to get a clear start.


The race committee has announced that they will try to get three races in tomorrow, to get the regatta back on course. Winds are forecast to be light, in the 6-10 knot range, and there is a chance of more showers. The temperature should be warmer, at 16-20 deg C.


Standard Rig Top 10

Country State 1 2 3 4 5 Total
1 WEARN, Matt 199015 AUS WA 2 6 1 (12) 2 23 11
2 MEECH, Sam 216175 NZL (8) 8 4 2 1 23 15
3 KENNEDY, Mitchell 164180 AUS QLD 3 (11) 8 4 3 29 18
4 GAUTREY, George 214437 NZL (9) 9 5 3 4 30 21
5 SAUNDERS, Thomas 211585 NZL 5 (14) 6 8 5 38 24
6 BOS, Duko 206717 NED 10 (12) 2 7 7 38 26
7 THOMPSON, Nick 211921 GBR 1 1 14 (15) 13 44 29
8 ALEXANDER, Finn 214418 AUS NSW (12) 7 9 5 10 43 31
9 RAMMO, Karl-Martin 203724 EST 6 5 7 (70)
14 102 32
10 BUCKINGHAM, Charlie 217275 USA 4 3 15 (19) 16 57 38


Radial Rig Top 10

1 BOUWMEESTER, Marit 210407 NED 5 5 (64)
3 1 78 14 F
2 AKKERMAN, Mirthe 213474 NED 1 1 7 (18) 7 34 16 F
3 BARWINSKA, Agata 217327 POL 2 3 (9) 2 9 25 16 F
4 DOI, Manami 199066 JPN 6 6 2 (15) 2 31 16 F
5 YOUNG, Alison 206251 GBR 8 (24) 1 7 1 41 17 F
6 KARACHALIOU, Vasileia 216184 GRE 4 2 2 (12) 10 30 18 F
7 STRANSKY, Mara 208546 AUS QLD 1 1 5 (14) 12 33 19 F
8 JONKER, Maxime 211391 NED 7 (25) 9 1 3 45 20 F
9 ELLIOTT-SHIRCORE, Stefan 217309 AUS WA (27) 2 7 10 2 48 21 M
10 MICHON, Pernelle 212730 FRA 13 (21) 4 1 4 43 22 F


4.7 Rig Top 10

1 COOTE, Toby 206001 AUS WA (8) 5 2 2 3 20 12 M
2 LIO, Jonathan 209042 SGP 12 (13) 1 1 1 28 15 M
3 YOM, Russell 213191 SGP 2 3 5 (29) 5 44 15 M
4 SCHOTTE, Isaac 205831 AUS QLD 6 (12) 3 8 7 36 24 M
5 FANG, Dylan 214240 SGP 3 (20) 4 12 8 47 27 M
6 LEE, Darius 214235 SGP 17 (29) 7 4 6 63 34 M
7 DUFF, Taj 206042 AUS VIC 13 4 (15) 7 15 54 39 M
8 LOVELADY, Mia 211557 WA WA 16 6 11 6 (22) 61 39 F
9 WADLEY, Kristen 209536 AUS 28 (36) 9 5 2 80 44 F
10 WARNER, Edward 208809 AUS VIC (21) 1 14 14 19 69 48 M


Full results are available at


Thompson, Stransky and Akkerman stand-out performers on first day of Australian Laser Championships

Double world champion Nick Thompson of Great Britain, young Queenslander Mara Stransky, who is chasing her first Olympic Games spot, and Dutch sailor Mirthe Akkerman were the stand-out performers on the first day of the Australian Laser Championships being held at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne. All three recorded a perfect score with two wins from two races.


There was almost no wind when competitors arrived for the first race of the championship, but by start time a light southerly was fluttering the flags.


Heavy smoke haze blanketed the racing area, but race management was monitoring the situation and deemed it safe to sail.


Standard Rig

Thompson showed no signs of jet-lag, taking the win in the first race ahead of Western Australian Matt Wearn who will be Australia’s representative at the Tokyo Olympics. Another Australian, Mitch Kennedy, was third, ahead of American Olympian Charlie Buckingham.


It was more of the same for Thompson in race two, again taking the win. Buckingham sailed consistently, recording a third in the second race to leave him second overall, one point ahead of Wearn.


Thompson arrived in Australia only four days ago and decided yesterday to enter the Australian Championships to test the waters on which he will sail for the 2020 World Championship in February.


“I was jet-lagged for the first three days, but now I’m feeling great,” Thompson said.


“I’m just enjoying it, kind of chilled, I guess, because I only entered literally at the last second. It’s just a pleasure sailing in this stuff,” he said of the light to moderate southerlies that prevailed during the afternoon.


Matt Wearn was happy with his first day but felt he had slipped a few places in the second race.


“There was about a 30 degree left shift and it sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind about whether it was the big shift we were expecting. It wasn’t, but I guess I hedged my bets in case it was, and I went backwards a bit. But it was a solid day.”


Women’s Radial

The Men’s and Women’s Laser Radial classes are sailing together, split into Yellow and Purple fleets.


With the Australian selection for Tokyo 2020 still to be decided, Queenslander Mara Stransky struck an early blow with two wins in Purple fleet. Yumiko Tombe of Japan was second and Marie Burrue (FRA) was third in the first race. All three were pleased to have beaten Rio 2016 gold medallist, Marit Bouwmeester, who finished fifth overall and fourth woman.


In Yellow fleet, the Dutch woman Mirthe Akkerman got the gun in race one, ahead of Agata Barwinska (POL) and Monika Mikkola (FIN).


Barwinska followed up with a third place in race two, to sit three points behind the two Australians in the overall standings

Stransky lives on her parent’s catamaran, which has been berthed at Royal Brighton Yacht Club for over a month.


“I think I’ve spent so long here that I’m confident with that wind direction (southerly),” she said.


Men’s Radial

The men were given a bit of a lesson by the women, with only Great Britain’s Finley Dickinson breaking into the top three in either fleet. He finished second in the first race of Yellow fleet and sixth in race two, to lead the men’s standings on 8 points. Sofiane Karim, a Frenchman who is living in NSW, is second male, one point behind Dickinson. Australian Stefan Elliott-Shircore is in third.


4.7 Rig

The locals had to take a back seat in the first race of the 4.7s, with Shoko Kitahara (JPN), Russell Yom and Dylan Fang, both of Singapore, filling the first three places. But in race two local sailor Edward Warner beat Kitahara and Yom. That leaves Kitahara in the overall lead from Yom, with Western Australian Toby Coote in third.


Racing continues tomorrow, with strong winds close to 30 knots forecast on Port Phillip for the afternoon. While that should blow away the bushfire smoke, it may make conditions marginal for sailing.


Full results are available at

Win a new Laser sail – Enter the 2020 O&A Laser Masters now

Enter the 2020 Oceania and Australian Laser Masters Champsionshisp now.


Entries received and paid before midnight 30 November 2019 will be entered in a draw to win a new Laser sail courtesy of Performance Sailcraft Australia.


One Laser sail will be raffled between entries from Australian residents and one Laser sail will be raffled between non Australian residents. The draw will be conducted at the regatta. (see full terms and conditions on the entry web site).



2020 Australian Laser Championships – Entries are now open for all rigs

The Notice of Race has been released for the 2020 Australian Laser Championships, to be run at Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne, from January 1-8, 2020.


The Australian Championships, which include Laser 4.7, Laser Radial (men’s and women’s) and Laser Standard rigs, are expected to attract large fleets as Australian and international sailors prepare for the World and Masters World Championships later in the summer.


Olympic Selection

As all eyes turn towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Australia’s leading men’s and women’s Laser sailors will also use the Australian Championships to push for Olympic team selection.


In the men’s Standard division, 2016 Olympic Champion Tom Burton has been under pressure from compatriot Matthew Wearn to retain his Olympic spot. Both will represent their country at the Olympic Test Event at Enoshima in August of this year and both are expected to line up at the Australian Championships in January.


The battle for the Women’s Laser Radial spot at Tokyo is also intense, with young Queenslander Mara Stransky winning selection for the Test Event after two top 10 finishes in Europe pushed her ahead of four other strong prospects. Stransky has confirmed that the Australian Championships are an important part of her preparations for the 2020 World Championships in February, at the same venue, where her closest competitors will also try to put their names in the selectors’ minds.


Victorian Laser Association President, John d’Helin said that it wasn’t just the “elite” sailors who would be lining up for the Championships, however. “I’ve heard from a number of middle-of-the-pack sailors and also from a few newcomers to the class, saying they can’t wait to get out on the water with the top sailors. It’s a rare chance for the Laser community, whatever their level of sailing, to take part in major events. I think that’s one of the beauties of our sport – Joe Average can be out there sailing with Olympic and World Champions, and having just as much fun.”

The Victorian Association has a solid program of social events planned for the summer and, thanks to major sponsor Visit Victoria, will also be distributing information about the many places to visit and things to do in the Port Phillip area and greater Victoria.


Win a New Laser

Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) will produce 160 new Lasers to cater for the demand from international and interstate competitors who intend sailing at the Australian, Oceania and World Championships.


The company is also offering early entrants in the Australian Championships the chance to win a brand new Laser with carbon top section, a beach dolly and the winner’s choice of rig. 130 sailors will go into the draw (to be held at the Regatta) having lodged their entry in prior to August 31, 2019.


To enter, go to or


Sailors planning to enter the Australian Championships, Sail Melbourne and any of the World events are also encouraged to visit where they can download the Laser2020 app and sign up to receive newsletters which will contain updates on the events, guides to sailing at both Sandringham and Geelong, information on the social program, special offers on tours and sightseeing, and valuable sailing tips from expert coaches.


The full Laser 2020 program is:

  • Australian Championships, Sandringham Yacht Club, January 1-8, 2020.
  • Oceania Championships in conjunction with Sail Melbourne, Sandringham Yacht Club, January 17-21, 2020.
  • ILCA Standard Men’s World Championship, Sandringham Yacht Club, February 9-16, 2020.
  • ILCA Men’s and Women’s Laser Radial Championships, Sandringham Yacht Club, February 21-28, 2020.
  • Oceania and Australian Laser Masters Championships, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, March 13-18, 2020.
  • ILCA Laser Masters World Championships, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, March 19-28, 2020.

Major sponsors of the Laser2020 program are Visit Victoria and Performance Sailcraft Australia.

Win a unique Laser carbon mast – be a Individual Gold Sponsor

Laser Summer of 2020 Individual Gold Sponsor


  • Show your support for the Laser Summer of 2020 by becoming an Individual Gold Sponsor. Gold sponsors will help the Victorian Laser Association to:
  • Ensure the events are world class, and memorable for all the sailors and spectators.
  • To raise awareness of the impact of human activity on the world’s oceans.
  • Promote Australia as the destination for sailing in the summer of 2020 in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
  • Promote the events to International Competitors to increase participation and global exposure for sponsors and Australia.
  • Generate a surplus to enable the VLA to increase future participation in sailing, and provide coaching to Laser sailors of all ages.
  • Encourage others to experience the sport of sailing and the camaraderie that develops in a sport enjoyed by participants of all genders and ages.

Individual Gold Sponsorships are AUD$250. In addition to helping the VLA you will receive a 5% discount on your entry into the Australian Nationals or the Australian Masters Nationals.


You will also receive an embroidered Gold Sponsor polo shirt and bath towel.


Gold Sponsors will also receive a Gold Sponsor transom sticker and 50 PSA points which can be used to discount your purchases from PSA.


Gold Sponsorships will only be available until 5pm AEST on 31st July 2019. On the 31st July at 6pm AEST Individual Gold Sponsorship members will go into the draw for a Laser Carbon Fibre Top section with the result to be published in the Laser Express News and on the PSA, VLA and Laser 2020 facebook pages.


Gold Sponsorships are available for purchase on Trybooking


Competition terms and conditions are available on the booking website page.


Click here to see the Gold Sponsorship brochure.


Looking to get around on a Bike?

BikeNow have a huge range of bikes available whether you are looking for an easy form of transport to and from the Club or an advanced bike to explore the famous Beach Road and free up those hiking muscles. Helmet included in hire rate (helmets are compulsory in Victoria).


Check the bike hire rates here:


Book your bike here:


The following coaches have advised us they will offer services during Laser 2020.


SailCoach will be at the 2020 Laser Worlds providing a coaching service. SailCoach a European coaching organisation based on the Mediterranean Island of Malta. We will be celebrating 25 years of Laser coaching in 2020.


Contact details: –

email: –

website: –

Instagram:- #sailcoachmakingyoubetter

Facebook: – SailCoach Making You Better @sailcoach

Twitter: – @sailcoach


We plan to be in Australian in January through to the end of February.