With the regatta already won before the final two races, Matt Wearn finished the week with a third and a seventh (which became his second discard) to wrap up his fifth Australian Laser Championship.
Conditions were testing, with strong 18-25 knot south-westerlies kicking up some choppy waves under a sunny sky but the leading sailors all managed the course well. Other winners were Mara Stransky, Brody Riley, Toby Coote and Kirsten Wadley.
Wearn, who finished11 points ahead of Kiwi Sam Meech overall, said, “Obviously it’s always good to win an event on the same waters that the Worlds will be sailed on. They were strange conditions, though. We didn’t have a sea breeze all week.”
Wearn said he’d had “a nice little break” before Christmas so he was keen to get racing ahead of a busy schedule that includes Sail Melbourne later this month.
The Women’s Laser Radial class came down to a battle between two Dutch women. Maxime Yonker led the fleet after 10 races but her vastly experienced team mate, the Rio 2016 gold and London 2012 silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester, found something extra, winning the final race and the regatta.
Australian Mara Stransky had an up-and-down event which included two race wins and a black flag disqualification, but was still able to retain the women’s title (as first Australian) by a massive 112 points over her nearest Australian competitor, Elyse Ainsworth, who pipped Zoe Thomson by a single point.
Stransky said she was really happy to have repeated her win from last year. “It was an awesome competition so it’s cool to come out with a solid performance. It’s a nice confidence boost ahead of the worlds to have sailed well against the people who will be doing it (the World Championship).”
In the men’s Radial, local McCrae sailor, Brody Riley, had a comfortable win by 39 points over fellow Australian, Michael Compton. He finished third overall, behind the two Dutch women.
“The Worlds is obviously the big one,” he said after the final race. “But it was nice to do well considering the quality of the girls’ fleet.”
Riley recently took a break from the Radial to sail the Standard rig and to further his law career, but said it was nice to be back in the class.
The strong Singapore squad dominated the youth class, taking three of the four top places. Jonathan Lio had an amazing regatta, recording seven bullets from the 11 races.
Toby Coote was third overall and therefore won the boy’s title as first Australian. It was his first major win and he said he said he was very pleased, especially considering the high quality of the fleet.
Coote improved as the regatta went on and he put that down to getting in tune with his new boat. He said he’s not sure of his future plans but expects he’ll soon be too big for the 4.7 and will have to move up to the men’s Radial.
Kristen Wadley was first in the girl’s with a very creditable seventh overall to take her fourth title in a row.
“I’m too small to move into the Radials, so I’ve seen a lot of changes in the dynamic of the fleet – the top 10 when I first started is totally different to the top 10 at this regatta,” Kristen said.
Attention now turns to Sail Melbourne, beginning on January 17. The Laser fleets will again sail out of Sandringham, giving local and international competitors valuable practice on the waters that will be used for the World Championships in February.
Full results are available at http://sailingresults.net/?ID=80313
– Laser 2020 Media
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With one day left to sail, Matt Wearn, who will be Australia’s representative in the Laser class at the Tokyo Olympics, has an unbeatable lead in this year’s National Championship.
After three races in almost ideal conditions at Sandringham today, Wearn holds a 29 point lead over his nearest Australian competitor, Luke Elliott.
Wearn won the title in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 but was runner up to Rio Olympic Champion Tom Burton last year.
The past two days have been something of a lottery, with wind strength and direction shifting wildly. But today the wind gods sent steadier breeze, in the 10 to 15 knot range, with only slight shifts in direction that were easily read by the more experienced sailors.
Wearn has put together a very solid regatta, with scores to date of 2, 6, 1, (12), 2, 3, 6, 1, 4. The second discard comes in to play after the first race tomorrow, and with so many low scores, Wearn can afford to have two ‘shockers” and still win the title.
Today’s race winners were Kiwi Tom Saunders, Wearn and Charlie Buckingham (USA). Wearn leads second-placed Sam Meech (NZL) by 15 points overall, but internationals are not eligible for the title.
Wearn said the conditions were much improved today. “There was a lot less smoke so it was easier to see where the breeze was. (I had) three solid results today, which makes tomorrow a lot easier,” he said.
Experience came to the fore again in the Laser Radial, where Rio Olympic Champion and London silver medallist, Marit Bouwmeester leads her Dutch team mate Maxime Jonker and Greek sailor Vasileia Karachaliou by 15 points.
Bouwmeester, who has already been selected to defend her title in Tokyo, said of today’s conditions, “It was a bit windy, but it was fun.”
She and sailors from 17 other countries have come to the Australian titles to get familiar with the conditions they are likely to encounter at next month’s world championships.
“We don’t know much about the course yet, but we’re learning fast,” she said, also paying compliments to her hosts. “The organising committee is doing an awesome job, especially with the launching and retrieving. It’s very nice being here in preparation for the worlds.”
The Australian women’s title is almost certain to be retained by Mara Stransky of Queensland, who sits in fifth overall behind four internationals and is a massive 58 points clear of her closest Australian rival, Zoe Thomson.
Today’s race winners were Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and Maxime Jonker, who won two.
Singapore’s Jonathan Lio continues to lead the Laser 4.7 fleet. He has won six of the nine races sailed to date. Western Australia’s Toby Coote has a stranglehold on the Australian title, sitting in third overall, 17 points clear of his closest rival, Isaac Schotte.
Kristen Wadley is the leading female in the class in eighth overall.
With just two races to be sailed tomorrow, and the forecast for winds very similar to today, the leaders will be sleeping well, knowing they don’t need to take any risks.
Full results are available at http://sailingresults.net/?ID=80313
More images are available at www.jonwest.photography.
It was another frustrating day for sailors and race officials alike at the 2020 Australian Laser Championships. Sandringham Yacht Club was shrouded in smoke, with the gentle southerly breeze not strong enough to blow it away – or allow racing to commence on time.
Finally, a light westerly materialised earlier than forecast and the PRO sent all three fleets out on to the course. But the dramas were just beginning.
The Laser Radials, now split into Gold and Silver fleet, were the first to attempt a start.
With the bushfire smoke becoming thicker and the wind continuing to fluctuate in both direction and velocity, it was a real test of the sailor’s instincts and nerve.
There were a number of general recalls as the wind swung by as much as 30 degrees during the pre-start, causing the race committee to eventually start the Gold fleet under Black Flag.
A large group at the pin end were caught out and 21 sailors were disqualified, including the two leading Australians, Mara Stransky and Zoe Thomson.
Stransky was philosophical about the result, saying, “I was over (the line), I’ll take the penalty.”
But she did comment that the conditions were very difficult, with the pin being shifted several times as the wind fluctuated, and with visibility so low in the smoke haze.
“The wind was so light you could barely lay on starboard and you couldn’t get a transit because you couldn’t see the other end of the line,” she said, reiterating that she wasn’t making excuses.
Ultimately, Vasileia Karachaliou of Greece led home a European trifecta, ahead of Louise Cervera (FRA) and Maxime Jonker (NED).
Rio Olympic Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) holds on to her overall lead by a single point over Karachaliou and her Dutch team mate Jonker.
Silver fleet is led by Russia’s Mariia Kislukhina from Australians Lachie Weber and Jack Eickmeyer.
The men sailing the Standard rig were not exempt from the problems besetting the Radials and there were six black flags in that fleet also.
Matt Wearn consolidated his position at the head of the competition with a solid third place.
“It was a pretty average race,” he said. “I’m happy to take that one away though. I’ll take ‘a keeper’ in conditions like that.”
Double world champion, Nick Thompson, who finished 10th was also philosophical about the day. “The wind was fluctuating from 3 to 10 knots and shifting about 40 degrees. The worst thing was you couldn’t see the shifts (because of the smoke),” he said.
The race was won by Luke Elliott of Australia, with Karl-Martin Rammo of Estonia second.
The result moved Elliott into the top 10, but there was little change at the top. Wearn increased his overall lead to nine points over New Zealander Sam Meech, giving him a healthy buffer with only two days left to sail. Another Aussie, Mitch Kennedy, holds third place, six points behind Meech.
The young sailors in the 4.7 fleet showed their older counterparts how it should be done, with just two competitors black flagged.
Singaporean sailors took five of the top six places. Victorian Hamish Cowell was in second place, splitting winner Joelle Lio, a female in the Under 18 category, and third-placed Russell Yom.
Yom now leads the overall standings by a single point from compatriot Jonathan Lio, while Australian Toby Coote is in third.
Race officials will try to get three races sailed tomorrow, when conditions are forecast to be better, with slightly stronger winds and better visibility.
Full results are available at here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Western Australian Stefan Elliott-Shircore leads the men’s fleet, in eighth place overall.
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.
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
Radial Rig Top 10
4.7 Rig Top 10
Full results are available at http://sailingresults.net/?ID=80313
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 http://sailingresults.net/?ID=80313
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).
Early Bird entry for the 2020 Australian Laser Championships has closed.
Over 130 sailors have a chance to win a brand new Laser courtesy of Performance Sailcraft Australia.
Enter or register your support boat here:
Keep up to date with entries, all race documentation and much more on the free Laser 2020 mobile phone app.
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.
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.
Sailors planning to enter the Australian Championships, Sail Melbourne and any of the World events are also encouraged to visit www.laser2020.com 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.
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 https://www.trybooking.com/BCESS
Competition terms and conditions are available on the booking website page.