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Southern Spars

Laser National Championship - A ripping tide for Day 1

by Jane Moffat on 30 Dec 2013
Laser Standard fleet working hard upwind Guido Brandt
In the Laser Nationals 2013, after yesterday when Melbourne delivered a hard and fast cool change with gusts of up to 50 knots for the practice race, day one provided some tricky conditions of a different kind in particular a ‘ripping tide’ according to Race Officer on Alpha course Peter Merritt.

With a shifty south westerly oscillating between 200 and 215 degrees and bright sunshine the courses were laid off Rosebud pier providing an excellent spectator vantage point.


Alpha Corse with the 4.7 and Standards saw both fleets have general recalls with race one eventually getting away under black flag, several sailors falling foul of the tide. Race two saw similar starting conditions – code flag U and black flag start.

Luke Elliot (WA) in the Standard fleet delighted with the shifty conditions ‘lots of lead changes were fun and made the racing interesting’. The results show how tight the racing at the top of the fleet is with the first four sailors all sitting on six points. Jeremy O’Connell (VIC) is currently placed first as he scored a bullet in race two.


Hamish Wiltshire (NT) in the 4.7 fleet scored two bullets leaving him three points ahead of past Optimist National Champion Jack Graves.

Wiltshire finished third overall at the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne and one of his goals for this regatta is to ‘beat Tyrone Gowans (VIC) and Brody Riley (VIC) ‘ who placed first and second. The ‘breezy conditions were great and meant there was tight racing’ said Wiltshire who was clearly very pleased with his performance on the first day.

The 101 Radial entries are split across two fleets for the qualifying series with the first two races today providing a mixed bag of results for some sailors. Alistair Young (WA) posted a 14 and bullet, leaving the past Australian Optimist Sailing Team member on 15 points.

Japanese sailor Wakako Tabata is the top female on six points, ahead of Krystal Weir (AUS) on eight. Tabata competed at the 2012 London Olympics in the 470 and in 2013 has competed in both the 470 and Radial World Championships. With the fleet assignments changing each day it will take a few more races to establish the main players in the radial fleet.

With the forecast for 10 to 15 knots for the next two days, some of the younger sailors will be looking forward to lighter conditions it will also test the decision making of those at the top of the fleets.



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