With variable winds up to 18 knots it was a battle of fitness, endurance and stamina on the final day of the 2011 Neil Pryde Australian Laser Masters Nationals in Port Stephens, NSW.
The nine newly crowned champions are;
• Laser 4.7 Masters Champion, Claire Heenan (NSW)
• Laser Radial Apprentice Master Champion, Owen McMahon (VIC)
• Laser Radial Master Champion, David Early (NSW)
• Laser Radial Grand Master Champion, John Sprague (NSW)
• Laser Radial Great Grand Master Champion, Kerry Waraker (QLD)
• Laser Standard Apprentice Master Champion, Brett Beyer (NSW)
• Laser Standard Master Champion, Bradley Taylor (QLD)
• Laser Standard Grand Master Champion, Colin Dibb (WA)
• Laser Standard Great Grand Master Champion, Graham Oborn (NSW)
Claire Heenan won the title on count back from Martin Brady after scoring a second and winning the final race. Having had to retire from the first race of the regatta with a broken vang, Claire was playing catch up and couldn’t afford any more mistakes in the series. She rose to the challenge and sailed a great series enabling her to discard her results from the dramas of the first day. Claire is the first ever Australian Laser 4.7 Open Masters Champion.
'I did not expect to win this event, I was hoping for a top three result, especially given the fresh wind forecast. The racing within the fleet was remarkably tight with lead changes in most races and each race winner being pushed the whole way. I did not realise I had won until the final results were posted, so it was a great surprise. I had a great time at the regatta, regardless of the win. I am chuffed at being the inaugural 4.7 Laser Masters winner, it was tough to win but I think it will be tougher to defend as the 4.7 class grows', confessed Claire.
'I am, with the help of some fellow 4.7 sailors, currently lobbying the International Laser Association for a 4.7 Masters division at the WA World Masters Championships Feb 2012. They are discussing the submission this week. I hope that this regatta has shown that we can have terrific racing. I have sown seeds in the minds of lightweight Radial sailors to join the class, why punish yourself in a radial when you would be more competitive in a 4.7? I believe that the class will continue to grow'.
2011 Australian Laser Masters Nationals - performance Sailcraft Australasia (PSA) Media
Kerry Waraker won both final races to secure the Australian Laser Radial Great Grand Master Championship title from Lew Verdon in silver and Kevin Phillips in Bronze. Graham Oborn won the Laser Standard Great Grand Masters with a day to spare. Don Roach won Silver and Maurice Meyer won Bronze. Colin Dibb won with a massive 20 point lead in the Laser Standard Grand Master fleet with second and third placed sailors, Stefan Kurys-Romer and Mark Phillips on equal points. The points were closer in the Laser Standard Master fleet with just seven points between first and third. Bradley Taylor won over Sean Atherton-Feeney and Mark Tonner-Joyce.
Having slipped down to third place on the penultimate day after two disqualifications for premature starts, Brett Beyer was under pressure to perform on the final day. He managed a win and a third which was enough to win the Laser Standard Apprentice Master Championship title. Anthony Baisden won silver by just two points from Brett Morris. Brett Beyer explained, 'Getting two OCS’s was not ideal, I didn’t account enough for the effect of the tide pushing us over the line. I felt I was sailing well and was confident that if I didn’t push it too much on the last day that I could win. I look forward to defend my World title at the Masters Worlds in Perth in February. It is work before pleasure at most events for me as an Olympic sailing coach'.
John Sprague made a big jump on the final day, winning both the races which took him from third place to winning the title of Laser Radial Grand Master Champion. Michael Pitt won silver and Christopher Meech won Bronze. A very modest John Sprague talked of his win and why he loves Laser sailing, 'It was really close racing. I knew I had to win both races to secure the title and I pulled it off but others were just as deserving as me. It paid to work the left side today due to the out running tide'.
'I have sailed Lasers for 30 years and like the fact that they are simple, quick and easy to rig and everyone is equal with the equipment being one-design. The best part of racing Lasers is making so many friends, the fantastic camaraderie, everyone is a mate and here to have fun, we are all like one big crew'. The Winners:
Laser Standard Apprentice
1 Brett Beyer (NSW) 10pts
2 Anthony Baisden (QLD) 16pts
3 Brett Morris (VIC) 18pts
Laser Standard Master
1 Bradley Taylor (QLD) 12pts
2 Sean Atherton-Feeney (NSW) 16pts
3 Mark Tonner-Joyce (VIC) 19pts
Laser Standard Grand Master
1 Colin Dibb (WA) 9pts
2 Stefan Kurys-Romer (WA) 29pts
3 Mark Phillips (NSW) 29pts
Laser Standard Great Grand Master
1 Graham Oborn (NSW) 9pts
2 Don Roach (NSW) 18pts
3 Maurice Meyer (QLD) 23pts
Laser Radial Apprentice Master
1 Owen McMahon (VIC) 12pts
2 Richard Bott (NSW) 12pts
3 Martin Wilson (NSW) 20pts
Laser Radial Master
1 David Early (NSW) 15pts
2 Mark Kennedy (QLD) 22pts
3 John Jagger (VIC) 26pts
1 women: Vanessa Dudley fifth overall
Laser Radial Grand Master
1 John Sprague (NSW) 14pts
2 Michael Pitt (QLD) 19pts
3 Christopher Meech (NSW) 23pts
Laser Radial Great Grand Master
1 Kerry Waraker (QLD) 10pts
2 Lew Verdon (NSW) 20pts
3 Kevin Phillips (NSW) 22pts
1 Claire Heenan (NSW) 11pts
2 Martin Brady (NSW) 11pts
3. Bronwyn Mitchell (NSW) 22pts
Results Link: http://www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/33233/Overall_1_1.html