After a pre-race thunderstorm anything could have happened on Waterloo Bay, Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) but the wind gods had read the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s brochure and they dialled in perfect Laser breezes for the 233 sailors from 19 countries sailing in the first two races of the 2012 Laser World Masters Championships.
Race 2 Laser Radial Great Grand Master fleet
On the northern course the Standard fleet faced the starter’s gun half an hour before the Radial fleet, down on the southern course.
The Standard Apprentice division was gunned away in a five knot breeze and by the time the leaders reached the top mark the breeze had built to ten knots. Across the day the wind averaged 11 knots with tops to 18 knots from 90-120 degrees
Chile’s Matias Del Solar, who sailed at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, had a perfect start to his regatta winning both races. Tony Baisden (AUS) sits in second on the leader board, with Brett Morris (AUS) and New Zealand sailor Rob Woodward equal third. Kent Copplestone (AUS) and Chris Caldecoat (AUS) from event sponsor Performance Sailcraft, are next and tied on 11 points.
Baisden who sails out of the Royal Queensland Yacht squadron (RQ), had swept all before him at the Australian titles week but he feels De Solar is on fire. ‘Mathias is very quick. I think this week the rest of us will be just trying to keep him honest’ commented Baisden dockside this afternoon.
‘Brett Morris who came second at the Nationals came back from ‘the deep’ in the second race so he has speed. It’s going to be an interesting week.’
In the Standard Masters Division Brad Taylor (AUS) was consistent today with a third and a first, ahead of Sean Atherton-Feeney with two seconds, but the eyes today were on third placed Brett Beyer. Beyer, who has served a successful seven world championship apprenticeship, had a mixed day with a win and a ninth place.
On the rigging lawn this afternoon Beyer explained. ‘In the first race I had a good start and good speed and I had a good win. In the second race I was just leading the race after not such a good start and in the heat of the competition I rounded the wrong next mark and I had to double back and was in 20th place. I then had to work my way back through the fleet.
‘So I have plenty of speed, I just need to sail smarter.’
Andre Martinie from the Dominican Republic leads the Standard Grand Master Division with a 1-2 score line. Great Britain sailor Malcolm Courts is second, continuing the form that won him third place in this division in San Francisco (2011). Former Finn World champion and 2010 Laser World Masters Champion Wolfgang Gerz from Germany is third, with Tracy Usher from the USA one point back in fourth.
Australian Richard Bott heads the Radial Apprentice Division after scoring a bullet in race 1 and a second in race 2. Bott leads New Zealand sailor Scott Leith, who has won world championships in the last two events at Hayling Island in 2010 and in San Francisco in 2011, by two points. Danny Fuller (AUS) is one point further back in third.
Bott said after racing ‘I stayed right today and it worked but I was really concentrating on speed. I got a few good surfing runs.’
In the Laser Radial Master Division Greg Adams, another local sailor out of RQYS who has won previous world championships in 2006 and 2007, seems keen to make his mark in his last year in this division before stepping up to become a Grand Master in 2013.
‘We have been doing a lot of training since Christmas. With two wins today, I am very pleased. In the first race I played it safe up middle, but had some luck. I led at the top mark and the bottom but Mark Orams sailed through me on the second work, but he capsized and I scraped in with a win.
‘In the second race I got some good shifts up the first work. I’ve had a good start but there is a long way to go, another ten races and there are some very smart sailors here.’
Mark Kennedy (AUS) holds second, Grant Wilmott third.
Adam French (AUS) leads the Radial Grand Master Division. It was a good day for French, with a perfect score in the two races sailed. New Zealand’s Michael Keeton trails French by two points. USA sailor and 1997 Masters Champion Doug Peckover is third.
On the Radial course, the naughtiest boys were the Radial Great Grand Masters.
In the first race the adrenalin kicked in and US competitors David Hartman and Jacques Kerrest were both OCS and did not return, as were Australians Stuart Allan and Barry Pownall.
It was then the turn of eight times World Champion Peter Seidenberg, who placed second in both the 2011 and 2010 championships. In race two he was too prominent as he ran down the line and was called OCS.
At the bottom mark Seidenberg (OCS) was leading from Kerry Wannaker (AUS), Rob Blakey (NZL), Lew Verdon (AUS) Michael Shields (NZL) and twelve times world champion Keith Wilkins.
At the completion of racing, Waraker sits at the top of the Radial Great Grand Master Division after scoring two bullets. Verdon is two points behind Waraker with Wilkins a further two points back in third.
The Laser 4.7 Division is lead by Peter Charleton (AUS) on count back from Claire Heenan (AUS) with George Meikle (AUS) third.
The 2012 Laser World Masters Championships twelve race series continues until next Saturday, 17 March 2012. Wednesday, 14 March, is the designated lay day.
Laser Radial Masters fleet race 1
Laser Radial Grand Masters Race 2 start
Race 2 Laser Radial Great Grand Master fleet
For full results of all Divisions please visit http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-world-laser-masters-championship
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Event website http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-australian-laser-masters-championship