South Australian Laser Frostbite Regatta 2011 - A healthy fleet of 30 South Australian Lasers made the trip to Goolwa for the annual event. While cool conditions were the order of the weekend, sensational breezes, great short course racing and a welcome absence of rain meant all entrants had an enjoyable weekend. Renewed South Australian interest in the popular single-handed class has lead to an influx of new boats and people to the event, with 11 youth sailors present along with a strong masters fleet giving the weekend a true 'Laser Formula' feel.
2011 SA Laser Frostbite - 2011 South Australian Laser Frostbite
Goolwa 2009 - no water = no racing - 2011 South Australian Laser Frostbite
It was hard to believe the conditions that the summer rains had produced at the mouth of the might Murray River. The photo shows the massive impact the record drought had on sailing at Goolwa, with the 2009 event having to be shifted to nearby Victor Harbour due to the fact boats could not launch, let alone find enough navigable water to set a course.
Goolwa 2011 - water lapping at the feet of Lasers - 2011 South Australian Laser Frostbite
What a difference two years makes, with perfect breezes allowing race officer Rick Elwood to set excellent short courses wherever he liked across the river. This photo shows how the previously dry harbour is now full, with water lapping at the Lasers rigging up on the lawn.
The prevailing South-East breeze for the weekend allowed interested spectators the chance to watch the racing closely from the marina, with the start line only 30 metres away. Racing was closely fought in all classes. Three races were held on Saturday morning and then three in the afternoon after lunch break. Sunday morning saw the return of the Pursuit Race format for the first race of the day, based on results from Saturday. This produced racing that was almost too close at times, with massive pile-ups at mark roundings leading to a few interesting tangles. Another two heats were held on Sunday, wrapping up the event.
Luke Hookings had a very consistent weekend in the Full Rig division, finishing no worse than fifth with two heat wins. In his first regatta in a Full Rig, Luke joined current State Champion Ryan Kelly in winning his first Full Rig regatta, signalling a welcome shake-up to the fleet in South Australia. Franz Lintl and Rob Human used their years of experience racing on the chilly waters of Goolwa to take the other podium positions and led the masters fleet. Welcome new additions to the regatta were Scott Marshall, Grant Beed, Peter White and Gareth Davies, with all competitors getting a chance near the front given the close short course racing and the enjoyable pursuit race.
Mitchell Lowe leading Radials - SA Laser Frostbite 2011 - 2011 South Australian Laser Frostbite
The Radial fleet saw a mix of placings through the fleet. Mitchell Lowe won the event with another consistent regatta, similar to Luke’s. Henry Leitner, a new Laser sailor coming up from Cadets, had a great start to his Laser sailing career with a solid second place, only missing first by 1 point. Ben Knoop dominated Saturday with 6 race wins, but could not race on Sunday and ended third. Hannah Williams again dominated the Women’s fleet, but only ended up holding off Sammy Homan by 1 point as well.
Jordan Pisani winning Heat 8 - SA Laser Frostbite 2011 - 2011 South Australian Laser Frostbite
Four 4.7 rigs raced over the weekend, with Jackson Knoop winning the event with an excellent Saturday. James Kirkwood showed enormous improvement over the past 12 months to come second, with Luke Butcher third. Jordan Pisani showed he will be one to watch – dropping down from the Radial rig on Saturday, Jordan won all three races on Sunday in what was his first ever regatta skippering.
The weekend’s biggest prize, the annual 'Tool of the Year' award went to new-comer Grant Beed. Grant’s effort in leading the fleet in the Pursuit Race on Sunday did not go un-noticed. Grant was so focussed on maintaining his strong lead in the race, he did not notice the entire fleet sailing a different (correct) course behind him, resulting in him not once, but twice rounding incorrect marks. By the time he realised his mistake and corrected it he had lost his lead, and the race.
The SA Laser Association would like to thank the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club for their continued support for the event, and all the entrants who brave the chilly conditions each year to keep going what is now a South Australian sailing tradition.
SA Laser Association website