Please select your home edition
Edition
Predictwind - Iridium

Antipodean Laser firepower – a chat with Dan Slater

by John Curnow, PSA media on 31 May 2011
Joshua Junior and Andrew Murdoch,NZL - Laser World Championships © Paul Wyeth / RYA http://www.rya.org.uk
Laser sailors in New Zealand have a very accomplished pair of hands to help helm them through their boat requirements. Dan Slater, a proud Kiwi Olympian and podium finisher at World Championship level, is the Laser distributor for New Zealand.

Not only passionate about the sport, because he’s very actively involved at the highest level, he also has some very astute observations about the world’s largest dinghy class.

It was 1996 when Dan represented New Zealand in the Laser at the Olympics and since then, he has also coached with the national squad and run some very successful Finn campaigns. He’s currently sailing on the European circuit an integral part of his run in to London 2012 with the Finn.



But down under there will be the biggest ever series of Laser events in the Australia in 2011-2012 and the buzz on the Laser scene is amazing.

Dan comments ‘Ahead is the 2011 Sail Melbourne is very similar to Weymouth and it’s going to be great just to have an Olympic qualifier down here in the Southern hemisphere. We know that all the Laser internationals are going to be here in force for all of the antipodean series during 2011/12’, said Dan.

In fact, the New Zealand Laser squad is absolutely on fire presently. ‘Yes. We’ve had a real revival and it’s great that New Zealand sailing is coming back. For that matter, so too is Australian Laser sailing. It’s getting back to what it probably was 10 or 12 years ago, when we almost dominated the whole international scene, in terms of fleet size. It’s pretty neat to see and a lot of young guys and talent coming through.’

‘The squad is coached by Mark Howard, comprising of sailors like Andy Maloney, who won the Radial Worlds, Youth World Champion Sam Meech, Michael Bullot, who’s twice been in the top three in the Laser Worlds and then our Olympian, Andrew Murdoch, a top ten finisher in the Laser Worlds four times now, I think.

In my opinion, any young sailor wanting to be the best in a one-design class, well simply there is nothing better than to hop onto a Laser and go racing. It is the place to be’, Slater explained.

Australia’s reigning Laser World Champion, Tom Slingsby, has often said that any time he hits the front of the fleet he knows that if he looks around he’s going to see a Kiwi. ‘That would seem to be right at the moment. I was doing a little bit of Laser sailing again in 2004 and I seem to remember looking around myself and there was Tom on one side of me and Michael Blackburn on the other.’

‘The whole Laser scene down here is great, which is why the Europeans are attracted to coming out for our summer.

You have got to sail against the best and the best Laser sailors are down here, right now’, Dan said. He is very much looking forward to the time between now and London and is set up to assist any Laser sailors who are in New Zealand.

‘I have a mobile parts and service van, which does all the local regattas including the Nationals. We’ll be able to assist with any breakages and of course, sell new boats, too. There’ll be special offers in place for the Nationals and through my company, High Performance Sailing, we are able to offer you the best in coaching, too.’

‘We’re also seeing really strong growth in the Laser Radials now that it’s the ISAF Youth Class and also for the Olympic aspirants, with our own Sara Winther having had a great run with two wins in Palma and Heyres.



The Masters is a true phenomenon and so many former keelboat racers are jumping into a Laser because it is so easy to organise everything and then they use the left over budget from what they would have normally spent to go to new part of the world for a championship.’

Dan also highlighted that, ‘If you want to be really competitive in Lasers, you have got to be in a new boat every year.

This is great, because it means we have boats to filter down to people entering the class. For anyone wanting to get into Lasers, there is a big regatta almost every month between now and next May.’



‘High Performance Sailing has a van at the regattas and sell via my website too and I also do sales from the website, too. When I am in Europe, we have two staff who stay on the road, at the events and we service the mark as efficiently as possible, but with lower overheads we can keep costs down as much as possible, which is important with an unfortunately weak Kiwi dollar.

‘So there is good service across the board for what is a really wonderful product and class’, Dan explained.

‘I am based on the North Shore in Auckland, but we’ll also get down to the South Island for the regattas there.’

To find out what Dan and his van will be up to, see www.hps-nz.com

Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearRS Sailing 660x82Protector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr