Laser 4.7 World Championships are being hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay from 28th July.
The sun has finally made an appearance here on San Francisco Bay for the second to last day of the Laser 4.7 Worlds. The wind has come up moderately from the cloud covered eight to ten knots of the past few days to a consistent 12 knots, with puffs to 20 on an exceptionally clear day.
The girls fleet of 51 boats started first at 1100 and saw a few new faces among the race winners: Anna Vaughn of AUS and Celine Therese Herud of NOR who won races nine and ten. Even their hard work could not knock Italian Cecilia Zorzi off of her podium once the competitors two lowest scores were dropped and calculated into the results. Zorzi lies and incredible 33 points ahead of her competition, thanks in part to being able to drop the 31st place she got in race nine today. What happened? 'My head was in the moon and there was a river out there, which we don’t have in Italy.' For her comeback in race two, she said, 'I forgot everything and just focused on doing what I had to do. I am very happy to have a third for that race.'
Zorzi is among an older group of racers here, at a few months shy of 17. In Europe’s larger fleets, the under 16 age groups are separated out in the scoring. While the fleet of under 16 year old girls here is just ten, Athanasia Fakidi of Greece, now known for her ability to port tack the fleet at the start, is leading her age group and is in sixth overall with 70 points. As for how she’s able to do it? 'I see the opening and go.'
During the boys racing, which started at 1400, the wind came up with gusts to 20 knots and saw more than usual number of capsizes at the leeward mark. The St. Francis Yacht Club has a number of safety boats who stand by, aided by a spotter on the second floor deck of the club to watch for kids who are in trouble. In addition, the 25 coach boats on course are obliged to convert to safety boats should the need arise for rescue.
After four days of mixing the boys fleets, the top 56 boys raced today in the gold fleet and the rest in the silver fleet. Francisco Gonzalez and Carlos Rosello have flip flopped leadership again and now Gonzales leads as of race nine (race ten results are pending), with 19 points, Rosello with 29 and Keiju Okada of Japan has held on to third with 45 points. Tomorrow’s racing will wrap up the 2011 Laser 4.7 Worlds.
Many of those in the US reading these posts have asked why the 4.7 is not more popular here. On a day like today, one can’t help but wonder, as it provides such a great platform for kids who may not weigh enough to learn about racing the Laser with a smaller rig, and work up to the radial or full rigs, which are Olympic Class boats. The regatta here has brought attention to a boat and rig that the Europeans have clearly dialed in. Many local kids who are just out of optis, hopped into the 4.7 thanks to an opportunity to race in their back yard in a world class event. Race manager Robbie Dean said 'all of the kids have learned a lot this week about current, and even today, with variable currents across the course, we could see that they have really figured it out. We have been lucky to have PRO Bruce Greene (from San Diego Yacht Club) who has just done a fantastic job.'
Full results available here
. SF Laser Worlds website