by Brad Utting
Western Australia Laser Dinghy Championship 2013. Most classes go through participation ebbs and flows, in the WA dinghy sailing scene but the Laser class attracts strong numbers year after year. Despite being an old design the boats simplicity, affordability, convenience, accessibility and ability to cater for such a diverse range of ages, and shapes and sizes makes it a modern day classic.
Great big fleet racing at the 2012 WA State Laser Championships. - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
In 2013, the Laser class saw growth at all local events with 45 boats the average number at local regattas. 81 competitors total also competed in the four part metropolitan championship across 2012/ 13 so the association now looks forward to a big turnout for the Laser State championships over the March long weekend on the second , third and fourth of March 2013 at Claremont Yacht Club.
Australian Youth Champion Conor Nicholas will be looking to make it back to back titles at Claremont Yacht Club. - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
The class is pushing for 100 boats at the upcoming State Titles. If it is reached it will be a milestone achievement for the class as well as sailing in Western Australia. The current boom has been partly driven by the availability of Perth 2011 ex world championship charters.
At just one regatta old these boats were sold to many local sailors at a very reasonable price. What’s more Lasers currently being placed for sale on the association website page Western Australia Laser Dinghy Championship are being snapped up in less than a week. With Fremantle Sailing club winning the best club at the 2012/13 Nationals and with many WA sailors filling podium places it is boom time for WA Laser sailing.
World Laser Radial Champion Tristan Brown will be a strong challenger in the Radial fleet. - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
For the States itself there will be some great battles for the title with the Masters titles holding as much prestige as the Open positions. In the Fullrigs the Open division is expected to be fought out between the Olympic campaigners and the more serious weekend warriors. With current WA number one Matt Wearn attending a training camp in Sydney over the March long weekend the title is as open as its been in recent history.
Luke Elliot, Defending Champ Ki- Raphael Sulkowski, Colin Dibb, Brad Utting and Mark Whittington are all likely prospects. As always Colin Dibb will be the one to chase in the Masters division with the likes of Ian Campbell, Justin Rose, Mal Mckercher, Bruce Utting, Andy Whittel, Nigel Paul and David Glover in the mix.
Ki-Raphael Sulkowski will be looking to make it back to back titles. - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
The Radial class shapes up as a battle of the World Champs. World Open Mens champion Tristan Brown will line up against ISAF Youth Worlds Champion Mark Spearman which without a 5 percent lift from other sailors will decide first and second position. Mark Wong and Ben Walkemeyer are the two most likely to upset the top two whilst Youth sailors Arrik Fisk and Lachy Gilham will have a strong fight for the Youth Title. Martina Ciotti shapes up as a strong chance for the Women’s title. The Radial Masters is a much more open event than the fullrigs but expect the likes of Andrew Brockis, Lloyd Lissiman and Allan Benn to feature.
Then 4.7 hot shots consist of a cheeky bunch of talented young sailors. Conor Nicholas and Chris Charlwood are the early favourites but no one will be shocked if Richard Maher, James Stewert and Marcus Fisk push them to the wire. This fleet has been constantly growing and compares alongside 420’s as the most popular Class for young teenage boys and girls.
A resurgent Masters fleet will be racing thanks to the efforts of Masters Rep Bruce Utting - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
One of the beauties of the Laser class is that most Local Yacht Clubs have fleets meaning there is a great diversity in regatta venues. In this case Claremont Yacht Club will host the event and use the majority of Mosman Bay. Claremont has a solid Laser fleet themselves of about 20 boats and their organisation has been superb up to this point.
If anyone has a Laser hiding out in the shed somewhere now is the time to crack it out and get back into some Laser Sailing. Others who are merely interested in observing the biggest Local dinghy States Titles in WA feel free to drop into Claremont YC over the weekend and browse the shore or find a vantage point to watch around Mosman Bay.
The social side of racing is a big part of WA Laser sailing. - 2013 WA State Laser Championships
Western Australia Laser Dinghy Championship