Please select your home edition
Edition
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - Top 728 x 90px - 6 jpg

An interview with James Mitchell about the 2020 Laser Radial Worlds

by David Schmidt 19 Feb 2020 08:00 PST February 21-28, 2020
Mara Stransky practices her downwind technique ahead of the 2020 Laser Radial Worlds © Image courtesy of Jon West

The Laser Radial made its Olympic debut as the Women’s One Person Dinghy on the waters off of Qingdao, China, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. American Anna Tunnicliffe proudly took home the gold medal, and the popularity of this already-popular class spiked considerably given that the can-do dinghy offered a lane to Olympic greatness. Since then, competition levels, tactics and techniques have continued to evolve on the international stage, making a win at any Laser Radial World Championship a serious accomplishment for any sailor.

That said, the 2020 Laser Radial Worlds (February 21-28, 2020) are not just any world-championship regatta, as 2020 is also an Olympic year. And this, of course, places an added premium on all contestants, ranging from those sailors who are still seeking their Olympic berths (including the entire American Laser Radial squad) to those who are using this high-level regatta to speed check against their rivals.

In addition, while each country can only send one representative to the Olympics, at the Worlds, numerous sailors can fly the same Olympic code on their radially cut mainsail. This not only ensures a far bigger fleet, but it also means that the winner will have to prove herself against almost all of the world’s fastest Radial sailors.

If this sounds like a seriously stiff crux, welcome to one of this year’s most exciting One Design regattas.

The 2020 Laser Radial Worlds are being hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club, the Australian Laser Association and local community groups, and will be contested on the waters off of Melbourne, Australia. I checked in with James Mitchell, who serves as event chair of the 2020 Laser Radial Worlds, via email, to learn more about this world-championship regatta.

In thinking about the 2020 Laser Radial Worlds, what aspects of the regatta are you the most excited about?

Well, I’m a Radial sailor in the Great Grand Master category so for me watching the best Radial sailors in the world will be awesome.

In the ideal world, how many races will the RC try to conduct during the course of the event?

Twelve races total, two per day. Let’s hope we get the sea breezes and plenty of downwind action.

What percentage of the boats do you expect to be from Australia?

Well we know pretty clearly now– they are 19 Australians in the 111 confirmed entries. We expect the total entries to be around 120, so about 16 percent.

Do you have your eye on any pre-racing favorites? What about any dark horses?

Well as you would expect in an Olympic year, all the top ten ranked women will be here and it’s pretty hard to bet against that group. But you know, there has been a lot of excitement about the new crop of Aussies coming through the ranks over the las two years, so on familiar waters, who knows—we might see some upsets.

Given that 2020 is an Olympic year, do you think that competition levels will be higher than at the last few Laser Radial Worlds?

Well this is when everyone peaks, isn’t it. Some are still fighting for selection. Two, three, four and eight years of effort on the line….

Would I be correct in assuming that this will be a big-air regatta? Also, what kind of sea state should sailors expect to encounter?

There is a saying in Melbourne, “if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes”, so anything is possible. But this regatta will be held in the heart of summer and sea breezes are the expectation, nice surfing waves and warm temperatures.

The Finns recently wrapped up the Gold Cup here and they had mainly southerly’s with one day of strong northerlies on a 104 degree Fahrenheit day. Anything is possible.

Can you tell us about any steps that you and the other event organizers have taken in the last couple years to help green-up the regatta or otherwise lower its environmental wake?

We have worked really closely with our hosts the Sandringham Yacht Club, the Australian Laser Association and local community groups to take practical steps to reduce the regatta impacts and use the events as a catalyst for change.

Too many initiatives to mention really but, for example, we have built a high-volume chilled water dispenser to encourage the use of refillable water containers, banned single use plastic bottles and straws, run educational campaigns with local primary schools and had the local harbor cleaned up.

We have some more announcements coming on that front, too.

Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

You can’t run these events without financial support. The Victorian and Australian Governments have recognized the economic stimulus this regatta will generate, the healthy lifestyle it promotes, and the gender neutrality of our sport and class.

Melbourne is passionate about sport and loves hosting the international sporting community.

Related Articles

SoCal 300 returns to California Offshore Race Week
San Diego Yacht Club and Santa Barbara Yacht Club are proud to co-host their signature offshore race San Diego Yacht Club and Santa Barbara Yacht Club are proud to co-host their signature offshore race of the summer, the SoCal 300, the Southern California leg of the California Offshore Race Week. Posted on 12 May
American Magic, One Design & record-breaking news
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA January 17, 2021 wasn't a good day for the American Magic syndicate, which suffered a boat-breaking capsize. Many people feared the worst for American Magic, which, despite the New York Yacht Club's impressive legacy, was in their first Cup campaign. Posted on 11 May
Barnes and Dallman-Weiss on their 470 campaign
A Q&A with Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss on earning their berth to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics Few recent Olympic trials have been tougher than the multi-year battle to determine which Women's 470 team would represent the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Posted on 11 May
Hello, my old friend…
So I put the word out... it got heard… and how! So I put the word out back in 52 pick up. At any rate, it got heard… And how! Posted on 9 May
Linda Ambrose and Marty McKenna on the J/70 NAs
Linda Ambrose and Marty McKenna on the 2021 J/70 North American Championship I checked in with Linda Ambrose, who serves as the AYC's Harborside Director, and Marty McKenna, who serves as the regatta's event chair, via email, to learn more about this exciting championship-level One Design regatta. Posted on 6 May
In conversation with Jelte Liebrand
The tech-savvy navigation entrepreneur savvy navvy is the boating app that puts all your essential marine information in one place: tidal graphs, weather forecasts, automatically updated chart data, routing, GPS tracking, marina information and more. We spoke to founder Jelte Liebrand... Posted on 6 May
Gladwell's Line: Pressing ignition on pro-sailing
The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage by COVID The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage to the COVID pandemic - here's a look at how SailGP and the America's Cup coped, plus the 2024 Olympic event quandary. Posted on 6 May
How terribly fitting - ISOLAtion
And such good use of time, too! As a word, ISOLA could mean a lot of things And such good use of time, too! Now as a word, ISOLA could mean a lot of things. Obviously there's ‘island' in Italian, and it's also a girl's name as well, which are all very fitting when it comes to boats... Posted on 5 May
Steve Bourdow on the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals
An interview with Steve Bourdow on the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals I checked in with Steve Bourdow, who serves as fleet captain of the Southern California Moore 24 class, via email, to learn more about the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals (May 7-9), which are being hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. Posted on 4 May
Alternate reality
Is the Paris 2024 10th medal hammering a square peg in a round hole? This time 40 years ago the drummer Nick Mason released an album called Fictitious Sports. As with his band Pink Floyd, Hipgnosis were called upon for the album art, creating the image you see above, which seemed apt as an intro for this editorial. Posted on 3 May
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif BottomSelden 2020 - FOOTERZhik 2021 New Season FOOTER