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Barfoot & Thompson NZ Laser Championships - Day 1 - Challenging conditions for the start of racing

Racing got underway today in the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Laser Nationals off Takapuna Beach, Auckland. The morning was fine and calm but by scheduled race start time at 1pm the 5 divisions making up the fleet of 153 were on the water and waiting for the sea breeze to settle for racing to get underway.

This never really happened, with the breeze clocking to an unusual due North direction but building sufficiently for racing to get underway by about 2pm. The breeze showed promise of building to a true sea breeze but in the end stayed as an unstable 5 - 8 knots with large shifts and pressure variations. This provided challenging tactical conditions, particularly as the course was set near the main shipping channel which resulted in strong tidal flows across the course to add to the challenges of the unusual breeze. However the conditions allowed all divisions to complete the schedules 2 races and as usual the cream rose to the top in spite of the unusual breeze, although there was a lot of up and down results for sailors further back in the fleets.

In a quality Open fleet of 24, with almost half of these sailors visiting from overseas, the NZ Olympic squad members Sam Meech, Andy Maloney and Tom Saunders fought out close contests in both races with only a single point separating the 3 of them at the end of the day. These 3 have a useful points lead on the next two sailors Jianan Wu from China and Mitchell Kennedy from Australia. Andrew McKenzie had a strong 5th in the second race to be the leading U21 sailor.

In the largest fleet, the Radials with over 50 sailors, the youth sailors have shown the way with George Gautrey, Alastair Gifford and Tim Adair all having two top 4 results to be separated by only 2 points. Susannah Pyatt is the leading female sailor in 4th place with leading female youth sailor the visiting Jia Kim from Korea and George Lane the leading Open Radial sailor in 9th overall.

In the Masters fleets defending champions lead both the full rig and the Radials, with AM Kris Decke holding a single point lead over visiting UK GM Terry Scutcher in the Standards while in the Radials AM Scott Leith dominated the fleet with two decisive victories to lead from AM Tony Evans and M Mike Knowsley. Unluckiest master of the day was probably Mark Patterson, who would have led overall if not for a masters moment, missing the finishing line while in 3rd place in the first race but making amends by winning the second. GGM Bob Blakey proved age was no barrier by leading for much of the second race, only to bemoan the arrogance of youth when he surrendered his lead to Mark!

In the small 4.7 fleet Worser Bays Philip Gouvernale was victorious in both races to stamp his authority on the fleet with Japanese sailor Emiri Koya getting a 2nd in the race 2 to lead the girls.

The forecast for tomorrow is again for a sea breeze so hopefully the fantastic run of weather in Auckland will continue and provide quality conditions for the 3 races scheduled for the Open fleets and 2 for the Masters.

Nick Page

2015 Barfoot & Thompson Laser Nationals Pre Regatta Report

The 2015 Laser Nationals will be underway this Thursday at Takapuna Boating Club in Auckland. It has attracted an excellent fleet of over 150 across 5 divisions, with sailors from all over NZ and 20 overseas sailors from 15 countries registered so far. Final entries close on Thursday but with a couple of days to go a quality contest is assured in all divisions with a wide cross section of sailors registered including our Olympic aspirants and many current and past National and Masters World champions.
In the Standard Open fleet NZ’s Olympic squad sailors, Sam Meech, Andy Maloney, Tom Saunders and Mike Bullot will be continuing their battle for ascendancy in the Olympic selection race. They have all been competing seriously on the world circuit and have all enjoyed top results in international regattas so will be keen to stamp their authority on the fleet in their home training ground off Takapuna. They will be tested by an up and coming group of NZ sailors, many recently graduated from youth ranks, and 10 overseas sailors from all corners of the globe.
An extremely strong turnout of youth sailors in the Radial division are sure to push our 2012 Olympic rep and current National champion Sara Winther and the other female Olympic spot contenders as well as the Open Radial sailors. Several of the youths have just returned from the Australian Laser Nationals and Youth week where James Jennings and Alastair Gifford had good results.
In the Masters Standard reigning champion Chris Decke is sure to be pushed hard by Andrew Dellabarca, fresh from a top performance at the World Masters in Hyeres. However he will not only face challenges from his normal NZ adversaries but also from visiting top UK GM champion Terry Scutcher. In the Masters Radials Scott Leith will again be hot favourite following his 2nd in Hyeres but he is sure to be tested by others including reigning World GM champion Mike Keeton.
With a promising long range forecast all is set for 4 days of quality world class Laser racing off Takapuna, commencing with two scheduled races on Thursday.

Nick Page
Chairman NZ Laser Association

Mike Bullot makes the podium at 2014 Sail Melbourne

The results demonstrate close competition among the top NZ Laser sailors as we get further into the Rio Olympic cycle.

Laser (39 boats)
3rd Mike Bullot
4th Sam Meech
6th Andy Maloney
11th Thomas Saunders
17th Andrew McKenzie
29th Cullen Le Roy

Laser Radial (30 boats)
11th Susannah Pyatt
18th Ali Nightingale
29th Julia Francis

All 2014 Sail Melbourne Results

2014 South Island Laser Champs Results

Generously sponsored by Scott Bremner - Metro Realty.

  • 29 and 30 Nov 2014
  • Vauxhall YC Dunedin
  • Results

The Watershed website now online

NZ's Laser distributor The Watershed now has it's website online at

2014 North Harbour Master Regatta Report

The Masters regatta season got underway at Pupuke on Sunday with the North Harbour Masters. An excellent fleet of 28 turned up for the days racing, with big names from the recent Masters worlds, Scott Leith and Mike Keeton both in attendance. With Windguru predicting maximum gusts of 4 knots from the SW for the day all but 4 sailors elected to compete in the Standard rig. As it turned out we got what was probably the first sea breeze of the summer and while it topped out at about 8 knots, probably averaging about 5 knots, and was pretty shifty all day it did provide a good racing conditions and 4 quality races were completed.

Not surprisingly given the very light conditions Radial sailors pretending they could muscle up and sail a standard rig dominated the competition.  Scott, who’s 1,1,2 record enabled him to sit out the last race as his discard, gave us all a bit of a sailing lesson, clearing out at the start several times but then having to out guess the shifts and light patches to keep the fleet at bay to win overall and 1st Apprentice. Mike managed to get past Scott in one race and was pretty consistent in the others to finish 3rd overall and first GM. Second overall and first Master was the Whangarei lightweight flyer Roger Winton, who had a great day with 4 top results giving him a clear second. Top GGM was Ray Beale.

In the Radials Kevin Welsh dominated the small fleet to win overall from local Georgi Yankov and legend Jim Quinn. The main contest of the day, the Rum spot prizes, were however dominated by true Standard rig sailors so order was returned to the regatta at the end of a great day.

The strong turnout at this regatta bodes well for the season and with the North Islands at Napier, Sir Peter Blake at Torbay and the Nationals at Takapuna over the next few weeks we are all looking forward to some more well attended quality masters racing this summer.

Nick Page

Laser Masters World Champs 2014 - Final Day

4 cubes for NZ. Fantastic.

Full Results

The Day dawned with thunder, lightening and torrential rain which did not look like the formula for racing for the final day. However after a delay of an hour the skies had cleared and we had an 8 to 10 knot Easterly with quite a bit of chop for the final races. Some fleets had 2 races today while others only managed 1. 

Inaugural Auckland Women Laser Cup - 11th October

There was great competition, sun, and fun on this glorious Spring day at the Inaugural Auckland Women Laser Regatta at Panmure Lagoon Sailing Club (PLSC). 11 participants from as far as Port Ohope came to take part in this keenly contested regatta which even “old Hughie” smiled on, delivering a stunning day graced with tricky trade winds from the South West / East wafting over the Lagoon at 5 to 11 Knots which caused some havoc at times with its fickle nature. Five challenging races were held back to back with the ladies giving no quarter at the starts or for that matter throughout the days racing as battles continually developed around “the track”.

Laser Masters World Champs 2014 - Day 6

The penultimate days racing had weather pretty much as forecast. We had an Easterly not quite as strong as expected and a bit patchy at times but on average a good 15 knot breeze with waves, very similar to the last few days.

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