4 cubes for New Zealand at the 2011 Laser Masters Worlds


The 2011 Laser Masters Worlds has finished up in San Francisco with New Zealanders Scott Leith and Ed Tam first and second in the Apprentice Radials, and James Quinn and Mark Page also getting cubes.

The Masters were hosted by a very up market but friendly and well organised St Francis Yacht club on the city shoreline between the CBD and the Golden Gate Bridge. Naturally the backdrop was stunning. But while the sailors enjoyed the famous San Francisco sea breeze it was really all about the tide.

There were 2 race courses directly out from the club. The Radials sailed an inner course close to shore and the Standard rigs sailed further out with one of the main shipping channels in between. There were 2 flights on each course, the first scheduled from late morning till mid afternoon the second from mid afternoon onwards.

As predicted the tide was the most influential factor in almost all races. On both course the strong ebb or flow was uneven across the course, and especially tricky around the turn of tide. At theoretical slack water there were still early or late tidal flows at times both ebb and flow on the one course. This was especially dramtic on the Radial course. For 4 out of 6 days the afternoon Radial flight had only one tactical option - get across to the shoreline and short tack off the wharves, harbour buildings, rock walls and beach. Even into the entrance of the marina. All in an effort to get out of the incoming flow. This brought tacking duals right off the St Francis club restaurant’s where colourful phrases from around the world added to the cultivated ambience.

Race committees on both course did an outstanding job given the very tight course area, harbour traffic and race schedule.

Scott Leith had cleaned up the Radial Apprentice fleet before the last day. Despite this he sailed the last day and was still clearing the fleet on the first tack in a masterful display. This was remarkable considering it came after major hip surgery earlier in the year.

Edmund Tam was the quiet achiever eventually snatching second with two seconds on the final day. Ed's roommate Pete Thomas (our man on the inside) reported that despite the low key impression, Ed was highly focused, and the result was always on the cards.

James Quinn was example of fortitude in the Great Grand Masters Radials. He has also been on the come back after back surgery earlier in the year that had him off the water for more than 6 weeks.
In the run up to the regatta he was sailing faster than ever. But during the regatta was thrown a curve ball in the form of a series of migraines, loss of vision and nausea that almost had him pull out. Despite this he hung in there with fairly even results, then a shocker on the penultimate day and a bounce back on the final day to snatch 3rd.
Also in Great Grand Masters were Tom Speed 11th and Mike Sheilds 16th. Like many of us they were a little thrown by the tide at the start of the regatta, although Tom settled down for the last 2 days.

Mark Page got a cube for 5th in 36 boat Radial Masters fleet. That would be a good result for most of us, but for Mark who was world champion in Spain it was a very patchy first half of the regatta. He had the speed, but the variability of tide and pressure on the inner course made it hard to translate that into consistent top finishes.
In the same fleet Pete Thomas was pleased with his speed and consistency to get 7th. Your correspondent Mike Knowsley, slipped to 13th this year and knew before during and after the regatta that he should have spent more time on the rowing machine (but it’s so boring).

On the outer course in the Standard Apprentice fleet Tony Nicholson 18th and Ken Atchison 20th also found the tide a challenge. Especially running against the strong ebb.

Andrew Dellabarca was reasonably happy with a very creditable 18th in the 54 strong Standard Masters fleet. He felt a combination of the conditions and competiveness of the fleet made this worlds harder to do well than the last few years.

NZLA chairman Nick Page had an outstanding regatta. After no practice bar a few Sunday races at Lake Pupuke he got 11th in a competitive Standard Grand Master fleet. His hopes for a top 10 ultimately stymied by two OCS's in the strong ebb tide on day 2.
In the same fleet room mates Bob Blakey and Sandy Grigg were sailing down an age group to sail the big rig. Bob had a highly creditable 17th and Sandy at 27th blames Bob for talking him out of the Radial and into a nightclub. They are finding at their age 'what happens on tour stays on tour' mainly because they can't remember what happened. Paul Thomas was 20th.

All results at : http://sailingresults.net/site/event/17/default.html

NZL Results

Standard Apprentice  25 boats
18     NICHOLSON, Tony
20     ATCHISON, Ken

Standard Masters  54 boats
18     DELLABARCA, Andrew

Standard Grand Masters  30 boats
11     PAGE, Nick
17     BLAKEY, Robert
20     THOMAS, Paul
27     GRIGG, Sandy

Radial Apprentice Masters  19 boats
1     LEITH, Scott
2     TAM, Edmund

Radial Masters 36 boats
5     PAGE, Mark
7     THOMAS, Pete
13     KNOWSLEY, Michael

Radial Great Grand Masters 30 boats
3     QUINN, James
11     SPEED, Tom
16     SHIELDS, Michael