Laser Masters World Champs 2014 - Day 1

Well it did not quite start with a hiss and a roar……………absolute flat calm at the designated start time.

The venue is great with a large marina surrounded by lots of restaurants, temperatures in the mid 20’s, clear blue Mediterranean waters and a lovely bay to sail in. All we need is wind. There has not been much of that for the last few days and today was no exception.

This is the largest Laser fleet ever to be assembled for a single regatta and 500 Lasers is an impressive sight. Everyone sat on shore until 3pm when a light north easterly developed and much to everyone surprise the postponement flag was dropped and away we went. 

There are two courses for this regatta with 5 divisions on each course and with the 500 entries in total it was not a two minute exercise to get everyone on the water. Anyway by start time around 4pm there was an 8 to 10 knot Northerly breeze on both courses for the first starters. Unfortunately this dropped soon afterwards to a patchy 3 - 8 knot breeze with plenty of holes, puffs and shifts. 

On the full rig course to the west of the bay all the divisions were able to complete a race. The Masters and GM’s have each been split into two fleets so there were 5 starts with the Apprentices, 2 x Masters and 2 x GM’s. The breeze held just long enough for everyone to finish. With the pressure variations and shifts, as well as the challenges of 250 boats in 5 fleets on the trapezoid at once, it was not easy racing and there were a lot of place changes throughout the races.

The best Kiwi performance of the day was in the Apprentices, with Matt Blakey happy with his 5th given the conditions after being as high as third at times. In the Masters Andrew Dellabarca had a challenging day, finishing with a 25th. In the GM’s I managed a bit of a mid race recovery on the second beat, getting part of a big right hand shift that reshuffled the fleet mid race in the second flight to finish 15th. Pete Van Ryn and Paul Thomas were not so fortunate, both having tough races. 

On the easterly course the Radials plus GGM Full rig were not so fortunate. While they were able to start, none of their races were completed so they are back up tomorrow to try and get their contests going.

The forecast is again light tomorrow morning but then some breeze late in the day and building from there for the rest of the week. The committee has already advised that they intend to race on the lay day, Wednesday, so if the forecast holds true we might just be lucky and get pretty much a full set of 12 races for the series. Here's hoping!

Nick Page