After a slow start the largest Laser regatta ever held concluded at Hyeres last Saturday. On the first two races the winds were very light and racing did not get underway until after 4:00pm in the afternoon. By day three only the Radial Great Grand Masters (>65yo) had still to have their first race. Then on the third day a light easterly breeze in the morning built to around 15knots and effectively held for the rest of the regatta.
Over 60 Australians entered and were only just outnumbered by each of the French, British and North Americans. The Aussies pulled off less wins than normal but still did very well. You can see the full results at http://lasermasters.coych.org/results/. In summary by fleet:
- Apprentice Masters (35 to 45 yo) – no Aussies
- Masters (45 to 55yo) Many time winner Brett Beyer (AUS) won by a country mile with 9 firsts in 12 races, defeating Arnoud Hummel (NED) who beat Brett in San Francisco three years ago.
- Grand Masters (55 to 65yo) An epic battle in arguably the hottest fleet with many former world champions was won by just one point by Nick Harrison (GBR) from And Roy (CAN). Best Australian was Colin Dibb from WA who won in San Francisco edging out several time winner Wolfgang Gerz (GER).
- Great Grand Masters (65+) Mark Bethwaite easily won in a fleet of just 8 boats battling to create a sustainable new division
- Apprentices – no Aussies
- Masters – Mooloolaba’s Mark Kennedy was on equal points but lost on countback to many time winner Steve Cockerill (GRB).
- GM’s –Jeff Loosemore (AUS) and Mike Keaton (NZL) had been training together for weeks and it showed as they dominated with Mike prevailing over Jeff by two points. Last year’s winner and femae sailor of the year nominee, Vanessa Dudley was fourth.
- GGM’s –Many times winner, the legendary Keith Wilkins (GBR) led by 5 point over Rob Lowndes (AUS). These two were well clear of last year’s winner and over 75yo legend, Peter Seidenberg (USA).
- Only a handful of entries but easily won by Steve White from Narrabeen Lakes in Sydney after his first ever overseas flight!
All a fabulous result for tiny Middle Harbour Amateur Sailing Club which boasts outstanding Radial competition and had more members at the regatta (nine, including three women) than any other Australian (and possibly worldwide) club. Three of their members featured on the podium (Dudley, Loosemore, Lowndes) with Peter Heywood winning a race in the GGM Radials and Michelle LeFevre getting a third in race 2 of the Masters Radials.