There was no racing on day 3 of the Oceania & Australian Open & Youth ILCA Laser Championships due to strong winds gusting over 30 knots on Sydney’s Botany Bay. The moderate winds on the first two days allowed each of the fleets to sail 4 races, with strong performances by the Olympic and international level sailors and up and coming Australian youth.
The ILCA6 (previously Laser Radial) has the largest overall fleet with 83 boats. They sailed a Qualifying series in two randomly allocated fleets over the first three days.. They move into a Finals series for the last three days with boats allocated to Gold and Silver fleets based on Qualification series results. After 4 ILCA6 races with a drop there are three from Tokyo 2020 Olympics leading on 4 points including Australia’s Mara Stransky and double world Laser Radial (ILCA6) champion Emma Plaschaert from Belgium. They are followed closely by another Tokyo 2020 Olympian, three members of the select Australian Laser Sailing team which travelled extensively overseas in 2022 and three young Aussies, including under 19 youth sailors Hamish Gilsenan and Evie Saunders, who are mixing it with the more experienced International level competitors.
In the largest rig ILCA7 fleet the leader after 4 races was Australia’s Tokyo gold medallist Matt Wearn, closely followed by the top two Laser sailors from Great Britain Elliott Hanson and Michael Beckett. The remainder of the top ten is closely bunched with a further two Brits, three Australian Laser squad members lead by Luke Elliott , and New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders. Any of the top ten are capable of a top three finish in remaining races.
The ILCA4 (previously Laser 4.7) fleet of 55 boats consists of youth sailors under 18 and under 16 years of age. The first three placegetters after four races are young sailors from Victoria. Aidan Simmons, who was Australian Optimist class champion in 2021 and 2022, leads on 6 points with two firsts and two seconds. Within striking distance are Riley Cantwell and Angus McIntyre tied on 11. The rest of the top ten is comprised of a spread of Laser youth across the other States. There is good competition and skills being displayed throughout the ILCA4 fleet, which is encouraging given that most of them are sailing their first Australian ILCA Laser championships
The racing program continues through until Sunday 8 January. The program on 6th January has been updated with three races scheduled commencing from 12.30pm. This will depend on moderation of the weather which moved in on 5th January. Further information and results on the 2023 Oceania and Australian ILCA Laser championships is being provided on the event web site on http://www.lasersdownunder.com. Also available on Mobile devices under the Regatta section on the Sailor app.
Results can be found here.
Article by Rod Thomas