Two races were sailed on the first day of the Oceania and Australian Laser Masters Championships on Corio Bay, with standout performances in some divisions.
Thirteen-time World Masters Champion, Australian Brett Beyer had a beautiful start in the Standard Masters group, and finished with two bullets. This was a division where the top three were very consistent though, with Peter Hurley of USA scoring second place twice and New Zealand’s Andrew Dellabarca with a third and fourth.
“It all came down to the first beat,” Beyer said. “It was very gusty and shifty and some bailed early. If you were confident enough to hold your line, you did well.”
In the Standard Apprentice fleet, Canadian Ian Elliott, Matt Blakey of New Zealand, and Australian Ryan Mclaughlin dominated the scoring. In the Grand Masters, Jan Scholten leads Alan Davis by a single point. None of the Great Grand Masters was able to dominate but Michael Keaton (1,4) and Garry Lock (3,2) are both on five points.
Vanessa Dudley is a two-time World Champion and she also had a strong start, with placings of 4th and 6th to be 4th overall in the Radial Grand Masters.
“I thought the left was working a bit better today,” she said, “But it was shifty and there were big changes in wind speed as well. I’m happy with the start but I was a bit slow downwind. I’ve got to get quicker.”
Friend and rival, Lyndall Patterson, concurred on the conditions but said she had enjoyed the day. She was one place behind Vanessa Dudley in race one.
“In the first race I had a reasonable start, but in the second I got a bad one and had to play catch up.”
Catch up she did, finishing 11th to be 7th overall.
The division, the biggest in the regatta with 33 boats, is led by David Early (2,1) from Mark Kennedy (1,3) and Nick Ede (7,2).
Noted coach and video interviewer, Jon Emmett of Great Britain is the sole competitor in the Radial Apprentice division, but understandably was one of the fastest overall on the day.
In the Masters, Great Grand Masters, and Legends, the leading sailor was unbeaten in the two races sailed. Owen McMahon leads the Masters by five points, Paul Clifford leads Great Grand Masters by four points while 80-year-old Kerry Waraker, a two-time World Champion, leads the Legends by three points.
There are two sailors in the 4.7 division, where Susannah Gillam beat Wendy Wilson in both races.
Full results are available here.
The mood in the boat park before the race was understandably subdued, given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Old friends bumped elbows rather than shaking hands and the level of conversation was muted. Sailors mingled in twos and threes rather than large groups. There are not the loud outbursts of laughter at a good joke or a re-telling of an old sailing story that characterise Masters sporting events around the world. But they were determined to put on a brave face. The sailors are taking the crisis seriously while hoping that the situation doesn’t worsen, causing the cancellation of this event.
ILCA is not part of the organizing authority for the 2020 Oceania & Australian Laser Masters Championships and was not consulted regarding the decision to hold the event. The Organizing Authority, as defined in the Notice of Race for the championship, is solely responsible for the conduct of this event.