Sydney, Australia – The ILCA Dinghy 50th Anniversary was celebrated in style on Sydney Harbour on Sunday 20 June. Over 100 sailors braved the winter morning to take part in the historic event that marked the birth of the world’s most popular single-handed dinghy.
Brett Beyer, 13-time World Masters Champion, who was sailing a one-off gold-coloured boat, produced by Performance Sailcraft Australia, led the fleet down the harbour from the Sydney Opera House to Watsons Bay. Although it was not a race, it was a great opportunity for club sailors to sail in a large fleet and test their skills against some of the great Masters Champions and rising stars destined for future Olympic Games.
For many of those sailors, it became a de facto race, highlighting the fun and competitive nature of the one-design class. One sailor quipped, “How do you know if it’s a race? … Well, if there were two Lasers, it’s always a race!”
Andrew Cox, Commodore of Double Bay Sailing Club, which hosted the event, said, “With a huge fleet sailing under dramatic skies, in great wind and waves, set against the iconic Sydney backdrop, the event was a truly memorable experience, which showcased the spirit and camaraderie of the class.”
“We had 217 registered sailors from Sydney, and other parts of Australia, but many were unable to attend due to last-minute travel restrictions in place for COVID-19. We’re sorry they couldn’t join us,” said Commodore, Andrew Cox.
The event received great print media coverage, as well as aerial footage on the evening television news. “We were delighted with the interest this received, as our key objective was to raise awareness of the popularity, the competitiveness, and the fun of the ILCA Laser class, in the hope of inspiring new and returning sailors to the sport,” Cox said.