The last day of 2010 on Botany Bay was picture perfect with clear blue skies, 28 degrees and a mid strength sea breeze. At the mid way point in the Championship, sailors from Western Australia lead in both the Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial class. The first U21 in the Laser Standard is also from WA with Mark Whittington in eight overall.
The Laser 4.7 fleet has a record 45 entries this year. The class is growing in strength all around the Country. Many have been sold by the simple steps of progressing from junior to Olympic sailing with the boats’ three different sized rigs creating minimal cost in upgrading. The Laser is also gaining more families into the class as it caters for everyone from little Johnny to Grandpa Joe.
Benjamin Walkemeyer (WA) is the stand out performer so far having accumulated five race wins in the Laser 4.7 fleet. Benjamin has a 22 point lead from Tasmania’s Dylan Gore who has just two points separating him from Nicholas Connor (NSW) in third.
The leading lady, Milly Bennett (NSW) is still in a position to finish on the podium as she sits in fourth place overall, just nine points behind the bronze medal spot. Madison Kennedy (QLD) is fifth overall and second girl. Sophie Chesterman (TAS) had the best day scoring a third and second moving her up to seventh overall and third girl.
There are eight international competitors in the Laser 4.7, three from Hong Kong, three from the Cook Islands, one from Germany and one from New Zealand. The leading international competitor is Aqulia Tatira from the Cook Islands who sits in eight place carrying an OCS.
The leader in the Laser Radial fleet, Matthew Wearn is just two points ahead of Australian Sailing Team member, Krystal Weir, the three times former Australian Laser Radial Women’s Champion who suffered the stress of breaking her top mast section before the first race on the second day, making her late off the start. The defending champion, Benjamin Franklin is still very much in contention to retain his crown, sitting just five points away in third spot.
In the selection trials for the OAMPS Australian Youth Team, Alex South (NSW) leads by just two points and two places from Ashley Stoddart (QLD). Both girls have previously competed at the prestigious annual Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship with Ashley winning selection in 2009 and Alex in 2010. The winner will be decided at the conclusion of the OAMPS Australian Youth Championship which follows straight on from this Championship in the same venue.
The two times Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion, Gabrielle King (NSW) is in second place in the Australian Laser Radial Women’s Championship and 11th overall.
Tom Burton (NSW) didn’t disappoint his fans, scoring a third and winning the final race of 2010. Tom sits in the top spot with a ten point lead over Ashley Brunning (NSW). Tom has his full support crew with him at this event with his parents both on and off the water.
Illustrating the quality of this fleet and the level at which Australia’s top Laser sailors are competing, in third place is the Athens 2004 Olympic Silver Medallist, Andreas Geritzer from Austria.
Laser 4.7 Leader Board
1. Benjamin Walkemeyer (WA) 7pts
2. Dylan Gore (TAS) 29pts
3. Nicholas Connor (NSW) 31pts
Girls Laser 4.7 Leader Board
1. Milly Bennett (NSW) 40pts
2. Madison Kennedy (QLD) 51pts
3. Sophie Chesterman (TAS) 69pts
Open Laser Radial Leader Board
1. Matthew Wearn (WA) 6pts
2. Krystal Weir (VIC) 8pts
3. Benjamin Franklin (QLD) 11pts
Women’s Laser Radial Leader Board
1. Krystal Weir (VIC) 8pts
2. Gabrielle King (NSW) 33pts
3. Alex South (NSW) 45pts
Laser Standard Leader Board
1 – Tom Burton (NSW) 11pts
2 – Ashley Brunning (NSW) 21pts
3 – Andreas Geritzer (AUT) 24pts
by Laura Baldwin Share 11:22 AM Sat 1 Jan 2011