The 2011 Australian Laser Championship start today at George’s River Sailing Club. 189 entries from seven States will race on Botany Bay for the chance to win one of four National titles; 2011 Australian Laser Champion, 2011 Australian Laser Radial Champion, 2011 Australian Laser Radial Women’s Champion and 2011 Australian Laser 4.7 Champion.
The Laser is the world’s most popular sailing class. With three different sized rigs it caters for a large range of crew sizes and ages from juniors and light weights in the Laser 4.7 to the middle sized Laser Radial rig which is hugely popular with youth and masters alike and is the Women’s Olympic Class, to the largest sized, Laser Standard rig which is the Men’s Olympic class.
Queensland’s, Benjamin Franklin has returned to defend his national title in the Laser Radial Class, won last year in Adelaide. This title and his result at the OAMPS Australian Youth Championship won him selection to represent Australia at the prestigious annual Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey this July. Only one boat per class per Country gets to compete at this event, just like at the Olympics so it is a massive achievement to win selection.
Benjamin gained success through a huge amount of highly dedicated and focused training coordinated by the Queensland High-Performance Manager, Adrian Finglass. Sailing however, can be a tough game to play and with conditions so light and variable at the Worlds, Ben didn’t gain the result he deserved. ‘I was really down about my result and didn’t sail much until the Sail Down Under Series started at the end of November. It took me two regattas to get back in form with disappointing results in Sail Brisbane and Sail Sydney but I finished sixth at Sail Melbourne, the same result as last year, I hope the same is true of my Nationals result!’
Current Laser 4.7 World Champion, Caitlin Elks from WA is racing in the Laser Radial fleet along with 22 other Australian women including Australian Sailing Team member, Krystal Weir, whose name is already engraved three times on the women’s trophy. With 98 entries, the Laser Radial is the largest fleet and will be divided into two groups. Six races will be sailed to qualify the sailors for Gold and Silver fleet for the final two days of racing.
ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year, Tom Slingsby won’t be competing at this year’s Laser titles as he is busy preparing for his latest hobby, moth sailing. With this year’s Moth World Championship being hosted from Belmont on Lake Macquarie, Tom decided to set himself a new challenge, learning how to fly, on water!
The highly motivated Australian Sailing Development Squad coached by Olympic Bronze Medallist and former Laser World Champion, Michael Blackburn are chomping on the bit to win the title in Tom’s absence. The hot favourite after beating Tom Slingsby to win Silver at Sail Melbourne is Tom Burton but Ashley Brunning sure won’t make it easy for him, nor will any of the other squad members which includes; Ryan Palk, Klade Hauschidt, James Burman and Jared West.
With a forecast of 15-20 knots sea breeze, clear skies and 26 degrees, the fleet and volunteer organisers are set for a fantastic opening to the series.
Follow the action on the event website: http://www.laser.asn.au/1011nats/opennats.html
by Laura Baldwin Share 9:50 AM Wed 29 Dec 2010
‘Krystal Weir prepares for the 2011 Laser titles at George’s River Sailing Club – 2011 Australian Laser Championship’ ALCA Media