Kiwi's Fly on First Day of 2008 World Laser Masters Championships
Terrigal's world famous big waves and winds sadly lacking on the first day. photo C&C images
The Kiwi sailors had a great first day of the 2008 World Laser Masters Championships being held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia. Scott Leith (Apprentice Master) & Mark Orams (Master) won their races with Rex Maddren 7th(Grand Master) & brother Colin 2nd & Tom Speed 3rd in the Great Grand Master fleet in the single races sailed in the Radial fleets. The Standard fleets were held on shore waiting for the Radial fleets to complete the scheduled 2 races before having their turn on the race course. With 365 sailors the race committee is struggling to manage with the large fleet and does not have enough rescue boats to run two courses, therefore while the Radials sail the Standard fleets are on shore waiting and tomorrow the Standard fleets will sail first with the Radials waiting.
Traditional dancers welcome the 365 sailors at the opening ceremony
And what a wait it was today! Most of the Radial fleet hit the water about 10.30 and waited through calms and periods of 15 knots from most directions of the compass until finally in the late afternoon the PRO was able to start the races. "Terrible Terrigal" was the nickname given to the Open World Championships by some of the Kiwi sailors from last week because of the unusual light and very shifty conditions & it looked like for most of Day 1 it would be the same for the Masters World Championships. Each time the breeze came in from another direction the Apprentice Masters would prepare to race and each time the wind would completely die. In the end it was a light wind day which only allowed the Radials to sail one race and the Standards to start their races but not complete them before the wind again became too unstable.
Scott Leith and a number of the Apprentice Master fleet were up the course when the PRO seized his one and only chance to get the races started. Scott missed the 5 & 4 minute signals and luckily managed to get around the pin before the 1 minute signal (which he still missed) as all World Laser Master Regatta sail with effectively Black Flag starts for every race and was sitting close to the pin not knowing when the start would be. Luckily for Scott he found some room at the pin and was able to get a guide from the few boats around him for the start. The boats at the pin were favoured and they got the first shift and were able to cross all the "Boat End" starters comfortably. Scott was able to hold this lead for most of the race but was passed by Richard Bott from AUS and Richard led by about 5 boat lengths at bottom mark, but Scott had a great last beat as the wind really dropped and regained the lead on the last tack to the finish line. Not bad for his first ever race at a World Laser Master Championships.
Mark Orams in the Master's fleet, which is stacked with so many World Champions it is like a WWF face-off, had a great day with everything going to plan in his race. Quoting Mark : He wanted the Boat Start,
" I got a good start at the boat, sailed in good pressure, got first shift in pressure, then the next shift in good pressure and led by 20 boat lengths at the top mark"
leaving the other World Champions to fight each other for the minor placing's while he extended on every leg! You see, sailing is really that simple!
Rex Maddren was the best of the Kiwis in the Grand Masters fleet finishing 7th with his older brother Colin in the Great Grand Masters fleet having an exceptional day, coming to second to reigning World Champion & Laser Legend from USA Peter Seidenberg with Tom Speed and Jim Quinn close behind.