The NZ Laser Nationals gets underway Thursday 15th Jan at Nelson Yacht Club with an strong fleet of about 100 sailors lining up in five divisions.
Windy SW conditions are forecast for the first two days, followed by sea breezes for the last two days of the regatta so it looks like there should be some conditions to suit everyone over the four days.
There will be strong interest in the small but high quality Open fleet where top performing NZ sailors from last years international circuit, Andy Maloney, Sam Meech and Tom Saunders will be looking to hold off former frontrunner Mike Bullot, last years youth rep Andrew McKenzie and a group of overseas sailors from Oman and the Netherlands, including Nicholas Heiner who also sailed in our Nationals last year.
In the Radial fleet a strong youth group, including Trent Rippey who has recently returned from the Oman Youth worlds, will be looking to get the better of our London Olympic women’s rep, Sara Winther and Women’s Olympic aspirant Susannah Pyatt.
In the Masters there are strong fleets in both the Standard and Radial. In the Standard’s favourite will be defending champion Chris Decke, with Andrew Dellabarca, Kent Copplestone and Rob Woodward among the those likely to feature strongly. The forecast strong winds have convinced multiple World Masters champion Scott Leith to compete in the Radial fleet, where former Grand Masters world masters champion Mike Keeton and Ed Tam, recently placed third in the Oman Worlds ,will be looking to keep him honest.
The small 4.7 fleet is likely to be led by French Bay sailors Lachy Grimwade and Joe Gauld, who have just returned from competing in the Australian Youth Champs.
So if the weatherman is kind we look forward to some high quality racing, with the first race schedule for 1pm tomorrow.
by Nick Page – Chairman NZ Laser Assoication
Image: ISAF Sailing World Cup, Melbourne Day 6 Thomas Saunders (NZL) (Laser)- Silver medalist’ © Richard Gladwell