Nationals prove Lasers a competitive class for life
By Cass Schlimbach
With more testing conditions yesterday due to easing wind and a lot of cloud about, it became clear how well the sailors get along out of racing and the large difference in demographics within the class — with the youngest sailor at this event Will McMillan being only 10 years old and those sailing in the great grand masters division in the 65 to 74 year old age bracket.
Will decided to sail Lasers after outgrowing the optimist and has plans to stick with the class for many years to come because of how much fun he has sailing, from creating lifelong friendships and gaining great sailing skills through the high level of competition.
The level of competition has always been high in the Lasers with previous sailors and champions in the class becoming Olympic and world champions in either Lasers or other classes after transferring their knowledge gained from the Laser into their next class or onto their students if they went into a coaching role. Some of those sailors include Nathan Outteridge, Krystal Weir, Michael Blackburn and Glenn Burke.
The stigma of the Lasers is a very serious one where many others think they are all about the Olympics and if that’s not your dream the class is not for you as it is too much effort to sail them to not go all the way.
However this is simply not true, the class may be a physical class but it is extremely family friendly with the different sized rigs and also creates great friendships, competition and rivalries as we have heard from our youngest sailor in the nationals fleet, Will.
If someone needs help with settings, boat work or general sailing knowledge there is always at least one sailor, coach or supporter who is happy to give some help and information to those in need to help them become better sailors.
This ability to send knowledge and tips and tricks to those less experienced sailors is the main reason the class is as strong and as competitive as it is in Australia.
Not just because the top sailors in Australia are also the top in the world, but because of the large support network and respect each sailor has for one another — this ensures the future of the class every time they hit the water.
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Video by Beau Outteridge Productions