From the 11th until the 15th January, one of the premier New Zealand fleets in sailing descended on Manly Sailing Club for the 2019 Barfoot & Thompson Laser National Championships which included three top ten world ranked sailors among the 115 strong fleet.
It was also the largest fleet of Laser 4.7 sailors at a nationals in 7 years, with the majority of the contingent involved with the highly successful Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation, racing on their local waters.
Here are some comments from local newcomer to the 4.7 fleet, Daniel Brodie;
"In January I competed in the Laser National championships in the 4.7 division, with seven other competitors at Manly Sailing Club. Thanks go to the superbly organised race committee who provided us with some great courses. Together with varying weather conditions and good competition, the regatta had some very good racing. The third day is particularly worthy of mention for the windy and shifty conditions it offered, which I found extremely difficult. However, I managed to keep my results up. In the end I won by four points, and it was my first laser regatta win which felt great. This regatta was an unforgettable experience for me, and marks the beginning of another year of sailing."
The competitors endured a full range of testing conditions out there including frustrating drift offs, gusty gales, beating rain and scorching sun but all fleets managed to complete their scheduled series, bar the 4.7 fleet settling for 8 out of 10 scheduled races.
It was rewarding to see our local Manly SC sailors making some real inroads into mastering the art of Laser sailing, resulting in some excellent results against strong and well-seasoned competitors such as Matt Rist scoring five top ten finishes in the 10 race series.
Blake Wood and sister Alex Wood also contested in the competitive Laser Radial fleet with promising moments including Alex’s best performance saved for the last race. A promising indication of things to come!
The leader board for the 4.7 fleet was constantly on the move with several sailors in the fleet nabbing race wins including Ryker Green who is mounting a return to sailing with the Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation. The title was eventually crowned to fellow team mate Daniel Brodie, a new sailor to the 4.7 fleet on the back of competing at the recent O’pen Bic World Championships, also hosted by Manly Sailing Club.
Thanks to all the sponsors, the sailor families, the volunteers, Manly Sailing Club and of course to all the competitors for a spectacular event and a wonderful display of fair sailing.