The last of four, back-to-back Laser World Championships in Riviera Nayarit kicked off yesterday for 85 competitors with perfect sailing conditions. Two races were completed in the Laser Standard Masters World Championships under sunny skies with wind ranging from 9 to 16 knots.
Race one was started in 9 knot winds from 210 degrees – south of the typical sea breeze direction. As expected the wind increased in velocity and clocked right during the race, which rewarded those who chose the right hand side of the course.
Race two was started in 13 knots and soon built to 16 knots by the finish. Unlike the first race, the right side was not favored this time. According to Australian sailor, Brett Beyer, “The left side was definitely favored in the second race. I worked the middle left on the first beat and then stayed left again on the second upwind leg.”
The strategy worked for Beyer, who is the defending champion in the Grand Masters Division, as he posted two first place finishes to lead his division.
Fellow Australian Mark Bethwaite also had a perfect day on the water with two bullets in the Great Grand Masters Division. “It was great sailing out there!” said Bethwaite. Like Beyer, Bethwaite is the defending world champion in his age division and leads former Masters champion, Doug Peckover, by four points.
In the Grand Masters Division, two sailors are tied for the lead with four points after the first day of racing. Nick Page of New Zealand found the stronger wind to his liking as he posted a third and a first, while Gavin Dagley scored two second place finishes to keep things even at the top of the leader board.
To complete the Southern Hemisphere’s domination of the day, Brazil’s Guilherme Roth leads the Apprentice Masters Division with 3 points on the day along with Pablo Rabago of Mexico.
Racing continues today in the 12-race series.
First held in 1980, the Laser Masters World Championship is organized annually for sailors age 35 and over. Sailors compete in various divisions based on their ages: Apprentice Masters – age 35 to 44, Masters – age 45 to 54, Grand Masters – age 55 to 64, and Great Grand Masters – age 65 and over. Unlike previous years, this year’s event was sailed on two separate weeks, one for Laser Radial sailors and one for Laser Standard sailors.
Top-Three Standings by Division:
Apprentice Masters Division:
1) Guilherme Roth BRA 3pts
2) Pablo Rabago MEX 3pts
3) Alejandro Rabago MEX 3pts
1) Brett Beyer AUS 2pts
2) Ernesto Rodriguez USA 7pts
3) Andrew Dellabarca NZL 10pts
Grand Masters Division:
1) Nick Page NZL 4pts
2) Gavin Dagley AUS 4pts
3) Steve Gunther AUS 10pts
Great Grand Masters Division:
1) Mark Bethwaite AUS 2pts
2) Doug Peckover USA 6pts
3) James Temple AUS 8pts
Racing is scheduled daily May 22-28 on the waters of Banderas Bay.
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