Laser 4.7 World Championships preview

Laser Worlds 2010
The Laser 4.7 World Championship are being held at St. Francis Yacht Club from 26th July 2011. Racing will commence on 28th July.

While it is tough to make an accurate prediction as to who will emerge as the top ten racers in the Laser 4.7 Worlds Laser Masters Sailor Tracy Usher believes the recent European Championships will be a good indicator. Several of the top-placed finishers in the European Laser 4.7 Championships flew across the pond last week, just after the conclusion of the regatta, to prepare for the Worlds here in San Francisco. In watching these teenagers over the last couple of days, one can’t help but be impressed with their composure and fastidiousness at such a young age. Most of the 165 competitors have flown here with fellow countrymen and a coach. A few brought their parents. They not only have to quickly learn about the race course conditions, but are also navigating an unfamiliar city, and in many cases speaking a language that’s foreign to them. Yet they manage, because they must.

Sebastien Schneiter of Switzerland, who won the European Champs, has been here for the past week with his coach and six fellow competitors. 'The water is cold,' said Schneiter, 'and the currents are strong.' In Lake Geneva, where he sails, the winds are 10-15 knots. Today’s practice race breeze packed a wallop to the competitors with breezes up to 25 knots.

Paging down in the European results, many of the visiting Spanish teams have some strong contenders, with Juan Kevin Cabrera Gonzalez, Francisco Gonzalez Sammarco, and Carols Rosello, who were second, seventh, and 12th, respectively. And let’s not forget Yolanda Gonzales, who was 12th overall in the Girls division.

Other girls to watch are Kim Pletikos of Slovinia, who was fourth among the girls overall in the Europeans. Athanasia Fakidi of Greece was seventh, Antonela Kacan from Croatia, ninth, and Lea Dora Janezic of Slovenia was 13th in the same regatta. Lola Bushnell, from the US, may also be a contender. She was the top girl in a stacked fleet last weekend for the Laser 4.7 North American Championships on San Francisco Bay.

Of the boys, in addition to the above, Ryan Amlehn, Taylor Burn, and Liam McDonald put forth a strong effort for the New Zealand contingent in the North Americans with a first, second, and seventh place. The US contingent, Jack Marshall, Brendan Shanahan and Bradley Shaw were third, fifth and sixth respectively. Canadian Adrian Vlasic came in third.

Of course these predictions will stand for all of one day. Come the first rounding of the windward mark all this will very likely change. The air around the St. Francis Yacht Club is thick with accents from dozens of different countries; competitors, parents and coaches, all focused, laser-like, on the finish line. It’s going to be fun.

The Laser 4.7, Slalom, and Masters Worlds schedule at the St. Francis Yacht Club:
Laser 4.7 Worlds: 26th July to 2nd August
Heavy Weather Laser Slalom: 4th and 5th August; this is a fun heavy weather event just off the deck of the StFYC.
Laser Masters: 6th to 13th August; racing commences on 7th August, and 10th August is a lay day

Laser Worlds website