Laser World Masters Championships 2012 - Down to the wire

Matias del Solar gliding to a convincing win in Race 10
Today was the final day of racing for the 233 sailors from 19 nations at the Laser World Masters Championships 2012. The event was sailed on the sheltered waters of Brisbane’s Moreton Bay from host club, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, ‘down under’ in Australia.

Principal Race officer Kevin Wilson called an early start hoping to sail three races and complete a twelve race, two drop series.

As competitors headed out to their courses, the breeze was seven to eight knots from the east south east and the cloud was overdeveloping. With the help, it is alleged by 29 Masters veteran Denis O'Sullivan, of the Irish St Patrick the wind built to 9-12 and stayed steady, allowing for high quality racing.

Race 10 for the Laser Standard Apprentice leader Chilean sailor Matias Del Solar typified his whole regatta. In the soft conditions he was clean away midline and was yet again first to the top mark. Del Solar went on to win and followed with two more bullets in races 11 and 12 to claim the 2012 World title. His 12 wins from 12 races was certainly an impressive score line and showed everyone why he is headed for the London Olympics (his third Olympics).

Del Solar was rushing to pack in the boat park. ‘Great sailing for the Nationals and the Worlds. We only had one bad day. I was looking for wind and we got that in the first half of regatta.

‘I am flying to Sydney this evening, Chile tomorrow. I have two weeks of preparation for the French Hyeres regatta and I’ll sail other World Cup events up to the Olympics.’

Second on the podium was Tony Baisden (AUS), despite an OCS in race 10. Brett Morris finished the day 2, 3, 3 and on equal points with Baisden but was relegated to third place on count back.

Chris Caldecoat (AUS) from event sponsor Performance Sailcraft, was a Laser Cube contender until he was forced out of the regatta with influenza.

Laser Grand Masters at top mark - the final day

Standard Grand Master Wolfgang Gertz, a dual Finn World Champion, won his third Laser Masters title after wins in 2009 and 2010.

Gertz said ‘It was a good regatta, good sailing and very enjoyable.’

Second placed Tracy Usher (USA) finished ahead on the score board but lost a port starboard protest from the last race.

‘Wolfgang sailed amazingly well all regatta. Today I was OCS in the first race and DSQ in the last race, so it was never to be.’

Andre Martinie (DOM) completed the podium.

A second in race 10 delivered Brett Beyer (AUS) the Laser Standard Master title, with two races still to be sailed. With drops of 2 and 9, Beyer could not be beaten. Bradley Taylor (AUS) finished second, with Sean Atherton-Feeney (AUS) third.

This is the eighth Laser World Masters Championship for Beyer since 2001. Beyer coached the Singapore Laser team to Olympic selection in 2004 and 2008 and is currently coaching the Korean, Singaporean and Norwegian Olympic Laser aspirants.

‘Enjoyed the regatta - great race management. I had a good day. I had conservative starts, it was light and I did not want to muck up anything with OCS or yellow flags. People were banging corners so I was playing catch up. I am heading to Europe on Monday to work with my squad. A big season ahead.’

The 2012 Laser World Masters Radial Apprentice Champion was decided this morning when Scott Leith (NZL) took the win in race 10. Leith finished well clear to take his third title in a row having won in San Francisco last year and at Hayling Island in 2010.

Leith was grinning as he pulled his mast apart. ‘A very enjoyable experience. No pressure on me today so I found it hard to concentrate. I found myself watching the race, having some fun, not fully focused. I am stoked that Team Kiwi did so well, I was watching them today.’

Richard Bott (AUS) edged out Danny Fuller (AUS) for second on the podium.

Despite being OCS in race 12 (his second drop), Mark Orams (NZL) with wins in races 10 and 11 kept Greg Adams (AUS) at bay to take the Laser Radial Masters title. Adams was second with Mark Kennedy (AUS) third.

Orams was smiling. ‘It was pretty tense to be honest. I had to come from a long way behind in the last couple of days to beat Greg. He had a weight advantage at the beginning of the regatta, and then I was lucky as it eased off because I am light and that gave me a chance.

‘The Masters scene is very enjoyable. No one gets too much into the mental games; we are a little too old for that. There is good quality racing but good fun too.’

The Laser Radial Grand Master World Champion for 2012 is New Zealand sailor Michael Keeton. Finishing 3, 6, 4 today Keeton edged away from Adam French (AUS), who did not have his best day on the water. With 11, 2, 13 French sailed his two drops, to take second place overall. Pete Thomas (New Zealand) took third on count back from US sailor Doug Peckover and Aussie Jeff Loosemore. All three finished on 34 points.

It was Keeton’s first World title and he was obviously pleased. ‘Conditions were incredibly tricky out there, the breeze was left and right, the middle was ugly. Really I went out there today to be in the top group.’

Laser Radial Great Grand Master Kerry Waraker (AUS) sailed conservatively in races 10 and 11, but finished strongly in race 12 to take the win and the 2012 World Championship.

Peter Seidenberg (USA) rocked the boat with wins in races 10 and 11 to draw level with Keith Wilkins (GBR), leading on count back with a race to go. In the last race of the series Wilkins relegated Seidenberg to fourth place. Wilkins managed third which secured him second place overall.

Waraker, an RQ local said ‘This is my second world title, I won in Brazil. Did a lot of training and it all paid off.’

Peter Seidenberg enjoyed the day’s racing. ‘It was close today. Keith Wilkins beat me by one place. I love Laser Masters Racing – this is always the highlight of the year. I have only ever missed one of these - the first one - because I did not know it was on.’

With three wins in the last three races Claire Heenan (AUS) is the Laser World 4.7 Masters Champion. Heenan edged ahead of Peter Charlton (Aus) to finish two points clear, with George Meikle (AUS) third.

Heenan said ‘Very, very close racing; a privilege to have sailed in and won the inaugural 4.7 Masters.

‘It was all down to who won the last race, which was a tacking duel and it was very exciting. Overall there was great camaraderie amongst the fleet.

'I’d like to thank the ILCA for letting us have a go! I’d love to have the opportunity to defend this title at the next Masters Worlds.’

Kevin Wilson PRO 2012 Laser Worlds Master

Principal Race Officer Kevin Wilson concluded by saying ‘It was great to be able to get the full series in and we received a lot of compliments about the race management.’

The Laser World Masters Championship 2012 concludes tonight with prize giving at the host club, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

For full results of all Divisions please visit http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-world-laser-masters-championship

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Event website http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-australian-laser-masters-championship