Racing Lasers at Sail Sydney, now its Bass Strait

  • December 7, 2018

Prominent Hobart Laser Radial sailors Will Sargent and Nicholas Smart, after a week of harbour racing at Sail Sydney, are tomorrow taking on the open waters of Bass Strait.

They will join other Tasmanian Laser sailors in contesting the 2018-19 Tasmanian State Laser Championships, hosted by the Mersey Yacht Club this weekend.

Sargent, who last weekend won the youth division of the SB20 Australian championships on the Derwent, switched back to Laser Radials at Sail Sydney, finishing 10th overall in the 27-boat fleet. Smart finished 13th overall.

Sam King has moved up to the Laser Standard rig this summer.

The Tasmanain Laser Championship event is being held as a run-up to the 2019 Oceania and Australian National Championships to be held in the first week of January, also hosted by Mersey Yacht Club.

With the support of Events Tasmania, this regatta is being raced in Bass Strait off Devonport’s Mersey Bluff for the first time since 1975. More than 150 entries have been received so far, including Rio Olympic gold medalist Tom Burton.

A good fleet is expected in the three Laser class rigs for this weekend’s State championships, headed by a competitive fleet of Standard rigs, including Sam King, Max Gluskie and Ryan Moreton.

In the men’s Radials, Smart and Sergeant can expect strong competition from Josh Ragg while Adele Autcherlonie should dominate the women’s Radial event.

Lasers racing in Bass Strait, off Mersey Bluff.

In the Masters, Tony Tate will be defending his title against Phil Read while in the 4.7s, reigning State champion Ethan Price will defend his title against the up-and-coming Ollie Hugo and Finn Potter.

In the 4.7 girls, Abbey Calvert and Matilda O’Donoghue are returning to Lasers for this regatta after campaigning in the 29’er.

The Tasmanian District Laser Association has grown from nine members five years ago to 44 for this season.

This is due to the popularity of the Laser as an all-round great boat that sailors can sail for life, hanging their rig as their situation changes.

Much is also due to the Tasmanian District Laser Association’s focus on organisation, coaching, logistical support and class spirit.

The TDLA now has its own RHIB thanks to fund raising and a Tasmanian Community Fund grant. In addition, the TDLA has its own Laser transportation trailers, facilitating events around the State.

Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Roger King
7 December 2018