25 Apr 2016 - The Laser Masters World Championship for Radials completed two more races today. Race Committee postponed while the afternoon thermals built, but started the first race at about 1330h, 30 minutes after the scheduled start time, in 7 knots of breeze. The wind built over the afternoon, to 13 knots, shifting left and requiring several adjustments to the alignment of the trapezoid course. With four races scored, sailors can now discard one race from their overall total.
Scott Leith (NZL) maintained his lead in the Apprentice division, with a first and second (discarded), followed by Jon Emmett (GBR) and Alejandro Rabago (MEX), as before, although Rabago had to discard a 16 from his U-flag disqualification for starting early in Race 3. Carlos Edwardo Wanderly (BRA) likewise maintained a strong lead in the Masters division, discarding a second, followed by Alessio Marinelli (ITA) and Richard Blakey (NZL).
Australia is currently dominating the 49-boat Grand Master division, with Jeff Loosemore still in the lead, followed by Vanessa Dudley and Greg Adams. But Jean-Yves Fillion (USA) is tied with Adams in points, in fourth place only on a tie-breaker. Kathy Luciano (USA) won Race 4, but double-digit finishes currently keep her out of contention.
William Symes (USA) moved up to lead the 36-boat Great Grand Master division, discarding his third from yesterday, with Robert Lowndes (GBR) dropping back after having to discard a Did Not Compete (DNC) in the first race today. The United States continues to lead the 75+ division, with Peter Seidenberg and David Hartman in first and second, but closely followed by Kerry Waraker of Australia.
One more day of racing is scheduled before the midweek layday, with three more race days scheduled starting Thursday.
24 Apr 2016 - Clear skies and milder breeze inaugurated Day 1 of the Laser Master World Championship – Radial Division. The first race for the Apprentice & Masters division started just after the scheduled 1300h start time in 8-10 knots of a southerly breeze. The other two starts (Grand Masters, followed by Great Grand Masters and 75+) followed soon after.
The wind began to shift right as it built, and race committee set up on a SSW heading for the second race. The first fleet started cleanly, but the second fleet was a bit more aggressive and race committee used a black flag restriction after a general recall, and several sailors were disqualified for crossing the line early.
After Day 1, the pecking order in the 12-boat Apprentice division seems established, with Scott Leith (NZL), Jon Emmett (GBR), and Alejandro Rabago (MEX) finishing 1-2-3 in both races. Carlos Edwardo Wanderley (BRA) won both races in the 28-boat Masters division, but the finishes were mixed after that.
Jeff Loosemore and Greg Adams, both representing Australia, had top-3 finishes in the 49-boat Grand Master division, closely followed by several other sailors. Robert Lowndes (AUS) and William Symes (USA) had top-3 finishes in the Great Grand Master division (36 boats). In the 75 and over fleet (8 boats), Peter Seidenberg and David Hartman, both representing the United States, traded 1-2 finishes, followed by Kerry Waraker (AUS).
But there are five more days of racing on Banderas Bay before this event concludes on Saturday. Lots can and will happen before the next World Champion is decided!
23 Apr 2016 - Banderas Bay initiated 136 Masters sailors from 18 countries with a strong southerly breeze for this afternoon’s practice race. Equipment inspection and registration was completed before noon, and the first of three races for the five divisions started just after 1400h in 12 knots under clear skies.
Masters sailors are aged 35 and over, with a division for each decade of age – Apprentice, Masters, Grand Masters, Great Grand Masters, and 75+. The first two divisions started together, but each division is scored separately. Grand Masters started next, followed by the two divisions of older sailors. A single practice race for each group was scheduled.
The wind built through the afternoon, ultimately exceeding 20 knots, with heavy waves. Most sailors completed the day unassisted, but several needed assistance from the safety team to right capsized boats. All sailors made it safely to shore. Banderas Bay is known for strong afternoon winds, and it delivered.
Racing begins tomorrow, and we’ll see what the day offers us. Two races are scheduled for each of the next seven days, with a midweek layday on Wednesday. Regardless, the warm waters and sunny skies should make for some great racing and tough completion.