For sailors looking to move up into the single-handed Olympic Laser class, the introduction of the Laser 4.7 into the junior programme will be a great advantage, allowing them to get to grips with the one design class at a younger age and help them to develop the technical knowledge and skills required. The class will provide a natural progression from the Laser 4.7 into the Laser Radial and then onto the Laser Standard.
The Laser has proved a successful piece of equipment for Great Britain's Olympic teams. Last year in Athens Paul GOODISON narrowly missed out on a medal finishing fourth in a competition won by Brazilian superstar Robert SCHEIDT. Four years earlier Britain did triumph and it was SCHEIDT who missed out with Ben AINSLIE (GBR) beating him to the gold medal in Sydney.
The RS Feva class currently organize open class training and recognition means that the class will be able to access subsidies to help with this training as well as giving the RYA the opportunity to engage with this class.
Awarding the Laser 4.7 junior pathway status means the RYA and the UK Laser Association (UKLA) can begin discussions with the ultimate aim of setting up an RYA national junior squad within the class.
The next steps within this process will be the formation of a UKLA/RYA Steering Team to manage the programme, the appointment of a national coach, the introduction of international competition grants for the world championships in America this summer, and a national junior squad training programme, which it is hoped will commence in May.