The 2008 ISAF Grade 1 Laser Australian Championships, being conducted by the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, from 27 December-4 January, has attracted 277 sailors from 19 countries so far.
The massive fleet will comprise at least 120 Standard rigs, 115 Radial rigs and 42 4.7s and will be the selection event for Australian competitors to the Laser Worlds to be held at Terrigal in February.
Countries participating in the Sail Melbourne event include Australia, New Caledonia, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and USA. Many will also compete in the 2008 Laser Asia Pacific Championships being conducted as part of Sail Melbourne from a shore base at the newly rebuilt Royal Brighton Yacht Club.
James MITCHELL, Chairman of the organizing committee commented, "The high level of level of 4.7 sailors competing is particularly pleasing. The Youth and the Masters age groups are the two biggest growth areas for the Class - we have a number of father with daughter or son combinations taking part.
"Of course it's also great to have the elite of the class well represented including, in the Standard rig, Australia's Tom SLINGSBY [2007 Laser World Champion], Canadian Michael LEIGH [#6 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings], Deniss KARPAK [third 2007 Laser World Champs and world #10], the USA's Andrew CAMPBELL [world #23] and from New Zealand David WEAVER [world #24]."
The regatta web site can be found at: http://www.viclaser.yachting.org.au/
and at www.sailmelbourne.com.au