250 Laser sailors from 29 countries completed 2 races in light winds on the first day of the Laser Masters World Championship on Sunday, being held from the same venue as the recent ISAF World Championship, the Bay of Cadiz.
The overall fleet is divided into 4 age groups: Apprentices, ages 35 to 44; Masters, ages 45 to 54; Grand Masters, ages 55 to 64 and Laser Radial, which includes the Great Grand Masters aged 65 years plus. The Apprentices and Masters are using one race area and the Grand Masters and Laser Radial another area.
The Apprentices and Masters had lighter winds on their course with the wind rarely getting above 7 knots. Former Europe class world champion, Jyrki TAIMINEN (FIN), had the best day in the apprentices, scoring a first and third. Behind, the British pair of Mark LITTLEJOHN and Steve COCKERILL are only 1 and 2 points adrift. Cockerill made the most dramatic recovery in the fleet on the first race when he recovered from 20 round the first mark to finish fourth.
In the Masters Chris RAAB (USA) had the best results in any fleet, finishing with a first and second. Raab said afterwards: "I had a great day, the best ever at a Laser Masters Worlds. They were really my conditions and what made it really special was that I beat Agie [DIAZ (USA)], an icon in many classes".
Diaz, placed second and seventh, has sailed internationally in the Star and 470. This year he won the Snipe worlds. He said: "I have been sailing Lasers on and off for a number of years. It is really great to be back in the Laser class".
Long time Master campaigner Keith WILKINS (GBR), demonstrated that he is intent on winning another title after scoring two second places in the 44 competitor Grand Masters fleet whilst the race winners, Bill SYMES (USA) and Tomaso AMBROSI (SUI), scored an eighth and thirteenth in their other races.
In the Radial Fleet, 4 women are sailing in the Apprentice age group and 3 in the Masters. Roberta Hartley showed the men the way home in the first race and currently holds the overall lead in the Radial Apprentices.
Another experienced master sailor, Peter SEIDENBERG, heads the 23 strong elder statesman group of Great Grand Masters. Seidenberg matched Raab's best results of the day.
Full results are on the championship website at the address below.