Australians Shine in Laser World Masters

Mark Bethwaite on his way to GGM win - Photo

Mark Bethwaite on his way to GGM win – Photo Thom Touw

Australia and in particular NSW/ACT Laser Masters Sailors did very well in the recently completed World Masters in Hyères France. With 50 sailors among the over 500 competitors Australian had a strong team and came home with three wins and four second places in the various fleets.

The series was held over 7 days on two courses on the Mediterranean off the port of Hyères from 4th October. With two races per day scdeduled and few contrary breezes in the early days the lay day was cancelled. In the end all 12 races were completed on the Standard’s course and 10 on the Radial. Once the weather settled the breezes were excellent around 15-18 knots with a high steep Mediterranean swell making down wind rides exciting. You can see some of the action from photos taken by Thom Touw here.

Steve Walsh in the Mediterranean swell - Photo Thom Touw

Steve Walsh in the Mediterranean swell – Photo Thom Touw

Outstanding was Brett Bayer who won in the 116 boat Standard Masters not needing to sail on the last day. Other winners were Mark Bethwaite DBSC in the Standard GGM’s and Stephen Walsh Narrabeen Lakes SC in the 4.7′s. Steve had a tough start to his campaign when all his gear including his 4.7 bottom section went missing in transit. The gear was recovered just in time for him to complete measurement.

In the Radials Jeff Loosemore from MHASC was just pipped by 2 points by Kiwi legend Michael Keeton in the Grandmasters. Jeff has been a sailing grey nomad through the European summer competing in many of the big Laser events in that busy calendar. His performance reflected the work and experience gained. Vanessa Dudley MHASC was fourth in the GM Radial and was the first woman. Queenslander Mark Kennedy was just pipped on a coutback for the Radial Masters by Stephen Cockerill of Rooster fame.

Rob Lowndes MHASC was second in the Radial GGM’s which had 77 boats on the line for each of its 10 races. Rob sailed well to beat last year’s winner and Laser legend Peter Seidenberg from the USA but was not good enough this time to best Keith Wilkins from Great Britian. Kerry Waraker RQYS was second in the Legends (over 75) division.

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The Australian Masters Team Hyères

The full results of the series are here

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