Apprentice Masters Age Range Extended

ILCA has just announced that from 2022 the Apprentice Masters age range will be extended from 35-44 to 30-44.

ILCA says that it is excited about this change, which for the first time gives sailors under the age of 35 the opportunity to join the ILCA Masters World Championships and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of that fleet. All other Masters age categories will remain unchanged.

The new age range will apply for all ILCA District, Regional and World events including the upcoming 2022 Australian Masters at Westernport and the 2022 Masters World Championships in Mexico.

ILCA says that while it does not expect this change to dramatically increase the number of Apprentice entries in events it believes that by being more inclusive and “broadening the tent” to allow more adult sailors to enjoy Masters events it will attract more interest in the ILCA class from both grass roots and former competitive ILCA sailors looking to get back into our great sport.

The Boat That Ian Built

Early Laser Regatta association Island NY

An interesting short movie (28min) from 1974 has come to light. It tells the Laser story of Ian Bruce and Performance Sailcraft the company which which he originally formed to produce and market it.

“The movie has fantastic footage of one of the first ever big fleet Laser regattas held at Association Island, New York on Lake Ontario across the lake from Kingston (with Ian Bruce competing!). The movie has interviews with Ian, Bruce Kirby, and Laser sail designer Hans Fogh along with shots of Lasers being produced in Ian’s factory.

You’ll also see amazing footage of Hans Fogh helming the prototype Laser in an October 1970 regatta held for boats under $1000 at the Playboy Club at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. It was called ‘The America’s Teacup Regatta’. Ian and Hans decided to call the prototype the ‘Weekender’ with sail number TGIF, the abbreviation for ‘Thank God It’s Friday’.”

The movie is from the National Film Board of Canada archive Here

COVID Restrictions for Community Sport

With the sailing season coming up you might be wondering what are the COVID restrictions applicable. The situation is fast changing and different for each state and varying between local government areas within states.

Australian Sailing has a page with information and links to the latest health orders. You can click the box on the right to get the rules for community sport in your state.

The Australian Sailing page is Here.

Cancellation of Australian Open & Youth Championships 2022

With regret due to ongoing uncertainty about travel logistics and border closures it has been decided to cancel the Laser Australian Open & Youth Championships 1-8 January 2022 in Fremantle WA.

We considered delaying the event to later in 2022 however there is no guarantee, with the strict stance taken by the WA Government,  that  this will be possible. ALCA COVID policy requires that sailors from all states and territories can travel quarantine free to and from the event for it to be the National Championship.

In place of 2022 Australian Championships we invite each district to run and event or designate an existing planned event, as the ILCA World Championship selection event. The results from these district events will be interleaved and scaled for size to rank sailors for 2022 ILCA World Championships.

Zac Littlewood Wins Under 21 Worlds

Well done Zac Littlewood for his dominant win in the ILCA World Under 21 Worlds in Gdynia Poland. Zac posted 5 wins and 2 seconds to win by 23 points in the 138 boat fleet.

Winds in the Gulf of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea were strong in the middle of the series and light at the start and finish as the video of the day 3 race Here shows. Zac enjoyed the conditions saying that he had not been able to race for two years so was pleased with his performance. He said that the Under 21 event was good practice for the tougher competition in the senior events which he was competing in later in the season.

Full results of the Men’s U21 Worlds event are Here.

Zac along with three other Australian Sailing Squad members are planning to sail in the ILCA7 Men’s Worlds in Barcelona in November.

The U21 Worlds event was relocated from UK to Poland due to COVID restrictions. You have to admire the tenacity of these young sailors navigating COVID exit and entry restrictions and travel difficulties just to be able to compete in these events.

Top Australian Under 21 Women ILCA6 sailor Paige Caldecoat represented us in the U21 Women’s event in Gdynia finishing a creditable 18th in the 57 boat fleet. Italian’s Giorgia della Valle & Chiara Benini Floriani went head to head and finished a few points apart in first and second. Women’s Under 21 Worlds results are Here.

Zac on his way to a dominant win in Gdynia

ILCA World Championships

Despite high COVID cases and constraints the 2021 ILCA World Championships have so far been able to run and attract near capacity competitors. The ILCA6 Youth Worlds at Arco on Lake Garda, Italy attracted 370 entries from 40 countries with the boys split into four fleets. The ILCA4 Youth Worlds event in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland saw 243 entries and the Under 21 Worlds in Gdynia, Poland had 200 entries from 39 countries.

ILCA has done a great job under difficult conditions to stage these events. They have had to relocate some events due to COVID restrictions and difficulties in transporting charter boats due to current shipping logistics chaos.

Unfortunately due to Australia’s foreign travel ban no Australian sailors have been able to compete in the World Youth events however Australian sailing are managing to send some Australian Sailing Squad members to under 21 Worlds (Gdynia, August) and ILCA6 Worlds (Oman, December) and ILCA7 Worlds (Barcelona, November).

Travel bans look likely to persist for this year and in any event travel costs are through the roof, so the prospect of Australian sailors competing in the World Masters (Barcelona, November) are bleak. There are however 260 entries for the Masters event which in better times might have been near the 400 entry limit.

ILCA have announced timing and venues for 2022 World Championships (except for ILCA6 Youth Worlds). Listing of the events is on the ILCA’s web site Here. Australian sailors will hopefully be free to travel to these 2022 events.

ILCA 6 2022 Men’s and Women’s World Championships

The 2022 ILCA 6 (Radial) Men’s and Women’s World Championships will now be held from Thursday 22 September – Friday 30 September 2022 in Qingdao, China.

The event site will be the Sunac Yacht Club. Qingdao Sunac Yacht Club is located on the Oriental Movie Metropolis Starlight Island. It is a 45-minute drive from Qingdao Railway Station and a 60-minute drive from Qingdao Liuting Airport (TAO).

Information on all the ILCA World Championship events including application and entry deadlines are published on the ILCA web site here.

Reminder ILCA6 (Radial) Carbon Mast

A few sailors have enquired about class legal use of ILCA6 (Radial) carbon bottom section perhaps after observing the use of aluminium sections as the supplied equipment for the Woman’s Olympics.

The ILCA6 carbon bottom section has been class legal since September 2020 however it was always the intent to use aluminium sections for the Tokyo Olympics. This is covered in an ILCA post Here and a January 2020 ALCA post Here.

Tom Slingsby Tribute to Michael Blackburn & Matt Wearn

Tom Slingsby has posted a great tribute to Michael Blackburn and Matt Wearn. From Australian Sailing Tome said;

Thumbs Up from Blackers

I just wanted to say a huge congratulations to Matt Wearn on winning his gold medal with a day to spare! A beautiful display of racing especially after a tough first couple of races.

I still remember meeting Matt as a 14 year old in Mandurah and my old coach Arthur Brett saying, “this kid has got it”. I totally agreed after coaching him and Arthur and I both said he would be a Olympic Champion one day. Today is that day. Well done!

However this post is not just about Matt. It’s also about the guy who the cameras won’t see when Matt collects his gold medal. A legend of Australian sport that most of the public do not know Matt’s coach, Michael Blackburn.

Blackers has now coached 3 back to back Olympic champions and has created a legacy in Australian sailing and the Laser class in general that ‘Australia will win gold in the laser class’. That’s all Blackers.

He coached myself to gold in 2012, Tom Burton to gold in 2016 and now Wearny to gold in 2021.

See Tom’s full post Here.

Matt Seals Gold in the Medal Race

Matt Wearn has maintained Australia’s dominance in the Laser Class at the Olympic Games, winning the nation’s third consecutive Gold in the event.

Matt overcame a nervous start to the regatta to completely dominate the middle and late stages to have the Gold wrapped up in advance of the Medal Race.

Matt had only to “make a genuine effort to start, sail the course and finish” in the medal race to take the gold. He did that with ease sailing conservatively with a come from behind second in the medal race to cement his series win from Croatian Tonci Stipanovic who was also silver medalist in Rio and Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard.

“Probably relief,” was his first emotion after securing the Olympic crown. “It has been quite a long journey and a particularly stressful week. It wasn’t the ideal start to a regatta, so I couldn’t have felt better than locking away a gold medal before the Medal Race.”

Australian Sailing reports the man behind Australia’s three consecutive Laser gold medals is master coach Michael Blackburn. Michael is a four times Australian Laser Standard Champion and also a World Champion 2006 and bronze Olympic medalist in 2000.

“Quite a thrill to get it done early,” Blackburn said before today’s Medal Race. “It has been a goal of mine to have someone win the regatta before the medal race, because the medal races can be a bit iffy sometimes. To get it done in such a good style and quite unexpectedly is quite the thrill.”

Check NSW & ACT Laser site Olympics page for the blow by blow rundown on Matt and Mara Stransky’s great efforts in Enoshima.

See photos of Matt and Mara from World Sailing Here.

Matt Wearn Takes Gold

Matt Wearn is assured of GOLD with a race to spare.  Matt will officially be crowned Olympic Champion when he contests his Medal Race on Sunday as he has an insurmountable 22-point lead after 10 races. The result table is Here.

It was a tough day on the water for all. Matt posted a 12 and 8 in the light conditions on Friday (Races 9 and 10) after two wins on Thursday.  Unfortunately for him Cypriot Pavlos Kontides carded a 28th in race 10 which put him out of range of Matt going into the medal race on Sunday. According to the SIs Matt needs only to “make a genuine effort to start, sail the course and finish” in the medal race to take the gold.

“It was a tough day of racing, but I am happy to finish off with that. And yeah, I’m going to be a Gold Medallist.”
“I am still processing it myself,” said Matt’s dad Brad Wearn after the final race. “It’s his destiny. This has been his goal since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. We are just so proud of him, he’s pushed himself so hard and has been surrounded by great people along the way.”
Wearn wont be able to celebrate with family tonight, and making things more difficult is that COVID protocols will also prevent him from celebrating with fiancée Emma Plasschaert who is sailing the Laser Radial for Belgium at these Games.

Mara Stransky saved the best to last in her first Olympic campaign today. She set aside some earlier disappointment to put together the race day of her life, finishing her regatta with a third and a win in the final fleet race.

The great final day lifted Mara to a creditable 14th in the red hot fleet.

Olympic Sailing Information

You can follow the Olympic sailing events in Enoshima on the following links.

Stream video 7plus  Sailing Channel

Get free 7plus Olympic Channels

Live Tracking

World Sailing Olympic Site

Olympic Sailing Results

Racing Schedule and Course Location

Australian Sailing Team Facebook

Australian Sailing Team Twitter

Check NSW & ACT Laser site Olympics page for on site updates and information.

See photos of Matt and Mara from World Sailing Here.

Matt Wearn & Mara Stransky in Tokyo Olympics action

Olympic Sailing Information

You can follow the Olympic sailing events in Enoshima on the following.

Stream video 7plus  Sailing Channel

Get free 7plus Olympic Channels

Live Tracking

World Sailing Olympic Site

Olympic Sailing Results

Racing Schedule and Course Location

Australian Sailing Team Facebook

Australian Sailing Team Twitter

Check NSW & ACT Laser site Olympics page for on site updates and information.

See photos of Matt and Mara from World Sailing Here.

Matt Wearn & Mara Stransky in Tokyo Olympics action

New Dates Men’s and Masters Worlds in Barcelona

Due to concerns of travel restrictions to Spain the ILCA has changed the dates of the Standard Men’s and Masters World Championships.

  • 2021 ILCA 7 (Standard) Men’s World Championship – 03-10 November 2021 (previously 09-16 September 2021)
  • 2021 ILCA Masters World Championships – 11-20 November 2021 (previously 17-26 September 2021)

The events will be held at the same venue – the Barcelona International Sailing Center in Barcelona, Spain.

Due to this change, the late application period has been reopened and the Entry Closing Date has been postponed. Details are posted on the ILCA web site.