Minister for the Central Coast, John DELLA BOSCA, launched the 2008 Laser World Championship at the Terrigal Trojan Rugby Club at The Haven yesterday evening.
packed house attending the launch including some of the world’s most talented sailors, race management, family and friends.
While Gosford Sailing Club is the host for the Championship, the rugby club is the base for the Championship. The 160-strong Laser fleet has taken over the oval normally used for rugby matches – an unusual sight!
Kevin DUNCAN, from the indigenous Darkinjung Community, opened the Ceremony playing his didgeridoo.
“Our people rarely get to participate in something like this. We are very pleased to be invited and wish all the sailors the best of luck,” said DUNCAN who went on to explain how Terrigal was originally named Tarrigal by the indigenous people. He went on to acknowledge, “Our people, past and present, on this land.”
Next, Helen MONKS from the Championship Organizing Committee introduced three students from the dance college for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who performed for the crowd.
Minister DELLA BOSCA declared the Championship open. The Minister acknowledged and paid respects to the Elders and welcomed members of the indigenous community, those involved in running the Championship and the sailors. “It’s great to be here,” he said.
“This [the World Championship] has been a long time coming. This is a fascinating sight; seeing all the Lasers. I’m looking forward to seeing some world class sailing.
“There were a lot of prospective venues considered for the Worlds, but the Central Coast was chosen. I hope lots of people come to watch the racing and all enjoy the experience.
“It will be the greatest and most authentic competition – they [the sailors] are world class athletes and we feel privileged to hold their competition here. There is such a wide diversity of nations – and Australians always welcome all cultures and nations,” he said.
“The NSW Government and Gosford Council consider it a great privilege to hold a first World Championship here,” Minister DELLA BOSCA said in closing.
Gosford Sailing Club president, Vardon BROWN, welcomed all on behalf of the host sailing club. “We understand the importance of this regatta and we wish all competitors success,” he said.
“We recognize the dedication to the task of the Organising Committee and the volunteers. To our sponsors,” BROWN commented. "Without your support our club could not have held this regatta – thank you,” he said.
“The sailors have been here for a while training; showing their dedication. This is one of the most important regattas outside of the Olympics,” commented Jeff MARTIN,
Following the practice race today, the Championship starts off Terrigal tomorrow with two races set to start from 13:00.
Argentina Top After Opening Races At Laser Worlds (ISAF)
After much anticipation, Race 1 of the Laser World Championship at Terrigal in Australia got underway at 1.45pm local time in three groups on trapezoid courses in light rain, but shortly after 3.00pm the sun came out.
(Japanese competitor show how its done - Photo Courtesy: Andrea Francolini)
Following the two races, Julio Alsogaray from Argentina is the leader of the Championship on Day 1 after scoring two bullets in the Yellow group, his results speaking for themselves.
Athens Olympian and World Ranked No. 3 Matias Del Solar (CHI) is second overall. The 32 year old said earlier in the week he did not want to miss a medal in Beijing and had been training hard under his coach, brother Juan-Pablo.
Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) the Athens Games bronze medalist is third overall, followed by Javier Hernandez (ESP), Brad Funk (USA), Tom Slingsby (AUS), Abe Torchinsky (CAN), Pavlos Kontides (CYP) Alex Schlonski (GER) and Bruno Fontes (BRA).
It was a great day and early birthday gift for young Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides who scored a third and fourth in the Yellow group. "I am very happy.
"I knew I had improved my sailing a lot - but I had to wait till I got here (the World's) to find out how much. I am so happy," said the 17 year old who turns 18 on Monday. Pavlos has already qualified for the Games. His hope for this Championship is a top place to help him realise his dream of an Olympic medal.
Irish sailor James Espey said at times the conditions were 'pretty horrible. It was very light for most the time, 5-10 knots, with a huge swell and waves. At times the wind picked up and it was great surfing downwind.
"I had a bad first race, but managed 10th in the second one. Ireland hasn't qualified for the Games yet. There's three of us trying," the 23 year-old from Bangor said.
Michael Bullot (NZL), who had been in second place for most of the race, stole the lead from Adonis Bougiouris (GRE) between the last mark and the finish to claim the win from the Greek and world champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) in the Blue group.
Slingsby was lucky to work his way back to third after rounding the wrong first windward mark on the trapezoid course.
(Juan Maegli (GUA) & Tom Slingsby (AUS) - Photo Courtesy: Andrea Francolini)
In the Yellow group, winner Julio Alsogaray (ARG) got off the start well to round the first two marks in the lead position. He lost his lead briefly, but recovered well to get the gun.
Second home was Milan Vujasinovic (CRO), with young Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides third. The two sailed top ten throughout the course. throughout.
The Red group was away last. Bruno Fontes (BRA) sailed a steady race to claim first place from Athens Olympian Matias Del Solar (CHI) and Rasmus Mygren (SWE)
Race 2 Julio Alsogaray (ARG) took out race two in the Yellow group from Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Philip Wender (BRA) and Kontides fourth. in light and shifty sou-sou-easterly winds on a big 3-4 metre swell and big waves. Gustavo Lima (POR) was first over the line in the Blue group from Brad Funk (USA), Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Igor Lisovenko (RUS) and Tom Slingsby fifth
Bruno Fontes from Brazil was happy man on coming ashore, winning both Red group races. "I am very happy. This was a good day - a nice day. It was hard sailing; big waves and light breeze. I prefer more wind, but I trained hard for this Championship.
"Brazil has qualified for the Games, but when I go home I have to do another regatta to get selected for the Games, so to do well here, well this is a good start," he said.
In other news, Toby Schadewaldt (GER), Marc Schmit (LUX) and Christoph Bottoni (SUI) were the first three casualties of the day, disqualified by the international jury.
"I was sent home by the jury," said Schmit. "One of the German boats caused an incident with about 20 of us at the start. I tried to get out and I pumped twice to make some space between us - I made a mistake and got disqualified," said the disappointed 22 year-old who is trying to qualify Luxembourg for the Beijing Games.
Schadewaldt was yellow flagged twice. "I got my first flag for body pumping just before the finish in Race 1. In the second race, I heeled my boat over to see if there was weed under my boat; I pumped to right the boat and the jury disqualified me.
"Maybe they thought I did something else; it was hard for them to see me properly, as there was a very big swell and it was very light and shifty. Not a good day for me," the 23 year-old said.
"I had some troubles," said Bottoni. ""For the first time in my life I got two yellow flags. I think it is quite strange; I've been competing in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and this never happened.
"There were lots of waves, big swell and light breeze - it was hard to move. I got disqualified for pumping."
(India, Switzerland, Korea and Finland do battle - Photo Courtesy: Andrea Francolini)
Sailing enthusiasts can follow the top 20 marking roundings and finish results of each group as they happen by going to the official site and go to ‘Standard’ on the menu bar, then ‘Mark Roundings’ at: http://aus08.laserinternational.org/