Here is a blurb from Day 3 via Google Translate. On the last day they raced the three boats against each other, with the Laser remaining onshore: Evident as the best sailor, reigning Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides, has an extra gear, regardless of the boat that was the helm. The Cypriot champion won all six races, regardless of the boat he was steering. It must be said that the greatest advantage has been achieved at the helm of the D-Zero, which also confirmed today, thanks above all to the possibility of adjusting the rake of the mast and to use the mainsail carriage, a greater average versatility in upwind. Three races were won by the D-Zero, the others by the RS Aero and Melges 14, always with Kontides at the helm.
it also said the D-Zero won all the women's races regardless of the skipper.
I think Tillerman is right. They will likely select the Finn to replace the Laser, and use either a to-be-designed rig for the women, or bring back the Europe!!
Google translating is fun. For words that obviously mean "rig", you get alternatives like "drilling platform", or even "weapon".
Observations from the pictures: three of the four boats took the "large" and "medium" sizes of their three rigs to Valencia. The D-Zero had a new smaller rig (instead of the former "Blue"), which looked good.
Impressions from the text: it's only natural for an Italian to have a pro-Devoti bias, but still it looks like if one of the boats stood out, it was (as I had anticipated) the D-Zero. It was especially praised for its adjustability; the mast rake adjustment by deck chocks and the actually-working traveller were mentioned several times. The Melges 14 did ok as well, but it wasn't as fast and was repeatedly criticized for an uncomfortable downwind sitting position. The lack of a halyard was a minus, too. The RS Aero sounded as underwhelming on the water as I've found it on land. And the Laser was there to be the Laser.
How the politics will work: the report will recommend one of the boats (possibly the D-Zero) plus a reserve alternative (possibly the Melges 14) to the Equipment Committee, which I don't think has much choice in forwarding that to the November meeting. And then the WS Council will unanimously choose the Laser.
We're talking about the monopoly within the Laser class. Or rather, it's a set of regional monopolies, but the individual consumer is limited to one choice nevertheless. I have personally tried buying certain Australian parts (which at the time were fundamentally different to the European counterparts) and was refused!
Of course there are alternatives to the Laser... and WS is now taking a good look at a few of those.
Does anyone here have any experience with the "official alternatives"? Tillerman...? (He doesn't even sail a proper course anymore as he's become an aerobian.)
Since you asked... Yes, I did buy an RS Aero a few years ago after sailing a Laser for over 30 years. It has been a very rewarding experience to be in at the start of a new class and contribute, in a small way, to helping it grow. And now the RS Aero is already being considered as a replacement for the Laser in the Olympics. Amazing!
I have to say I was getting a bit tired of sailing the same old boat. Moving to the RS Aero has restored my passion for sailing. Have sailed RS Aero regattas at the Gorge and on Lake Garda. Sailed several of the regattas in the Florida Winter Series this winter and looking forward to racing in the New England Series again this summer.
Sorry to hear of the latest upheaval in Laser world. Hope everything works out for all my friends who still sail Lasers. If you want to find out more about the RS Aero, here is a list of some RS Aero Reviews. You might also be interested in my musings on what it's like to move to a new class.
The WS Council actually voted today at the mid-year meeting! The final results were as expected:
The Laser was selected as the Paris 2024 Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment, subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024, following a ballot vote.
Under Regulation 21.1.3 (e), the decision on selecting the Equipment has to be made before 31 December 2019. Council members voted on deferring the selection of the Equipment to the 2019 Annual Conference but this was rejected meaning a decision had to be made in London.
The next step was to vote on the Equipment Committee recommendation to select the RS Aero. Their recommendation was rejected.
The process moved to a ballot and Council members were able to vote on the four boats that were part of the process - the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero.
The Laser won in the first round of votes.
For the Men's One Person Dinghy, 36 voted for the Laser and five voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.
For the Women's One Person Dinghy, 37 voted for the Laser and four voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.
But there's still a cloud on the horizon:
Before Council made its decisions on the Paris 2024 Equipment, the Board of Directors updated Council on its current plans for the Olympic Classes Contract. This included the position on implementing World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Strategy (FRAND) agreed by Council in November 2018. In order to provide certainty for MNAs, sailors and teams, the Board will engage in contractual discussions only until 1 August 2019. If by that time no agreement is reached, the Board will report to Council that no agreement has been concluded and Council will then have to select new Equipment for the relevant Event.