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.