LONG BEACH, CA 12 July 2018 – – The Moorings 2018 Laser North American Championship got underway today, in breeze that built from 6 to 14 knots, with boisterous seas to match. Laser, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 competitors – 167 in all, hailing from 26 nations – enjoyed three races in the brisk southwesterly breeze on San Pedro Bay.
The four-day event is hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC), Long Beach, Calif. “This is the kind of event ABYC likes to do,” sail Regatta Chair Ed Spotskey, “Our team really puts our best foot forward, to make this a special event for the international sailors.”
“Some of our volunteers go back to the 1984 Olympics and have been running major regattas at ABYC since then,” Spotskey added. “And many look forward to making it to the 2028 Olympics, too!” referring to the Los Angeles Summer Games, slated for 2028.
“One of the things I love about the Laser class, is we cross such an age spectrum, all competing together,” pointed out Sherri Campbell, Laser NA Class Executive Sec’y. Not only does the field of competitors span 50 years – the youngest is 14, the oldest 63 – but it also spans the world.
In addition to the North American Championship, the event also serves as a qualifier for next year’s Pan American Games. Hence, it wasn’t unusual to see Venezuela, Canada, Ecuador, Bermuda, Aruba rounding the marks in unison today, in racing that was tight and challenging, in the lively conditions.
Charlie Buckingham, USA, took an early but slim lead in the 69-boat Laser Standard division, with a 3-2-1 record, followed by fellow American Chris Barnard and Brazil’s Bruno Fontes, both with 7 points.
More close racing, in Laser Radials, saw Canadians Brenda Bowskill and Sarah Douglas separated by just one point. Tied for first place in Laser 4.7 were Abbie Carlson, USA and Spencer Leman, CAN.
As the day came to an end, weary sailors, coaches, family and friends relaxed on the bayfront lawn of ABYC, enjoying steel drum music, burgers and beverages.
Racing continues tomorrow (Friday) through Sunday July 15, starting at 11:55AM daily in the waters off Alamitos Bay.
Spectators can watch the fleet launch from the adjacent beach and parade out the channel to the start each morning – and scream in on the surf in the afternoon. In addition to world-class competition, there are morning briefings and daily post-race refreshments and entertainment. For more information, and full results, please visit www.abyc.org.
Cover Photo: Tom Walker