Oceania Laser Championships Melbourne Australia January 2020

The 2020 Oceania Laser Championships were held at Sandringham on Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Australia from 17th to 21st January. These championships were held as part of Sail Melbourne International which saw over 300 competitors from 25 countries contest events in all Olympic classes and a number of invited classes.

The event was used by many Laser sailors as a warm-up regatta for the upcoming Men’s Standard and Women’s Radial World Championships from the same club in February. There were 166 Lasers competing including 85 Radials, 70 Standard Rig and 11 4.7’s.

Not uncharacteristic for Port Phillip Bay the conditions were highly variable with strong medium and light winds mixed with storms keeping the race officials and competitors alike busy. The Standards managed to compete 7 races and the Radial Gold and Silver fleets eight. The 11 4.7’s finished 5 races.

The light winds on the final day resulted in a long wait, but in the end, all fleets managed to get one final race on the scoreboard. In the Men’s Standard event a third place in the one and only race of the last day was enough for three-time Olympian Jean-Baptist Bernaz from France to take home the overall win. Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn, who has already been selected to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Games, posted a fifth in the last race to finish the regatta four points behind Bernaz. Australian Sailing Squad’s Luke Elliott finished in third place.

Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands took home the win in the women’s Laser Radial. Marit had two race wins in a consistent series with the exception of one black flag which was her drop. She was six points ahead of the “breeze queen” Annalise Murphy (IRL). These two finished in the same order in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Italy’s Silvia Zennaro finished the regatta in third and really enjoyed the windy conditions.

The men’s Laser Radials sailed in the same fleet as the women with Western Australian youth sailor Stefan Elliot-Shircore finishing first (and  was the fleet winner) ahead of fellow countymen Michael Compton and Frazer Brew.

The full results from the event are HERE.

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) on the way to a win in Oceania Laser Championships – photo by Jon West