The 2023 combined Oceania & Australian Laser Open & Youth Championships were sailed on Botany Bay, Sydney Australia between 1-8 January.
The 180-boat event was sailed in four fleets with three ILCA class rigs. There were 150 Australian and 30 international sailors from 12 countries competing.
Sailing was scheduled between 3rd and 8th January however on days 3 & 4 (5-6 January) with the wind at 27 gusting to 35 knots no sailing was possible . Two race per day were sailed on days 1 and 2 in very good conditions followed by three races on day 5 in testing 18-20 knot southerly winds while the final three races on day 6 were sailed in ideal 15 knot southerly conditions.
The 83 boat ILCA 6 gold fleet saw some great racing with the last race determining the top four places. These were contested between Tokyo 2020 Olympic Women’s ILCA Laser sailors from Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, and Australia. Emma Plaschaert from Belgium finished second in the final race to take a narrow win from Maud Jaynet (SUI) and Maria Erdi (HUN). Maria just pipped Queensland’s Mara Stransky (AUS) by a single point. Mara Stransky was the Australian Women’s Champion and the overall ILCA 6 Australian Champion. Mara is the first female since Sarah Blanck in 2008 to win the open ILCA 6/Laser Radial title. Casey Imeneo (AUS) from Victoria topped some consistent results with two wins on the last day to finish fifth overall.
The under 19 ILCA 6 division was won by Australian Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year and silver medallist in the World Sailing Youth Championships Evie Saunders (AUS) from Manly Yacht Club in NSW.
Cube Winners – Some of the Best ILCA 6 Sailors in the World – Photo by Jon West
The ILCA 7 fleet was hotly contested with four Australians, four from Great Britain and two from New Zealand finishing in the top ten.
In a drama packed final race Michael Beckett (GBR) needed to win to take the title after Australia’s Matt Wearn had some issues and was a DNF. Michael finished second and so Matt Wearn won his fifth Australian Laser/ILCA Championship on a close countback. Elliot Hanson (GBR) was third in front of popular WA sailor Swifto Elliott (AUS) and leading Kiwi George Gautrey (NZL).
The leading youth sailors (under 21) was Stefan Elliott-Shircore (AUS) from Western Australia.
The ILCA 4 fleet of 55 boats consisted of up-and-coming youth sailors under 18 and under 16 years of age. The first three place getters were young Australian sailors from Victoria. Aidan Simmons and Angus McIntyre both won four of the ten heats, with Aidan the overall ILCA 4 champion by two points. Riley Cantwell (AUS) finished third overall and was the under 16 junior ILCA 4 champion.
Full results can be found on the event web site Here and on mobile devices using the free Australian Laser App under the National & District Events tab.
The next ILCA class National & Oceania Championship will be for masters sailors at Port Stephens, Australia on 10-13 March 2023 were nearly 200 boats are expected to compete.
The next Oceania & Australian Open & Youth Championships will be at Adelaide Sailing Club 1-8 January 2024. There is a 4 minute promotion video for the 2024 Adelaide event and the following ILCA 7 and ILCA Masters World Championship events on YouTube Here.