• Lightning Forces Cancellation of Final Laser World Championships

    Unfortunately, for sailors of the wind-powered set, the wind does not always cooperate.

    Such was the case in the waters off Croatia recently, when the Laser world championships when racing was cancelled due to thunder and lightning.

    Kiwis Tom Saunders and Sam Meech experienced intense disappointment over the un-cooperative weather, as they were hoping for a strong finish in the final two races of the regatta. A bad day sailing, they say, is better than a good day working, but a day not sailing is worse than working.

    Saunders was in the running to pick up a medal had he been able to move up on the final day, but instead, he was relegated to eighth, while Meech was further back in 12th.

    Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus took the gold. Olympic champion Tom Burton won silver and his fellow Aussie sailor Matthew Wearn was third.

    The event was hampered by electrical storms throughout, but the second was particularly devastating, as it destroyed the gradient wind, leaving only a light, unpredictable breeze in its wake that was not powerful enough for the race to launch.

    The Laser World championship is an Olympic Sailing Class event that currently uses boats categorised as Dinghy, Multihull and Sailboard. Various weight classes, eight in all, span the three categories and there are also events for males and females, as well as for mixed crews.

    Saunders currently participates as a member of the New Zealand Olympic development squad and has as his goal a spot with the top-tier of the NZL Sailing Team. He sailed home to fourth in last month’s world championships test even in Aarhus and Meech was third.

    When the Lasers were held at Wakayama in 1994, New Zealander Nikolas Burfoot took the Kiwis one and only gold medal. He took the silver in 1995.

    The most successful Kiwi in the Lasers has been Andrew Murdoch, who has a silver from 2007 and consecutive bronzes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.