by Jodie Bakewell-White
A few days from the start of competition at 2011 Sail Auckland Andrew Murdoch has sent a message to his rivals in the Laser class taking victory in the hard fought Laser National Championships which wrapped up yesterday off Torbay.
Within the NZL Sailing Team, New Zealand’s elite Olympic campaigners, the Laser class is the best represented with no less than five of the single-handed sailors meeting the performance targets required for inclusion. It was those five sailors who took out the top five places in the open fleet at this National Champs, with 2008 Olympic representative Andrew Murdoch coming through victorious on the final day at Torbay.
Murdoch defended his title with the narrowest of margins winning on count back over Sam Meech from Tauranga, the youngest of this hot five. Rounding out the podium for bronze was Josh Junior from Wellington, just one point back. Andy Maloney placed fourth, and Mike Bullot was fifth in the fleet of 27 for the Open title.
“After one drop only three points separated the top four of - Andrew Murdoch and Sam Meech (25 points), Josh Junior (26 points) and Andy Maloney (27 points). This result illustrates the intense competition in the Yachting New Zealand elite squad for the one Laser Olympic spot,” commented Mike Knowsley, from the Laser Association reporting on the regatta.
Next week a little further south at Takapuna, it will be all on once more among this group who are all seeking the single berth on offer for London 2012. Racing at 2011 Sail Auckland starts on Thursday 3rd February and the Laser class will be back to battling it out on the water along with the other Olympic, Paralympic and Invited classes.
The Laser National Championships and Sail Auckland are the key regattas staged here in New Zealand for our Olympic Laser sailors.
Attracting a record number of entries this year, the Laser Nationals included over 180 sailors competing in five divisions. Blown out and cancelled on day two the regatta played out over three days of racing with most fleets completing eight races to decide the series.
Other winners included Jo Aleh taking out the Laser Radial fleet, Keith Inglis the Laser 4.7 fleet, Mark Page the Laser Standard Masters, and Scott Leith the Laser Radial Masters. See the Laser Class Association website for all the winners at the 2011 Laser National Championships where the Laser Radial, Laser 4.7 and two Masters Divisions were also contested.
About Sail Auckland
Sail Auckland Regatta Inc has run New Zealand’s premier Olympic class event since it was established in 1996 to host and run the International Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta with the goal of promoting Olympic Class racing in New Zealand.
Attracting international sailors to compete in New Zealand, Sail Auckland gives our aspiring Olympic and Paralympics sailors the opportunity to compete locally without the expense of travelling overseas for essential international competition.
Sail Auckland’s main objective is to foster and promote Olympic Class sailing and assist our Olympic sailors achieve medals at the Olympic Games and World Championship level. The regatta was granted ISAF Grade 1 status five years ago.