Laser Masters North Americans
Published on October 6th, 2019
The 2019 Laser Masters North American Championship was held October 4-6 in Marblehead MA. Seventy-six competitors participated, coming from as far away as the Dominican Republic and as close as Canada with a dozen home town entrants.
The Masters competition is divided into Full Rig and Radial, and then by the age of the sailors – Apprentice Master 35-45, Master 45-55, Grand Master 55-65, and Great Grandmaster 65+.
The event attracts lifetime sailors including Former Olympians and champions from many other classes. Scoring includes a handicap system, where each age group has to give a point to the group above.
Conditions over the three days of the event were all over the place, with gusts early on Day 1 of almost 30 knots causing several sailors to switch to the Radial fleet. Day 2 was a bust as the breeze tried to fill in from the N, NE and E, but never was strong enough or steady enough for the RC to get any races off.
Day 3 was all about catching up as an earlier start with a solid 18+ knot southerly allowed the Race Committee, led by EYC’s Susie Schneider, to bang out 4 excellent races. The 4’ swell a little East of downwind and a 2’ chop from the South made for some wild rides.
After a total of six races, the winner in the Full Rig fleet was Peter Shope (Grand Master) of Sail Newport, with Ray Davies (Master) of Water Rat Sailing Club in 2nd, and Gord Welsh (Apprentice Master) of Stony Lake Yacht Club in 3rd.
In the Radial fleet, Rob Hallawell (Master) of USSCMC took first, Christine Neville (Apprentice Master) of Sail Newport placed 2nd, and the legendary Peter Seidenberg (Great Grand Master) of Sail Newport took 3rd.
Seidenberg, the oldest competitor at 82 years old, has attended nearly every Laser Master Championships since they were launched in 1980. Seidenberg is also known as the inventor of the modern-day Laser dolly. His background in structural engineering led him to build what has been called the “Rolls Royce of dinghy dollies.”
Source: Cheryl Byrne