Full range ahead for Laser Worlds

Published on February 10th, 2020

With the plan for six days of two races per day from February 11 to 16, the early forecast for the
2020 ILCA Laser Standard Men’s World Championship will require full skills as wind strengths vary from light through moderate to strong for Sandringham, Australia.

According to the Seabreeze website, sailors can expect light winds for Day 1, in the region of 6 to 8 knots. The breeze should build during the afternoon, but may not get over 10 knots for the second race.

On Day 2, the first race could again start in light conditions, but the pressure is due to build more quickly, culminating in around 14 knots by 5pm.

Seabreeze says Day 3 will deliver much stronger winds of just under 25 knots all day, which is on the right side of the ILCA wind strength guidelines.

This range of conditions will be put to the test as five Olympic medalists and 13 sailors who have been ranked in World Sailing’s top three over the past decade will be on the start line.

Tom Burton (AUS) is the defending title holder and current Olympic champion and he has plenty to prove after being overlooked in favour of Matt Wearn for the country’s Tokyo 2020 spot. The battle between the pair will be the focus of attention for the locals.

The superstar of the fleet, however, is 47-year-old Brazilian Robert Scheidt, the 1996 and 2004 Olympic champion and 2000 silver medalist. Looking fit and determined, Scheidt is giving away 20 years to most of the fleet but can never be written off, especially in Melbourne conditions which can be difficult to read for all but the most experienced.

The silver medalist from London 2012, Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and his training partner Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) who took silver in Rio 2016, are both major threats, as is Rio bronze medalist Sam Meech who has yet to be confirmed as the New Zealand representative for Tokyo.

Another still chasing an Olympic spot is 2014 and 2015 World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) who is under pressure from five other Brits at these championships.

In total, 124 boats from 43 countries will begin their campaigns tomorrow in which the field will be split into three fleets for six qualifying races before another six races, weather permitting, of Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets.

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Source: Roger McMillan/Laser 2020

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