Numbers at regatta to mark Laser milestone please organisers

Boats race in the Vauxhall Yacht Club’s Laser 50th anniversary regatta on Otago Harbour on...
Boats race in the Vauxhall Yacht Club’s Laser 50th anniversary regatta on Otago Harbour on Saturday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Strong numbers turned out for competitive sailing’s return to Otago Harbour.

The Vauxhall Yacht Club’s regatta marking the 50th anniversary of the Laser class boat, a milestone marked around the world on Saturday, attracted 18 competitors.

Club captain Rob English said that was an increase on a typical turnout of 10-12 competitors, which pleased organisers.

That included both male and female sailors and an age range that spanned from teenagers to those in their 70s.

Five races were held on Saturday and competitors were divided up depending on which of the three sail sizes they used.

Zac Stibbe won the most popular class, the radial.

He beat Peter Graham and his former Olympic gold medal-winning mother Jenny Armstrong, who finished second and third respectively.

Morris Hall won the 4.7 class and Peter Sutherland won the full rig.

English said the Laser was a growing class in Dunedin and several years ago typical numbers for races were closer to five or six.

The boats were all built the same, meaning the result came down to the skill of competitors, rather than who could buy the most expensive parts.

The regatta marked the beginning of the sailing season in Dunedin.

Following the America’s Cup and Olympics, English hoped the sport’s exposure might encourage more people to give it a go this summer.

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