Laser helms bid for Euro qualification

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:16 17 June 2010

This weekend over 100 Laser sailing dinghies will be in Sidmouth for a 2-day qualifier, part of a national series from which the top helmsmen qualify to compete in European and World championship events.

This weekend over 100 Laser sailing dinghies will be in Sidmouth for a 2-day qualifier, part of a national series from which the top helmsmen qualify to compete in European and World championship events. With the Laser being an Olympic class, it is anticipated that the Sidmouth event will attract world class competitors.The Laser has proved to be a class that nurtures top talent. In the recent Olympics in China, the UK's Paul Goodison won gold in the Laser class, while Ben Ainslie (who won gold in the Finn class) had previously won the Laser class at the Sydney games (and silver in Atlanta). Added to that, Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (who won gold in the Star class at Qingdao) were also previously top-flight Laser helms.As well as the Standard (full-rig) Laser fleet, there will also be racing in the smaller 4.7 Lasers for juniors, ladies and lightweights. These boats use the same hull as the Standard, but with a slightly smaller sail and shorter mast. The 4.7s will use the same race area as the Standard rigs, but will have separate starts.To facilitate launching and recovery, the boats will be parked on Clifton beach at the western end of the promenade. Racing is due to start at midday on Saturday, with three races scheduled for each fleet. On Sunday, racing will begin at 10am, with two races planned, plus any racing held over from Saturday's programme. Boats are expected to launch up to an hour before the start of racing. Spectators will be welcome throughout the event, but please help by keeping the western end of the Esplanade (in front of the Belmont Hotel and the cricket field) clear at peak times. The area is likely to become congested as competitors arrive (on Saturday morning) and pack up to depart (on Sunday afternoon).The event is being organised by Sidmouth Sailing Club with the support of other local sailing clubs. The club are very grateful to them and to the event sponsors, South West Water and Sidmouth Town Council, for their generosity. As the 2012 Olympic regatta (to be held in Weymouth) draws nearer, it is hoped to host more events of this kind in Sidmouth.

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