2020 Laser Class National Championships

by Alan Keen

These were successfully hosted by Stilbaai Yacht Club on the Vaal Dam.

With Youth Nationals in its current format cancelled for 2020, the Laser Class jumped at the opportunity to incorporate the Youth Laser National championships into the main event. Its always a big ask to have all 3 fleets make class. But with the enthusiasm of the Cape youth sailors, it did not seem to be a problem. A huge thank you to the Cape parents who chaperoned several sailors not just their own offspring.

John Samuel, the Race Officer for the event and a local made good use of the conditions and managed to complete 12 races for the series. The conditions varied, but unfortunately never delivered the blow the coastal sailors hoped for.

The Standard fleet was made up of mix of the “heavies” like Campbell Alexander, Rudolph Holm and Alan Keen, the up-and-coming U21’s Kai Leslie, Niels Tiaaden and some “wild cards” sailing their first regatta. Rudolph Holm showed the fleet the way for several races with the next 5 places changing frequently.

The 16 boat Radial Fleet was made up entirely of Youth sailors making for a true Youth Nationals championship. Sailors that have been in the Laser class since they aged out of Optimists were challenged by sailors who have achieved great results in the 420 class. The results do not quite represent the tussle that went on the front of the fleet in the variable conditions.

The Radial National and Youth National title was decided on 1st place count out tie break between Keagan Nel and Alex Flacon. Matt Inglis made his presence felt in the top 3. He was also awarded the Cullen Keytel Memorial Shield as the winner of the First Race. A Thank you to the Keytel Family for the prize money for the Youth Winners of the First Race of the event. Kyle Koeries from Eden District finished 4th overall and the 2nd Western Cape sailor. A wonderful achievement for his first Radial event. The leading Youth Girl was Siena-Rose Jones making it into he the top 10 of the fleet.

The 4.7 fleet, although the feeder class for the Radial, has never been contested lightly. A 7 boat fleet had its share of drama and excitement. James Matchette from the Tera and 420 classes, Elisa Falcon from the Optimist Class and Chiara Fruet the veteran of the fleet kept the spectators on their toes as to the outcome of each race as none was decided until the last moment. Duncan Urban was the “struggler” of the fleet working to finish every race in his first regatta.

Final Results were as follows:
Standard Fleet
1 Rudolph Holm
2 Alan Keen
Kai Leslie
1st Youth Under 19– Niels Tiaaden
1st Master – Rudolph Holm
1st Grand Master– Campbell Alexander
1st Great Grand Master – Alan keen
1st Woman – Shellee Nel

Radial Fleet
1 Keagan Nel
2 Alex Falcon
3 Matt Inglis

Youth Nationals – Radial Fleet
1st Youth Boy– Keagan Nel
2nd Youth Boy– Alex Falcon
3rd Youth Boy – Matt Inglis
1st Girl Youth – Siena- Rose Jones
Cullen Keytel Memorial Shield – Matt Inglis

4,7 Fleet
1 James Matchette
2 Elisa Falcon
3 Chiara Fruet

Youth Nationals – 4,7 Fleet
1st Youth Boy– James Matchette
1st Youth Girl – Elisa Falcon