“Talking Sailing From My Archives. Key Laser Events in 1977

by Richard Crockett

The Laser Class at this early stage of its life in South Africa was beginning to stand up and be counted, not just as a class boat that provided really good one-design competition, but as a class in which there was an inordinate amount of fun to be had too.

In this feature today, in which there are 4 different reports, there is serious racing as well as the fun element of Slalom, a Le Mans-style start, and team racing too.

I suppose the headline “Lasers Frolic” said it all as in Natal (in those days), the fleet and class association was very active, which translated to “bums on boats” – something all classes aspired to. It appears that SA Breweries had been convinced to part with some sponsorship cash, and of course their famous brew too, as HMYC hosted a Le Mans-style start to a race around the island. Maybe there had been too many of those famous brews quaffed as I don’t recall HMYC having an island!

But that’s irrelevant as the pics and short report show that fun was being had – something I believe we urgently need to get back into the sport which is too seriously focussed on racing.

READ THE REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1977 04 – SA Yachting – OCR

The Western Province champs in Saldanha Bay attracted 450 dinghies, with the Laser class mustering 53 boats, by far the biggest fleet. Peter Thomas lifted the Laser title.

READ THE WESTERN PROVINCE REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1977 05 – SA Yachting – OCR

Back to Natal the Lasers were duelling in a Match racing event which attracted a large star-studded fleet.

READ THE NATAL TEAM RACING REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1977 10 – SA Yachting – OCR-2

And not be out-gunned the Transvaal Laserites enjoyed a winter regatta of 50 boats at Florida YC where young Ivan Gibbons beat the Highveld Champ Stephan Kuhn.

VLC was on to the success of the Laser class too by staging a Laser Slalom event.