Laser Nationals – offshore Durban

Durban at it's finest - and waiting to welcome the RSA Laser Fleet in April. pic by Sophie Thompson
Durban at it’s finest – and waiting to welcome the RSA Laser Fleet in April.
pic by Sophie Thompson

Durban: 30 April – 3 May
The 2015 edition of the SA Laser Nationals will unfold offshore off Durban over the May Day weekend kicking off on 30 April until 3 May.

The Laser is the most popular single-handed sailing dinghy in the world and the annual event is hoping that close to 80 boats from around the country will hit the water to compete. Top South African sailors along with a handful of international competitors will take to the Indian Ocean in the hope of being crowned national champion.

Lining up at the start to defend their titles that they won last year in the Western Cape will be local lads, Rudy McNeil and Sam Lombard together with the rose of Durban’s Laser community, Frances van Breda. Van Breda recently competed in the 2014 Audi Laser Master World Championships in France, with the lessons learnt in Europe, she promises to be a feisty competitor in her home conditions.

Another big name is the 2012 winner from when it was last held in Durban; Stefano Marcia from Cape Town has been doing loads of training in Spain and more recently in Australia in his campaign to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Top local lads, Rudy McNeil and Sam Lombard will be back to defend their titles, along with top national and international sailors. McNeil is hoping that 2015 will be a better year for him having been plagued by injuries last year. The young Lombard recently competed in Japan, not doing as well as he had hoped, finishing 21st in the silver fleet but claims that he hopes to improve on his performance in years to come.

Joining them are other locals Michael McNeil who placed third in his class last year; Campbell Alexander; Trent Bingham; and Richard Bates. Doing well on the club circuit, Henri Frencken will also be hitting the water. Zululand brothers David and James Leigh will also be participating adding more experience to the KZN team.

Flying the flag for the Western Cape contingent along with Marcia are Alan Keen, Ken Holiday, Lance Burger, Ralph Thomas and Alistair Keytel. Keen is preparing for the Laser Worlds in Kingston, Canada taking place in July.

Rudolph Holm and Shellee Nel will be leading a contingent of young sailors from Gauteng.

Campbell Alexander stated, “This is the second time in many years that we are hosting the Laser Nationals in our home waters. Durban in May is at its best with the beach, the sun, the great sea swells and good breeze – and when the breeze picks up fantastic wave riding. I am sure that everyone competing will love our “Durban, the warmest place to be” conditions.”

Leading up to the Nationals, Richards Bay will host the KZN Provincials offshore. A fleet of sailors will use this opportunity to get in some much needed time on the water before the big event.

Laser – a swell boat to sail, the South African Laser Nationals will be taking place in Durban from 30 April to 3 May.

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