The 2011 Bacardi National Laser Championships were held in the North Sound by the Cayman Island Sailing Club last month.
Racing was extremely close and the conditions tested every sailor to their full ability. In the end the two main fleets, the Laser Standard fleet and the Laser Radial fleet were won by a single point over the weekend of 26-27 November.
This is the fourth year that Bacardi has sponsored the national dinghy championships. Maya Ogorzalek, Marketing Manager at Cayman Distributors said: “We are really happy to be sponsoring the most significant dinghy competition in Cayman’s sailing calendar. This year’s event was yet again a great success and it’s fantastic to see so many people from our community taking part in the sport of sailing at such a high level.”
Three races were held on the first day of racing and provided the strongest wind conditions that the competition has experienced in the last three years. Peta Adams, the race officer for the event said: “The conditions on day one made the regatta a real test of seamanship first, before trying to beat your closest competitor.”
The first day saw a broken mast, nose dives, epic surfing sessions on the renowned North Sound chop and plenty of capsizes. The stand out performance of the day was Raph Harvey in the Laser Standard full rig, who won all three races placing a firm grip on the trophy. The other was Aaron Gardner in the Laser Radial fleet who led his class into the second day of racing on Sunday.
After the first day of racing the Saturday night function was full of long stories of the close calls – aided by the regatta refreshment – Bacardi dark and stormy.
On the second day the wind dropped a little, but the waves were still a challenge and after a gruelling first day of racing the competitors were given no respite. Peta Adams set some fast, fun triangular courses to test the sailor’s reaching and gybing abilities.
Nick Taylor found his form winning the last three of the day’s four races, but by then Raph Harvey had amassed an unbeatable lead. Harvey said: “Nick and I were battling it out for every moment of every race and were only seconds away from each other most of the time! There was never any let up and while I was pleased to win the regatta the trophy could have easily have gone Nick’s way.”
Kelvin Browne found some consistency to take third and Mike Farrington sailed two good finishing races to come fourth and secure the Clydesdale (or heavy-weight) trophy.
In the Laser Radial fleet, Eduardo sailed brilliantly to come first in the final three races and therefore win the Radial class. Chris Delaney came second by a single point, unable to break Eduardo’s dominating end to the regatta. Last year’s Laser Radial winner, Tomeaka McTaggart, came third.
All the sailors thanked Peta Adams and her support crew for putting on two days of perfect racing and course management in harsh weather conditions, Bacardi for sponsoring the event and for the great prizes, and the Cayman Islands Sailing Club for managing and organising another successful Laser Nationals.