Friday, August 21, 2009


Halifax – St. Margaret’s Bay didn’t disappoint on the first day of racing at the Laser World Championships. Conditions were ‘Laser’ perfect with clear skies and winds ranging from 18 to 20 knots (35 to 39 kilometres per hour) and water temperatures at 19 Celsius.
The Bay gave the world’s top sailors a small taste of what’s to come over the next seven days of racing. Hot, hazy conditions, with smooth two to three foot seas, provided absolutely perfect racing for the 169 athletes from 51 countries competing at the 2009 Nautel Laser World Championships. Top finishers after the first day of racing are Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia in top spot, Nick Thompson of Great Britain in second, American Clayton Johnson in third, Bruno Fontes from Brazil in fourth and German Philipp Buhl in fifth. Full results are available at
The day was not without its problems. There were four general recalls in the first race – and at least four gear failures. One failure included Olympic gold medalist Paul Goodison from Great Britain. It put him in sixth place in his fleet, 16th overall, after the first race. He took a second in the second race to finish sixth overall for the day. Canada has four sailors in the top 25 after the first day. They are Christopher Dold in 15th, Michale Leigh in 18th, Bernard Luttmer in 23rd and David Wright in 25th. One experienced, but retired Laser sailor said, “It was absolutely thrilling to watch these top athletes snap those small dinghies around race marks with such practiced perfection.”
St. Margaret’s Bay lived up to its superb reputation for steady winds during the first round of the 2009 Laser Worlds, and the many top athletes gathered here hope that the predicted track of Hurricane Bill will not spoil these ideal conditions. With US and Canadian Hurricane Centres currently predicting Hurricane Bill brushing the Nova Scotia coast on Sunday, the Race Committee has moved the first race of the day on Friday to noon. The early start may help accommodate an extra race to get ahead of schedule in case a day of racing is cancelled by storm conditions.