In May 2018 I decided it would be great to compete in the Laser Radial Oceania Masters to be sailed from the Sofitel Resort Denaru Island in Fiji.
The week before the start I decided with some trepidation to change from the Radial rig to the Full Standard Rig knowing full well if it blew 15+ knots I would be in trouble with the Full Rig.
On arrival we were supplied with brand new charter lasers shipped in from Sydney.The sailors had to supply their own sail, ropes and other adjustable fittings.
The reality of how difficult the competition was going to be set in when race 1 got underway.The wind increased to 12-15 knots with quite a chop and getting a clear start proved challenging as was all the subsequent races.I was surprised how quick all the fleet was and it was only after day one that I realised how good the competitors from the 11 countries were.Top sailors from Australia,NZ,USA,Canada,Netherlads,Sweden,Italy,England,Singapore,Thailand,and Fiji.Brett Beyer (Aust) in my fleet has won 15 World Masters,Peter Hurley (USA) runner up in a number of World Laser Masters as well as many other sailors being National or local champions.
During race 1 I somehow lost my wind pennant which I rely on so much in variable breezes and was not able to find a replacement during the championship.I was the only sailor using a mark 1 conventional cut sail while all my competitors were using the mark 2 radial sail and some on their second and third radial cut sails.It was acknowledged that the mark 2 radial sail was superior especially upwind so this did not help me being as competitive as I would like to have been.
The weather over the 5 days varied considerably,from very light shifty wind to rain squalls and wind 15-20 knots,with complete changes in direction over the afternoon,making sailing very tricky.The usual steady trade winds from the sea did not come that week.
The wind and water was very warm and lots of water(2 bottles) was consumed each afternoon.
It took race 4 and 5 for me to learn how to handle the chop and managed to get amongst the top sailors.On race 5 I was tack to tack with Brett Beyer for 2 rounds until he and others gave me the slip near the end of the race.However my good places on races 4,5 and 8 was just enough to keep me ahead of my Australian and other competitors and I managed to win the Oceania Laser Great Grand Masters Championship.
Following some photos of our beach launching area and some sailing shots.