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 6 April 2000

Issue # 176

By Ike Stephenson

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Laser Olympic Trials Preview

The USA's Olympic berth in the single handed Laser class will be awarded in selection trials beginning Saturday.  Host club is San Francisco Yacht Club of Belvedere California.

32 sailors are entered.  Of all the Olympic classes, the Laser is the one of greatest general popularity. Since 1970 150,000 Lasers have been sold.  New Lasers are still made and sold by dealers such as Torresen Marine.  The class has also seen loads of successful sailors put in time campaigning Lasers.

Olympic level Laser sailing is largely a young mans game.  The five sailors who have the past success to be considered favorites range in age from 25 to 28.

The youngest is Bill Hardesty, former Collegiate Sailor of the Year.  Hardesty was 17th at the recent laser worlds.  He also won the 1999 US Championship and finished 3rd at the Pre Trials regatta.

John Torgeson is a 26 year old graduate of Old Dominion University.  He sailed the 1996 Laser trials ending up 10th.  In 1998 he won the Laser USA championship and was 5th at the pre trials.  At the recent worlds Torgeson was the 2nd US finisher in 12th.

Also age 26 is Brett Davis.  He finished 2nd at the pre trials and the qualifier for the Pan Am games.  His '96 trials placing was 11th.  However, at the recent worlds he did not make the gold fleet finishing 65th in the Silver fleet.

Mark Mendenblatt is 27 and sailed at Tufts collegiately.  He was 9th at the recent worlds.  His victory list includes: 1st at the '99 North Americans, and the Pre Trials.  Again against Internatial opposition he was 7th at the Sydney Harbour regatta.  Based on past form Mendenblatt is the top favorite.

John Myrdal is 28.  He was 4th at the pre trials and won the Laser class at the 1998 Miami Olympic classes regatta.

With a potential of 16 races in the typically heavy air San Francisco bay conditions, the laser trials have the potential to be a competitive and punishing regatta.

Op Sail 2000

Op Sail 2000 is a multi month cruise of tall ships.  It will begin May 25th in San Juan Puerto Rico and conclude 28-31 July in Portland Maine.  7 ports will receive visits.  Ships will be open for tours in all 7 ports.

A highlight will be the Parade of Sail July 4 in New York Habour.

Participation is on an invitation only basis.  Previous Operation Sails have occurred in 1964,1976, 1986 and 1992.

Leading the parade of Tall Ships will be the US Coast Guards Barq Eagle.  Other barks scheduled are the Guayas of Ecuador and the Gloria of Columbia.

Denmark's full rigged ship the 252 foot Danmark will sail.  The Danmark served as a training vessel during World War II.

Several top sail schooners including the Amistad (85 feet), the Pride of Baltimore II and the California all of the USA will participate.

For both sailors and non sailors Op Sail 2000 should be very instructive in teaching us what came before us.

 

 

 

 

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