The NZ Laser Association supports racing Laser sailors and regattas at home and overseas. Come and join us.

2015 North Island Laser Champs

  • 28th & 29th Nov at Napier Sailing Club
  • First race 11am Saturday
  • Notice of Race
  • $10 discount for early bird entries before 20th November

Introduction to the 2015/2016 NZ Laser Regatta Program

So it's another season and NZLA, together with YNZ  and clubs throughout the country the have put together a program aimed at meeting the aspirations of all our Laser sailing groups.

Groups we have focussed on in preparing the program include;

  • Club Sailors
  • International sailors
  • Youths
  • Masters
  • Non International Open sailors
  • Women sailors

For up to date details on NZ Laser Racing check out these links;

But here's an outline of opportunities we see as being the focus for each of you in planning your season.

Club Sailors
There are over 40 yacht clubs in NZ where Lasers race, from Taipa in the north to Bluff in the south, and we see representatives from most of these clubs at inter club regattas and the Laser Nationals each season. NZLA is keen to encourage and assist development of Laser sailing at club level and offer clubs coaching support from our top sailors. Most clubs hold regularly weekly racing throughout the summer season, typically from October to March, while some of the more prominent Laser clubs such as Pupuke and Tamaki have year round club Laser racing programs. Details of club programs are best obtained direct from clubs, who will all welcome approaches from existing or aspiring Laser sailors wishing to try joining the fleet. So get your Laser on the water at the local club but also give a few inter club regattas, the NI, SI or Nationals a shot as set out below.

International Sailors
These days our top Laser sailors, both men and women, are full time professionals, each working towards their ultimate goals of World Championship and Olympic success. Their competitive year is driven by the international ISAF regatta program, with all sailors targeting the crucial milestone of being consistently ranked in the ISAF top 30 to achieve automatic entry to the 5 keys ISAF regattas annually, as well as the Laser World Championship and for those fortunate 2 each 4 year cycle, the Olympics. Their training programs are structured around those regattas and being professional sailors, while we see them training regularly in NZ, they are able to compete locally only occasionally, normally in our NZ Laser Nationals and Sail Auckland.

Youth Sailors
There are extensive opportunities for male and female Youth sailors to train and compete in the Laser Radial both in NZ and internationally. 
The key opportunities within NZ are based around an established YNZ training program and a season long program of local and national regattas.
While there are many local inter club regattas around the country, for 2015/2016 season key NZ regattas where we expect a strong youth fleet include;
  • Winchamps (Murrays Bay SC - 2nd to 4th October 2015)
  • NZ Youth Trials (Murrays Bay SC - 6th to 10th October 2015)
  • Sir Peter Blake Regatta (Torbay Sailing Club - 5th - 6th December 2015)
  • NZ Laser Nationals (Muritai Yacht Club - 22nd to 25th January 2016)
  • Auckland Laser Champs (Murrays Bay SC - 20th & 21st February 2016)
  • Sail Auckland (Murrays Bay SC - 26th to 28th February 2016)
  • 24 Hours Race (Lake Pupuke - 5th & 6th March 2016)
  • Fresh water Champs (Pupuke - 21st & 22nd May 2016)
Many youth also take the opportunity to sail in international regattas. Some of the more popular will be;
  • Sail Melbourne (Melbourne - 7th to 13th December 2015)
  • Australian Youth Champs ( venue TBC - January 10th to 14th 2016)
  • World Youth Laser Champs (Ireland - 23rd to 30th July 2016)
For the top male and female youth sailor each season, selected by YNZ, there is also the opportunity to compete in the ISAF World Youth Championship (Malaysia 27th to 31st December 2015)
Masters Sailors
Masters sailing is one of the stronger Laser sailing groups in NZ. There are opportunities for Masters to compete locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. A focus for many NZ Masters sailors this year will be building up towards the 2017 World Masters Games which includes Laser sailing and will be held in Auckland in April 2017 with the Laser sailing to be hosted by Torbay Boating Club.
The main regional and national regattas attended by Masters sailors include;
  • North Harbour Masters (Pupuke - 8th November 2015)
  • SI Laser Champs (Charteris Bay - 21st & 22nd November 2015)
  • NI Laser Champs (Napier Sailing Club - 28th & 29th November 2015)
  • Sir Peter Blake Regatta (Torbay Sailing Club - 5th & 6th December 2015)
  • NZ Laser Nationals (Muratai Yacht Club - 22nd to 25th January 2016)
  • Auckland Laser Champs (Murrays Bay SC - 20th & 21st February 2016)
  • Wellington Laser Champs (Paramata 12 March 2016)
  • Panmure RSA regatta ( Panmure Lagoon SC - 13th March 2016)
  • Auckland Laser Masters (Tamaki Yacht Club - 3rd April 2016)
  • Freshwater Champs (Pupuke - 21st & 22nd May 2016)
  • Internationally the main opportunities targeted by NZ masters sailors this season are likely to be;
  • Australian Masters Laser Champs (Port Stephens, NSW - 12th to 15th February 2016)
  • World Laser Masters Champs (Mexico - Radials 22nd to 30th April 2016 and Standards 20th to 28th May 2016)
  • South Pacific Laser Masters (Brisbane - 22nd to 25th July 2016)
Non International Open sailors
Sailors who have graduated from the youth ranks but are not pursuing international professional success are welcome at all open regattas, with the main focus generally being;
  • SI Laser Champs (Charteris Bay - 21st & 22nd November 2015)
  • NI Laser Champs (Napier Sailing Club - 28th & 29th November 2015)
  • Sir Peter Blake Regatta (Torbay Sailing Club - 5th & 6th December 2015)
  • NZ Laser Nationals (Muratai Yacht Club - 22nd to 25th January 2016)
  • Auckland Laser Champs (Murrays Bay SC - 20th & 21st February 2016)
  • Wellington Laser Champs (Paramata - 12th March 2016)
  • Freshwater Champs (Pupuke - 21st & 22nd May 2016)
Women’s Sailors
There is a great program of women’s coaching regattas held in Auckland throughout the season, culiminating in the
  • Auckland Womens Laser Champs (Pt Chevalier - 30th April)
Details of the contacts and dates for the regatta are published on the NZLA website.
So get the boat ready, plan your season and we look forward to seeing you on the water. We are aware that there are many local regattas around the country not listed above where Laser’s compete. We are very happy to publicise these on the NZLA website so please submit details (blurb and NOR details) to us ( so they can be posted.
Nick Page
NZLA Chairman

Laser Class Announces New Standard Sail Design

The all new Standard Mark II Laser sail available on 1 November

ILCA Office
9 September 2015

The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is pleased to announce the release of a completely new class-legal design for the Laser standard rig sail. The release marks the first time in over 40 years that the Laser sail design has been substantially updated.

Known as the Standard Mark II Sail, the new patented design is the result of thousands of hours of design work and on-the-water testing involving the Laser builders, the Association, two major sailmakers and some of the world’s top sailors.

The Mark II features bi-radial panels, a heavier 4.5 ounce cloth and optimized reinforcement patches, all intended to maximize the sail’s competitive life. The sail also features tapered battens with Velcro batten pocket closures, a larger window for improved visibility and a patented re-designed luff tube to eliminate wrinkles at the mast joint.

“This is a quantum leap forward for our class,” says ILCA President, Tracy Usher. “For several years the number one complaint about the Laser has been the outdated sail design. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this new sail design and we’re really happy with the result.”

As with all changes to the Laser, the new sail has been carefully designed to be backwards compatible with the existing equipment, meaning it was not designed to provide improved performance. Instead, the Mark II promises improved durability and ease of use.

According to ILCA Technical Officer, Clive Humphris, “The main objective of the design project for the Mark II was to create a sail with equal performance to the existing sail, but with better durability. We worked very hard to ensure that the Mark II was not a faster sail and wouldn’t make all the existing sails obsolete overnight. The original Laser standard sail will continue to be available through authorized Laser dealers and we fully expect to see the two designs racing side-by-side for a number of years.”

The initial run of class-legal Mark II sails will be available starting 1 November 2015, with worldwide availability by early 2016. Because of the timing of the release, by agreement with International Sailing Federation (ISAF) the Mark II will not be used in the 2016 Olympic Games or any Olympic country qualifying events for 2015 or 2016.

The use of the sail will be controlled by the Notice of Race for each event until after the 2016 games. After that time, the Mark II will be allowed in all ILCA sanctioned regattas along with the original standard rig sail.

“Because many of the Olympic qualifying events have already occurred, we’ve agreed with ISAF that we shouldn’t make any major changes to the equipment for the 2016 games at this time,” says Usher. “Our goal is to have the Mark II sail available worldwide for the start of the next quadrennium, leading up to the 2020 games in Tokyo.”

In coordination with ISAF and the Laser Builders, ILCA will make further announcements about the availability of the Mark II sail and its use at events over the coming months.


Women Laser Coaching Session at Point Chevalier Sailing Club - 5th September.

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September 13 women laser sailors travelled from far and wide to Point Chevalier Sailing Club for a coaching session with acclaimed NZ Laser Radial sailor Mike Bullot.
After a couple of sailors dashed over to The Watershed for an early morning boom purchase we settled in for a really useful theory session with Mike. As conditions freshened we headed out into squally weather which saw the first of several capsizes but also some determined and exciting sailing by all. Mike sped around the fleet giving sailors feedback and useful advice and helping the rescue crew to keep everyone in their boats.
Thanks to fantastic support before, during and after the sailing from legend Jim Quinn, Commodore Peter Fletcher, Club Captain Ian Dobson, Crispin Balfour and several club rescue crew we had a fantastic day, followed by tasty afternoon tea - and even a couple of bottles of bubbles.
This is the third women’s coaching session that has dialled up challenging conditions but fantastic to see sailors at every level getting in there keen to learn. Clubs represented included Tauranga Yacht Club, Hamilton Yacht Club, Panmure Lagoon Sailing Club,  Pupuke Boating Club, French Bay Yacht Club and Point Chevalier Sailing Club - so a fantastic turn out for conditions that had been forecast to be a bit on the wild side.
Thanks again to Mike for his time and valuable insights, to Chantal Grass for organising all of these coaching events and to the NZ Laser Association for their support of these great coaching sessions. 
Kirsty Mac Donald, Point Chevalier Sailing Club

Andy Maloney after the Olympic test event in Rio

Hey Everyone,
I have just returned home from a month of training and racing over at the 2016 Olympic Venue. Click the link below to read my quick blog update "Rio Life", to get a feel for my month in Rio...
Thanks for the continued support!

NZL in 2015 Under 21 and Youth Laser World Champs

In the 2015 Laser Radial Youth World Championships at Kingston Ontario
the NZL results in the Womens Radial were;
  • Ali Nightingale 26th
  • Olivia Christie 36th
  • Megan Thomson 45th

In the Mens Radial

  • Tim Adair 24th Gold fleet
  • Alastair Gifford 34th Gold fleet
  • George Gautrey 36th Gold fleet
  • James Jennings 17th Silver fleet
  • Blake Woodfield 31st Silver fleet
All 2015 Radial Youth Worlds results

At the Under 21 World Champs at Mdemblink Netherlands
In the Standard mens

  • Andrew Mckenzie 19th Gold fleet
  • Matt Kempkers 53rd Gold fleet

All mens results

And in the womens Radial

  • Libby Porter 63rd

All womens results

Women's Coaching Day 5th September 2015

Ladies it is time to lift off those blankets and dust off your wet suits.
The sailing season is beginning with
  • free Women's Laser coaching
  • 5th September 2015
  • at Point Chevalier Yacht Club
  • coached by Mike Bullot
  • email :
organised by the NZ Laser Association.

It will be another eventful sailing season finishing off in 2016 with the Auckland Women Laser Champs on 30th April. These are just some of the events to get you all up and ready for the Masters World Games in April 2017. You can all participate in the games with a bit of practice and help.

And help is what you will get on Saturday 5th September with a great coach to brush up your skills, our coach will be Mike Bullot a talented member of the 2015 YNZ sailing team, who came 3rd in the Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta this year.

How can I attend?
Email Chantal at by 29th August if you are interested in attending, then I can advise Mike and the Point Chevalier Yacht Club of the numbers. There will be some yummy baking by the Club members to be enjoyed after a hard day on the water.

What do I need to bring?
Boat - If you have your own boat, it is preferable that you bring it for the coaching session so that any adjustment tips learnt can be customised to your boat. If you do not have a boat and want to attend Point Chevalier Yacht Club has some lasers that could be used, please let us know and we will put you in contact with the Club.

What else can I do?
Bring a sailing friend.
Find members of the 1979 Women Laser team and get them back into Laser Sailing.  This coaching session would be a great refresher for them. (See photo below)

New Zealand Women’s Laser Championships, February 1979 at Taupo. Standing from left: Ann McDonald (third place, Auckland), Jan Shearer (Dunedin), Katherine Stewart (Taupo), Jan Hammond (Auckland), Anna Whitehead (Auckland), Miree Le Roy (Timaru), Rowena Carlson (San Diego USA), Jessica Trotter (Auckland), Millie Pickering (Picton), and Julia Gray (London, England). Seated from left: Philippa Binning (Auckland), Geraldine Pearce (Auckland), Margaret Ott (First Place Auckland), Marjorie Greenwell (Taupo), Margaret McEwen (Auckland), Joanna Stewart (Taupo). Missing from photo is second place getter Sheryl Smith (Tauranga) . Photo supplied by Ann Mc Donald for Sailing Away.

Hope to see you all on the 5th September, it will be a 10:30am start, so make sure you are all rigged by that time.


2015 Masters Worlds, Kingston, Canada - Nick Page's Perspective

Photo courtesy of

Kingston is a quaint town at the mouth of the St Lawrence Seaway where it exits Lake Ontario.

This was important because;

  • It was a nice place to be and kept the other half's happy; weather was good and water warm despite the fact that only a few months ago it was meter thick ice
  • It is really a slow flowing river we sailed on, not a lake, which was critical if one was silly enough to try and squeeze a mark against the current and definitely affected which side of the course was favoured, sometimes.
  • Where we sailed it was about 1.5 miles from the shore at Kingston to the opposite island shore, meaning that wherever the wind came from it was sort of an offshore breeze, with the associated variations in pressure and direction. Worst the day it came from the N but still applied to the S wind days.
  • There seemed to be no real weight in the breezes, warm air off the lake meant 12 knots felt like 8 at home so even when the regatta report says 12 knots most of the day it felt like the hiking strap was often more of a weight adding feature than a required one.

The net result of this was that sailing in Kingston posed many challenges to the mortals; as I said to one person who asked……train on Pupuke and expect the shifts to be larger and the pressure to be more variable……then add waves and current. Kingston is a tricky place to sail. The general wisdom was that you go left in Kingston. Well, with the exception of the last day when the rule definitely applied it was more like Right paid first beat, left second, left paid first downwind, right second etc etc. Really weird chop with reflection off the sea wall near the bottom of the course, just plain tricky. Question for the day for me was often: is a pressure knock better than a lull lift…….if only I knew the answer. 

The really top guys, Scott, Adonis, Peter Shope in our GM fleet etc seem to have the speed to get there every race but for the rest of us the brain cells were fried by the end of each race.

Given the above, as usual the cream rose to the top and the results in most divisions were that the truly great sailors won, many good sailors did well but others just got confused and the rest of us wondered how the top guys did it with such consistency. 

For team NZ that meant Scott did it again in the Apprentice Masters Radial, and congratulations to him on another well earned world title cube. Matt Blakey showed exceptional consistency to finish second and get a cube in the AM Standards behind current Greek Olympic sailor Adonis Bougiouris. Both Bob Blakey and Michael Shields showed that they had fried far less brain cells than many of the younger members of the team, with Bob 3rd in the GGM Standard and Mike 3rd in the Radial 75+ division. Other notable team performances were Mike Knowsley’s 4th in the Masters Radial and Roger Winton 7th in the GM Radials and Andrew Dellabarca, 11th in a very strong Masters Standard Fleet.

The rest of us enjoyed the regatta, recruited for the 2017 Masters Games in our spare time and generally enjoyed somewhat variable results on the water.

Given the at times trying conditions the regatta was extremely well managed and we are all looking forward to the opportunity to do it all again in Mexico in 2016 with the promise of “guaranteed” fresh sea breezes and real waves….time will tell.

Nick Page

NZL at 2015 Queensland Youth Week

In early July, Ali Nightingale, Megan Thomson and Lachlan Grimwade headed off for the (much warmer) waters of Brisbane to compete in the Queensland Youth Week Regatta in the Laser Radial. The competition was the final of 3 regattas in the Australian qualifying series, drawing the most competitive youth sailors from across Australia making up the 47 boat fleet. Despite challenging and often light conditions, Ali finished up as 6th women and 19th overall, Megan as 13th women making 39th overall while Lachlan finished up 15th overall.
- Lachy Grimwade

2015 Queensland Yout Week - Radial Results

We see Lachy also competed in the 4.7 for the Sail Brisbane. Getting 2nd overall in the 16 boat fleet.
- ed

2015 Sail Brisbane 4.7 Results

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