Laserfest is back for 2019, its third year. Quite possibly bigger and better than ever.

LaserFest 2018
LaserFest competitor Olly.

2017 Recap

This was the inaugural Laserfest. It saw over 40 Laser sailors taking part at WYC over a sunny weekend in the summer. The sun shone, the wind blew, it was brilliant fun, so much fun that the concept was vastly expanded for year two. Somebody must have won, by the way, but we can’t recall whom.

2018 Recap

2018 saw the introduction of the Laserfest Tri-Series inter-club competition, which proved a roaring success. Three rounds (clearly) – travelling from Herne Bay to Whitstable to Broadstairs over three summer months. The racing was fierce but friendly, and in the end Broadstairs SC prevailed in the Elite competition and Whitstable YC took home the Clubman shield, while Herne Bay SC presumably limped home licking their wounds. For each club this was their biggest sailing event of the year as over 40 individual sailors – maybe 50 (after 40 we quit counting) – took part.

Have fun – and smile

Laserfest is the friendly Laser fleet. Everybody wants to win, but no one’s getting too serious about it. The winning business helps focus the sailors’ energies into completing the races (rather than sailing aimless circles), but actually it’s about being on the water together, all levels, everyone having a good time. There’s no measuring of equipment to regulations, no association membership requirements, no ‘class legal only’ stipulation, in fact the only rule is to be sailing a Laser 1 of some description and to wear a smile –­ and have fun (okay, that’s three rules).

All Lasers were created equal

This year, in a further blatant snub of any form of regulation we’re even throwing out the venerable Portsmouth Yardstick. There are no Standards, no Radials, no 4.7s in Laserfest – just Lasers. Where you finish on the water is where you finish in the race. Why? Because heavy people sail full rigs, medium weight bods sail radials and the minis like the 4.7. Ultimately they all end up with a similar power to weight ratio.

We want to be together!

For 2019 the teams competition runs as before. There are Elite teams (for those ego-riddled space cadets who think winning makes them better people) and Clubman teams (for those talentless losers who even if by some miracle they make it over the start line first always-always-always arrive at the finish line at the rear of the fleet).

A team comprises three or four sailors (can be male/female/trans/youth or a mix etc) from which the best three’s results will count. Each club can enter as many three or four person teams as they have sailors.

‘Ringers’ are totally allowed, so if you have a phenomenally fast Laser-sailing Australian, or Canadian (there are no fast Americans – we checked) or Albanian who’s around at the time of the races then enroll them into your club and bring them along. As well, there’s a prize to the first club that recruits either Ben Ainslie or Robert Scheidt.

We want to party

Laserfest is social, fiercely so. That means BBQs, live bands, lock-ins at the bar, bed shares – whatever. Energy spent on the water trying to win MUST be matched with energy spent après sail socializing. Leaving for home straight after the races will not be tolerated and will attract penalties (this especially goes for all those lightweights named Thomas or Goodey at BSC).

No more ideas

That’s all for now. The Tri-fest ‘steering committee’ is now bereft of things to mention. Only to remind everyone that the first round is now barely 12 weeks away. That doesn’t mean train, don’t mean start some kind of intensive team building or fanatical boat tuning. No, just know that come June 2 we’d like to see one and all – fast and slow – at Broadstairs SC for the opening blast. Actually, come on June 1 and join in the afternoon club sail first – you’ll get to know the water better, can mess with the minds of BSC’s regular club sailors, give the RO a thumping headache, cause general mayhem on the slip, get on the beer, eat food and… enjoy yourself.

Tip of the month– don’t sheet in when death rolling downwind. Just enjoy the thrill of being on the absolute edge – it’s a beautiful thing.

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