You're sitting on the ocean alone in a small boat. Five kilometres off the coast with howling wind and multiple meter high waves. Attached to the boat is a sail tossing you around by the wind. My race is a pinnacle of long anaerobic exertion and precision thinking, crowning a decade-year foundation. Every race is a race of perfection magnified by inches. This is my sport.
Sailing for me started at a young age in Kingston Ontario during the summer camp sailing program. The combination of being on the water and racing competitively gave me a passion that no other competitive sport did previously. Qualifying for the Laser in two ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships opened my eyes to the level of sailing around the world. This ignited a drive to chase down and conquer the high calibre of sailing on the world stage.
The Laser is the single handed men's Olympic dingy class. The fleet is very competitive due to the one-design nature of the class and relatively low cost. In 2012, the number of boats made surpassed two-hundred thousand making it by far the most popular sail boat of any kind. The Laser has been the most popular Olympic class since 1996.
The Laser is a one-design class. This means all sailors have identical equipment during competition which truly puts each athlete's sailing skills to the test.
Sail Area: 7.06 m
Weight: 58 kg
Length: 4.2 m
A sailing event consists of multiple individual races to form a regatta, typically two or three races a day for the duration of the event. The scores from each race are added together to form an overall score for the regatta. The athlete with the lowest regatta score wins the event.
The schematic to the right illustrates an ordinary international Laser race course. These courses are typically set up several kilometres offshore to ensure the wind and water conditions are stabilized across the course area.
STRATEGY AND PROCEDURE
The overall agenda towards race strategy in sailing is to sail the boat as fast as possible over the shortest distance. The preliminary stage of a race is the five-minutes before the start. The race officials display a signal five-minutes before the start, to provide the athletes the precise time of when it is permitted to cross the start-line and proceed to race around the course.
Once the start has taken place, the athlete is focused on physically sailing the boat as fast as possible while deciding the optimum route across the race course based on the conditions (winds, waves, and currents etc.) and other boats in the race. Winning a race is denoted on the results as one point, and second place two points and so forth. The winner of the event is presented to the athlete with the lowest sum of race scores.