Just arrived back from Spain after sailing in what was apparently the largest Laser regatta ever in the history of the planet. 419 sailors from 33 countries in 6 continents raced in the 2007 Laser Masters Worlds in Roses, Spain... and it was claimed that never before had so many Lasers ever competed in a single regatta.
Of course we didn't all start on one line together. There were two separate race areas for the Radial and Standard Rig competitors. And on each course, the different age group fleets had separate starts. I sailed in the oldest Standard Rig fleet for the crazy geriatrics over 55. There were 75 competitors in that fleet including, according to one competitor's tally, 7 former World Masters Champions.
Roses is in the Spanish region of Catalonia, on the Mediterranean, and quite close to the French border. It's a charming historic fishing port and relaxed resort town without the brashness of some Spanish holiday destinations on the Costa Brava. My wife was able to enjoy exploring the town and surrounding countryside while I was out on the water beating myself up trying not to be too far back in that 75-boat fleet. Then every evening we would head off to some different restaurant on the sea-front or winding back streets and alleys of Roses. (Hmmm, I forgot to take any photos of our meals for my Fish on Fridays feature.)
Winds were varied and generally cooperative. We started off with a couple of days of 12-20 knot breezes from the south-east with 4 foot waves, and then had around 8-10 knots on the third day. The fourth and fifth days were much lighter and frustrating but we finished the regatta with a bang on Saturday with an off-shore northerly breeze of 10-15 knots on flatter water with plenty of shifts and puffs. With a couple of practice days and a lay day that added up to eight days of Laser sailing in nine days. Magic!
All in all, taking into account the location, the variety of winds, the organization, the size and strength of the fleets, I'd say it was the best of the four Laser Masters Worlds that I have attended. As the quirky English translation of a regatta press release had it, this was the "most multitudinous Laser regatta ever." I was glad to be there and to be part of Lasering history.
Upcoming posts (if I can find the energy) on how I did in the regatta, all the mistakes I made, what (if anything) helped in my preparation, and what next.