Laser North Americans Preview

The Laser Class makes its way to the Columbia River Gorge for the 2012 North American Championships this week.

Sailing World
Laser North Americans Preview
Tuesday’s big event is the Laser Blowout: an infamous downwinder from Cascade Locks to Hood River.SailBlast

The Columbia Gorge Racing Association this week welcomes the Laser Class to the Columbia River Gorge for the 2012 North American Championships. The regatta is open to Laser, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 sailors.

Considered one of the top racing venues in the country with spectacular vistas at every turn and a consistent warm windy breeze some 150 sailors have registered for the event, the high end of expectations in an Olympic year, says international Laser Class president Tracy Usher.

“It’s a great turnout,” Usher said. “As is becoming the norm, with 90 or so this event, Radials are the dominant fleet by a factor of two over Standards. In the 4.7s, 15 is a good turnout for this still fledgling fleet in North America, in contrast to the European Championship where they can pull down 300 easy.”

Derek Vranizan, 25, is considered the top US sailor competing in the Standard rig this week. Vranizan’s been Laser sailing for eight years. He started focusing on the Laser just out of college, and recently did his first Olympic campaign. He didn’t end up qualifying for 2012, but the opportunity was more than worthwhile, particularly competing in all the European regattas.