Laser championships draws a crowd

— The 2012 Laser North American championships drew quite a crowd of sailors to Cascade Locks over the weekend.

The championship, which saw 173 boats out on the water over four days, was won by Chris Barnard, the collegiate sailor of the year out of Georgetown.

The fleet was the largest ever for a Columbia Gorge Racing Association-hosted event.

Barnard won the CGRA’s Gorge Blowout race earlier in the week and then led from start to finish in the Laser championships.

Barnard held such a commanding lead going into the final day that he was able to skip the last race of the day and still win by 12 points over Derick Vranizan of Seattle Yacht Club.

Twelve-year-old For McCann of Texas Corinthian Yacht Club won the Laser 4.7 class by 10 points over Patrick Shanahan of St. Petersburg Yacht Club. None of the rest of the top five was even within striking distance in the 4.7 class, with Shanahan finishing 22 points up on Parker Hughes of Texas-Corinthian.

The only competitive class heading into the last day was the Radials, where Isabella Bertold of Royal Vancouver Yacht Club held off Al Clark of Royal Vancouver to win with 28 points to Clark’s 31. Just 11 points separated the top four in the Radial class at the end of competition.

The Laser North American was the first of three North American championships the CGRA will host in Cascade Locks this summer. Next up is the 29er and 49er U.S. championships Aug. 10-12 which is followed by the U.S. Youth Sailing championships Aug. 14-19.

This week Cascade Locks will host the “Moth Madness” regatta at the site of the 2009 Moth class world championships, Aug 27-29.

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