I've put the header photo of the Laser being blown over as a sort of tongue-in-cheek; I've always been joshing the Laser class; great boat that the Laser is. In the beginning of March, World Sailing ran a week long trials in Valencia, Spain to ostensibly select the singlehander dinghy for the Paris games in 2024. (I say ostensibly because politics always intervene, see my post on the Contender.) This could mark the end of the Laser in the Olympics (and then, perhaps not). Three newish classes were invited; the RS Aero, the Devoti D-Zero, the Melges 14. The Laser was also invited but kept ashore for the final day. Conditions were varied enough during the trials with the exception of a real blow. All three trialists represent modern dinghy thinking; low rocker hulls, flattish transoms, high aspect sails, and, (bullshit opinion alert!, since the blogmeister was nowhere near being present at the trials) during the week, there probably wasn't a huge difference in performance from class to class. So we await the report of the selection committee; which, if truth be told, probably doesn't have a lot of weight when the Annual Meeting of World Sailing convenes in November. Like any political body, behind the scenes maneuvering and lobbying will win the day.
I've come around, slowly, to the idea that Olympic classes should be elite dinghies, not popular world wide classes. This is the way the 49'er has evolved. It is a very difficult boat to race and only the Olympic sailors race this class. (One of these days I might re-tell the tale of Macy Nelson, who decided as an amateur, to race his 49'er in the Miami, Florida, World Sailing event.) My idea of the elite Olympic hiking singlehander is a version of the RS300. Olympic racing and the rest-of-us racing are two different concepts. Let the Olympic sailors have their own singlehanders and to us, the amateurs, leave us be, enjoyably racing our Retro singlehanders (long live our Retro singlehanders!), or our Laser's, or our RS Aero's, or D-Zero's, or Melges 14's. It's time to stop pretending these two, very different versions of our sport should be sharing the same classes.
I should mention that I know Dina Kowalyshyn, an Annapolitan, who was the head of the selection committee. Her husband was an International 14 crew during my era in International 14's; he is known by the 14'ers of that time as "Easy Bob". I ran into Dina at my normal Saturday breakfast joint about six months ago. She was breakfasting with Lorie Stout and we had a interesting conversation about where community sailing was going in Annapolis (or not going as it was determined).
Update: May 4, 2019: The World Sailing committee released their recommendations; either the Laser or the RS Aero is fit for Olympic competition. The Melges 14 was too big of a boat and the D-Zero had too fine a bow - not enough buoyancy for the trialists.
Bald but my eyebrows are growing at a prolific rate. Sailed Windmills and Y-Flyers in the 1960's. Founded Miami University (OH) sailing team. Sailed International 14's and Lasers in the 1970's. Sailed International Canoes in the 1980's to mid 1990's. Sailed Classic Moths since 2002. Enjoy boatbuilding though I'm very, very slow at it (the Internet doesn't help matters). Name in real life: Rod Mincher
After choosing this username (Tweezer is the name of my Classic Moth), further research on the Internet turned up that Tweezerman is a corporate name for a line of pedicure products. Let me emphasize that I do not work for, nor endorse these products.