Laser World Champions and Sailors

Laser has made its impact all around the world when it comes to sailing, with its competitive champions from different cultures and traditions.

“Since January 16, 2009 the official Laser sailboat speed record of 16.8 knots has been held by Mark Denzer of Honolulu, Hawaii.”

Robert Scheidt

This Brazilian Sailor is one of the most successful Brazilian Olympic Athletes, having made a name for himself in several competitions and championships. He began sailing with the Lasers and even became a Junior Champion both in Brazil and Worldwide in 1991, Scotland. At the Laser World Championships has won 9 gold medals, 2 silver medals, 1 bronze medal.
“If a boat like Laser or Windsurfer, which are the most accessible and not too expensive, get kicked out from the Olympic program, this means that we’re going in a wrong direction. We must always have an easy boat, which gives the opportunity even to those who come from an African country to compete on an equal footing against an athlete from England or another rich country."

nicholas heiner

A Dutch sportsman who competes in sailing in the Laser and Finn classes. He earned a gold medal at the 2014 Laser World Championship

nick thompson

A British competitive sailor who was selected to represent Team GB in the Laser Class at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2015 and 2016 was the Laser World Champion.

tom slingsby

An Australian competitive sailor, his first successes came from sailing with the Laser Dinghy’s, with three consecutive wins in the World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal. In total in the Laser world Championship he won 5 gold medals and 1 silver medal. “you still do miss the Laser sailing, how pure it is, how it won’t come down to boat work or boat design, or things like that. It comes down to the ability of the sailor (…) every time I did do some sailing outside of the Laser, I did miss it. I missed just how pure the class is.”

richard l. tillman

Known also as Dick Tillman, was an American sailor. Dick Tillman world titles in the Laser Class include: North American Champion in Laser (1971, 1972 and 1973) and in the Masters category: World Great Grand Masters Laser radial Champion in 2002, North American Laser Masters Champion in 1981 and 1982. He wrote The Complete Book of Laser Sailing, published by McGraw Hill in 2005.

marit bouwmeester

A woman sailor from the Netherlands who won the gold medal in the Laser Radial class in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Weymouth. Apart from her Summer Olympic Games, she's a 4-time world champion, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2020.

anna tunnicliffe

An American sailor and crossfit competitor. 2008 olympic games gold medal in single handed laser radial dinghy. “In no other sport are you out with only mother nature. You feel great power in harnessing her powers, but at the same time a great respect for what she had to offer, it is a great opportunity for me to test myself against her and her power.”

xu lijia

A Chinese sailboat racer with several medals to her name. In the Laser Radial at the Summer Olympics she won the bronze medal in 2008 and gold medal in 2012; and at the World Championships she won a gold medal (2006) and two silver medals (2008, 2012). Even with the injuries she got from sail racing, her passion never wavered so after retiring in 2012 she has kept being connected to the sport through journalism. “Either as an athlete or a sports journalist, I will spare no efforts and hope that my passion for sailing can strike a chord with others.” Wrote the book Golden Lily: Asia’s First Dinghy Sailing Gold Medalist

A few other notables

Through the years Laser has made a lot of fans amidst the big names in the sailing world

mark mendelblatt

An American yachtsman, medalist since he was 11 years old.

He won the 1995 Laser National Championships, the 2001 Laser North American Championships, and in 2003 the Laser Pacific Coast Championships in Oregon on the Columbia River and the Laser Gulf Coast Championships in Texas.

paul goodison

An English sailor, he won gold medals at the 2008 Olympic games and 2009 World Championship in the Laser class.

“The feeling of freedom when I’m out sailing by myself it’s such a great release. It can also be a great challenge testing yourself against the environment."

sir ben ainslie

Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history. He won medals at 5 consecutive olympics from 1996 onwards, including silver in 1996 and gold in 2000 in Laser class.

“I have been racing Lasers in and around Weymouth since I came out of the Optimist Class and went into the RYA Youth Squad. The Laser class is special to me, as it is where I have met some of my closest and long-term friends who I travelled with all over the world for Laser events.”

ed baird

From Florida, Baird raced in the Optimist class at junior level, before he moved onto other dinghies. He won the World Laser Championship in 1980.

In 1982 he published an instructional book (Laser Racing) and over a hundred tactical how-to articles.

michael blackburn

An Australian Olympic medalist and sailor, known mainly for crossing the Bass Strait in a Laser dinghy. He did so on 9 March 2005, setting the record time of 13 hours and 1 minute. In the Laser World Championship he got ranked Silver twice (1998, 1999) and bronze twice (2003, 2004) and then eventually won Gold in 2006 in Jeju, Korea.

He coached the Australian Olympic Gold medalist Tom Slingsby in the Laser class at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London; and later on coached Tom Burton as well, who won gold in the Laser class at the 2016 Summer Olympics.