Those epic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island just got a little more interesting. If you’re looking out at the water anytime this week, you’ll likely see dozens of small white sails in the distance.  They’re racing in the Laser Master World Championships, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. 

Here in San Francisco, sailors are representing over 40 different countries, and vary in age from 35 to over 70 years old. They started yesterday and will finish on Saturday Aug 13, with only one day off on Wednesday.

The race is unique to other sailing contests, because it tests the skills of the sailor, not the quality of his boat. All participants race on the same boat, a one-person racing dingy called a Laser.  There are five different racing categories for the 2011 Master World Championship, organized by age and skill. Among them are Olympic medalists and previous World Champions. The San Francisco course challenges sailors with unpredictable currents and weather, and consistently strong winds.

Yesterday morning started with gentle winds, barely reaching six knots. However, by the afternoon, wind speeds reached near 30 knots– forcing the racing committee to shorten the course length due to changing conditions.

The week-long regatta will face different conditions and results every day. On Saturday, the World Champion of each racing category will be crowned, followed by closing ceremonies. If you’re out on the beach near Crissy Fields, bring some binoculars and watch the races.

Event Details:

Laser World Masters Championships

Sunday Aug. 7th- Saturday Aug. 13th

10:30a.m.- 4:30 pm

St. Francis Yacht Club & Crissy Fields


Photo Credit: Em-J Staples