The 159 competitors racing on the last day of the group stages could find little to fault with the sparkling English summer weather conditions as another day of sunshine, moderate 8-11 knots mainly E'ly and SE'ly breezes was complemented by a worthwhile swell to offer the downwind specialists the chance to shine.
In the Lead: Tom Slingsby. Photo: Paul Wyeth
But even if the winds looked ideal, appearances were deceptive as at least two of the top four sailors sailed their discards on this last qualifying day.
While Australia's Slingsby retained his run of form, as did Kiwi Andrew Maloney who with today's 3,4, promoted himself from seventh this morning to qualify in fourth, on equal points with third placed compatriot Michael Bullot, world champion Paul Goodison confessed later to a couple of 'schoolboy errors' in the first race, contributing to his 14th and hit the windward mark in the second race when he finished fifth.
The Skandia Team GBR sailor, Olympic and World Champion, goes forward to the three days of Finals in second 14 points, behind Slingsby.
And Bullot, runner-up to champion Goodison last year in Halifax, returned ashore scratching his head after having had to recover more than 30 places in his first race to earn his third. But his powers of recovery deserted him in the second heat of the day and he, too, sailed his discard race on the eve of the Finals.
Slingsby admitted that he owes much of his revitalised attack this season to his lacklustre World Championships last year, when he finished 17th. After winning Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth he said today that he is especially happy to have found an extra gear to his downwind speed, completing a package which he feels can win him the title, he won in 2007 and 2008, again.
He may have had a slightly nervous start to his day, discovering when he was rigging up that he had a crack in the top of his supplied daggerboard which was replaced with one which had been repaired, but he finished brimful of confidence and well set for the final stages.
Cyprus' Southampton based Pavlos Kontides, a ship studies student, gave his confidence a leap when he posted to back to back wins to lie fifth into the Finals.
The strong New Zealand squad are certainly among the key contenders with two in the top four, three in the top six and four in the top eight.
After their rest day today the Junior World Championships resume their Qualifying with two scheduled races Friday before their four race Finals commence Saturday.
Laser Standard Senior Men's World Championships
Hayling Island, GBR
Provisional Standings after 8 of 8 Qualifying Races, one discard.
1 Tom Slingsby (AUS) 1,8,(29),3,1,1,5,1 20pts
2 Paul Goodison (GBR) 3,1,9,4,3,7,(14),7,34pts
3 Michael Bullot (NZL) 1,2,5,13,9,3,3 (23) 36pts
4 Andrew Maloney (NZL) 2,(22),4,10,2,11,3,4,36pts
5 Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 4,3,21,4,5,(27),1,1, 39pts
6 Andrew Murdoch (NZL) 6,4,11,2,8,(22),9,1,41pts
7 Nick Thompson (GBR) 2,3,(25),6,9,7,9,8 44pts
8 Joshua Junior (NZL) 3,22,1,2,7,5,8,(29),48pts
9 Ashley Brunning (AUS) 12,9,10,12,3,3,1,(19) 50pts
10 Andreas Geritzer (AUT) (33),6,2,1,2,22,9,9,51pts
Paul Goodison (GBR): "We were on the inside course and it was a bit frustrating. I made a couple of schoolboy errors with the tide. In the first race I went around the bottom mark in fourth and expected there to be a tidal gain on the right, and ended up losing 10-12 places which was a bit frustrating. In the second race I got a pretty good start but got caught out in the middle when the wind went right a bit and then hit the windward mark, so a bit of a frustrating day. Second is a lot better than I thought it would be after today, almost putting a smile on my face again. There are still six races to go and I'm looking forward to going into the finals."
Tom Slingsby (AUS): "The first race was really tricky. We were first off and we might have had the most patchy breeze. I was always there and lost one boat on the last run, so to get through with a fifth was pretty good. Second race was bit more steady, a bit more of boatspeed race. I got round third, second at the bottom and then first at the top.
The first race Nick Thompson and I were doing OK in the middle and then a big group came in from the right and we went round in tenth or so and it was very tricky once you're there. The top three were just gone, you are never going to catch them.
Second race the Kiwis were in first and fourth and I just gained and gained, I had a tiny edge in boat speed and so he did not want to stay with me"
But basically it all changes now into the Finals. It all starts again but if you make one mistake rather than losing five boats you lose 20. The only thing I take forward is knowing that I am sailing quick and that if I sail well I can win the worlds."
"Doing poorly at last year's worlds, finishing 17th, was a feeling I really did not like. I didn't like telling people that I came 17th, I like saying I'm in the top two in the world. I just restarted over again at Sail for Gold last year and it's been going well since then."
Andrew Maloney (NZL): "The first race it was shifty and hard to pick the side I tacked straight off and played the oscillations and came around the top mark in second and so I was pleased with that, we had a jump on the pack. Second race the pin end was favoured, I started three up from the pin and backed my speed and sent it out towards the best side of the course with a group of about five other boats, and tacked across on a nice left shift, sent it out to the starboard lay-line and then we had a nice jump on the rest of the fleet.
It's not easy but much easier when you get a good start, which I don't usually do, but it's been better here, a bit more confidence, a bit more experience, just being a bit older.
We have a great team, all going really well, but we have done a lot of hard work together, trying to work in places where the conditions are similar to these worlds, like down in Tauranga and inside the harbour in Auckland."
Michael Bullot (NZL): "I was having real bad first beats today. The first race I was probably 40th around the top but came back to eighth. But in the second race I just did not come back, so I think I got a 30th, something like that, it was deep.
The second race I made too many tacks up the beat and really never ever got any leverage on the fleet, and just never really found my rhythm downwind. I really never made any gains. But that is pretty annoying leading into gold fleet with something like that.
The conditions were perfect, beautiful 10-12kts, great waves downwind and I just never found my rhythm. It was not overly shifty but if you did not find a rhythm you got sucked back into the pack pretty quickly.
I think we all get on well but of course you are always looking over your shoulder to see how the other Kiwis are doing, but there is a really good mentality within the group."