Top 10 Female Laser Sailors of All Time

Top 10 Female Laser Sailors of All Time

Written by Dan Self

Following on from the immensely popular Top 10 Male Sailors of All Time, in this article I'm going to attempt to rank the best female counterparts. Competition in the Laser Radial (ILCA 6) has not been around for quite as long as the Laser Standard, and technically, some of these sailors earned our respect through their achievements in the ILCA 7 (as females).

But that doesn’t detract from the importance of their achievements. In fact, it probably adds to them. Competing at the front of any Laser (ILCA) fleet is damn hard work.

With that said, let’s jump right in and take a look at the top 10.

1. Marit Bouwmeester (NED)

With 3 Olympic medals, 4 World Championship and 4 European Championship titles to her name, Marit Bouwmeester has been one of the most dominant forces in Laser sailing for the last decade. On the hunt for her fourth Olympic medal, the 2017 World Sailor of the Year is looking as strong as ever.

2. Anne-Marie Rindom

Hailing from Denmark, the 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist is another sailor who has shown longevity at the top of the game. Anne-Marie’s resume boasts 3 World Championships, 1 European Championship and the 2019 World Sailor of the Year title.

3. Marit Söderström Nord

This is where the records get a little fuzzy, but by my count, Marit Söderström Nord from Sweden has won a combined total of 6 Women’s World Championships in the ILCA 7 class between 1979 and 1985. If the Women’s ILCA class were to have been Olympic back then, I’m sure she would have had some Olympic medals in that event to add to this list. Instead, she won a Silver in the Women’s 470, and is the only female on the ILCA Hall of Fame.

4. Lijia Xu

No stranger to firsts throughout her career, Lijia won two Olympic medals during her career. A Bronze in 2008 - China’s first sailing medal, and Gold in 2012 - the first gold medal for an Asian country. Add on top of that 1 World Championship + multiple medals, and Lijia has well and truly earned her place on this list. Lijia has also gone on to a career in sailing media, including publishing her well renowned book, Golden Lily: Asia's First Dinghy Sailing Gold Medalist.

5. Katarzyna Szotyńska (POL)

A name which may not be familiar to many younger sailors, Katarzyna was dominant in the pre-Olympic days of the Laser Radial Class, winning 4 World Championships in a row between 2000 and 2004. Add on top of that 2 European Championships, and it was a very close call between Katarzyna and Lijia for the fourth place spot.

6. Evi van Acker

Another close call, Evi van Acker from Belgium gets the nod for spot number 5. The second most successful sailor at the European Championships - Evi has won that event 3 times, and has claimed multiple World Championship medals alongside her Olympic Bronze medal.

7. Sari Multala (FIN)

Incredibly successful on and off the water, Sari Multala’s sailing career features 2 World Championship titles, as well as a European Championship. Following many years campaigning against compatriot Tuula Tenkanen for the Finnish Olympic berth, Multala has now transitioned to politics, and is a member of the Finnish parliament.

8. Jacqueline Ellis

Jacqueline Ellis from Australia was one of the early pioneers of Women’s Laser racing, winning 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 1 bronze medal at the World Championships between 1988 and 1996.

9. Larissa Nevierov (ITA)

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Larissa Nevierov was never too far away from the podium of international events. With a pretty large medal haul, she has 4 World Championship medals (1 Gold + 3 Silver) plus her impressive 5 European Championship medals (2 Gold + 2 Silver + 1 Bronze).

10. Emma Plasschaert (BEL)

The youngest name on this list, Emma quickly rose to the top of Laser Radial scene, winning two World Championships in the last ten years, with additional bronze medals at the World and European Championships. With youth still on her side, Emma has plenty of time to keep climbing the list.


So that wraps up my top 10, if you disagree or think I forgot anyone, feel free to comment below.

And if you enjoyed this list, be sure to head over to my YouTube channel where I post videos about ways to improve your Laser sailing. My aim is to be the virtual coach you always wish you had.

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