Went down the lake to practice in my Laser. Must have been the first practice sail (as opposed to racing) for at least 6 months. What an awesome wind! As you can see from the chart, it was gusting between 20 and 25 knots and very shifty. I'd forgotten how shifty the winds can be on a lake after sailing on the sea all winter. At times the whole of the surface of the reservoir as far as the eye could see was covered in whitecaps. There must be over 100 boats in the boat park but the only people out sailing were me and a windsurfer. I was pumped.
I worked a little on every point of sail, especially reaching. Couldn't waste a wind like this. At times you could sail a screaming reach without coming off the plane from one side of the reservoir to the other. Big smile on Tillerman's face. On the run I was sailing faster than the waves which sounds fun but it's actually more fun when you have to work to catch a ride. Upwind it took me quite a lot of practice before I was even getting close to keeping the boat flat and driving fast in such shifty, gusty winds. Did a lot of practice gybes and only capsized once.
It was my first day of Laser racing at the lake club this year. I sometimes despair of the membership here; being lake sailors they don't have much experience in heavier winds and many of the sailors are even too timid to try. The Flying Scot fleet showed up, sat around muttering about the weather forecast for a while - 30 knot gusts were promised - and then they went home without even launching their flying sidewalks. The Jet 14s and the Lasers went out to race. In the early afternoon it wasn't as windy as Saturday but still fun.
I won the first race. A little squall with some rain came through in the second race and the wind started gusting to 20 knots. After practicing yesterday I was in my element. Yeehow. Won the second race.
Then the race committee signaled Abandon and called off the third race. I sailed by the committee boat and made a cynical comment about, "What's the matter? Are you getting cold?" That sounds bad, but they're my friends. They know that I'm not really a sarcastic yahoo. (At least I hope so.)
Actually it can't have been much fun for them sitting out in the rain and wind but, hey, they're the race committee - they're supposed to suffer so we can have fun. We all take turns at the misery. Afterwards the race officer said that he thought all the Jet 14 fleet looked to be "out of control" and he was worried about their safety. So what? How are these guys going to learn to be "in control" if they don't push the envelope?
So we informally raced upwind back to the club in the rain. As we were packing the boats away the rain stopped, the sun came out and the wind moderated a little. Damn that race committee.