I went Lasering on Saturday. It was all good.
1. First day of spring. OK, it probably wasn't the first day of spring on the calendar and the temperature was still in the 30s. But after over two months with no sailing it sure felt like spring to me. Since my adventures in Cabarete I've been too absorbed in all the hassles involve in selling and moving out of a house, not to mention training for the marathon, to fit in any time for sailing. Oh, and for most of that period the water on the lake in New Jersey was frozen too. That's way too long to go without a sailing fix. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder or call it Sailing Withdrawal Symptoms. Whatever it was it wasn't pleasant and I'm glad it's over.
2. Sailing with my son. When we lived in New Jersey I didn't get to sail with my son, who lives in Massachusetts, very often. I think the last time was when I trounced him the day we raced at Lake Whippersnapper. Now that we've moved to live closer to our granddaughter (who conveniently happens to live in the same house as my son, her father) I'm looking forward to sailing with him more often. He's a big guy now but to me he will always be the little chap who used to sit backwards in front of the mast of my Laser and hang on to the mast for dear life about 25 years ago.
3. Not sailing on Tacticat. My son was (at least he was until Saturday) the UK National Champion on Tacticat. He spends way too much time huddled over his laptop playing that addictive game. So when I suggested that we go sailing on Saturday I half expected him to tell me that he wouldn't come because he wanted to defend his title in the Tacticat UK National Championship which was also being sailed on Saturday. I was very proud that he chose real sailing instead. He has his priorities straight. But in one of our breaks he did take the time to explain to me, with much handwaving to demonstrate sailing angles, how Tacticat had helped him understand the impact of shifts more clearly. Thanks for the lesson son.
4. Having a blast. It was a perfect afternoon for the first Lasering of the season (apart from the temperature). The wind was strong enough to force us to hike but not so strong that we were in any real danger of an icy dunking. We sailed up and down the lake doing a bit of informal racing. In spite of Chris's pre-sail whining about how we would be so much slower than me because of (a) his weight, (b) being too big to get under the boom, (c) his boat being older and (d) his sail being totally shot, we were pretty close in boat speed with the lead usually being taken by whoever read the shifts better. When we were down the windier south end of the lake there was enough wind to plane on the reach so, for a while, we just blasted back and forth across the lake with big smiles on our faces and an occasional whoop from me. (He's way too cool to whoop.)
5. Being invited to race. After racing we met a couple of guys from the sailing club on the lake. (We are not members at this lake.) They invited us to come and race with them when their season starts in a few weeks and we promised to make it when we can.
6. Learning something new. I'm always amazed that I learn something new almost every time I go sailing. Usually it's only some very minor point of technique. This time it was just something I noticed. Perhaps I knew it before and had forgotten it... When I was roll-tacking as I moved under the boom I was doing a very exaggerated "stand up" motion before rolling the boat flat. I noticed that at the high point of that "stand" I had such a better view of the wind on the water upwind and could see clearly all the little shifts and puffs. It sounds obvious but I don't think I had ever consciously chosen before to use the middle of a tack to check out the wind. I will in future. Every little piece of knowledge about the wind helps. And I need all the help I can get.
Next two weekends I will be in England for the marathon and family visits. So the next real sail will probably be the regatta at Newport on April 29. Until then there's always Tacticat...