Looking back now on the 2007 Laser Masters Worlds last week in Roses, Spain the races are a blurred confusion in my mind. Some good starts and some bad. Some times I chose the right side of the course and some times I didn't. When I could find a clear lane upwind I was fast; except when I wasn't. All the mark roundings were crowded and some times I gained places with smart tactical moves and other times I didn't.
So instead of a tack by tack summary here is how it went down day by day...
Thursday. Arrive in Roses. The Tramontana is blowing from the north at over 25 mph, the bay is covered in whitecaps, and there is sand in the air everywhere. Nobody is sailing. Yikes.
Friday. Register. Collect charter boat. Complain to Laser dealer about warped trailing edges on foils. No sympathy. He won't fix them. Get measured. All good. No wind. Have lunch with Tillerwoman in restaurant at the marina. Light wind springs up. Go yotting for an hour or so. Life is good.
Saturday. Day of practice race. Going well upwind. Seem to have better boatspeed than a lot of the fleet. Course is shortened but I score a 13th in what would be a 75 boat fleet if everyone were racing. Means nothing of course, but it does wonders for my confidence.
Sunday. First real day of racing. Over 15 knots of wind from ESE with nice rollers. First race I'm in the 20's and second race in the 40's. Hmmm. Maybe there's a chance this time of achieving my long-standing goal of finishing in the top half of the fleet at a Worlds?
Monday. Weird pain in my back this morning. Similar winds to yesterday. Similar results too. First scores posted show me as 35th out of 75. Definitely in top half of fleet. While I'm standing at the notice board someone comes out of the race office and posts some revised results. Now I'm 36th. Yikes. I need to get away from here. I'm going downhill just standing around.
Tuesday. Weird pain in my back has gone away. Hiking hard in 15+ knots must be good for the back. Lighter winds today and more from the east. Again I score one race in the 40's and one in the 20's though this time my second race is the better one. But overall placing drops to 40th. Now I'm below the mid-point of the fleet. How did that happen?
Wednesday. No wind but luckily it's a lay day. Just for a change I take Tillerwoman on a boat ride to Cadaques. Salvador Dali slept here.
Thursday. Unstable light winds from the east. Long day on the water waiting for wind. Postponed starts. Fleets going before us having abandoned races. Our fleet finally get one race in late in the afternoon and I can do no better than 40th. But my overall ranking goes up to 38th. Go figure.
Friday. Another frustrating day of variable and shifty winds from the east(ish). Lot of waiting around. Finally they get a race started for our fleet and I'm doing really well. Top 15 at the first mark but on the second beat the race is abandoned as the wind gives up the ghost altogether.
Lots of time to work out how I'm going to spin a 38th placing on the blog. Top of the bottom half? Only half a point below the mid-point of the fleet? If this were being used for a gold-silver fleet split I would make the gold fleet as they always put the extra boat in gold? Hmmm. Not a good place to finish the regatta though.
Saturday. Last day of the regatta. One more chance for redemption. The wind is from the east. No, it's gone to the west. No wait, now it's coming in from the north. Eventually it settles to an off-shore northerly around 10 knots with stronger puffs. The first windward mark is close in to the shore just downwind of a mountain. Flat water with lots of shifts and puffs. Great. This is just like the inland lake sailing I know so well. I turn in a couple of finishes in the 20's, my best day of the regatta and surely enough to place me in the top half?
As the closing ceremonies and prize-giving commence on shore they still haven't posted the results of our fleet. As the speeches of thanks from the various functionaries drone on I keep pacing from the ceremony to the notice board and back. Eventually the results are posted. Yes! I did it! A place or two above the mid-point and I finally can say that I have progressed from perennial no-hoper to the giddy heights of semi-respectable mediocrity.