Mon 18 Feb
At last, at last, Terrigal delivered on the promise. Day 2 of the Laser Masters Worlds was close to perfect sailing conditions, 10-15 knots from the east, 1-2 meter ocean swells, sunshine, blue skies, and the chance to race 53 other so-called grandmasters in Australia while folks back home dug themselves out from a weekend snowstorm.
I had good starts in both races, front row, nice gap to leeward, accelerating well off the line and able to hold my lane for a good time. Unfortunately things went downhill somewhat from there.
in the first race I had a good first beat and rounded the first mark in the top half of the fleet. Caught a couple of nice waves on a starboard tack broad reach just after the mark and when I looked back I saw I had gained about 50 yards on the boat that was with me at the mark. Woo hoo, maybe I'm getting better at handling waves downwind.
On the second beat I went left when the majority of the fleet went right and I lost a bunch of boats. I was able to ride the waves again on the first reach and gain a few places but the run was only average.
Lesson #1. On the second beat if most of the fleet behind you is going the same way, then the safe option is to cover them.
Then at the penultimate mark (run to reach) everything went pear-shaped. I was rounding outside one boat who did an involuntary gybe, a second gybe to correct, and in the process his boom touched me. Damn.
Lesson #2. Never never never never round an offwind mark outside another boat. Quite apart from the distance you lose and being in his bad air after the rounding, there's always the chance he will do something unexpected and it will be your fault!
I did my 720, caught a few more boats by going low on the final reach but ended up in the low 40's (out of 54 boats).
The second race went a bit better. No spectacular, genius moves. But no dunderhead, stupid mistakes either. The first beat and run weren't all that good but after that I was gaining places all the way around the course including on the relatively short final beat to the finish. Placed somewhere around 30th.
Lesson #3. It ain't over until the fat lady sings. If you sail smart and keep grinding away you can gain places on every leg of the course.
Back to the apartment and dinner of Aussie pies and Aussie plonk on the balcony with the beautiful Tillerwoman. Then off to one of the local gelato joints for rum and raisin ice cream. Life is good.