Last Thursday I launched my Laser down the ramp at Colt State Park in Bristol for yet another solo practice thereby confirming once again the prejudice that some folk have about Laser sailors that we are all anti-social loner delusional nutjobs. We're not all like that. But I am.
Before I launched I noticed some mega-SUV drive up towing a slab of white fiberglass that must have been about three Lasers long. The mega-SUV was driven by one of those bulky guys about my age with longish white hair and a bushy beard that made him look vaguely nautical. Mentally I gave him a nickname that fitted the image he was trying to portray, Grizzled Old Salt. I figured that in real life he was probably a retired hedge fund manager from Boston out for a spot of yotting.
His companion was a woman about half his age, slim, long hair, attractive if you like that kind of thing, wearing the perfectly fitting designer jeans that are de rigeur for woman of that type. Did you know that scientific research has proved that it takes a woman on average 47 minutes to buy one pair of jeans; and it takes the average man 6 minutes?
Anyway I was trying to figure out the relationship between designer jeans lady and Grizzled Old Salt. Father-daughter? Instructor-student? Then I got it. GOS had retired from hedge fun managing with a chunk of dough and got himself a Trophy Wife and a Yot.
Anyway, I went off Lasering on my own. Upwind for a stretch in the north-westerly. Then playing the waves downwind. Then a loooooong port tack close-hauled leg way into the mouth of the Warren River. Up there the wind was coming across Barrington and was all chopped-up and nasty. Is this really where the Barrington frostbite Sunfish fleet sails? Ugh.
Then back to the ramp. The inverse of a port-tack close-hauled course is of course a starboard-tack broad reach course. Wooooo hooooo. Planing for a couple of miles. Coarse.
Back at the ramp after an hour or so of sailing I see that GOS and Trophy Wife have erected the mast on their yot and are now hogging the ramp. They are doing mysterious time-consuming tasks associated with readying a three Lasers long fiberglass slab for a wallow around the bay. They probably have to swing some lead down so the thing doesn't tip over at some point but what do I know about yots?
Never mind. I start practicing my tacks, twenty or thirty or so. Then my gybes, ditto in number. Some practice starts. Man I'm fast when there's no competition. After a while GOS and Trophy Wife eventually manage to pull away from the dock and free up the ramp.
I sail back to the ramp and give GOS a cheery wave as he motors out to the middle of the bay. As I pull my Laser up the ramp after about 90 minutes of superb sailing I feel sorry for them. I've been sailing; they've spent all that time preparing their yot to go yotting.
As I derig I see Trophy Wife in her expensive carefully chosen perfectly fitting designer jeans heading forward on the three Lasers long fiberglass slab, presumably to actually raise a sail or two at last...
Hooray for Lasers. And hooray for Tillerwoman. Who needs a yot and a trophy wife?