It was the last race of the day and my plan was to go left. It had taken me all afternoon but I had finally realised that it was more than a fluke that the guys on the left were crossing ahead of me in every race.
I started a couple of boat lengths up from the pin which was favored. I'm no big fan of trying to win the pin even in a small fleet. Too many things can go wrong especially for a sailor as uncoordinated and clumsy as me.
So I powered off the line and kept going left as most of the fleet tacked on to port behind me. The boat that did win the pin found a small header and tacked on to port too. I dug into the header further and then tacked.
Two thirds of the way up the beat I was looking good. I was ahead and to leeward of the two boats that were closest to me. If I tacked I could probably cross them, but was it worth doing three more tacks with the windward mark coming up fast?
I should have tacked earlier. Instead I tacked on the starboard tack layline and sailed right into a header. Ugh. The other two boats caught me and we rounded the mark together.
I pulled off one of the best windward mark roundings of my life. Pure chance. But I stayed in the hiking straps and bore away on to a beam reach blowing over the guy who was first at the mark. The wind had gone way left but was still very shifty, so the "run" was a mix of various angles of broad reach. I worked the sail constantly, sheeting in fast on every header and easing fast on every lift. All that pumping and easing worked like a charm and I pulled out a lead of several boat lengths by the time we reached the leeward gate.
I rounded the upwind side of the gate and tacked immediately. The wind had gone so far left that I could lay the finish line. I sailed to the finish on a tight planing reach, laughing and whooping and hollering. I love it when a plan comes together.
OK. OK. It was the only race I won all afternoon, but even so it felt good to finish off the day with a win...
And OK, this wasn't some major regatta. Merely a return visit last Saturday afternoon to the lake where they have this informal racing/practice scene that I described last year in Just Six Laser Dudes Racing Round a Sausage. Not exactly the same six dudes as last year, but five of the six sailors on Saturday were in the top six at last year's regatta here, the one I described in Just One of Those Days, so we were pretty evenly matched.