Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Travel



Laser sailors travel.

We travel to regattas (as they call them in America) or to "open meetings" as we used to call them in Real English in the old country.

Sooner or later most dinghy racers become tired of racing against the same old people around the same old buoys on the same old stretch of water. They decide to spread their wings and sail a regatta at the club in the next town, and then maybe try their hand at the district championship. Sometimes the travel bug strikes so bad that they drive halfway across the country to race in their National Championships, or head south in the winter for the Midwinters, or even travel abroad to international events.

I think Laser sailors travel more than many other classes, partly because it's so easy to transport a Laser, partly because of the sheer number of events to choose from in such a popular class, and partly because of the frequent availability of Lasers to charter at more distant regattas.

There are many reasons to travel to regattas. Variety. Meeting new people. Sailing against better competition. Experiencing different sailing conditions. There's no doubt that if you want to improve as a racer you really have to travel.

After my crazy attempt to sail my Laser 100 days in 2008 when I traveled all over the place, I've been pretty lazy about sailing in regattas over the last couple of years. I had all sorts of excuses. The weather forecast doesn't look too promising. I might have to get up early. It's too far to drive. I hate staying in crummy motels. There's too much waiting around and not enough sailing at regattas. I would rather play with my grandkids. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I had forgotten the real reason I used to travel to regattas. They are (usually) so much damn fun.

Last weekend I sailed my Laser in the Buzzards Bay Regatta. Hardly travel really as it's only half an hour down the road. It was a three day event, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Part of my motivation for going was that I am signed up for the Laser Masters Worlds in England next month and I thought it was about time I got some serious regatta practice in, not to mention checking out whether I am still even fit enough to race hard for three consecutive days. (The Worlds format is three days racing, a lay day, followed by three more days of racing - weather permitting.)

I was not disappointed by BBR (as everyone calls it.) Friday was a bit of bust with one light wind race, then a lot of waiting around, and then a second race with two huge shifts. But Saturday and Sunday were awesome. The kind of days that you come to Buzzards Bay for. A strong breeze of 15-20 knots, a little west of southerly, for all seven races on those two days. Gut-busting, leg-trembling, hard-hiking grinds upwind and plenty of waves to ride downwind. There were capsizes. There were breakages. There were retirements. And for those who could handle it, there was lots of fun and plenty of close competition.

That guy was there. The other guy was there. Many other old friends of mine were there. If I can summon up the energy after an exhilarating but exhausting weekend, I will write several more posts about my experiences at BBR 2010 over the next few days.

I came. I saw. I sailed the Buzzard.

Laser sailors travel. But as Frank Sinatra said, "It's so nice to go traveling but it's so much nicer to come home." When I arrived home on Sunday evening after the regatta there was a very pleasant surprise waiting for me. My son and his wife and their three kids were paying us a surprise visit on their way home from Cape Cod. My daughter-in-law and my grandkids stayed over at our house on Sunday night so I had the best of both worlds: three days of Laser racing and a whole day playing with my grandkids!

Life is good.

Laser sailors, "Travel!"

20 comments:

EscapeVelocity said...

You mean the Open Meetings Act mandates regattas?

Tillerman said...

Thank you EV. Who was it that started the tradition of leaving comments on sailing blogs that pick up some random words in the post but which have no real relation to the subject of the post?

Baydog said...

I love Frank Sinatra!

I think I'll go to bed now

ChrisP said...

Omigod, the Laser Masters are at Hayling Island Sailing Club in mid September! So as Langstone Cutters train for the Great River Race later that month, rowing fearlessly towards the harbour entrance, we will be surrounded by Laser sailers dodging around us, waving that cheerful gesture that your grandson has already mastered! See you there!

Pat said...

Since when did Frank Sinatra make blog post comments? Wouldn't that have been Al Gore who invented the tradition of irrelevant comments, even if Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are the current custodians of the tradition?

Frankie said...

Anyway I'll keep doing it my way.

Baydog said...

What was the topic of this post again?

O Docker said...

I was wondering if that isn't a red-tailed hawk in the photo rather than a 'buzzard', so I did some research and discovered that the word 'buzzard' doesn't really apply to any particular species of bird.

It's usage varies by locality, generally refering to various hawks in Europe but, in the US, it is more often used to refer to vultures - usually the Turkey Vulture.

In some parts of the US, though, 'buzzard' is in fact used to refer to the red-tailed hawk, and I'm sure that is the point you were making in this post.

So, thanks for that lesson in ornithology.

Tillerman said...

Continuing O Docker's lesson in ornithology, Buzzards Bay was given its name by early colonists who saw a large bird that they called a buzzard near its shores. But the bird was actually an osprey.

Tillerman said...

And further continuing O Docker's ornithological education, the bird in the photo (as usual stolen at random from Google Images) is actually an Augur Buzzard which is a native of Africa.

What was the subject of this post again?

Baydog said...

Ornithology? I thought you was talkin about boyds!

It should also be said...

that the Augur Buzzard's nickname is the African Red-Tailed Hawk.

I love how you left it to your readers to discover this.

Tillerman said...

Thank you It should also be. What an unusual name you have.

I do indeed deliberately leave a lot for my readers to discover. My posts and comments are merely jumping off points for the intellectually curious.

What was the topic of this post again?

Wavedancer said...

You did well, congrats!

Hint: next time, follow Scott Ferguson...

SoxSail said...

Hey Tillerman, Glad you could make it to my home regatta (which I missed.) I'm curious about how you liked being in Marion, vs. sailing out of CB in New Bedford. I heard from 420 sailors that they liked the arrangement, and from big boat guys that they were happy to have more adults around the BYC, and wanted to get a Laser sailor perspective.

Tillerman said...

Good question SoxSail. The CBC at Fort Taber was OK but I much preferred sailing out of Marion. It was good to be so close to the yacht club and to be able to wander over there for a refreshment before or after sailing, and to meet some of the big boat sailors at the club. And Marion is such a charming town I couldn't think of a more pleasant place to hang out for the weekend.

I guess we had a somewhat longer sail out to the course area than we did at Fort Taber but Sippican Harbor is such a beautiful area that it really wasn't a chore.

Antolin said...

...and that traveling bit is what we are trying to do with the SunCoast-DIYC Laser Fleet...the first two events have been in my home waters at Davis Island YC but the next one in september will be Tampa Sailing Squadron, 20 miles away but a different venue, something new for our budding fleet, a huge head count for TSS...it is all good. If I can replicate what the good guys have done with their Treasure Coast Series...I'll be happy!! Laser sailing with friends is fun!!

SoxSail said...

Great to know Tillerman. The shorter sail was why the 420/junior types preferred CBC, and the refreshments were why the decision was made, and why I've heard it was a success. I actually hear that it was a legit windfall at the bar, although the town didn't love the additional parking congestion. See you in Padanaram next year.

Tillerman said...

I think adult sailors in any class prefer to have easy access to the host yacht club. Fort Taber and that field in Dartmouth in previous years really don't qualify. Pleased to hear we helped BYC's bar revenues. You can always rely on Laser sailors!

Sailing tips said...

I love your blog and it has given me some great tips about laser sailing because I'm just moving into them.

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