Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 Heavy Weather Laser Slalom

My San Francisco blogging friends have been very quiet this week about the most important sailing event on San Francisco Bay this decade. I refer, of course, to the 2011 Heavy Weather Laser Slalom.

This event is a classic of the Laser world, dating back to the early days of the Laser in the 70's. I posted a video of one of the first such events a while back. Wooden daggerboards and long hair and wet T-shirts and sails wrapped around the masts to reef them. Well, it was the 70's!

The even isn't held every year, by any means. But it was decided to hold it again this year as a precursor to the Laser Masters Worlds, also hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club. The finest Masters sailors from around the world were there, along with a number of young guns including Olympic gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe.

It's a short course race between two boats at a time, tacking and gybing around lines of buoys set close together just in front of the yacht club. 25 knots gusting more. Big waves. Thrills and spills. About 30 entrants with a double elimination format. Lose two races and you're out.

After two days of hectic action the winners emerged. And surprise, surprise the top four sailors all came from... New England. No wonder my San Francisco blogging friends have been quiet on the topic. The winner overall was Peter Shope, one of my sailing buddies from the Newport frostbite fleet and Tuesday night sailing in Bristol.

Take that San Francisco!

More details at SailBlast and Kim Ferguson's Laser Master Worlds 2011 blog.


Baydog said...

Way to go Peter! You do keep good company, Tillerman.

Tillerman said...

That's one of the unexpected pleasures of living in Rhode Island, Baydog.

Even at casual sailing events like our Tuesday evening hacks in Bristol Harbor I am blessed to be sailing with some of the most accomplished sailors on the planet. Not counting Mr. Shope our little group of half a dozen regulars on Tuesdays last year included a multiple Laser Masters world champion and an Olympic sailing gold medalist.

I have now conclusively proved that just sailing with great sailors does not even make you a good sailor. But it's fun!

O Docker said...

Sheesh, due to what I will only call 'prior commitments', I haven't blogged about anything for two months.

I'm not surprised an eastern frostbiter won, though. Youse guys have way more experience sailing in ice water. This must have seemed tropical by comparison.

But look how great he looks in front of that iconic waterfront.

Tillerman said...

That is the "iconic waterfront"???

Geeze. A few yachts (one of which still appears to have its cover on. In August?), a few old houses and the odd office block? If that's the best you have, I'm glad I didn't come.

O Docker said...

There's no explaining what some photographers choose for backgrounds.

All he had to do was turn around and he would have seen this.

tillerman said...

But that's an iconic rusty bridge. Where is the iconic waterfront?

O Docker said...

It doesn't really start getting iconic until you get away from the St. Francis a little. All of those pesky $10 million houses get in the way.

tillerman said...

Aaah, the Dutch insurance company pyramid. Even I recognize that.

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