I sailed my Laser three times last week.
On Monday I launched from Colt State Park in Bristol by myself and sailed over towards Barrington on Upper Narragansett Bay. The winds were pretty light so I worked on keeping my head out of the boat and looking for shifts and puffs, and judging lay lines to various buoys posing as windward marks, all of which I usually suck at but didn't seem too awful at on Monday. Then I practiced some roll tacks and roll gybes and proved to my satisfaction that I still suck at them.
On Thursday I thought I had arranged a group sail at noon for four sailors out of Independence Park at Bristol, But apparently I also suck at using Facebook. I didn't know that a response of "Boo.... OK" to my invitation doesn't actually mean, "That's not my first choice of venue but I will be there." And I didn't know that a response of, "That's good," doesn't actually mean, "I am coming." Facebook is a mysterious world for people over 60.
So in the end it was me and the esteemed blogger Captain Judy of the famous Center of Effort blog. Apparently when Judy says, "I'll be there," it actually means, "I'll be there." We did a long downwind sail down the length of the harbor and out to Mount Hope Bridge. We sailed the angles. We dueled with wind shadows. It was all good.
Then we saw how fast the tide was sweeping us past the Hog Island Lighthouse so we turned around and did a long upwind race, playing the shifts, trying to work out whether it was best to go inshore to avoid the tide or to go for more pressure away from the shore. It was all good.
I thought my boat speed was OK, holding my own with this renowned coach. But then as Judy pulled her boat up the beach I noticed that her transom drain plug was hanging out and water was pouring out of her hull. She claimed that it had been like that all the time we had been sailing. Huh? I had spent the last two hours just barely keeping up with a Laser with its hull full of water? My boat speed must really suck.
Then on Sunday I headed over to Massapoag Yacht Club in Sharon, Massachusetts and joined the Laser fleet there for their regular Sunday afternoon racing. What a scene. Friendly crowd of people, 12 Lasers out racing that day, and good winds.
Maybe my solo session on Monday had done some good because I felt really "in the zone." It was one of those days when I always seemed to hit the shifts just right and arrive at the windward mark in the lead, or at least with the leaders. Downwind it was important to look for the gusts and get in front of them, which I almost always managed to do.
In the first three races I scored 1,2,1 but then I ran out of steam and chose to sit out the final race.
Apparently my boat speed and my strategy at sailing shifts don't totally suck.
But my stamina totally does. Hey, I'm pushing 70, you know.
Life is good. (It's better than the alternative.)
I think I'll take a nap now.