Sunday, October 07, 2012
On Friday evening a whole bunch of new sailors arrived at Minorca Sailing, and on Saturday the weekly cycle started again. Same schedule of classes and races but with different instructors running each class and with a whole different bunch of sailors participating.
I'm excited about the change.
In the first week there were only four sailors in the Advanced Laser Class and usually only the four of us racing Lasers in the afternoons. The other three sailors (one man and two women) were much lighter than me so they sailed Radials all the time, with the women sometimes switching to 4.7 rigs when it got more windy. I sailed a Laser full rig in all the races as it never got much above 12 knots except for the class on the first morning. The races were scored on handicap so, in theory, everyone had an equal chance to win, but the pattern was always that I would get out in front of the other sailors in the smaller rigs early in the race, and just sail as fast as I could in an attempt to get far enough ahead of them to try and win each race on handicap.
So it was almost a pure boatspeed and wind strategy contest. There was almost no boat to boat tactics involved. No crowded mark roundings. No trying to work out which boats to cover up the beats. No working out how to pass other boats downwind. It was good for working on sailing fast in a straight line, but so much was missing.
But on Saturday morning this week, eight of us turned up for the same class. And on Saturday afternoon there were ten Lasers racing. I've been to regattas in the US with fewer boats.
Even better, everyone was in full rigs. A couple of the women are threatening to switch to Radials if it gets windier, but up to now we have had drills and races with everyone in full rigs.
Another plus point is that there has been close competition up and down the fleet. The top four or five sailors (including myself) are pretty close in ability so it looks as if we are in for an exciting week of tight racing with lots of boat to boat tactics and close-quarters combat.
Let the games commence!