Yes, I know those aren't Lasers. But that is the right lake.
Then some friends at the club invited me to go and race with them at some other clubs nearby. We called these events "open meetings" in the UK. Once I even drove about 50 miles to an open meeting and raced a sailor who had just won the European Laser Championship. But most of my sailing was at the local lake.
When I moved to America there was a sailing club on the lake just across the road from my house. My sons and I sailed there pretty much every weekend in the summer. They sailed Sunfish at the club so we sailed Sunfish too.
I still had a Laser so occasionally I would travel to the Jersey shore, or Lake Hopatcong, or Marsh Creek in Pennsylvania to compete in Lasers. They call these events "regattas" in the US. I went to the Laser Masters US Nationals in New Jersey in 1990. But I never drove more than two or three hours to a regatta.
Them I got the travel bug. I had heard about events like the midwinter regattas in Florida (for Sunfish and Lasers) and the Sunfish North Americans and the Sunfish Worlds. So some winters I drove to Florida. And then I started flying overseas to regattas and went to the Sunfish Worlds in the Dominican Republic and in Colombia. It was exciting going to new countries and experiencing their culture and their food and meeting other sailors from other countries.
And then I realized I could go to Laser Masters Worlds and went to England and Mexico and Spain (twice) and Australia. Tillerwoman always came with me on these trips, and after I had retired we took the opportunity to tack on some extra weeks and explore the countries hosting these regattas.
Random photo to illustrate foreign culture
When we moved to Rhode Island I discovered there were so many regattas locally that I didn't need to drive very far to sail in them. I didn't even have a regular club to sail at in the summer. It was all regattas. And lots of practice days on the bays locally, sometimes on my own and sometimes with friends. There was frostbiting in the winter too when I felt like it.
In the last few years, I haven't felt much like driving hundreds of miles or flying thousands of mile to sail when I can have just as much fun sailing locally.
Recently I have occasionally sailed with a couple of Laser fleets that are each about an hour's drive away from my home. It reminds me of the days when I started sailing. Small fleets. Short courses. Minimal waiting around between races. Everybody knows everybody. Not too serious. Just half a dozen or so Laser dudes having fun sailing round a sausage.
On Sunday I sailed with the Duxbury Laser fleet. We had about 10 or 12 knots of breeze from the north. We did 7 or 8 windward-leeward races and had some good close races and all came off the water thinking we had just had about as much fun in two hours as it is possible to have in a Laser.
Some of my friends drove 8 hours to Rochester to sail in the Laser Masters US Nationals. They had fun too. But there was no wind in Rochester on Sunday so there were no races that day.
Some sailors will drive 3,000 miles to a regatta. Sometimes they have more of an adventure on the the drive than they do at the regatta. Check out Carol Cronin's Deer in the Headlight:Better Lucky than Good for example.
Interesting map of the likelihood of hitting a deer
with your car in the next year in the US by state.
I seem to have lost much of my passion for travel to sailing events these day. I feel like I'm returning to my roots.
Am I getting old?
Or getting young?
Maybe one day I'll get the travel bug again and jet off to New Zealand or Argentina for a Laser Masters Worlds? Or maybe not.
Wait. I forgot. I just booked a trip to go sailing in the Mediterranean in a few weeks.
Just ignore everything I just said.
Like you usually do.
Me sailing in the Mediterranean in a few weeks
If I get young again
Enough about me?
Do you have the travel bug?