Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Regatta Cast

Sunday was the big day.

Last fall my friend S. bought a new Laser and we decided to start a Laser fleet at the club. She is quite the cheerleader so I felt that with my experience in the class and her energy we had a chance to build a fleet quickly. One of her suggestions was that we hold a Laser regatta this year to help get the word out about the fleet. I was skeptical about doing this in year one but was swept along by her enthusiasm.

So Sunday was the day of our Laser regatta. We had done all the preparations. Publicity. Food. Trophies. Volunteers. But you never know how successful the event will be. It's a bit like throwing a party and wondering how many will show up and whether they will have a good time.

The weather was perfect. When I arrived at the lake around 8am it was sunny and blue skies. Already a wind of 5-10 knots was blowing from the NW. That was one worry out of the way; sometimes on the lake it doesn't start blowing until lunchtime.

Then the sailors started to arrive. My friend, Cheerleader. Another sailor who had just moved to the area from California - let's call him Surfer Dude. A new member of the fleet still learning the boat, a Rookie. And a long-standing member of the club, an Aussie, who used to sail a Laser 2 and who had just bought the solo version of the Laser. I welcomed him and asked him whether he still had the Laser 2.

"No. I lost that in the divorce settlement".

Oops. I didn't know he had been divorced.

"Sorry to hear that" I mumbled. Leaving it ambiguous as to whether I was expressing condolences for loss of wife or boat.

Cheerleader and I had persuaded a couple of club members from other fleets to sail the regatta in borrowed Lasers that we had found for them. The commodore of our club, let's call him Bossman, who had been very supportive our efforts to start the Laser fleet was sailing in my son's Laser. And one of the long standing members of the club, a Wily Old Fox who has great local knowledge of our lake's winds was sailing too.

A couple of youngsters with Laser Radials arrived. The Kid with his mother driving was welcomed by our race committee chairman; they had met on a course last weekend. And then a young woman arrived with her mother and they started putting together her dollie and unloading their boat. I went over to welcome them and help them as they were running a bit late. A few minutes later Bossman started giving me a hard time about being so eager to help. I didn't get his point at first - then I understood. It was true - the daughter was a strikingly good looking woman. One way to describe her was to say she was perfectly built for Laser sailing; the longest legs I've ever seen on a woman -and plenty of weight up top if you get the drift. And to rig her boat she had stripped off to a skimpy bikini. All the men were taking in the sight. Definitely a Hot Chick.

We were just about to hold the skippers' meeting when another car, with a Laser on the roof rack arrived. It was one of the sailors I had been seeing at regattas around here for many years. Seeing his transom mainly. The first few regattas I had sailed in this area - district championship, masters national championship - had been won by this man. In the little booklet issued to all Laser class members it lists the names of sailors who have placed in the top 5 in World Championships and Masters World Championships. His name is on these lists. Several times. A Living Legend.

So we had 10 boats. I had always said that if we achieved 10 boats for our first regatta I would count it as a success. Another local club who had just revived their Laser regatta only had 5. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

If you build it they will come. And they did.

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