Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Regatta

The sailors arrived. We had a briefing from the race committee chairman and launched before 10:30. Our first Laser regatta was under way.

The weather was perfect. The wind was from the NW with plenty of shifts and gusts to make life interesting. Over the day it built from under 10 knots in the morning to gusts of around 18 knots in the afternoon. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. Life was good.

The sight of 10 Lasers sailing out the race course was a huge thrill for me. I've sailed other boats but the Laser is my first love. There hasn't been an active fleet of Lasers on this lake for over 20 years. Indeed there's even been some antipathy to the Laser from some old-time club members for reasons lost in the mists of time. Seeing this fleet was a validation of our decision to revive Laser sailing at the club and made all the work of fleetbuilding and publicity in the winter worthwhile.

I was on a high as the racing started and, much to my surprise, started the regatta with two wins. In race 3, Wily Old Fox banged the right corner on the beat and won the race with Surfer Dude in second. In the middle of the fleet The Kid and Hot Chick were having close competition in Radials. The Rookie was the tailender but at least he had learned to keep the mast pointing at the sky instead of the bottom of the reservoir. Aussie was hanging in there but still adapting from his previous skills in the Laser 2. Cheerleader had her moments too and was leading one race for a lap.

We went in for lunch after 3 races. Hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue. It was good to relax in the sunshine and relive the morning's experiences.

After lunch, Living Legend showed his true form and won the first two races with me in second place both times. We had some good duels but he outmatched me every time in tactical situations.

Going into the last race I desperately tried to figure out the points situation. Remember my finishes and Living Legend's. Subtract the throwout. I figured that if I finished one place behind him I would win the regatta. I was wrong.

In the sixth and final race, Surfer Dude found the big shift on the right and took the lead. Living Legend and I battled for two laps but he was still ahead of me at the final mark. Oh well, I thought, it's OK, I still win the regatta if I finish one place behind him. Wrong! For some reason he didn't cover me up the final beat. We split tacks. When we came back I was ahead. Turns out I actually needed to beat him in this race to take the regatta. And I did.

Bossman and Wily Old Fox were having quite a duel too. They actually finished in a dead heat in the final race; and as a result were tied on points for the regatta.

Wow. What a feeling. Superb sailing weather. Good turnout for our first regatta. Close competition up and down the fleet. That would have been enough to make the day a success for me. Winning the regatta was an unexpected bonus.

We sailed in and derigged. Everybody seemed to have that mellow feeling of satisfaction that comes from a perfect day on the water. There had been no aggro, no protests, just clean fair racing in almost perfect sailing conditions. The trophies were awarded by Cheerleader. Speeches of thanks were made. The sailors were photographed with Hot Chick - once again in bikini - in the front row.

I love it when a plan comes together.

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