Monday, August 17, 2009


I thought I had totally exhausted Murphy's Law of Laser sailing. Everything that could go wrong had already happened to me... surely.

I had broken a mast on Rutland Water and broken a boom off Cape Cod. I had broken down on the way to a regatta and broken my gooseneck when I was winning a race. I had capsized to leeward and capsized to windward more times than I could count; I had capsized by hooking another sailor's sheet around my bow and capsized by hooking another sailor's sheet round my neck.

I had done it all. Right?


On Saturday afternoon, Murphy found another way to make things go wrong while Lasering.

It was a perfect day for sailing. Sunny. Hot. 12-15 knots out of the south.

My son and I launched our Lasers out of Weaver Cove in Portsmouth and headed upwind on port tack in the general direction of Newport Bridge. It was champagne sailing conditions... hiking hard... busting through the waves. After a mile or so we cracked off on to a close reach bouncing up and over the waves. The spray was flying everywhere and I could hardly see where I was going for the salt in my eyes. Then we hardened up on to a beat again, blasting towards Conanicut.

After a while we tacked on to starboard and stopped about 40 minutes after leaving the ramp for a breather and a drink. Gatorade not beer. We were just upwind of Halfway Rock.

"Ready to go downwind?"


We rode the waves downwind on a very broad starboard tack reach. I carved up and down and tried to catch a ride on the downside of each wave and blast through the next crest. I was in the zone. Lasering doesn't get any better than this. We surfed to the west of Dyer Island and then headed back up on the wind towards Melville Marina and the launch ramp.

A perfect hour or so of Laser sailing. Looking forward to going back home to dinner with the grandkids and a glass of wine or two watching the sunset.

The ramp was busy with a queue of motorboats waiting to use it. No problem. We sailed in to the beach just south of the ramp. I held the boats in shallow water while my son went to retrieve the launching dollies which we had left at the top of the ramp, as usual.

He seemed to be taking a long time. Eventually he shouted, "Someone has stolen three of our wheels!"


I've never had this happen before. Someone stole our dolly wheels while we were out sailing? Incredible.

We worked out how to transport our boats to our road trailers without dollies. Pull the boats up on to the beach. (Ouch for the gelcoat.) Derig the boats on the beach. Bring a trailer to the ramp. Carry a boat on to the trailer. Repeat. Not a big deal except for a lot of huffing and puffing and maybe a few scratches in the gelcoat.

The parking lot was crowded. There were guys fishing on the dock. We asked around. Had anybody seen someone messing with our dollies? Apparently not.

The irony is that my son and I probably have the oldest mankiest dolly wheels in the world. If anyone is hoping to sell these pieces of shit then they are going to get laughed at. It's significant that they only stole three; they left the fourth wheel because it was rusted to the axle of my original antique galvanized English Laser dolly (now handed down to my son), perhaps the oldest Laser dolly in the world still in regular use. We concluded that the thieves were probably some kids wanting some wheels to throw around and play with. Still annoying.

Some kids in Portsmouth stole our wheels.



Dr Loser said...

Dear Tillerman:
I was swimming "nude" in a deserted lake at the far South America. When I came back, i found only my pair of shoes.

Dr Loser

tillerman said...

Dear Dr Loser
Pictures please or it didn't happen.

Dan said...

Please, no pics, too much information!

I lost the cheap hubcaps off a rental car in Guam once. Heard later that the locals steal them and sell them back to the rental car companies after the rental car companies get reimbursed by the insurance company.

Also had a bicycle stolen that had been given to me and when it was all over, the insurance company bought me the expensive bicycle that I always wanted. Someties these thing work out for the best.

Pat said...

Unfortunately some of us have high deductibles and never get any windfalls from insurance. Ouch. I'm sorry you've been victimized. Unfortunately there are creeps out there and a lot of unguarded places where they can cause destruction.

Perhaps you could have gotten fancy locking nuts for the wheels, but the nuts might have cost a large proportion of what the wheels were worth -- and who would have thought anyone would steal them? And then you'd have to lock the dollies onto the towing vehicles, and then you'd have to take extra time connecting and disconnecting them and all this trouble and expense just because of some idiot troublemakers.

Idea for punishment fitting the crime if the idiots are ever caught... make them carry a Laser for 15 miles. And something very bad happens to them if they drop it.

Carol Anne said...

Reminds me of a letter to the editor I once read in the local newspaper, in which the writer "thanked" the punks who broke into his truck ... it went something like, "Thanks for giving me air-conditioning in
December by breaking the window in my truck that I can't afford to replace right now. Thanks for making my insurance company so annoyed that they raised my premiums. Thanks for giving the guys at the glass company some business once I did manage to get the money together for the deductible ...

"And thanks for helping me to get rid of that radio that didn't work."

Jbushkey said...

has anybody ever been keel hauled under a laser?

MasterLaserSailor said...

I have had my laser dolly wheels stolen too! it stinks!.. But now I have a relatively cheap deterrent/solution. I found that small luggage pad locks fit nicely through the holes that the large cotter pins go typically through. I feel that if someone is going to go to the trouble of cutting my locks.. they can get whatever that want. So far so good... New wheels were $80 for the pair.

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