Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wickford Regatta 2013

Sometimes events surprise me. In a good way.

Last weekend was our Laser District Championship. A two day event in Wickford, Rhode Island. Part of the multi-class Wickford Regatta.

Here are what the winds were on Saturday and Sunday. (On Saturday we raced from noon to 4pm and on Sunday from 11am to 3pm.)

I basically had one main objective for the regatta. Finish every race.

That may not sound very ambitious but, as regular readers of this blog will know, last year I had a very pathetic racing season. I hurt my back badly in early May, and had to take about six weeks off from any exercise including sailing. Then when I did start sailing I was very tentative, easing myself into it very gently so as not to hurt my back again. The result was that by the time I started sailing major regattas again in August I didn't have the stamina and fitness to complete all the races on a heavy air day. It wasn't until the Fat Boys Regatta in late October that I actually finished every race in a regatta. And that was only a one day event.


So I hoped to do better at Wickford.

And I did. I finished all seven races.

Not only that, I felt strong and relatively fresh right up to the end of the last race. I wasn't just going through the motions, somehow struggling around the course, as has been true by the end of some regattas in previous years. I was sailing as hard as I could in every race.

So that was all good.

I think all the practice I have been doing since coming back from Florida in early March has paid off. Not only was my stamina better than at any time last season, my boat-handling was also pretty smooth (by my standards.) No bungled tacks. No catastrophic gybes. No death roll capsizes. No getting the sheet tied in a Gordian knot.

So that was all good too.

I am still not as fast as the good sailors upwind in 15 knots and waves. That too should improve as I get fitter and practice more. I can hope, can't I?

But downwind I was passing boats on almost every run and every reach. And we had a lot of those as we were sailing trapezoid courses. I must admit I do get a lot of pleasure of blasting past other sailors on a reach. Children can be so cruel at my age. I credit one simple tip that I learned at SailFit in March. Never knew before that I had been doing reaching wrong all these years.

All in all a good weekend. Gave me a lot of confidence and enthusiasm for the coming Laser regatta season.

Maybe there's (some) life left in the old dog yet.


Unknown said...

Do tell. What is the magic reaching secret?

Tillerman said...

I was not trimming enough. Apparently you need to "overtrim" the sail on a reach for maximum speed, to the point where the leeward telltale is almost stalling.

Dave in Assonet said...

Is that true on 33 ft keelboats as well?

Tillerman said...

No idea Dave. You tell me.

Were you out racing last night? I watched the action for a while. Looked like a decent breeze even if the visibility was a bit murky.

Dave in Assonet said...

We were out there Wednesday night. Crossed the finish line first in "C" Fleet, But were second on "corrected time".
It was a decent breeze at the start and foggy/drizzly with less breeze at the end. This was the final race of the Spring practice series. The real racing starts next Wednesday!!

Tillerman said...

Well done! I can see C fleet from my house!

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