Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Laser Sailing at the Lake - Crushed!

I joined the yacht club.

A couple of Sundays ago I hitched up my Laser trailer and headed off to race in the Sunday races at my new yacht club.

My friends Yarg and The Email Dude were there. But they had brought their RS Aeros.

What the?

I thought we had all agreed back at the big winter planning meeting that we were going to sail Aeros on Saturdays and Lasers on Sundays. But the the meeting was held at Mick Morgan's Irish Pub and there was an Irish band playing and I had had two (conservatively) pints of Guinness and I couldn't really hear what anyone else was saying so maybe I got confused. And I'm a bit deaf these days anyway. Must make an appointment to see the ear doctor.

My friends had taken delivery of their RS Aeros only a couple of days before, so I guess they couldn't resist taking them out and playing with them. Boys with toys!

Never mind. A boat's a boat. So there were 6 Lasers and 2 RS Aeros - with 7 rigs - for the Sunday races.

According to the handicap numbers they are using in the UK, the Aero 7s should be a bit faster than Laser full rigs but we did seem to have pretty even racing between Lasers and Aero 7s on that day. At least to start with, we are going to race Lasers and Aero 7s together starting at the same time. At least I think that's what we agreed at Mick Morgan's Irish Pub back in the winter but it was during a rousing chorus of The Wearing of the Green and I don't hear so well these days.

Wearing of the green

So off we went.

One race I was OCS.

What the?

I am hardly ever OCS.

I took this is a good sign. I am usually not very aggressive on the start line.

Obviously I was too aggressive on the first day of racing in 2015.

This year will be different.

Yarg and the Email Dude were often ahead of me in their Aeros.

But not always.

They were often ahead of me when we all raced in Lasers so I don't think it proved much.

Anyway lake sailing is so much about spotting shifts and gusts that a theoretical few percentage points in boat speed aren't all that relevant.

There was one race when I was 5th at the windward mark but then I overtook both Aeros and the two leading Lasers on the first reach to take the lead.

Woo hoo!!!

How did I do that?

Well, I spotted more pressure higher than the rhumb line and went for it.

And I used my double super secret trick I learned from Kurt Taulbee at SailFit about how to go fast on reaches.

But then I threw it all away by going the wrong way on the final beat.

Hey ho!

Such is lake sailing.

Must make an appointment to see the eye doctor.

So, going into the final race I had a 2nd and a 3rd and a 5th (ugly!) among the Lasers.

Did we decide at Mick Morgan's whether we were going to score Aeros and Lasers together or separately? I couldn't remember.

Maybe we did, but they were playing a rousing chorus of Whiskey in the Jar so I probably didn't hear the answer, and now I had no idea.

Whiskey in the jar

I set myself up for a good start but immediately after the start, the wind died and we were all sitting there with our sails hanging lifeless in the wind.

Somehow I got the boat going in a zephyr of about 1.62 knots and headed out to the left side of the course.

Then I had one of those moments of clarity that happen about twice a lifetime for lake sailors.

I saw a puff just ahead, and if I tacked on it I would reach that puff over there, and if I tacked on that I would reach that other puff.

I could connect the dots.

So I did.

And I rounded the windward mark with a substantial lead.

Down the run to the finish I was in clear air and the rest of the fleet were fighting each other for air.

About half way down the run, the wind died again, and then came in from a new direction, but I managed to spot it and I crossed the finish line in in first place beating both the Aeros and all the other Lasers by a considerable margin. Maybe I don't need to see the eye doctor after all.

I love lake sailing.

I love Laser sailing.

Yarg was gracious enough to invite a few of us to enjoy a few beers on his elegant curved dock at the north end of the lake. Mrs Yarg had prepared some delicious dips and we sat on the elegant curved dock and dipped and sipped and reminisced on the day's sailing.

Mrs Yarg asked an innocent question about how it had worked out with the Aeros and Laser sailing together.

I must admit I couldn't resist telling her about the final race and how I had beaten both the Aeros (and all the other Lasers) in my Laser

I must admit I used the word "crushed."

I probably used the word "crushed" a lot.

Children can be so cruel at my age.


Teejman said...

CRUSHED II ( the horror)

I went down to Massapoag the other day to commission my lasers for the season. I discovered that both had been severely damaged by the weight of the snow on deck as they sat on their dollies. The gunwhales were cracked, hull/deck seams opened and 1 hull dented. Looks like several others suffered the same fate. Definitely a hard lesson learned about storing the boats on edge in the future.

Tillerman said...

Sorry to hear of your sad loss Teejman. I heard several similar tales of woe after this winter. It was hard to believe that a few feet of snow could cause such damage but when I did the math and worked out the approximate load on a Laser deck from a few feet of snow it was entirely understandable. Especially as that whole load is supported by the small area of contact between dolly and hull, whether that is the strap or the pop-up supports on the Seitech dollies.

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