The first day at the Easter Laser Regatta at Austin Yacht Club started out as a beautiful morning. Granted the night before was quite cold and I woke up in the van shivering a couple times even in my sleeping bag. After registering and a quick skippers meeting we were rigged and heading out to the course in light but definitely sailable conditions with 21 standards and 9 radials.
In the first race I had a great start, picked some shifts up the first beat and rounded the first mark in 3rd. That rounding was a little tighter than it should have been with Doug K tacking under me and Griffin at the mark and fouling us. I hated to have to protest him for it, but it was a clear foul and he didn’t do his turns – leading to a DSQ for Doug. The course was an 8 leg race with a windward leeward, a triangle followed by another windward leeward and a final windward leg to finish. It was a long race, but I managed to get passed by one boat and pass another boat to stay in 3rd.
After another good start in the 2nd race I was in the top 5 or 6 around the top mark and then just worked on passing boats upwind while not loosing any downwind and managing a 4th. The conditions continued to be very up and down requiring a lot of mode changes to keep the boat tuned. I was also sailing with the mkII sail and getting the hang of tuning it.
By the 3rd race the wind was starting to fill in more consistently. On two of the upwind legs I managed to miss a couple shifts and could never seem to get around the 5-10 clump of boats and wound up in 11th.
We headed ashore for lunch and returned in the afternoon to see the wind a little stronger and varying between 8 and 15 knots. The course was a little shorter and the shifts were fewer and while I don’t feel like I sailed any worse – I could definitely tell that the rest of the fleet was sailing a lot better and making the races a lot more competitive.
In the 4th race I got behind on the first leg, but had a great 6th leg picking shifts to come back and get ahead and finished 6th.
The 5th race I found myself mostly in the trailing pack after a not so great started and managed to pick some folks off upwind. By the last leg we had light hiking conditions and I was starting to figure out more of the modes in the mkII sail. I made it work for me when I pinched off Jody S in a mkI sail as we went into the finish to leave me in 5th for the race and tied for 4th overall.
Following racing we all had dinner at Mexican restaurant followed by drinks on the porch at the club. I mostly hung out with the folks from the Dallas Laser Fleet and enjoyed meeting them and feeling like a member of their group.