We had a busy morning checking in 44 competitors and making sure our RC and safety boats had all of their equipment – on top of rigging a boat. But it all came together for the first day of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and we were able to sail 4 races in light conditions out of the North. Approaching the club was a challenge – the tide was very high and most vehicles drove through 6-8 inches of water on Fishing Bay Road. Never had I seen a line at the hose stations to wash the salt water off the cars.
At the skippers meeting this morning I was made a marked man with a shirt to wear for sailing making it very clear it was my first time sailing the event.
Out on the water had high 60’s air temp, 72 degree water and cloudy skies with winds 5-7 out of the North. Occasionally we’d get some 8 or 9 and occasionally it also die out to 3. We were sailing in area B and given the super high tides we’re having, there was a lot of water flowing out of the river going left to right across the course at almost a 90-degree angle.
The first race was a slow H3 on a course that was just under a mile in length. I didn’t follow my plan to go left and despite a decent start – worked my way out to the right, was the wrong side and paid for it never really being able to climb through the fleet and finished 23rd.
The 2nd race was a two lap race and I did better playing shifts in the middle of the course to stay just behind the lead pack. Going left downwind was paying well and I picked up a few boats there on both runs and wound up 10th.
The 3rd race was a similar but just 1 lap. With the first beat being over 20 minutes long there are definitely passing lanes and the fleet spreads out a bit up wind. I was top 5 0r 6 around the top mark, but this time the left didn’t pay off as well. I lost some boats downwind, but picked a couple upwind and settled for 9th.
In the 4th race I started to worked the middle on the first upwind and found myself in the mid-teens around the top mark. Downwind I held my spot down the middle. I rounded the right gate – took a hitch to the right to clear my air and then banged the left corner going into the current, but doing it in the lee of a shore. When I came back on the port layline I crossed all but the top 3 boats. That position held for the rest of the race finishing 4th.
Given the forecast and the possibility that it was going to die – we were very happy to have gotten in 4 races and we weren’t in until 4pm making it a rather long day.
Jacque Kerrest, Luke Shingledecker, and Gavin O’Hare were all consistently at the top of each race and are on top of the leaderboard. Tomorrow’s forecast had been for more wind, but that might not be true anymore so we’ll see what happens in that one especially after the drop.
Alain prepared another fabulous meal of ribs, crab cakes, and mac and cheese. Everyone hung out for a couple hours and finally turned in. Over half of the fleet is camping at the club.