2018 US Laser Masters Nationals: Saturday

Saturday’s forecast at the US Laser Masters called for more wind even though it wasn’t looking promising in the morning.  We went out anyway and it built to 5-10 out of the south.

In the first race I had a great start and won the pin.  I worked left and found more pressure.  At the first mark I was 7th out of 67 boats.  I tried not to loose too many boats downwind and held my own upwind.  I ended up 13th.

For the second race I had a terrible start and parked it on the line while the fleet sailed away. I was in the 40’s at the top mark.  I went low downwind and picked up some boats and on the 2nd beat I picked some shifts up the middle right of the course and passed some more boats.  I caught another boat or two downwind and finished 20th.

The 3rd race saw me with another terrible start – this time at the boat end.  I had a lot of trouble finding clear air and was towards the back of the pack at the first weather mark.  Unlike the last race, there weren’t as many passing lanes and I managed a 35th.

By the 4th race I was tired of sailing in dirty air and determined to get a good start.  My start wasn’t just good, it was fantastic and I sailed hard to hold my line upwind and stay in the front row.  I found my speed to be on par with anyone around me and as we worked our way out to the middle left of the course I found myself crossing fewer and fewer boats and having all the clear air I desired.  I was in 3rd at the top mark and sailed just as well if not better downwind by going high and passed another  boat by the gate.  Upwind I sailed fast, picked shifts, and found myself in 2nd again but to a different leader at the top mark.  Downwind I sailed fast but conservatively so as not to do anything stupid.  I again went a little high of the guys chasing just to ensure I had clear air.  When we came back together, one boat slipped by and I was able to finish in 3rd.  It was pretty amazing to hang with some great sailors and gave me a thirst to try and do more of that tomorrow.

That got me to 15th overall after 4 races with more planned tomorrow. In masters scoring, my handicap as an Apprentice Master (35-35) means 3 points is added to each race finish. Older sailors get fewer handicap points.  That evening I enjoyed another dinner at the club restaurant while we watched the sun set over the water and retired early to rest up for more wind promised tomorrow.

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