Laser Sailing

2019 FBYC Laser Summer Regatta II

FBYC’s Laser Summer Regatta 2 had a great crowd out in some fantastic wind for one of the last race days of the Summer. With winds into the mid-teens and some anchor problems with Mr Roberts delaying our start for an hour we had some attrition in the fleet bringing us down to 10 boats that ended up racing all 4 races.

In all 4 races today, I had great starts usually just a couple boat-lengths down from the boat. I focused on accelerating off the line and keeping a hole for myself and holding my lane before worrying about settings.

With the course in the middle of the Pianakatank just North of the channel and inside Stove point and the wind out of the NNE it was a bit shifty and it was relatively flat given the wind speed. Generally, the left side had better shifts most legs upwind. Often I would head out there sometimes overstanding, but always with James just ahead or behind.  Alain, Mike and Greg also had some good upwind legs as well and were usually within striking distance even though it became a 2-boat race between me and James.

The one race left didn’t work was the 3rd race. By this time James had won the first two races and I finished 2nd in both. I was trailing him by a few boat lengths and he rounded and went to the left. When I came around I found myself to be in a header with a lot more wind on the right while James was in a hole.  I went right and played the shifts putting myself ahead of James at the windward mark by a few both lengths and was able to hold that to the finish.

Even though James I did a lot of dueling – he had great speed upwind making him hard to pass.  Downwind he had another gear I didn’t have – he was playing the angles in the puffs and had great acceleration. My more dead-down approach lost me a few lengths on each leg.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day of racing.  I was a great tune-up for the Laser District Championship in Annapolis coming up in a few weeks.  Thanks to George Burke for bringing out a novice RC team and doing a fantastic job running races.  Congrats to James, Mike, Josh and everyone on a well-sailed regatta.

PICTURES

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2019 Laser North American Championship: Sunday

Sunday, the final day at the Laser North American Championship greeted us with a light west wind. We weren’t sure it was going to hold, but it was enough to race in and so we went out and did. With the lighter winds I had better starts, was able to focus on my boat speed and actually play tactics upwind.  I was a little out of phase and a little deeper than I wanted on the first leg, but made up some spots on the succeeding legs and finished 23rd.

In the 2nd race of the day and what would be our final race of the regatta – we had a little less consistent wind across the course.  I thought I had a good start, but quickly got rolled and had to tack out.  As I made my way to the right side I caught some great pressure and tacked on a few shifts to find myself lined up with the leaders about halfway up the beat on the right side.  Alas – I kept going right and they went left and while I did great over the people on the right, it was the left that won out. I made a couple moves on the reach and downwind, but it got pretty light on the downwind.  Upwind I started as far left as I could in the light air figuring the tide might help me get there if it really goes out.  This was great as the wind filed from the left and I passed a few boats, but made the mistake of going to the right for the top 1/3 of the course and left some more spots on the table.  Downwind and on the reach I was able to stay ahead of a pack of 5-6 boats and finished 19th.

After 11 races – this was a fantastic event.  Thanks to Eric and his family for the place to stay. The volunteers at BBYC did a great job running races, feeding us and keeping everything organized. I’ll definitely be back for more BBYC regattas.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | FINAL RESULTS

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2019 Laser North American Championship: Saturday

On Saturday at the Laser North American Championship temperatures had soared and neared 100 degrees with high humidity. There was no wind when it was time to leave and so we were postponed ashore for an hour and a half. Even when we did get out there wasn’t enough wind to sail and we were postponed on the water for another  45 minutes.

And then the wind came. At first it was about 8 knots when we started the first race.  I had a beautiful start and punched out for a while until the fast guys caught up and overtook me. As I tried to keep clear lanes of wind I got out of phase and ended up on the wrong side of the course on the right. Boats on the left got more pressure and a lefty to the mark.  On the next few legs I did ok and was probably deep 20’s, but at the final jibe mark I got pinwheeled with some 4.7s and a bunch of Lasers and lost a couple spots for a 35th.

By the 2nd race the wind had picked up to 13-15. I had a terrible start, tried to tack out, mis-judged the dip/cross and tapped the back corner of a starboard tacker and had to do turns putting me well behind the fleet upwind. I was able to pick off a few boats on each leg and pulled myself up to a 28th.

By the 3rd race it was even windier with gusts into the upper teens – this was a range where I was just hanging on to make the boat go and not really able to work the boat or be too strategic. I was clearly a bit tired on the downwinds and I got the tipsies and flipped a few times trailing almost the entire rest of the fleet. I was happy to finish rather than take a DNS, but it was some tough slogging.

After racing I did a nice run on the beach then got take out chicken wings and had dinner with some sailors.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | FINAL RESULTS

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2019 Laser North American Championship: Friday

Day 2 of the Laser North American Championship at Brant Beach Yacht Club started with a postponement ashore while we waited for the wind to fill in and the fog to lift.  By 11:30 the fog and the postponement had lifted and we were headed out to the racecourse with the Radial fleet doing the first start to catch up and get their 3rd race in.

In the first race with the wind at 8-10 I won the boat, albeit I was half length late to the line. I stayed in clear air up the beat and even played some shifts finding myself in the top 20 at the top mark. The rest of the way around the course I ceded some boats and finished 23rd.

The second race saw the wind up another knot or two – now at a range that required some depowering. I had a good start in the middle of the line and held my lane for a while, but eventually got squeezed off and sucked out the back.  I never really felt like I got the boat going upwind and was probably bottom 5 around the top mark. I was able to claw back a few boats downwind and reaching finishing 35th.

In the 3rd race I started midway down the line, but was a little late so I immediately tacked out to the right to find clear air.  I played the shifts much more so than I had in previous races and was a little more comfortable with the boat moving through the waves and little higher winds.  At the top mark I found myself mid-fleet and I was able to actually work the boat through the waves to catch up on boats ahead of me downwind and reaching and rode that to a 21st place finished pulling me up to 28th overall before a drop was factored in.

One fun observation today was how much better the masters sailors were on the reach. There’s a technique to it that I just don’t think the younger sailors have seen since it’s not often we sail on courses with reaching legs.

Post-sailing I did another 4-mile run, got dinner with sailors at the club and caught up with some of the junior parents from FBYC.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | DAY 2 RESULTS

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2019 Laser North American Championship: Thursday

Today was the first day of the Laser North American Championship at Branch Beach Yacht Club on Long Beach Island in New Jersey.  BBYC has a great beach and facility and does a great job running big Laser regattas and I enjoy coming back.  I was hear last year for 2018 US Masters Nationals and I sailed the 2011 North American Championship here too.

There are 3 fleets here – about 18 boats in the smallest rig the 4.7, 80 in the mid-size Radial rig and I’m in the 40-boat Standard Rig fleet.  This is a VERY competitive fleet. Only 15 of the sailors are ‘masters’ – over 35- years old and many of them are in high school and are here with coaches and spend the summer going to various regattas and training. There are quite a few sailors from Canada and even a few that made the trip from Ecuador, Barbados, Puerto Rico and a few others.

After checking in this morning and getting my sail inspected and the usual skippers meeting they took us out to the middle of the bay – an easy 30-min reach from the club in the ~12 knots of breeze out of the south under mostly sunny skies with just some small waves. After some practice and a 20-minute postponement we were ready for the first race.

The first race was a clean start for the fleet – I was near the boat and had a fantastic start right on the line and in clear air. My boat speed up the first leg wasn’t quite as fast as I had hoped for.  The wind at 12-14 with some higher gusts meant hiking most of the time.  On the reach and runs I was able to hold my own.  Near the end on the run I flipped and lost a few boats although I was able to pick a couple back up on the reach as I started to improve my speed there.

I had forgotten about the seaweed here – last year it was mostly a non-issue and today I had to remember my weed clearing techniques.

For the second race the wind picked up another couple knots out of the same direction and we now had consistent white caps.  I had another fantastic start near the boat and like the last race I was right under Leo – the 2nd place boat – who had no trouble driving over me (pictured above).  I don’t think I improved my speed upwind, but I was able to sail a little more consistently and not slow down for adjustments.

On the reaches I started to get the boat moving relative to the folks around me and I was consistently able to pick off a few boats reaching. I helped that we were finishing with the 4.7s and when they reached, they sailed high and some of the Standards went with them, and I was able to sail the rhumb line keeping the boat planing and making up more distance. This ended up as my best race – with about a dozen boats behind me.  Yes – it’s the kind of race where I’m counting how many boats are behind me – ie 12 boats behind means I finished mid to high 20’s.

In the 3rd race we had another knot of wind – I had a terrible start at the boat where I got trapped behind it in irons while the fleet sailed away and so I started well behind everyone. I still managed to not be last at the windward mark and did pick off a few more boats.  Another downwind capsize gave away some spots, but at least I was getting more comfortable in the higher winds.

As soon as we crossed the finish line there were storms to the North West of us and they sent us in for the day.

All in all it wasn’t a terrible day of sailing – I finished about how I expected given how little Laser sailing I had done this year and the fact that I weigh 8-10 pounds less than I did a year ago when I sailed here. I think that lead to the capsizes – where I’m used to throwing my weight over to keep the boat flat, only I don’t have as much to throw and underestimated the effort needed to avoid a capsize.

After sailing I beached the boat and quickly got into my running clothes to do a 4-mile run around the neighborhood before the storm came through. Eventually the storm rolled through just as we were heading over to the club for dinner.  It was great catching up with some friends and sailors I haven’t seen for a few year and sharing stories of regattas past.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | DAY 1 RESULTS

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2019 FBYC Laser Training

FBYC was doing a Race Committee training day which made it a great opportunity for Jess and me to get out in Lasers with the rest of the fleet to do some starting practice and very short course racing.

PICTURES/VIDEO

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2019 FBYC Laser Spring Regatta

We had what was probably the best day we could have asked for on a opening day of the one design season at FBYC. It was warm, partly sunny, good wind and the rain held off until we were done sailing. I was joined by 5 Lasers in what started out as light wind around 5-8 and through the course of 5 races built to about 15. I was talked out of wearing hiking pants thinking it wasn’t going to be hiking conditions and boy was I wrong.  And I’m still sore as I write this 3 days later.

Finn, one of the junior radial sailors was out with us and I loaned him a Standard sail to sail with so we could all be in the same fleet.  Despite being 40 pounds lighter than I am – he was quite competitive even for his first time sailing a Standard.

The first two races started with the boat heavily favored. In the first race I followed Finn around the first two legs, but was able to split upwind and find more wind and better shifts and got ahead and was able to hold that to the finish. In the second race, Finn and I both sailed out to the left side of the course and ended up past the layline and all I could do was follow him in to the mark. He was able to slip away down wind and I was never able to mount much of a challenge the rest of the race.

In the 3rd race Mike Toms joined us and made it more of a 3 way battle at the front. We stayed close most of the race and in the 2nd upwind I was able to get just enough ahead of them to finish 1st. By the 4th race the wind started to come up a bit and was definitely hiking conditions with some white caps. I followed Mike and Finn around the course, but was able to get inside of them on the final downwind mark rounding. Finn capsized on the 2nd downwind rounding allowing Mike to slip around him into 3rd.

In the final race the wind was up to at least 15 and the course was shortened to 2 laps. At the start both Mike and Finn started to leeward of me and I was able to cover them and push them out to the left side of the course past the layline. From there I just held my lead and didn’t make any mistakes to win the race and win the day.  I was great to see how much tighter the racing got with each race – by the last race all of us finished within a minute of each other and any slip would have meant going to the back of the pack.  Kudos to Trip, Dave and Britt who got much faster all day long.

All in all it was an awesome day of sailing and a great way to kick off the racing season at FBYC. Huge thanks to Glenn and Becca for heading up the RC for the day as well as to all of the folks who volunteer to help for the day.

RESULTS

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2019 April Laser Practice

My first time sailing the laser for the year was on the last weekend in April and I had a nice sail into stiff wind out of the south at 16-20. I did some exploring and sailed 1h 45m upwind through Hills Bay to Queens Creek. I got to check out Jess’ parents place from the water.  The trip back broad reaching only took 40 minutes.

PICTURES

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2018 FBYC Laser Frostbite Regatta

My last Laser regatta of the year was the Frostbite Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. It was a perfect fall day with wind and water temperatures in the low 60’s, plenty of sun and wind 8-13. We had a fleet of 14 boat sailing to winds out of the ENE in Fishing Bay. I had some mediocre starts making it tough to get a good lane early in the first beat often leaving me mid-fleet at the first rounding. Downwind there would sometimes be some puffs to be had on either side, but this was a pretty good fleet downwind and with the lighter air their weren’t many passing lanes. Upwind I could usually pick up a boat or two and get myself back into the top 5 most races.

Paul Almany had his drone up and got some good video of the last two races.  My pictures are here as well as the results. Thanks to Jerry & Henry Latell and Bob Fleck for doing race committee and Frank Murphy for the after race chili.

PICTURES | RESULTS | DRONE VIDEO

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2018 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship: Sunday

Power returned to Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the 2nd day of the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship around 9am just before we were set to launch. We had enough wind to sail in, but it was light.  It built a bit and we got a race started. Halfway through the race it started to die and we did some floating. There was enough to finish with only the last couple boats being TLE. We were in by noon, had some lasagna and left overs from last night and gave out awards. A 17th in today’s race let me drop a 21 and finish 11th overall and 4th Apprentice Master.

Congrats to Rob Hallawell on his win overall.  This regatta could not have happened without Rick Kline, all of the RC, Alain and his chefs, Bryan, Eric, Bob F, Mayo and everyone who helped get the club ready. And it was great seeing all of my Laser sailing friends who come back year after year and thanks for putting up with some inconveniences this year.

FINAL RESULTS | PICTURES | EVENT WEBSITE

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