We sailed 3 more races at the Laser North American Championship today after a 2 1/2 hour postponement on the water.  I won the second race of the day.  During the first race – in which I only beat 4 boats – I figured out the wind/weather pattern and used that to my advantage in the second race.  There were some dark clouds out to the left of the course and everyone was fighting for the pin and going left.  I knew by the pattern a righty was coming and was very close to the boat end at the start and immediately went right.

The righty started coming in and before I knew it I was on the lay line.  After I tacked it was pretty clear the fleet was well below me, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to go left and bring them back.  At the windward mark I had about a 20-boat lead.

It was great being all by myself up front because that meant I could sail the rhumb line and fast.  It felt like a 10-boat regatta where all I needed to do was not make any mistakes, go fast, and pay attention to the wind for any shifts.  I extended my lead on the next 3 legs and had close to a 40-boat length lead, on the boats behind me, after the second upwind.  By the last downwind the fast guys, like regatta leader Clay Johnson, had gotten back up to the front of the fleet and started to close in on me.

On the final upwind leg to the finish a rivet popped out of my gooseneck and fell to the deck.  I just kept racing and crossed the finish in first.  It was a relief I made it without falling apart or being caught and it was a thrill to win a race like that against such great competition.

As soon as I finished I set to work jury rigging my gooseneck to get me through the next race.  In the 3rd race I played the shifts pretty well and kept myself in the front part of the pack putting me in 29th for the race.

I’m currently in 39th with 6 races down and 5 races to go.  If I can finish half as well as I did in the second race today I should be able to stay in the top 40 and pick up some grand prix points.

Results

This week the Laser North American Championship is getting underway at Brant Beach Yacht Club. I drove in yesterday evening and got the boat ready today and went for a short practice sail in 15+.  I’ll be sailing in the Standard Rig fleet with about 72 boats.  Another 142 boats will be sailing in the Radial fleet.

Follow updates throughout the regatta on the @LaserNAC twitter account – I’ll be contributing to the off-the-water updates.

Brant Beach Sunset

Last weekend I was up in Brant Beach New Jersey for a Laser clinic.  I can’t say I am a better sailor just from being there, but I did learn a lot of things I need to practice and apply to my sailing that I hope will make me a lot better in the future.

One of the tenets of the training was to use practice to find where the ‘edge’ is.  Here’s plenty of footage of me ‘finding the edge’.

Brant Beach Yacht Club

My mission to sail at one new club every year took me to Brant Beach Yacht Club the second weekend in August for the Laser Nationals. With 278 Lasers in 3 fleets this is the largest Laser event ever held in North America. I was one of 105 Lasers in the standard rig fleet.

The first day was a little out of my wind range and I had a tough time keeping the boat flat upwind. On the second day I was a little more competitive, but with 105 boats on a short line, the starts were brutal and I am definitely out of practice starting in a big fleet.

I can’t say I sailed my best regatta, but I had a good time and everyone at Brant Beach Yacht Club did a fantastic job hosting us.

Here are a handful of photos that I took while I was there with my camera phone.

Here’s a couple pictures taken by the photographer here, here, here, and here.