I recently digitized some old Laser Masters footage from the 2000 US Laser Masters. I was aboard the Judge boat for most of the event recoding on a Sony Hi-8 camera. It had been a while since I had seen this footage and it was great to be able to reminisce and remember the sailors who were there at the time and what Fishing Bay Yacht Club looked like with the old clubhouse.
As I processed the footage and spliced this together, I was amazed at the improvements to the software to be able to stabilize what was pretty shaky video at the time as well as the ability to clean up some of the audio.
I was also many years from being a master and yet I’m now older than many of the masters-age sailors at the time. Ooof.
Check out the video and the event results can be seen here.
Last year at the ILCA US Masters Regatta – I received the Tony Dahlman Trophy which is given to the sailor who finishes in the middle of the fleet that includes full rig lasers. This award has been hanging out at the house and after engraving is now set to be re-united with a friend of Tony’s who helped establish the award in his honor – Richard Leland.
I never had the honor of meeting Tony or crossing tacks with him – he passed away in 2009 – but I appreciate the spirit he had for ILCA sailing and hope to do my best to embody that and pass it on.
Here’s what was posted on the ILCA class website at the time:
Tony Dahlman, a Laser Master sailor from Marysville, California, passed away unexpectedly this past weekend while attending the Laser Masters’ US Championship in Monterey, California. He was sailing the first race of the series when he was stricken. A safety boat immediately came to his aid and rushed him to a waiting ambulance at the Coast Guard pier in the Monterey harbor. He was then transported to the local hospital where he died the next day. All of the sailors at the event as well as the entire Laser Class wish to extend their deepest sympathies to Tony’s wife and family during this difficult time.
laser.org – August 17, 2009
And the deed of gift for the award reads:
DEED OF GIFT TONY DAHLMAN TROPHY
Gift. The undersigned, on behalf of the laser sailors of District 24, hereby gives to the Laser Class Association of North America a perpetual trophy consisting of a half model of a full rig laser mounted on a cherry wood plaque, 18″ by 24″, bearing the sail number 185526, to be known as the “Tony Dahlman Trophy.”
Purpose. The purpose of the Tony Dahlman award is to honor Tony Dahlman, a master laser sailor and member of the Tahoe Yacht Club, renowned for his dedication to laser sailing, and to recognize master sailors who compete for the fun of sailing and the opportunity to improve rather than finishing at the top of the fleet.
Selection Process. The trophy is to be presented to the competitor who finishes in the middle of the fleet of registered overall competitors at the U.S. Masters Championship each year. If the regatta is divided into separately scored fleets the trophy shall go to the competitor who finishes in the middle of the fleet that includes the master full rig lasers. If two sailors are equally close to the middle of the fleet, the trophy shall go to the competitor with the better finish according to the Racing Rules of Sailing. The determination of the winner of the Tony Dahlman Trophy each year shall be made by the regatta chairman whose decision shall be final.
Rededication. In the event of insufficient interest or for any other reason this trophy may be rededicated by the Laser Class Association of North America.
Care of Trophy. The winner of the trophy each year may, at his or her option, retain the trophy until the next U.S. Laser Masters Championship; provided that such winner assumes the duties set out on the attached Assumption of Duties. If the winner does not so elect to take possession of the trophy, the Laser Class Association of North America shall have it shipped to the Association’s offices, or other location specified by the Association, engrave it with the winner’s name and yacht club in Century OSSL font, store it, deliver it to the following year’s U.S. Laser Masters Championship, and at that event give it to the winner determined in the manner described above; provided that the winner assumes the duties set out on the attached Assumption of Duties. If the winner elects not to so take possession of the trophy, the Laser Class Association of North America shall retain it and perform the above duties the next year.
For the 4th and final day at the ILCA US Masters the forecast was for less wind, but it started out in the 11-13 range out of the south. This sent the waves directly into the break wall where they ricocheted back into the sailing area making for really lumpy seas.
In the first of two planned races I had a good start at boat, near Gord and Roman. From there I got bounced around upwind trying to stay in clear air. Upwind and downwind I just never felt like I had the moving right boat moving and settled for 14th.
Second race I started closer to the pin and went left. Wasn’t as fast as the guys on the right who caught some shifts and was mid-teens at the top mark. Downwind I played the middle and held my position. The wind continued to ease as the race went on and was down to 6 or so. On the second upwind I went middle left and lost a spot or two mostly to people who went way right. Then for the long downwind I went left again hoping to get into pressure sooner. It looked great early on, but towards the bottom of the course the angle was better for those on the right and we all ended up about where we were when we rounded the prior mark. On the final beat to the finish I went way left again. Peter was just a bit ahead of me and we sailed in great pressure while the guys who went right initially had no pressure and I passed about 5 boats to finish in 9th.
This event apparently has an award – the Tony Dahlman award for the mid-fleet finisher. That was me, and I ended up coming home with the biggest award given.
Thanks again to Max, Henry and all of the folks at Hampton Yacht Club for hosting the event! Great job!
Expected a little relief from the wind on Day 3 of the ILCA US Masters National Championship, but ended up getting the same upper teens we had yesterday. Today’s races did not include reaching legs and were all 3 laps that included one extra long downwind leg and 4 upwind legs.
In race 1 I had a good start down by the pin and went most of the way out to the left. Coming back I was 4th around the top mark. Downwind was slow – the waves and current made it hard to find the right angle. Those who figured it out went flying and I was passed on both downwind legs. By the bottom of the 3rd downwind I started to figure it out and everyone was gone. Settled for an 11th finish.
In the 2nd race the wind seemed to pick up just a little – steady 14-16 with gusts to 20. We had one general recall with the current pushing us up the course before a good start under the U-flag. I hung out at the boat, pulled the trigger late after other boats cleared out and had a clean start. I went out to the right and just felt tired going up wind and wasn’t really pushing. I was around 10th at the first rounding. Downwind I started to figure out the waves and actually passed a boat. We did another lap in largely the same positions, only this time when we got to the leeward gate the 8 or so boats ahead just went passed it as if they were doing the final lap to the finish. I quickly conferred with Don next to me and rounded the gate and went upwind. I was the first to do so, Don was just behind me as was Mark and Gord. By the top mark Gord was ahead and I was able to pinch off Don, Mark and Matthew to round in second. Two of them got by me downwind and Mathew got me upwind and I settled for 5th. Of the 8 or so boats who sailed past – 4 of them took NSC (Not Sailed Course) while the other 4 turned back upwind, but were back in the pack.
In the 3rd race we had another general recall then a UFD start. I had a fantastic start at the boat and went right. That was not the place to be and on top of that I flubbed a tack, didn’t get under the boom and flipped. I was dead last at the first weather mark. Downwind I got the boat going and riding waves and picked up 4-5 spots. Had a few more good legs, but couldn’t really catch the front pack ahead of me and had the back pack right on my heels. Then on the long downwind I lost it and death rolled. I only lost one spot on that maneuver and was able to pick it back up on the final upwind to the finish in 11th.
After racing we hung out at the club and had drinks on the patio and caught up with folks who dropped by. When the scores were posted there were quite a few folks who got OCS/UFD/NSC and shuffled the positions – particularly by folks who got 2 of those today or had an OCS earlier in the regatta and weren’t able to drop a 26.
Day 2 at the ILCA US Masters at Hampton Yacht Club and we had only a little less wind than yesterday and 3 races planned. When we got out to the course for a 1000 start we had 14-15 knots and slack current. The wind was also a little more right of where it was yesterday and a little less protected meaning we’d have more wave action.
In the first start I was a little slow off the line and boats around me pulled ahead and eventually tacked out. Once clear I went back left and felt like the left side of the course had a little less waves than out on the right. That wouldn’t matter when a nice shift came my way allowing me to lay the mark and round in 6th just behind the leaders. We sailed two laps before reaching down to the bottom mark. All along the way I focused on not making mistakes and keeping the boat going. I was successful there even though I slowly ceded some positions and settled for a 12th. It was nice to be sailing in the pack around the course.
By the second race the current had begun to push us up the course resulting in a general recalled start followed by a start under the U flag. I hung out at the boat end for the start which cleared out seconds before the gun allowing me to come in with speed and have a great start. This time I played the middle right of the course picking shifts and rounded around 5th at the top mark. The wind had eased a bit for that first leg and then picked up for the rest of the race. I stayed in the lead pack and slowly lost some boats mostly on the downwind legs and settled for an 11th.
In the final race of the day the wind was still up and a bit steadier. I was in the middle of the line and in traffic and after a couple minutes had a clear lane to tack into and get out to the right. I had good speed and made up some distance on the leaders and rounded around 5th. Downwind I continued to play it conservatively and gave up a couple boats though the fleet was much more tightly packed and the leaders weren’t far behind. Upwind I picked some shifts and again passed a couple boats enabling me to cross just behind the 4-5 boats in the middle of the beat. By the final top mark rounding some of the boats that went more left had a more favorable shift and I was back in 7th. On the first reach I held my own, but on the second reach, which wasn’t very wide – Mathew, Luke and Don all stayed on starboard by the lee and made up a ton of distance from behind me. Matthew and Luke both got around me and Don was right behind me. The bottom of the course was a little less sheltered and had more waves. I played the middle left on the final beat to weather. Really felt like I had the boat moving through the waves. Caught and passed Luke while Matthew just got me at the line for an 8th place finish.
I saw a big difference in how I was sailing in the last race from the first race. I started to get comfortable making the boat go upwind and was able to pay more attention to whats ahead of me and looking for shifts and staying in clear air. A tighter hiking strap later in the day helped me more easily keep the boat flat and powering through the waves.
Day 1 at the ILCA US Masters Championship at Hampton Yacht Club called for wind and we got it. After sailing in light air all summer, I wasn’t too ready for winds in the upper teens gusting into the low 20’s. After the early morning drive to Hampton, unloading and the competitor’s meeting the plan was for 2 races for the 21-boat ILCA7 fleet and 12 boat ILCA6 fleets.
The course was set just south east of the entrance to the Hampton River and was to be a long race with reaching legs. The starts were a little tricky – the RC was running a 3-minute horn sequence that was difficult to hear over the flapping sails and the only visual signal was the P-flag that was up for exactly 1 minute. I had a pretty good start in the first race a bit down the line. With only 21 boats out there, we had plenty of room and as the fleet spread out upwind I was able to get to the right. I came into the top mark right in the tail end of the pack. Downwind felt good, I had the boat moving in the waves and closed the gap on some boats ahead. In the second upwind it became clear there were more shifts to catch and some boats gained and others didn’t. From there we reached out to the wing and to a mark way below the course before another long beat back to the finished. All race I stayed engaged with the tail end of the pack and finished 12th.
In the 2nd race the wind had picked up a little more. I missed the starting horn, but was close enough to the line that when I saw the pack of boats lining up, I was able find a spot and be ready. Unfortunately, 20 seconds before the gun the universal joint connecting the tiller to the extension snapped. I limped over the line so that I’d start in the time limit and then sat for about 3-4 minutes while I got a spare fitting out of my life jacket and set to screwing out the old on and in the new. By the time I was going I was way behind the 7 fleet and just ahead of the 6 fleet and did my best to get upwind and catch some boats.
Downwind I was starting to catch up to the tail-enders and I started cramping up. In trying to not cramp, my reflexes weren’t as sharp and I eventually death rolled and went swimming. From there I just sailed conservatively and eventually was able to reel in a couple boats. I finished 16th – way better than a DNF.
For those wondering how I replaced a tiller extension universal on the water – for years I’ve sailed with a Forespar Carbon Fiber Tiller extension that has a screw in universal joint. I make sure it’s not too tight so I can easily unscrew it with a small pair of pliers in my life jacket or my teeth if I have to. I keep an extra universal joint in my life jacket that comes in handy every couple years on a starting line like today and definitely saves a day of sailing instead of having to go in to fix it. There’s also the base fitting to retrofit most tillers.
Sunday at the US Laser Masters saw more wind as it built through the day. We went out on schedule and sailed the first race in similar wind to yesterday in the 8 knot range as the wind bounced around between 200 and 220 before finally settling in at 210. I had another bad start and had to pick my way through the fleet to finish 26.
By the 2nd race of the day, the wind had built to the mid-teens. I cramped up on the first downwind, wasn’t practiced enough in the wind and waves and ended up with a case of the flipsies. I sailed a little more conservatively downwind after that and kept the boat upright, but would finish 39th.
In the 3rd race of the day and 7th total race the wind was a bit steadier in the 15-20 knot range, I had a good start, but struggled getting the boat dialed in and sailing fast in the stronger breeze. Part of it was being out of shape and the other part of it is probably doing 90% of my sailing in the 5-12 knot range over the past couple years and not having enough time in the boat in those conditions. I would go on to finish 41st.
By the 4th and final race of the regatta the wind was the same, I was a little more comfortable in the boat and making it go in the wind. I sailed conservatively until the very last leg – I passed two boats on the short reach, had the inside track on the pin when a gust hit and I started to round up into the pin boat. I did all I could to dump mainsheet while rotating the boat around just enough so that as I tipped over to windward my mast fell just to leeward of the pin boat. I hadn’t hit anything, I cross the finish line and I even found I could stand up. I righted the boat and sailed in exhausted.
Back on shore we packed up and the awards ceremony was held. I finished 24th overall and received the award for the top Apprentice.
Eric, Mike and everyone at Brant Beach Yacht Club put on a great regatta all the way around. I had a great time visiting with all of the sailors there and enjoyed 3 days of sailing. I’ll be back next year when Brant Beach hosts the open North American Championship Regatta in July.
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.
I got a late start out of Richmond on Thursday night and finished the 2nd half of the drive this morning arriving at Brant Beach Yacht Club 45 minutes before the skippers meeting. We ended up being postponed on shore another 45 minutes before finally leaving around 12:30.
We would go out and float around another 2 1/2 hours without any wind really filling in. I tried making a GoPro video that made it look as if we really were sailing fast. Kind of glad I did – I took some underwater video and only after reviewing it later did I realize how bad the weeds really were despite not looking bad on the surface. Also note how shallow the bay is.