Laser Masters

2017 Laser Masters Midweek Madness: Wednesday

In an about face in weather from the rest of the week – wind is what we got on Wednesday with winds in the upper teens and gusts into the lower twenties.  Slightly overcast skies with temperatures in the lower 70’s.  Having sailed in light air all week and most of 2016 – I wasn’t well prepared for these conditions.  My goal would be to just get around the course and salvage as much as I could.

In the first race I had an ok but not stellar start.  I made my way out to the right of the course and I moved the boat ok, but was a few rows back.  Towards the top it was clear the left was coming in better and I was in the back quarter around the top mark.  On the reach to the offset I lost my hand hold on the mainsheet and ended up capsizing to windward as what remained of the fleet sailed by.

I continued the race sailing conservative downwind to keep the boat under me and managed to pick off a few boats on the next two legs.  At the final jibe mark to the finish I messed up the timing of my duck and thwacked the boom on my head to add a little injury to insult.  I’d have a bruise for the next several days.

At that point it was clear I wasn’t competing and I decided to get home and save some time-off for later in the year.  And to finish it up – my dolly broke as I recovered the boat on the beach.  Thankfully the ride home was uneventful including an overnight stop in Florence SC.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Laser Masters Midweek Madness: Tuesday

Following an off day between sailing where I worked remotely from an airbnb I arrived at Sarasota Sailing Squadron late last night.  Sarasota Sailing Squadron is on the point of an island jutting into a wide bay making it a great sailing venue.  There is plenty of beach launching and the sailing area is less than a mile from the launch.

The day started with a bit of a haze and no wind.  Temperatures in the low 70’s.  Even before the skippers’ meeting we were postponed ashore where we would wait for 1 1/2 hours.  The wind finally started to pick up, we went out and a race was started in 5-6 knots of breeze.  That ended up being the best of the breeze as it got very light during.  The wind was out of the South West and there was a little current from left to right at the bottom of the course.

I had a good start and focused on keeping a clear lane of wind and trying not to duck too many boats on port tack.  I did well on that first beat and rounded the first mark in 5th.  Downwind I lost one boat and on the 2nd upwind I didn’t stay in phase as well as I could have and lost a few more boats.  The final 3 legs of the race were pretty brutal.  It was a LONG race not moving very fast and the Radial fleet behind us wouldn’t finish in the time limited.  I ended up with a 12 in the 49-boat fleet.

After waiting for a little another race was started in a little bit more wind.  This time I started at the boat and had a good start on the front line.  I would sail almost to the left layline and was only crossed ahead by two boats.  At the top mark I was caught by a few boats on the right and was top 10 around the mark.  I continued to focus on clear air both up and down wind and held my position around the course as the 13th boat over the line – I would be 11th after OCS boats were taken into account.

By the 3rd race the wind had picked up a little more – now 8 and sometimes just over 10.  Where I could find pressure and make the boat go in light air – pretty much everyone could make the boat go in this wind and it would be a lot harder with the fleet clumped up a lot more around the course.  I had a good start, but got pinned to the left side and missed some shifts coming back the other way.  I was probably in the low 30s around the first mark.  Downwind I stayed in the middle of the course and was playing the shifts better to keep the boat moving fast towards the mark.  I picked off a few boats.  On the 2nd upwind I played the shifts and tried to keep my air clear and picked up some more places.  On the final run I gained a few and lost a few – again playing the middle of the course.  I finished 19th.

That put me in 12th overall – which sounds familiar as that’s how I finished the last regatta.  Back onshore we put boats away, cleaned up and there was a nice seafood dinner at the club.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Sunday

There would be no wind on Sunday and after postponing onshore for a little over an hour the days racing was called off and results were final.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Saturday

It was a light air day at the Florida Masters with temperatures in the mid 70’s and wind out of the south at 5-10.  I did a quick video of the grounds while people were rigging seen here.  I also admired some of the other travel setups including some enclosed trailers and another sprinter van set up as an RV with the boat riding on the (low) roof.

46 standards and 19 radial launched and sailed south to the inlet and out onto the ocean.  There were some large swells at time and when you were at the bottom – there were times you couldn’t see the tops of the sailboats at bottom of the other side of the swell.  The lumpy conditions, wind swinging 50 degrees and the current pushing us down the course made for some challenging racing.

In the first race I had an ok start down by the boat and made my way out to the right side of the course.  I hadn’t quite figured out how to make the boat go in the lumps and found myself midfleet at the top mark.  At the bottom mark we had a course change to shorten the course and this time I banged the left side of the course mostly to get in clear air.  It worked out great and I was 7th at the top mark and I held that to the finish.

In the second race I started mid-line and this time worked my way all the way out to the left.  I caught up to the Radials who started 7 minutes ahead of us and rounded 5th or 6th.  Downwind I played the right side of the course and was 2nd around the right gate and again decided to go out to the left.  With the wind down a little bit and maybe a little more current further from shore on the left – it didn’t pay for me and I dropped 10 spots to the folks who played the right more and finished 12 at the shortened upwind finish.

In the 3rd race I had an atrocious start and had nothing but bad air anywhere I looked upwind.  I think I was ahead of only a few boats at the top mark.  Downwind I played the right side of the course, caught some puffs and passed quite a few boats.  Upwind I played the middle right and passed another 10+ boats.  On the final downwind I passed another boat to finish 20th.

I was happy with my sailing that I was having good speed especially upwind.  I just need to get a little more consistent and work on starting to start out in a good position.  After 3 races I’m in 12th overall and 2nd Apprentice.

A couple general observations – I was sailing with the Mk2 sail and in the light and lumpy conditions I found the looser outhaul gave me better pointing and power through the waves upwind.  Today also highlighted for me how important it was to have clear lanes of wind.  As big as the swells were – they blocked the wind – so it seemed as if only the top of the sail was always in the wind and so it made an even bigger difference without a clear lane of wind.

Following racing I did a quick run down the river front and cleaned up for a nice dinner at the club.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Friday

I’ve arrived in West Palm Beach for my first Laser Masters Regatta.  I finally qualify (35 years old) and I am looking forward to the next 2 days of sailing at Palm Beach Sailing Club followed by a day off and another 2 days of sailing the Masters Midweek Madness regatta at Sarasota Sailing Squadron.

It took about 13 1/2 hours of driving to get here from Richmond having left late yesterday afternoon and spent the night in Manning SC.  Palm Beach Sailing Club is located on the sound just a short sail from an inlet and the racing area will be out on the bay.  They have beach and ramp launching with a small dock and a clubhouse with a big pavillion.  I met up with some familiar NJ and MD friends and also ran into some far-flung sailors I’ve met at various regattas.

Racing starts tomorrow with temperatures in the high 70s and winds 10-14 out of the east.  Can’t wait!

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES

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2016 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

It was the 35th Anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and the regatta is finally old enough to be a competitor.  The color coral commemorates a 35th anniversary and the shirts we designed turned out pretty cool:

Regatta tshirt

The first day saw medium winds just into the double digits with mostly clear skies.  In 5 races we had some close competition up top between Gavin O’Hare and Charlie Brewer who both finished the day tied with 20 points.  Mike Schmidt was close behind in the 41 boat fleet.

Alain and his kitchen crew prepared another fabulous me and a tent city popped up full of sailors.

Sunday started out with no wind and we waited ashore as it began to build about an hour later.  A little lighter than yesterday we ran a little shorter courses and made it through 4 more races.  Charlie and Gavin stayed close and Gavin managed to edge just ahead of Charlie to win the championship.

Thanks to Alain, Rick, Len, Frank and everyone else who helped make this another great Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.  And after 13 years of only being the event chair – I’ll be looking forward to next year where I can both run it and qualify to sail in it!

PICTURES | RESULTS | VIDEO

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2015 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

92 Gavin O'Hare

In October I once again played event chairman for FBYC’s Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship – this the 34th running of this event and there’s only one more year I won’t be old enough to sail in it.   As always we had a great group of sailors number 45 in total.  Saturday was a bit light allowing us to get in one race before the wind shut off and then didn’t settle down.  Dinner by Alain Vincey was fabulous as well.  On Sunday the wind held in better allowing us to do 4 more races.  Congratulations to Mike Hecky winning this one for his first time – well sailed!

207152 Mike Hecky

This years photos were probably the best I’ve ever gotten.  The sun was just right and my boat driver Mike Russom knew just where to put me to get the good angles.

RECAP | RESULTS | PICTURES

168317 Robert Suhay

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2014 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship VIDEO

It’s winter now and what better to be doing than reflecting back on fun fall sailing.  Here’s the video from the 2014 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship at FBYC.

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2014 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

This year’s Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship was probably one of the best yet – good turnout, good weather and great food made for a smooth event.  It was also the year FBYC hosted it as the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship and with it, a few more folks from New England and Kansas.

Ned Rennolds, Jon Deutsch, Mike RussomPhoto by Ned Rennolds

For racing on Saturday we had 7-12 and clear skies.  Ned Rennolds joined Mike Russom and me on the safety boat with his drone and we got some great photos and video of the fleet from overhead during the first and second races.

Photo by Ned Rennolds

For the rest of racing on Saturday I did my usual of floating around and taking pictures and video.  This year we even dress up the committee boat – Mr. Roberts as seen with the red lettering below.

By the end of Saturday we had gotten a good day of 5 races in for the sailors and we called it a day as the wind started getting light and fluky.  We had a few visitors join us for dinner including past fleet captain and chair of this event – David Hazlehurst.  Alain Vincey did another wonderful dinner followed by plenty of Laser stories and a viewing of some of the drone video for today.  Sailors hung out in the club house and later by the fire at their campsite well into the night.

Sunday’s wind was much greater than Saturday and a number of sailors, didn’t go out, took advantage of the rig-swap opportunity, or retired before starting a race.  Fortunately only one sailor needed any assistance and thankfully Mike R was onboard the safety boat and ready to get wet.  Three more races were sailed as the fleet slowly dwindled.  I didn’t get many pictures due to the waves and activities, but I did get some video of some screaming reaches.

DCIM\126GOPRO

Once again it was a very successful regatta.  I really want to thank all of the folks on the race committee, Alain, Brad and all of the FBYC fleet for all of their help putting this event on.  This was my 10th one and I’m looking forward to just a few more years when I can join in!

RESULTS | PICTURES | VIDEO

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2013 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship VIDEO

Here’s the rest of the video from Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship after the wind picked up and the paddle board competition was over.

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