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.
Fishing Bay Yacht Club had a gorgeous day in April to open the season. After a flag raising 7 boats in 3 classes headed out for 10nm race out into the bay and back to shake out the cobwebs and get the season started. Sailing out on Mad Hatter we had 7-10 knots of wind out of the ESE. All of the boats were starting at the same time and even though Nanuq and Sting were technically in the PHRF-A class and we were in the PHRF-B/C class – we saw them as the boats to beat on corrected time.
We got into sequence and the race committee realized there was a mistake in the posted course so we postponed for a moment while they fixed it and went into sequence again. At the start we along with Nanuq, and Schiehallion were over early and all had to go back. This gave Sting a bit of a head start. The fleet could largely lay the first mark and the leg to the second mark was more upwind. We went right and inshore with Sting while Nanuq went left and out in to the bay. When we all came back together Sting was ahead and Nanuq just behind. By the time we got out into the bay the wind was much lighter and were were going just 3-4 knots. At that mark we turned and put up a chute and had a pretty straight shot past the mark we started with and then onto the finish. We wouldn’t have to gibe. Nanuq with the longer waterline and an asymmetrical sail was able to get ahead of us, but wouldn’t make up her time on correction. Wendas who was well behind us on the course would end up correcting over us by around a minute to win the B/C fleet.
I was pit and floater for the day, helping with tactics, monitoring the radio, trimming the guy and moving around to keep weight in the right spot. I also brought a couple cameras with me and got some footage aboard.
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.
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:
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!
Racing was moved into Fishing Bay and even before we got there, boats were already broaching on there way there. After 1 general recall the first race was started. The wind in the bay was blowing 25+ from the NNW so our course took us from Godfrey Bay, across the Piankatank River and around the windward mark on the western end of Fishing Bay.
Sailing upwind in that kind of wind was a real slog. While we had heard from plenty of others how to sail in those conditions, actually doing it was another story and it definitely took us some time to get into a groove with it. The teams that had clearly done it before easily pulled ahead in what was less about who was fast and more about who was upright especially when it came to the downwind.
Being new to this boat in this kind of wind, we took a conservative approach downwind and after watching plenty of boats wipe out, we only put the chute up when we felt the wind was going to hold and not be so gusty. That didn’t last and a few minutes after putting it up we were on our side. In the process of recovering it, one of the panels split and we quickly took it down and hauled it in, not to be used again. [Watch this whole sequence on the video below.]
After two races in those conditions the race committee abandoned further racing for the day, and ultimately for the weekend. The slog home around Stove Point grueling with 5-6 foot waves and 40 knot gusts. We sailed under main alone with waves sometimes crashing over the boat.
While we weren’t competitive in those conditions, we were happy to have had fun this weekend and learned a lot in the process. We’ll definitely be able to be a lot more competitive and comfortable with the conditions when they are up like that in the future. Thanks Steve Q for having me aboard and I enjoyed sailing with Jerry L and Tom F.