Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Laser Atlantic Coast; BFD; Black Flag Disqualified

Most sane RC folk would quickly make themselves scarce when the opportunity to run a major Laser regatta comes knocking. To put it bluntly, the anarchic reputation of the Laser class on the starting line is fearsome, enough to cow most RC Primary Race Officers into avoidance.

So how did I jump in; I didn't .... not exactly. Good friend Mike Waters PRO requested I do Vice Chair and I agreed .... we work well together as a team, though it's been some time, as I was off as a member of another sailing club for 20 years and just recently rejoined SSA.

I haven't had to resort to the Black Flag in any of the regattas I've run previously. I certainly considered that using the black flag in the Laser ACC a real possibility, but Mike was willing to go with a regular sequence at the beginning. After three horrendous starts (20 seconds to go .... can anyone see the pin?) the Black flag came out and it was like the regular teacher just came back after a day of the substitute teacher filling in. The fleet behaved wonderfully and we got two races off in a light 5 knots.

Sunday, we again tried to be Mister Nice Guy and run a regular sequence, which the fleet rubbed in our face big time. Black flag came out but with some more breeze, even the Black flag couldn't control the fleet. The problem was the final punch up to the line. The fleet was controlled at 10 seconds; just the one or two clueless competitors who insisted on lollygagging right on the line with a minute to go, but at the final push, the sheet in and accelerate would push about 1/3 of the fleet over. Being a dinghy sailor, I know you've got to stay with those around you; when they go, you go.

So we went into the tedious .... Display the WALL OF SHAME. Out came the white board with the numbers of all those we could identify as being guilty and run another start, with a general recall, with added numbers to the WALL OF SHAME. After three generals, we accumulated 11 numbers. I must say, the competitors, who sailed by to look at the board we're quite jovial about it (say, good fellow, have you seen if I'm on the list to be quillotined today?). The fourth one was a charm (though I must admit, one general we did need to resquare the line and move the leeward start pin as the wind had shifted over this time span

All in all, we did get five good races in. The racers got one drop race. No redress against the RC. Nobody came up and screamed at me in the dinghy park. Good, Very good.

CONFESSION: In the one club Laser race I did last year (borrowed Laser), I got two OCS penalties in four starts. Do as I say, Not as I DO!

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