Thursday, July 2, 2009

Faux Laser Sailor Hits the Course

Susan Pegel had a list of 7 check offs you need to be a real Laser sailor. Since I only can check off #4 (No coaching!), I now hereby assign myself to the other Laser group, the Faux Laser Sailor (Faux being French for false and the French language, always sounding more sophisticated than English, I'll use it.) Anyway, typical of a Faux Laser sailor, I borrowed a Laser for the one day SSA summer series last weekend.

Being the stubborn older cuss I've become, I enjoy a relaxing Saturday breakfast whilst reading the WaPO paper, which puts me definitely behind the curve as far as SSA's racing schedule. I drove into the club to make the last two minutes of the skippers meeting; the harbor start saw me taking the cover off my borrowed Laser. All the newfangled controls on the Laser finds me running to whatever Laser hasn't launched yet to discover how that outhaul blocks snakes over the SS hook. Oldster sailors like me spend more time saddling up the gear; slather on the sun block, sun hat, plenty of water, sun shirt, some knee pads for those troublesome joints, one of those neoprene hiking pants I bought last year.

I was the last to launch by a long shot, but surprise, surprise as I slopped along toward the start area, the Laser fleet was still milling about the start area. There was a remote possibility I could get there but the wind was slowly dropping. Close but no cigar. I was late by about a minute and (although I didn't know it at the time) at the wrong end of the line going to the wrong side. They say beggars can't be choosers! I still had a good race with the back six or seven (including one or two hot shots who guessed wrong on the first beat).

The wind that day was a light NE about 5 knots which at least kept you on the high side. The motorboat chop was, as usual, vicious, particularly on starboard tack. My goal in the SSA Lasers is middle of the fleet which I fulfilled admirably in the next two races. Unfortunately, the second race where I managed to tack into two unintentional lifts on the last beat, went unrecorded. I finished overlapped on the inside with a Byte who was rounding his weather mark (the finish and weather mark were one and the same). I got the double whammy. He obscured me from the finish boat so I got scored a DNC and then he proceeded to excoriate me for getting in his way. Being a Faux Laser sailor, I have no clue who the other Laser skippers were around me at the finish so I couldn't do a countback. Anyway, a Faux Laser sailor shouldn't care about where he finishes (yeah right!). The third and final race, I was able to pick up 2 or three Lasers at the finish when the wind dropped away and went hard right.

Light air was never my forte but in light air you race with anybody and everybody. I rounded the leeward mark in one race with a junior sailing a Radial rig and I spent much of the next two races tied at the hip with a grey Laser sailed by a petite woman who, I discovered back at the dinghy park, was a grandm.... ahem! .... a woman about my age! Great fun!

One of these days I'll write a blog doing that list thingie about "Why I like sailing my Classic Moth more than a Laser". But bottom line, there were more Lasers racing (25) in this SSA summer series than Classic Moths have racing at their nationals. And hey, I didn't have to hike on that flat deck at all that Saturday! .... well maybe some on the way into the club.

Update: Team APS was also sailing Lasers in the SSA summer series and APS blogger Chris Teixeira jots down his thoughts on the day.

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