After a 1.5 hour long sail out to the race course then waiting another hour or so for the wind to fill, the race committee banged off two races to kick off the Laser Master World Championship.
My age division (the Masters, 45-54 yrs in age) is the largest, with around 82 boats. They have split the fleet in two and are having qualifying races for the first three days of the event. Each day the fleet gets split a different way so folks get to sail against everyone. My group today consisted of two former World Champions plus a number of other fine sailors. Arguably, it was the more competitive of the two Master fleets.
In the first race I had a decent start but got pushed out to the right against plan. It worked out though as I tacked back early to stay in touch with the fleet, and with good speed I rounded the first mark in 6th or so and worked up to 4th at the finish.
In the second race I won the right hand side of the start line and halfway up the beat was looking great to the right side of the fleet. A fast Aussie came out of the left side and crossed about a boatlength in front of me--I thought he was in phase with the windshifts and tacked over to the right side with him. It turned out to be the wrong move as the boats to the left sailed into more breeze on that side. Frustratingly, I ran out of energy about 3/4 up that leg and just couldn't put the bow down and sail fast, but rounded the first mark in halfway-decent shape but in lots of company. I tried sailing low on the first reaching leg and lost a bit of distance on the leaders but caught the guy immediately in front of me. On the run I didn't get far enough away from the boats in front of me and was stuck in their wakes, slowing me down. The next upwind leg was tough as I was really running out of steam, but I am proud of the fact that, even though I was slow, I kept my thinking cap on and exploited a little shift on the right near the next mark and caught back a few boats! Gained a bit of distance on the next downwind, a bit more on the reach, and had a good leeward mark rounding and caught a few more boats on the beat to the finish. Still, I don't think I placed better than 12th or so.
So, 4th and 12th or so--not bad finishes, but not stellar either. The back is a bit stiff but otherwise good, my legs feel good and used. Tonight I totally pigged out to fill up the energy tanks, and plan to eat even more tomorrow before heading out.
Hope you all had a great weekend!
correction: revised results show I was 5th in the first race and 6th in the second, so I am standing in 11th at this early stage. Results: http://can09.laserinternational.org/index.php/component/content/article/15-content/80