Thursday, February 11, 2016

Laser Master Midweek Madness Regatta, Stuart FL - First Day

First day of Laser "Midweek Madness" regatta in Stuart FL. Another day of crazy oscillating winds but I'm definitely getting the hang of them (even if my scorecard doesn't show it).

Race One started in a light Northerly that ended up dying while many boats were on the second-to-last leg of the course. I had a solid Top 10 score, maybe even 7th or 6th, when the breeze shut off completely, then filled-in from behind. Ended up 16th out of 50-something boats. Cest la vie.

Race Two started after a long wait for the breeze to fill-in and settle down. Started well near the pin, rounded first mark in the top 10 and worked my way up. It really paid to foot and hike HARD in the lifts, keeping the boat going fast upwind to the next header before going into pinch point as the header first hit, then flipping over and tacking to cross boats to windward. I lost boatlengths trying to go low on the first reach, but found my downwind mojo to gain on the first run, then defend and extend on the second for a comfortable 2nd place finish.

Race Three was a repeat of Two, but I capsized at the second leeward mark (the wind slacked off *just* as I rolled to boat to gybe, causing the boat to over-roll and that was it). Lost two boats to that, ended up 4th.

In Race Four I had a superb start 5 or 6 boats up from the pin, rolled the boats to leeward and 15 seconds into the race the vang bail on my mast blew up, meaning I had no boom vang or downhaul adjustment in 8-20 knots of wind! Still managed to be in the top 10 at the first mark, didn't lose that much distance on the first reach and run, actually *gained* some distance on the second beat!

I was really amped up trying to keep the boat going in its paralyzed state, approaching the weather mark on port then tacking inside 4 or 5 boats that had overstood on starboard and were planing in in a huge puff. Right after tacking I noticed Star World Champion John McCausland had capsized right onto the windward mark and I now had nowhere to go, plowing into his sail between the mark and his hull. We stayed wadded up like that for awhile, I hit the mark, which got wrapped in my mainsheet. Ended up dragging the mark a nice long ways while trying to extricate the mainsheet, losing tons of boats and distance. At that point I retired.

SO... Despite being well down in the standings without a throwout, I feel quite good overall with how things went. Today looks like a different condition, with a light northerly predicted. Fingers crossed!