Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 Laser Masters Worlds - Day Five

The forecast for shifty tricky northwesterly winds lived up to its billing. The story today was of two winds - 20 degrees left and 20 degrees right. There wasn't an in-between. The pressure was up and down as well, full hiking or sitting in. I handled the 8-12 knots and tricky shifts well and posted a 4th and a 1st in the two races.

Taking off too-warm gear and surveying the course

Both starts today favored a quick tack off the line (20 degrees left). About half way up the first leg the pressure would fade as the wind became unstable. The early leaders who started well (who tacked onto port early) and were now covering the center of the course while the not so good starters were pushed off to either the left or the right sides of the leg. It turned out being in the center was the black hole and one or the other side was going to be hugely favored.

In the first race I was with the two regatta leaders, Scott Ferguson and Arnoud Hummel when the middle started to fade. Scott tacked out early heading left while Arnoud and I continued on the favored tack to the mark. I remember thinking that was the last we were going to see him when the 20 degrees right shift came in. Well… good plan but we lost pressure and were sitting in while the left hand boats were fully hiked! Arnoud and I redeemed ourselves on the second beat while the fleet hit the left hard we went hard right and bingo, we met up with our 20 degrees right wind.

Race two was a carbon copy of race one except it was the right that paid off this time. I was positioned well to go to either side again and remembering what Scott did the first race, I was tempted to tack left when the wind faded. Ultimately I decided to gut it out and head right by letting a group of boats cross in front of me while I sailed the on the header. New pressure and more shift meant I and a few other boats were launched and I went on to an easy victory.

Rounding the leeward mark before the finish

I'm now sitting in 3rd place overall but 11 points back from first. The two leaders are Arnoud and Scott and are separated by only one point.


  1. Thanks for the great job reporting on the races. It must be hard to be both a good reporter and a great sailor. Does writting it up-- the good and the bad -- help your brain get ready for the next race??

  2. Hi Sam,

    It adds a few hours to my day. Sometimes that makes it for late nights. I enjoy writing about the races because I put on my "coaching hat" and it becomes a sort of debrief. I try not to be to clinical and boring (started here, tacked, got headed, etc...) but give more insight into what is happening between the ears, which I think is so fascinating.

    I'm not sure if it helps with preparing for the next day but it can't hurt.

    All the best!