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.
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.