Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 Laser Masters Worlds - Day Four

After two days of canceled racing, we finally got a break from the gale force winds to sail two races in an moderate 8-12 knot shifty, northwesterly wind. Today also marked the end of of the qualifying series for the Master division, which split the sailors into the Gold and Silver fleets. All the standard fleet leaders (Apprentice, Masters and Grand Masters) maintained their respective top spots, but none have more than a 3-point cushion at this point.

I had a very good day posting a 2-5, which jumped me ten places to take over 5th place. The on-course conditions were challenging from two perspectives. The wind pressure was up and down with big leftover chop from the past two stormy days, so maintaining boat speed (and keeping the cockpit from filling up) was a full-time job. There were massive wind shifts that could either make your day or make you wish you could have a do-over.

A quick fast start led to a second place finish in the first race today

Ari Barshi, a sailor from the Dominican Republic who owns and operates the Laser Center in Cabarete, and I were around each other most of the day. In the first race we both had awesome starts and were launched by the first windward mark which turned into a two boat battle for the win (Ari won). The second race saw us together again but this time deep in the fleet, in the high teens, after being on the wrong side of a 20 degree shift at the start. I was able to get a couple of critical boat lengths on him at the leeward gate, rounded inside a tightly bunched pack of boats, and was able to get away unencumbered on the lifted tack. I finished up 5th and he unfortunately found himself in rush hour traffic and posted a 20th. It was just one of those crazy days out there where being in the right place at the right time was a make or break proposition.

Tomorrow the stakes are raised with the top Master competitors all racing together in the Gold fleet, so it should be challenging and fun. The winds are forecast to be more of the same as today but a couple knots lighter. Saturday looks like it could be really light and the final day, Sunday, is predicted to be back to the Southwesterly sea breeze like we had on the first day of the championships.


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