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2009 Laser Masters NA's Day 2 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 May 2009 02:27

Today brought the conditions that Wrightsville Beach and the Carolina Yacht Club are famous for.  Great thermal sea breeze and nice waves to surf/plane across.

First, however, let me begin with a little lesson in humility.  I have the great opportunity to enjoy apartment accommodations at the CYC during this event.  My roommates are Tracy Usher, Andy Roy, David Hartman, Ron Thompson and another fast guy whose name escapes me, (after 4 big gin and tonics).  I’m the youngest guy in the house.  I’m also the SLOWEST guy in the house.  Yep, I’m the preverbal “pig in the blanket”!  However, it’s a living reminder that you can get better as you get older!

On to the good stuff, in the morning I left the house to hit the local breakfast diner, The Causeway Café for their great, greasy, cheesy, lead in your belly regatta breakfast and coffee that’s guaranteed to get you awake and the internal organs in motion.  After breakfast it was time to hang out on the club deck and watch the surfers catch their AM waves as well as watch the wind patterns and see what the clouds were doing.

As usual we had a 12:00 start scheduled and by 10:00 the sea breeze was beginning to show some life.  Everyone rigged and was hitting the water by 10:30.  The RC was ready to roll and did not mess around throwing the black flag for the first start of the day.  I think the black flag is now the normal starting procedure for masters sailing.  It must be something new……..

Race 1- Breeze was out of the south at about 12, maybe gusting a tad higher.  I made a late and ill fated attempt at a pin end start that was so closed out I was one of 5 boats jibing out looking for a hole to cross the fleet on port, (ah, good luck with that).  Several tacks later I was in clear air and heading in the direction of the weather mark.  My pointing was just horrible.  We had a bit of a confused sea state which was not awful, but I could not hold a lane to save my life!  At the end of the race I figured out that my outhaul was too loose.  I brought in about 3 inches and my pointing ability was regained.

There was a bit of carnage on the course today.  I noticed several boats getting pinned on the weather mark while trying to pinch in, a few capsizes, and some big pin wheels at leeward mark rounding’s with some bumping and grinding.   You now what we say in the south, “Rubbin’ is Racin’”.

So, back to race 1- After the dismal start I worked my way up the weather leg and rounded near the tail end of the fleet.  I felt I had pretty good game on with my downwind work as I caught and surfed a lot of waves.  I used a mixture of “Z steering” and moving my weight fore and aft in the boat along with a big tug on the main sheet to catch waves.  I felt I gained some boats during the DW leg.  The second beat was ok and again I did better DW than on the weather leg.  For a heavier guy in breeze this is a little confusing to me, but oh well.  I ended up deep finishing 53rd.

Race 2- Same course as race 1, and while I had a better start I was still struggling with my speed and quickly got shuffled back and had to tack out to clear my air.  The breeze was coming from the same direction and had increase in velocity a couple of knots.  Once I had made my clearing tacks I settled in and went up the course.  Rounded the weather mark and again made gains DW.  I actually felt that I had come out pretty well after the first DW leg and then on the next upwind leg I fouled a boat in a port starboard situation and had to roll out a 720 in big seas and 15 knots of breeze.  In the end I ended up 46th.  Better than a 53rd.

Race 3- This would be the final race of the day with the breeze up just a tad more.  We never saw anything near 20, but I do feel we had some solid 16 knot gusts.  I tried to limit the damage off the starting line by going for the non-favored end.  This worked pretty well at first until Tracy Usher who had started above me just rolled over the top of me going really fast in the windy, lumpy conditions.  Now that I have the pointing thing figured out I need to get the “fast forward” thing figured out.  This was an Olympic course and we had the big reaching legs after the first weather mark.  Rounding the weather mark with a TON of other boats all at the same time I managed to get into a wave pattern and completely bury my bow up to the boom vang.  Periscope Up!!!!  I jumped to the back of the boat and the bow popped up filling my cockpit to the grab rails with water.  The poor bailer was doing the best it could, but it’s just one small hole.  So there I am on a semi-plane, rolling in adverse waves.  I have the tiller and mainsheet held across my chest with my right hand and I’m leaning down trying to throw water out of the cockpit with my left hand.  All the while trying not to capsize or foul another boat.  I managed to get that mess clear and complete the 2 reaching legs.  During the next weather leg and final DW leg I felt I had made some gains, but on the final upwind leg I went for the wrong end of the finish line and I’m pretty sure I gave up 3 boats by doing this, but it was my best result of the day with a 36th.

The ride in was awesome.  Big surfing conditions through the inlet and we were all tired and ready for the party!

The Party- The CYC and Arland Whitesides pulled out the stops with an open bar and awesome, local, shrimp and crab cakes, (yes crab cakes).  Maryland has nothing on Wrightsville Beach lump meat crab cakes!  Some of us watched the Preakness, (no triple crown this year) while most mingled and caught up before the dinner.  The dinner was buffet style with Mahi- Mahi, salad, some kind of tasty chicken and rice pilaf.  Then came the give aways!  You always have to be present to win, but almost everyone is a winner!  The door prizes were just fantastic.  Even a new class sail was given away!  Followed by an Intensity sail, Intensity gear bag, numerous hats, t-shirts, Zhik hiking straps, sailing gloves, Puma shoes, I’m sure I missed something, but it was great! After dinner everyone retired for the evening to rest up for the final day.

This event has lived up to be everything we have come to know and love from the race management and organizers at the CYC.

I’ll throw out a final report for tomorrow on Monday.  I did not get my hands of final results for today, but I did notice that Scott Young is still winning the event at this point.  



Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 17:45

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