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Masters NA's It's a Wrap! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 03:17

As many of you have heard by now the last day of the 2009 Laser Masters NA’s was cancelled due to a weather front that was forecasted to come through and bring heavy rain, lightning and winds that would blow boats away from shore. It was a very difficult decision to make at 10:30 AM when the sky was sunny and a beautiful breeze was blowing. However, by the time the races would have been in progress the weather turned as forecasted and everyone was happy that the right call had been made.

As usual the Carolina Yacht Club stepped up with a burger roast and once again opened up the bar to serve drinks for everyone. Arland Whitesides and the Carolina Yacht club have set the bar insurmountably high when it comes to the hospitality that was extended to the sailors during this event!

The Laser sailors cannot express their thanks enough to the CYC and the race committee for this event!

The event web site has the final scores and with the exception of the masters handicaps coming into play the positions remained unchanged from Saturday’s results.

3 interesting factoids:

#1- This was the highest attended Masters event outside of Worlds in at least 10 years.

#2- It was widely discussed that this was the most competitive fleet assembled of masters sailors in recent memory.

#3- The PRO told us that there was virtually NO mid line sag during any start. A bit unheard of for a fleet of nearly 100 boats.

With every event there are some good stories that evolve from them. There are a couple that I’d like to share.

Story #1- With 96 boats racing and only 6 chase boats the RC has explained to us during the skippers meeting that an “emergency buoy” would be set for any boats that experienced a breakdown to be tied to until the end of the day as there were not enough chase boats to leave the course to tow folks back on an individual basis. During the start of race 1 on Friday a sailor had his top mast section break. As required, his boat was secured to the buoy and he sat in a chase boat watching race 1 go around the course. He asked the chase boat if they could get him close to the beach so he could swim in, get his spare top section, swim back out and fix his boat. They agreed and looking a bit like some kind of Special Forces military dude he swam up to the beach in his full sailing gear and ran up the beach past the crowd of somewhat confused beach goers. Once he was in the parking lot he was spared the swim back out through the breakers as another boat happened to be at the club dock and they took him back around to the ocean side where he repaired his boat and made the start of race # 2. That is what I call quick thinking.

Story #2- On Sunday morning Tracy Usher put some new Laser parts that are being proposed for 2010 on display including the new sail. It was interesting to watch the interested folks look at the sail, feel it, pull on the Cunningham, outhaul, vang, main sheet, look up the leech and so on. Some comments were pretty good. “Oh, it’s too stiff”. “We won’t be able to control the shape on this material.” “How long will this one last?”. Personally, I liked it and am ready for something new/different where I can get more than 6 regattas out of my $500.00 sail before it starts to feel blown out. The interesting thing to note is from the comments it is clear that while we all share the common interest of the Laser there is no way we will ALL be perfectly happy as at the end of the day we’re still individuals and can be pretty damn persnickety! We also looked at the new blocks being purposed. Personally, I thought they looked a lot better in the pictures. However, if through testing shows they are more durable then I’m all for’em.

With a couple of days of retrospect under my belt I’ve come to some conclusions as it relates to how I approached the regatta, trained for it and ultimately feel about my performance. At first during my drive home on Sunday I was a little depressed with my results as I felt I could have done better, but when I began reviewing my performance and the execution of my game plan I realized I had nearly accomplished all of the goals I had set for myself.

Goal 1 was to be in shape and never let fatigue get in the way of my performance. I accomplished this. Through diet and exercise I had lost nearly 20 pounds since January 1st bringing my regatta weight to under 200 lbs without starving myself and increasing my stamina in the process. Goal accomplished.

Goal 2 was to have my boat and gear 100% ready before the regatta. It sucks to be in the boat lot on race day cutting lines and second guessing your rigging. Having chartered a newer boat and actually sailing it in a regatta prior to the Masters I was 100% good to go with my equipment and comfort level on race day.

Goal 3 was to get a practice day of sailing in at the venue prior to race day. Even though it was late on Thursday I did get out on the water and was able to get a comfort level with the local conditions.

Goal 4 was to establish a regimen at the regatta site and stick with it. Early to raise, get a good breakfast, study the AM conditions, take my time, stretch, relax and rig. I followed that.

Race course goals:

#1- Get a clean start. I managed 2 clean starts out of 6 total and those were my best scores. I completely FUBAR’d 2 starts and those were my worst finishes. 2 starts were mildly sucky and those were my middle finishes.

#2- Sail well downwind. It was rare when I lost a boat downwind. Most of the time I caught a few. I felt I did a great job of staying aggressive on the runs, catching waves and never capsized.

#3- Keep my nose clean and NO OCS. I did foul one boat and did my turns, (that really costs you in a fleet like this). Even though I blew a few starts with every start being a Black Flag start an OCS would have been a disaster.

#4- If I was slow on any point of sail during the race find out why fast and fix it. In the first race on Saturday with breeze I could not point. I looked at the rig settings on those pointing higher and realized my outhaul was too loose. I made the adjustment and kept going.

So the areas I have to work on for improvement are 1st big fleet starts. Get on the line and get off with speed at the gun. 2nd is upwind tactics on the first beat. This was most likely hindered by my bad starts which limit your lane choices and the ability to go where you like, but I still think I could have worked harder on digging out.

So I’m going to work on these things before the next event. Watch out guys I’ll be back!!!!!

In May of 2010 there will be another Masters National level event in the South. This time it is scheduled for May at the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston, SC! This is another fantastic town and host club. Will we see 100 boats????? Stay tuned……………………..

Rob Bowden

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 22:42
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