Monday, July 20, 2015

Kingston Last Day

Well, all good things must come to and and Kingston did, on a bright sunny day with light breezes.

I had two decent races and, hallelujah, I did not end the regatta in last place - wahoo!  In fact, I had 2 twelfth place finishes today - my best scores.

With the light breezes I was spared a last day of agonising hiking and only had to hike moderately, trying to go between occasional waves.  (Note to self - must be serious about getting in shape.) But, as always, upwind is my weak point.

In the first race an OK start, but about a boat length behind the leaders.  They all went left and I did also - it seemed to pay off. I was about next to last at the top mark and then on the downwind managed to catch one boat and almost another. Held on back up and then had a very good reach, overtaking 2 boats.  Downwind, managed to catch one more and finished ahead of 4 boats.

In the second race, much the same - a pretty good start with a very clear lane. Lost less than usual upwind and had good downwinds.  But, one sailor really made me angry.  Generally in the GGM fleet we don't protest or make too big a deal of rules violations, but this one fellow was toward the back of the fleet with several of us and a couple of us noticed he hit the upwind mark.  Sailing down, I mentioned to him that we saw him hit the mark and jokingly said he owed us a beer.  He just smiled.

Then, as he neared the leeward mark, with a jury boat lurking nearby, he hit that mark also, and apparently assuming the judges could not have missed it, he did a circle.  Good, I thought, at least a little justice was happening.  Then later, on the final reach, I was slightly ahead and to windward of him.  As we approached the last rounding mark, he started to luff me up above the mark and told him "Sail your proper course" several times. He ignored me and kept doing it.  Then, a nearby judge boat whistled him and he had to do 2 spins.  I was very glad they saw it because I was getting really upset at his cavalier, unsportsmanship attitude, especially in our GGM fleet with its gentlemanly atmosphere.

Then, the wind died and we had a slow trip back and then a long wait to turn in the charter boats, but that allowed several pleasant conversations with fellow sailors I had not yet met.

Tomorrow, after some visits to family, back to the humdrum daily routine.  But, this week was a great one and several times out on the water, I felt fully alive and really in the "flow".  That is worth a lot.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kingston Day 6

It was a good day for me - even though it rained a bit.

Three races and no last places - Wahoo!

First race an OK start but then, as usual, losing places on the upwind. I tell myself I am a bit light (around 78 kg) and that is why I suffer upwind. Maybe or perhaps a lack of skills?  At any rate, in every race, I do much better downwind or on reaches.

As I did in this race - dead last around the windward mark but then caught a couple of boats on the downwind and more or less held even going back up. Then, after the reach, caught one more and finished ahead of 3 boats - wahoo.

The second race, nothing to write home about.  Again, an OK start and next to last at the top mark. Finally finished ahead of one boat.

Third race, a better one.  A better start and then went right which paid off.  Was ahead of about 3 boats at the top mark and held onto that.  I was helped by a crash/entanglement between two boats in my group which effectively put them out of the running.  Did well downwind, passing a couple of boats and finished ahead of 3 boats.

Then, after the race, all the GMM Standard fleet was graciously received by Mark Bethwaite on his yacht for cocktails.  (Above, on the left Pam from Improper Course.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kingston Day 4

The predicted gusts of 29 knots thankfully did not materialise, but it was breezy with some gusts around 20 knots and with shifts all over the place.

For me it was frankly a day to forget - my worst yet with 2 last places.

In the first race I had a mediocre start slightly behind a good sailor who immediately started giving me bad air.  I tacked away planning to go to right since the day before I had the bad experience of finding myself on the left about 2/3 up the first beat, only to realise that the Blue fleet that started before us was all rounding the mark and would be blocking me from getting over to the right to round the mark. It was a dense pack and I tacked away, losing places.  So, today, I was conscious not to make that mistake again and also I thought the pressure was better on the right. But it didn't pay off.

The gusts were really tricky - I had a brief dry capsize when one strong one hit on the first beat, but I didn't lose much from it.

I had one incident at the leeward mark with an Aussie sailor.  I had an inside overlap and the Aussie boat outside started to lose control a bit. I yelled for room but he couldn't or wouldn't bear away. I rounded up and just managed to bear away in time to get around the mark.  I didn't bother protesting but the Aussie was clearly in the wrong - he could have at least said sorry.

An American sailor and I were bringing up the rear. He rounded the last windward mark slightly ahead of me but I managed to pass him downwind and kept clear ahead until just before the leeward mark when he managed to go lower and get ahead of me. I congratulated him on a good move and then did a nice rounding, coming up just inches from his transom.  He was struggling a bit with the rounding and I managed to get above him on the reach and pull ahead. Things were looking good as I rounded the last mark slightly ahead. I covered him on one tack and then he tacked just behind me and out-sailed me to the finish - he was hiking better and had a finer touch on the waves.  Oh well.

The second race was really one to forget. A decent start but then things started going awry.  No specific error to point at - just falling behind and feeling a sense of frustration.   Oh well.

Overall I was still feeling frustrated with the waves.  They were especially choppy and close together today.  I tried going through them but they were so close it was hardly worth it.  Afterwards, a couple of fellows told me it was not worth trying to weave through them since they were so close and to simply slog your way through them, moving back a bit in the cockpit if necessary and using your body to push through.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kingston Pilgrimage

Today was a non-racing day and so I performed the pilgrimage to worship before the holy relic on display at the Marine Museum - Laser # 1.

On display is Bruce Kirby's own first Laser which debuted at the 1970 New York Boat Show where 400 were sold.  It is on loan from the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Overall, it looks a lot like today's Laser, although, just as with Tillerman's old Laser, the outhaul is simply a line from the clew to a cleat halfway down the boom and the vang was a fairly rudimentary affair.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kingston Day 2 and 3

Day 2 - boring. No wind. No racing.  The Radials were sent out at the end of the day but returned before any racing.  The standards never got on the water.

Day 3  - Not boring.  We sailed 3 races, one in the rain.  The wind was predicted to be 20+ knots, but it never got that high - probably above 15 at most but then slackening.

Overall I was happy with the day.  I think I am starting to get the feel for working over waves a bit better.  Coming up as I go up the front of them, with a slight easing of the sheet, and at the top a slight bear away with sheeting in.  I could feel the rhythm every once in a while.  I tried torquing but frankly I am not strong enough for it to be very effective.  But sometimes the waves are too close together for anything to work other than slamming through them.

Had some good downwind, catching a couple of boats and a very good reach at the end of the second race, overtaking a boat.

One poor start, one average one and one very nice with a very clear lane, although I was about a boat length behind the leaders on the line. But with the U flag up all the time, better to be prudent.

In the evening, a barbecue at Fort Henry and a show by the drum and bugle corps.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kingston Day One

Opening ceremonies and barbecue last night at the Kingston Yacht Club.  Jeff Martin noted that Kingston is the only venue to have hosted the Laser Worlds twice.

Today, the first day of racing, it was a beautiful day with around 8 to 10 knots of breeze.  Just great to be out on the water.

And sailing in fresh water is really great – nothing to rinse off after and no stinky clothes after a bit.  What a treat.

The organization is very good overall. Yes, there is a queue for launching at the main ramp but it moves relatively smoothly and there are friendly volunteers to help with the trolleys at both the launch and return.  What a treat.

The Race Committee is using the U flag for all starts, but even that didn’t prevent 2 general recalls in the Grand Master start just before our start.  Those youngsters just need to be more disciplined.

In the first race, I had a mediocre start and even though the wind was relatively light, there was a chop that killed me upwind – I still can’t manage waves very well.  But it was lots of fun – there are several of us who battle it out at the back of the fleet and I actually managed to do some good downwind sailing, catching a boat or two.  And at the last turning mark, I had an inside overlap and did a nice rounding – my competitor tried to cut inside me but I closed the door and he hit the mark.  So, at least one decent maneuver.

The second race, I had a better start but fell behind the leaders quickly.  Battled it out at the back of the fleet and did manage to catch one fellow downwind, but he finally got me on the last leg with a better mark rounding.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I know I am at the Laser Masters

I arrived in Kingston and found it to be a lovely little town with an excellent sports facility - but as an ex-Olympic site that is not surprising.

I also knew without a doubt that I had arrived at the Laser MASTERS event.

The area where the boats park is grassy area with a little playground in one part. I parked my boat next to the playground area and there were several children playing in it, including one little boy, perhaps 5 or 6, with his grandmother watching. She was talking to him about his upcoming birthday - on July 19, which is mine also.  So I went over to him and said to him and his grandmother that we had the same birthday, although I was a bit older than him.

He looked at me and said, "yeah, I think you must be 200 years old".

Welcome to the Masters.
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