Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Laser: on a whim

In case you missed it, Monday was, apparently, the hottest May Day Bank Holiday on record.

There wasn't a lot of wind to go with it, so ordinarily I'd consider that to be rubbish weather for a holiday. However, voice shot and plagued by a hacking cough and accompanying temperature, I was very happy to distract myself by taking the Laser out on to the water for a few hours Monday afternoon despite the rubbish weather.

Although a public holiday for most of us, my wife Nik works in retail, so public holidays don't count for her. She had an 11 to 6 shift so wasn't going to miss me around the house. At least not so long as I (read: Dad) fixed the garden tap.

There was enough of a wind to make for a distracting sail, mostly practising roll tacks and gybes, holding station and then accelerating for the start, all quite different in a Laser compared to the old Enterprise I've grown used to these last half a dozen years.

There is something strangely satisfying, almost poetically so, in the balance of a good roll tack. The feel of the boat tipping over on top of you and then smoothly powering up as you switch to the other deck and roll her flat onto the new tack; the Laser seems almost designed to make the entire movement feel sweet.

You get it in an Enterprise too of course, but in a Laser the manoeuvre and feedback is almost instantaneous by comparison, the acceleration is obvious, and there is no crew to coordinate with, or for that matter, to screw it up for you.

Not that my crew ever did, to be fair. Any issues with Buffy's roll tacking was usually down to the loose nut on the tiller.

There was no racing on, but the Club was still a gentle bubble of activity, with three or four families and their kids and dogs also enjoying the warm sunshine and cool water.

One of the motivations for giving up the Ent, aside from the obvious and previously well documented issues with repairs and maintenance that were building up, was to be able to just drop down the lake on a whim whenever the mood so took me and sail by myself for a few hours.

So Monday afternoon I did exactly that. And it felt good.

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