Monday, 6 August 2018

Laser: 3-2-1

All the gigs done and out of the way, I crawled out of bed a little before noon on Sunday; a quick shower and mug of tea, then made my way down to the Lake.

Two new race series have started. The 1400 is a new format the Club is trying, called the Pro Am series. I use the abbreviations intentionally, as none of us are professionals in this respect, and there are some highly skilled amateurs racing at Frampton. However, the idea is to team up an experienced racer with a newcomer, using the Club's training fleet of double-hander Gulls, to try and pull some fresh blood into the circuit.

The running order is a couple of back to back, short races. The "pro" helms the first once, then hands over to the"am" to helm for the second.

In the end, we had a total of seven Gulls out on the water. I was teamed up with Steve, and predictably made a complete hash of the first beat, rafting up on the windward mark with another Gull. Things improved from there on however, with Steve already having a good feel for the trim of both the hull and sails, and taking quickly and confidently to roll tacking the boat in light air. We finished 3rd overall, middle of the fleet, but happily lapping some of the back markers.

Steve then took the helm and showed me how it was done. A perfectly respectable start, and an incident free windward beat. We held the lead for a good part of the race until we misjudged a shift on one of the beats and Nicola's boat with her young son Charlie at the helm tacked onto the lift and left us in their wake.

Mind you, truth be told, the mother and son team was a bit of a ringer. I reckon Charlie could have a fair chance of beating me with his Optimist on a good day. And his mum certainly beats me regularly when she's sailing her usual British Moth.

It was unexpectedly good fun though, and Steve improved on my 3rd of the first race with a very respectable 2nd.

I'm quite looking forward to next week.

The 1600 spot saw me back in my Laser. It's a "personal handicap" series, again aimed at the newcomers in the fleet. They've taken all our previous results and, using "science" (tongue firmly in cheek) given us each a personal modifier on our boat's handicap. Again, it's intended as a fun intro to some of the newer or less aggressive racers.

This time I was the ringer.

At least half the results they based my handicap modifier on were taken sailing my old Enterprise. I've since moved onto the Laser, of course, which is a much easier boat to race, and my results have reflected that.

However, my personal handicap for Sunday only did so partially. I was given a -3 modifier, alongside Rhonwen, which she felt a little outraged by. That meant we both started a minute and a half later than we ordinarily would. Mike, on the other hand, was penalised on his past results with a -12. A six minute penalty.

Like I said, it's all intended to be in good spirit.

Rhonwen is getting much harder to beat. She had a late start to the season, coming back onto the water about the same time I got the Laser, and for the first few races had a hard time keeping up with me. In fact, on one memorable occasion I almost lapped her.

Either she's finding her stride and getting faster though, or I'm losing mine and slowing down. I'm pretty sure it's the former. She beat me roundly last Wednesday evening, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

With his six minute penalty, we both left Mike for dust before he'd even started. Rhonwen proved very difficult to shake however, taking the lead from me more than once in the fluky, shifty conditions.

I got her though, finally striking my pace and leaving her almost a whole leg behind following a lucky lift on the final lap and taking 1st.

A good start to the series.

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