Tacking Battles with the Lasersabre

Today I was expecting moderate wind just over 10 knots. So I woke up in the morning and it seemed there was no wind. When I arrived at the Harp, it looked more windy and the it was picking up. I started rigging and I could see more and more Laser sailors getting ready. Zoe was even there, a girl we met at the Dinghy show last week, and Pete helped her rig a club Laser. Today I would try my new tiller extension, the Lasersabre. It’s just an aluminium tube 25mm (1″) diameter and 1250mm (49″) long with 1.6mm (16 grade) thick wall. This makes it slightly heavy, but it’s strong and it doesn’t flex at all. I glued a rubber universal joint at one end, covered it with self amalgamating tape and put a rubber cap at the other end and it’s ready. Last Sunday I replaced the gudgeons on Bubble so the whole steering is stiff and the boat is very responsive.

I went out for the first race and the wind was quite strong. I didn’t have a great start but it was OK. I had Liam in my sights because he was in front of me. Soon I found myself battling with someone who doesn’t race Lasers very often but he is good. Well as good as I am I would say, because we were very close to each other. I was better upwind and he was better downwind. We were racing each other all the time. Eventually I finished 10th in front of him.

We went in for the break and when we came out it was even more windy. I had an appalling start and I was really pissed off about it. I managed to leave it behind though and focused on the race. Once again Liam was in my sights but he was slipping away downwind. Upwind he wasn’t bad either. I capsized couple of times, once it was to windward because the wind died on me, so I couldn’t catch him. Once again I found myself battling against Steve. When we started the last leg of the race he was ahead of me. At the second tack, I managed to get ahead and soon I had him covered. There was a bit of a tacking battle, but I wasn’t prepared to let him win. On the last tack I headed straight for the line and finished ahead of him.

I really enjoyed those battles. It made the whole thing so much more enjoyable and it was good for me because I need to work on my tactics and unless I have someone to race against, I don’t have a chance to apply tactics. On this race, there were a few DNFs so I finished 8th out of 16 starters! Later I found out that Brent’s sail got ripped by an RS200 while he was capsized. That’s bad luck. I hope the insurance will replace it with a new one.

Overall, it was a good day. We had 16 Lasers racing, the highest since the last race of the Wednesday series las year! I enjoyed racing and I am pleased with the improvement on Bubble’s steering. I really need to get higher in the fleet, though. The week after next we will have a 2-day training course at the club and I think I will improve a lot. The problem is that everybody else will improve too, from this course, so the results will be more or less the same. Anyway, no sailing next Sunday, because we are visiting Lydia’s sister.