November 07, 2011

WURSTFEST REGATTA - Laser/Sunfish Final Circuit Stops

by Pam
The infamous Fred with Doug

Wurstfest Regatta is an event everyone should experience at least once (or as often as possible). Lake Canyon Yacht Club puts on two sensational Wurstfest regattas each year. The first is for centerboard boats and the second is for keel boats.

This regatta is usually the last stop of many sailing circuits and this weekend wrapped up the Sunfish and Laser circuit season.

There were 86 boats in several fleets competing this weekend. The Sunfish had the biggest fleet with the Flying Scots a close second. The Lasers actually had a fleet this year which was welcome news for Doug.  

Doug was sailing a Laser and took first place.

Doug had to leave early and left the infamous Fred Schroth to accept his award for him and say his thank yous. Fred, as many know, is quite the colorful character. He assured Doug he's given Scott Young's acceptance speech many times for Scott and had it covered. He demonstrated by pulling out a sheet of paper and reading from it 'you guys are a bunch of hacks and it's no fun sailing with you anymore ... goodbye.' One can only imagine what endearing words he spoke on Doug's behalf.

October 09, 2011

Laser District 15 - NTX Circuit Results

by Pam
Doug crossing the finish line

The local Laser fleet proudly proclaims that one of their own is the best Laser sailor in North Texas. But is he?

Doug hasn't sailed against the local Laser fleet in the past several years and recently decided to join the fleet. His application was declined stating that he wasn't good for the fleet. Perplexed, he decided to sail in their newly created "North Texas" circuit this weekend at DinghyFest and it all became very clear.

Doug turns 61 next month and although an accomplished sailor, he hasn't done much recent lake sailing on a Laser and he is only a week into his training program for the Worlds. He is underweight, out of shape, his timing is all off and he is just generally rusty. Saturday started with an almost guarantee of 20+ winds all day so he was a bit apprehensive. By the end of the day the 60 year old man wearing a t-shirt with the big blue Butterfly on his chest was completely devastated. He would have worn his hat cam but he didn't have a zoom lens that would have even picked up his nearest competition.

In his worst race, he finished about a minute and fifteen seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. He didn't get to try out any carving going downwind or any special go fast tricks or anything even remotely challenging tactically. Sailors that once offered a glimpse of competition had become depressingly slow and uncompetitive. The PRO later said everyone on the committee was asking why there was such a separation in Doug and the rest of the Lasers. Clearly, the fleet's focus hasn't been on competitive sailing the last few years. 

Predictably, Doug showed up to sail on Sunday and was the only Laser sailor that came back. He was left to apologize to the race organizers for their apparent lack of interest.

Except for Wurstfest, this is the end of Laser regatta season so Doug is looking forward to some good Butterfly competition before he begins his training program for the Laser Master Worlds.

October 02, 2011

Laser District 15 - 6th Circuit (FWBC)

by Pam
Only 4 boats showed up to this circuit stop. Doug won it.

Wurstfest will be the last circuit stop for the District 15 Laser Fleet. The District 15 circuit consists of 7 regattas and to qualify for the circuit 4 events must be attended. Out of the 51 boats that have competed in Laser regattas this year none have sailed in enough events to qualify to win the circuit. That isn't entirely true ... 2 sailors attempted to sail in 4 events but the attendance at the Spring DinghyFest was so low that they were forced to sail Portsmouth and the event did not count toward the circuit. Last year so few Lasers signed up for Wurstfest that all of them chose to bail and sail in the 38 boat Sunfish fleet instead. In all probability, the same will happen again this year. This is not good news for District 15.

May 15, 2011

Laser District 15 - 2nd Circuit (RCYC)

by Pam
The results from the regatta still aren't up but it's easy enough to summarize. There weren't enough Lasers to make a fleet and they sailed Portsmouth. Very sad to see the apparent loss of interest from the local sailors. The winner was a fellow by the name of James who traveled from Houston.

April 24, 2011

Laser District 15 - 1st Circuit (AYC)

by Pam

First, second and third place went to Scott Young, Eric Faust and Doug Peckover. All former National Butterfly Champions. Hmmm.

It was one heck of a windy weekend. The Easter Laser Regatta is THE must attend Laser event in Texas and yet Saturday morning brought a relatively low turnout with the predicted mega winds. I registered in support of Fred Schroth, who puts on a fantastic event, but detoured to an RC boat on the way to rigging. Before the weekend was over, equipment failures and common sense thinned the fleets to only the most determined and tenacious sailors. I’m relatively certain that no sailor that hit the race course managed to stay upright all day and for the lightweights and inexperienced, getting to and from the race course was no small feat.

The radial and 4.7 fleets were impressive. At one point Doug was having trouble keeping the boat down and actually got rolled by a 4.7. How embarrassing.

The courses were long but surprisingly quick so they got in 7 races in the full rigs and 9 in the radials and 4.7s. The PRO was starting races left and right so it was hard to keep track. Scott won 6 races and Doug won 1.

My viewing pleasure was limited to the starts and leeward mark and the occasional gybe mark so I missed a lot of action but I saw alot too and took videos. My camera work got a little better over the weekend but even the early stuff provides a glimpse of the action.

Now, I saw something I’m relatively certain is rare. A high speed wipeout that left Scott in the water for quite a long time. When he finally got back in the boat, he quit and left the race course. Quit! Scott! Well, it was the last race of the day and even with the DNF he was still in first place but I’m not sure he knew it at the time. Meanwhile, Doug had been in the lead with Eric hot on this tail. It seemed there was an unspoken threat that if Doug wanted to win that race, Eric was going to make darn sure he left everything on the race course. Sure enough after Doug’s win, he turned downwind and wiped out and literally didn’t have the strength to get back in the boat. After about 5 minutes in the water, he managed to drag himself onto the boat and I saw him laying face up across the stern for about another 5 minutes.

If anyone wants to negotiate favorable business deals with these guys, just be at the boat ramp when they return from a day like that and they’ll do just about anything if you’ll pull their boat up the ramp and de-rig it.

I learned two things in Austin this weekend. One, they tend to underestimate the wind. Add at least 10 mph to their estimate. Two, if you are asked if you want to drive or set marks, always choose drive. The lake is deep, deep, deep (even when it’s down).
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