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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