September 03, 2012

Austin Centerboard Regatta

by Pam
3 Amigos from SSC - Sebastien, Lindy, James - where's Dave?

This was the 5th circuit stop for Laser District 15.  Unlike the Dallas/Fort Worth area where there are about a dozen sailing clubs to choose from, in Austin there is only one, Austin Yacht Club.  AYC is a racing club and the sailors and racing do not disappoint.  The event was dirt cheap at $25.00 with all extras being al la carte.  The race committee did an excellent job with limited space since the water is way down.  8 to 9 races, three minute start sequences, short start lines, 30 to 40 minute courses and wind between 8 to 15 with shifts up to 90 degrees.  Texas style sailing!

There were about 50+ boats sailing in 4 fleets: Lasers, Flying Juniors, multi-hulls and Portsmouth.  A picture of the Portsmouth start line looked like the Avengers with the odd mixture of boats with their special powers … Moth, Contender, International Canoe, etc.  There were about 14 Lasers sailing and although some of Austin’s better Lasers sailors were on the course, they were sailing with their kids on other boats but the infamous Fred was on the Laser course and in fine form.  A group from Dallas and Houston traveled to the regatta and provided good competition.  It appears the Laser circuit is somewhat rebounding after a few years of dismal attendance when everyone stopped traveling. 

Doug won in the Lasers with 7 firsts and threw out a 3.  Claude from AYC was second and James from SSC was third.  

It's always interesting to me how much Doug learns about his competition while racing. Although he was out front for many races, there were a couple of times when he flubbed the start and was DFL off the start line and had to come through the fleet.  His take on the competition:  The fleet had lots of speed but inexperience with the shifts and as a result the fleet spread out up to seven minutes whereas at the first mark they were all quite close.  Even the diehard sailor at the back of the fleet has speed but needs more experience on where to go.  Few people had consistent finishes which Doug attributes to not catching shifts.  So, even though Scott Young says don’t use a compass on a lake (and he usually beats Doug), Doug attributed doing well this weekend to using a compass, so I’ve asked Doug to explain his odd way of using a compass.  After all, Scott has these super powers and can smell a wind change and Doug is a mere mortal like the rest of us and has to use tools.  


  1. Mike Lindstrom (Lindy)September 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    "Doug a mere mortal"? Please; actually he had little competition and I watched him come from dead last after an over early to win by ten boats lengths. As a new Grand Master; to me, he is an insperation to watch and learn from. I tried every race to stay with him and follow his tacks but by the second beat I was usually out of sync and left to my own devices.

    There were a couple of times however, I tried tactics I heard him talking about (main way in by the lee downwind with the luff trying to jibe) and made ground on him. I was actually faster than "the man" down wind for a couple of minutes or so. I also got an awsome ride on one of the giant power boat waves and caught the lead group just to blow it goin to the finish.

    Thanks Doug, (and James and Sab)I get faster every time I get to sail with you guys. Now if I just knew what a "shift" was...

    1. My fault! If I'd sailed, I would have been on the Aussie boat and he'd be on the 19 year old Kiwi spare parts boat.

      I'm with you on shifts ... they talk like they can actually see the darn things and I've yet to fully grasp the concept.

  2. Thanks for the write up and results Pam.

    Sorry we can't provide much competition but we're getting there! One of the best of Doug's tips I used was making sure I had space to tack off to the right of the course from the start - so that I had options to use the shifts, important when the conditions were like that.

    I thought the shifts were so significant that a compass was unnecessary but maybe when you are waiting for the big shifts you miss the more subtle ones. If a compass is the secret then maybe I need to get mine out of the cupboard again.

    1. You're welcome! Doug bought me a brand new compass a couple of years ago and I've yet to figure out how to use it. He is forcing me to understand his next article before he posts it. After about an hour of studying it, I decided it was indeed a missing piece in my sailing. That and boat handling, weight, patience, etc.


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