September 14, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Day 5

by Pam
Our day started our looking like this ...

We've been wearing full foul weather gear everyday as we pull away from the docks just because of the wind and cold but today, it was for the rain.  It wasn't as cold and the wind settled into the mid teens with a few gusts in the low 20s but we started out wet.  

We ended the day looking like this ...

We even had some moments of honest to goodness sunshine.  One more day of what has been a tough regatta and it's rock, paper, scissors on what tomorrow's weather will bring.

September 13, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Day 4

by Pam
This is my favorite competitor ... always smiling and always says hello and thank you.
Sitting in the harbor getting ready to head out, our wind meter was steadily climbing into the 20s.  As we motored out of the harbor, it continued to build until we were consistently hitting the 30s.  Sailors were making their way to the race course with minimal tippage but the guys on the boat were wondering aloud if they would start a race in those conditions. 

One of the guys sitting next to me said, 'they say if you can sail in the Irish sea, you can sail anywhere.'  I think he may be right.

After most of the fleet battled their way to the course, the wind died down to the mid teens, the sun came out here and there and the PRO started the sequence almost exactly at noon.  There were a few general recalls but the delays were not too bad and the fleets were off.

My job on the finish boat has ranged from just take some pictures to taking scores with my left hand and snapping random pictures and video with my right.  I only really get to watch the Apprentice and Master fleets go around the course because once they begin finishing, all the fleets seem to come in together.  We've decided the inner loop is shorter than the outer loop.

After the Masters fleet rounded the bottom mark in the first race, I looked back at the start for the Great Grand Masters and they were all gone except for Doug, sitting there all by himself.  Turns out just before the race began, he pulled on the Cunningham and it broke and he couldn't fix it in time and became a spectator.  

Next race, I watched him through binoculars and heard them say on the radio that they got one boat over early and from what I could see it looked like it would be Doug.  Sure enough, at the end of the day, when they posted the scores, he learned that he had just acquired another two throw outs in addition to the two he already had.  And since it appears there is only one throw out for this regatta, this is now a relaxed learning experience and a chance to try various things he's learned recently.  

I'm just thankful I was not watching yesterday when he almost drowned himself, torso dragging through the water, feet still under the hiking strap, not willing to capsize (too cold) but not able to get the boat to come back up.  It gave him a good fright and put all things into perspective.  He is doing his Worlds journal but not sending it out and will eventually publish it.  I don't know if it will be entertaining, enlightening, or kind of sad.  We shall see but like my favorite competitor above, Doug is a happy guy with a wicked sense or humor. 

September 12, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Day 3

by Pam

There were several Laser Master World's regulars who opted out of the Worlds this year believing that Ireland would be a tough venue. They were right.  But I am glad we are here.

Results, news, and pictures are readily available so there is no need for me to try to provide any of that.  

We are learning that Ireland is not for the weak.  From colds going around to capsizes, rescues, abandoned boats, injuries, and ambulances, there is a whole gamut of emotions but I think humility tops the list for most.  Some are thriving but most are surviving.

A photo was posted by the event photographer, David Branigan (Oceansport), which I thought was a fantastic photo of Brett Beyer leading the pack.  As the last boats were finishing on Tuesday and I had not seen Doug cross the line, I began to panic, bouncing around the boat, frantically searching for him.  Then, he appeared from behind the mast, second to last boat on the course, missing his hat.  I waited patiently for him to finish, he turned and gave me the thumbs up, and I my heart started beating again. Then a picture appeared before me that gave me the giggles.  It was the exact opposite of the Brett photo ... see for yourself.

Beyer - still in top form                    Photo by David Branigan
Peckover - maybe too old for this stuff                                  Photo by a relieved wife
I woke up on Tuesday with my first cold in over two years and then got to sit on the deck of the finish line boat, in the rain, taking scores.  Doug and I used our lay day to actually rest.  We did sneak out to see the sun for a bit today and I tried my first Hot Irish Whiskey which I highly recommend for my fellow cold sufferers.  We have a tour booked after the sailing ends so we'll see the sights then.  

September 10, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Day 2

by Pam
Today was windy and cold ... but mostly cold. I feel a bit guilty on the finish boat.  It's a nice sized sailboat but the wind is such that we still swing around on the anchor.  We go out on deck up by the masts to take finishes and I admit my hands are shaking by the time we get down below to check the scores with each other.  But the deck time is just a few minutes and the rest of the time, we are treated to hot tea and coffee, hot soup, pastries, lunch, desserts and candy.  I believe we had scones warming in the oven close to the time of the last finish today.  It is by far the most comfortable finish line boat I have ever been on.   

The Apprentice and Masters fleet ran a couple of races and were back on shore, showered, warm, dry and enjoying some hot pasta while the Grand Masters and Great Grand Masters were still screwing around trying to get the second race off.  The GM's are a misbehaved bunch with multiple black flags and general recalls (5, I believe) that left the poor GGM's sailing around for at least an hour waiting for the second race.  It doesn't make sense that guys over 65 and sailing a full rig are made to wait around and be the last to race and the last off the water.  Waiting for a race to start in cold, wet, and windy conditions is just plain brutal.  

As soon as the GM's started the final race, the GGM's started their sequence about a minute later and caught up to the GM fleet by the finish.  Would it be so terrible if the GM fleet had to go to the back of the queue after a general recall and let the older guys get on with it.  When I got to Doug shortly after he came off the water, he was about as cold as I've ever seen him.  His priorities were warm carbs, hot shower, and a nap.  But, it was the night for the North American get together so he only got two out of three.

And now we sleep and do it all over again tomorrow.

September 09, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Day 1

by Pam
The practice day bought light winds that left some sailors bobbing about on the water and scrambling for a tow in.

Day 1 of racing made the practice day look like the calm before the storm.  As we left the harbor on the finish line boat for the standard course, the wind kicked up and for a moment the wind indicator read 28, then settled into the low 20's as the sailors made their way to the course.  I saw several leave the harbor, sail a little distance toward the start line and then turn around and head back in.  Many on board were already wearing their heavy foul weather gear and there was talk about the upper limits that a Laser could sail and several on board believed that 25 in Ireland would be fairly difficult for a Laser to manage.  

Meanwhile, Brett Beyer went by tuning with a couple of Aussies and all three seemed to be handling the conditions without issue.  As a few gusts came through, some of the Lasers began tipping, including Brett.  At that point, I began to worry about Doug.  But, after what appeared to be a brutal sail to the course start, the wind laid down a bit to a steady 15-20 and the races began.

Apprentice and Masters sailed together in the first start on the outer loop, followed by the Grand Masters sailing the inner loop and finally the Great Grand Masters following on the inner loop.  Just like on the practice day, the timing was such that they all finished about the same time with some of the faster boats in the later starts passing some of the slower boats in the earlier starts.  It was hard to see who was ahead in each fleet except for one.  The first boat around the course, came down the first run with a nice lead.  On the second downwind, he had stretched the lead even further and by the time he hit the bottom reach mark, he was picking up speed and increasing his lead even more as he headed toward the hook to the finish. It was quite impressive to watch. I had recently watched the true story of Secretariat and I swear I could hear the music playing at the end of this clip as this guy came flying toward us.

So who was the racehorse?  One guess ...

Brett Beyer finishing the 1st race with an incredible lead ... second race was almost a carbon copy
He makes it look effortless and he never quits hiking or accelerating until he crosses the line.  The one thing he consistently does is after the last race of the day, he goes right (around the committee boat) and avoids the racing area while virtually everyone else turns left and sails straight into the course of the finishing fleets.  I don't think it is intentional on the part of others, they are just exhausted and want to take the shortest route home to dry land and a hot shower.  However, I always get the feeling that Brett was just getting warmed up and ready to go round again.

As the bulk of the fleet was finishing the last race of the day, even though I could not see the wind indicator, the wind easily kicked up with gusts over 30.  There was flippage and tippage all over the place.  I thought I had my video going on my camera when the 30+ gust came through but it appears when I snapped a photo while recording, I actually turned off the recording.  Oh well ... I think I might get a second chance tomorrow or later this week.

September 08, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Tips and Tricks

by Pam
I ran into a sailor at the opening ceremonies who said he came to our blog to read about any tips and tricks for sailing in the conditions here in Ireland and was disappointed not to find any.  I assured him I would have Doug post what he had learned after arriving early and doing Brett Beyer's pre-regatta clinic.  

The first day of training in here in Ireland, Doug said the conditions were unlike anything he had ever experienced and said it was like being in a washing machine. After doing the clinic with Brett, he said he had learned a tremendous amount and was doing significantly better.  

However, to my disappointment, Doug has refused to share what he has learned.  He said that Brett makes his living by coaching and that he did not feel right about sharing what people have to pay to learn.  I get his point but the whole purpose of our blog was to freely share anything and everything that Doug has learned or figured out on his own.  Not everyone can afford the time or money to arrive early or have coaching and this blog was about sharing information and not hoarding it.  Over the years, I have never once heard someone say that Brett has ever refused to answer a question about how to sail in the local conditions, sail settings, etc.   Personally, I don't think the answering questions or sharing any tips and tricks for a venue takes away from the value of coaching.  What I know that I should do and my ability to actually execute it on the water are two very different things.  It took Doug several days of coaching to make improvements.  I am quite certain that if he were simply told what he needed to change, it would not have produced the same result as coaching.  Only an experienced coach is going to be able to watch you sail and tell you all the little things that you need to work on to see the improvement you want.  So, I strongly disagree with Doug's decision to hold back information.  

After all, the beauty of Brett Beyer is that he can arrive at a venue having had little to no practice, go out for a couple of days at the venue, figure out the conditions, optimal sail settings, as well as various tips and tricks for the venue, then compete, do exceptionally well and at the same time, be able to tell you exactly how he is doing it.  Sharing any of that information will certainly ease some frustrations that sailors are having at the venue but it will not ever replace what real coaching can do for them.  I think Brett knows this which is why he is always so forthcoming with information when asked.  What do you think?

Laser Master Worlds - Practice Day

By Pam
I would estimate that only about half the competitors sailed today.  It was light air, starting out a little warm and then getting colder and wetter.  I am somewhat thrilled at getting on the finish line boat on the standard course (Race Area A). It's a big sailboat, two heads, a cabin to get warm, a Bimini if it rains too hard, and hot tea served before we take finishes. What more could an old gal ask for.  

I don't know if today is going to be the norm for the rest of the week, but all four fleets finished at the same time today.  Dublin Bay (an organization made up of the 4 sailing clubs located on the harbor) was running their weekly races which ended up wedging the West Course (Racing Area A today) between the Dublin Bay racing and the shipping lanes so a shortened course was set.  Perhaps tomorrow, the course will be longer and there might be separation between the fleets, but I got the impression the RC was expecting all fleets to finish at the same time.  Should be interesting.

Here are a couple of tips for those sailing.  As you have probably already seen, Chmarine is the sailing supplier on-sight but if happen to need something they do not have, there is a huge marine supply store about a five minute walk up the street. 
As always, spare parts and clothing for sale onsite.

For a wider selection, Viking Marine is just up the street. They have an outstanding selection.

And if you need help, Erin from Perth, Australia will be happy to help but she only works weekends.
Are you confused about Racing Area A/B vs. East/West course?  A/B is independent of East/West with A/B being constant and East/West being variable.  Radials will always be on Racing Area A with yellow cylinders and Standards will always be on Racing Area B with black cylinders.  Whether A or B is the East or West racing area changes daily so consult the notice board each day before you hit the water.

Probably goes without saying but stick to your assigned launch ramp location or you will not be able to sign out or in. 

September 07, 2018

Laser Master Worlds - Caption Contest #1

Instructions: exit the club and drive around the to boat storage area.
Laser Legend: I see a faster way.

September 02, 2018

Welcome to Ireland

By Doug
After my brother’s fantasticwin last week, the pressure is on me to do well at this year’s Laser Master Worlds. I arrived in Dublin and had breakfast with my old buddy, Chris Henkel, who is competing in his first Worlds. There are few things as much fun as meeting friends from different parts of the world to share stories and, of course, compete.

I’m staying with Victor and his family for a few days until Pam arrives and then after the racing we’ll do a little touring. One famous stop is of course kissing the BlarneyStone which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence. You’ll see that Victor has clearly kissed the stone when he answered my simple question about what Pam and I should look forward to.

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