I figured I would send out my Third place write-up once my body had recovered from this Sunday. It’s not quite there, but here we go… Somehow being contorted into all manner of light air sailing positions is about as painful as heavy air.
Sunday was warm and sunny, roughly 50 F, and I’d say we had a blustery 2-4 knots.
There were several naysayers, but my boat was rigged and I was wearing a drysuit so I launched my laser and pushed off the dock. Reaching the racecourse was slow going, but after riding a few airplane exhausts I had arrived. I generally did not notice heavy current as I didnt seem to be drifting against the shoreline, but upwind felt more painful than downwind. (Although, the downwind legs were generally more broad reaches).
Throughout the day, the wind was light and seemed to vary between north, east, and southeast directions. My start of Race 1 felt pretty good, and I was off the line with some of the leaders. Unfortunately, I was tracking to port (west) of the windward mark and as the wind filled in from the east, I had to duck most of the fleet on port as it slowly sailed by in a line like ducks in a row. After rounding the windward mark, the wind continued to be from the east. A cluster of boats sailed high fighting for the windward spot, and I was able to consolidate downwind by sailing more directly to the mark and finished in 5th place after the 1 lap course.
For Race 2, I fought for a boat start to be closer to the wind (still coming from NE to SE). I came off the line with ok speed on starboard and ahead of many boats that were below the line at the start. I noticed some boats (specifically Laura, I think) with tight outhauls and cunninghams to minimize draft and allow the low velocity wind to flow across the sail. I tried tightening my cunningham but ultimately left it largely off after being traumatized by the vertical crease running down the sail. (I’d like to hear what other folks tried for such light air). Laura was ahead of me and slightly to windward, and seemed to be pointing higher than me. Whenever I began sailing to leeward of her, I would tack onto port to avoid her windshadow and move closer to the wind coming from the eastern shore. I believe I rounded ahead, but pretty far behind Steen. With no boats around me, I continued to sail the downwind leg, the second lap, and finished in 2nd place.
For Race 3, I felt that the pin was more to windward, but perhaps it was just a more even start line than prior starts. I attempted to start near the pin, but found myself buried behind boats, shadowed, and with little speed. After the gun, I tacked onto port and passed behind nearly the entire fleet until I reached the RC boat, where I tacked back onto starboard to finally cross the start line. The wind dropped to its lightest in Race 3. As soon as I could clear the RC boat’s anchor line I tacked onto port to again try and chase any light puffs coming from the east. Farley, Steen, Laura, and Logan had a good lead on the fleet and they seemed to be moving forward. I seemed to manage either slight forward momentum or holding position, while the rest of the fleet appeared to be drifting backwards. The upper half of the windward leg John had good speed and achieved overlap and rounded ahead of me. Downwind I was able to pull ahead into 5th place. I dont really recall the second upwind, but I largely held my position. For the second downwind Logan was holding the high lane by going left (east shore), but I consolidated by heading straight to the leeward mark. Logan seemed to have to fight back towards the leeward mark for the rounding. For the final upwind leg and the finish I was able to keep my bow ahead and eventually finished in 4th place.