Now that I am back from the land of milk and honey that is Tillerman's house and back in Massachusetts I guess I should write a post about the weekend. The drive down was fairly uneventful, which is good because it was the first long highway trip for the new trailer and the first long trip with Tillerman's "cutest grandaughter in the world".
OG, I wonder if you will see an increase in hits on LiveSailDie.com after the prominent display of my sticker on the back of the trailer all the way down I-95 from Massachusetts to New Jersey.
We did get pulled over in Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway because apparently trailers are not allowed on that road despite there being no signage to that effect and even though Tillerman has driven it several times with his trailer with no problems.
On Sunday morning, Tillerman and I drove down to Spruce Run for the regatta. It was hot and there was no wind, but I was happy to be at an actual regatta again. As the cast of characters gradually showed up I actually recognized some of them from Tillerman's post. Since sailing in Laser regattas on the Jersey Shore with Tillerman when I was in high school, I have tried to avoid him when he tries to tell me who the hotshots are...I didn't want to be intimidated by knowing that: "that guy won the North Americans a few years ago" or "he is doing an Olympic campaign". It was usually pretty obvious who you didn't want to try to beat off the start line and who would be an easy target. The "Collander Cup" (as it is now known) was nothing like those Jersey Shore regattas. It was more like sailing Sunfish on my old home lake; the guys to watch were the old retirees and the local hotshots who had the local knowledge.
I made sure I was the first boat to launch and commenced drifting out to the start line. I felt really clumsy in the boat and tried to do some roll tacks to get used to the feel of a Laser again. Eventually the rest of the fleet made it out to the line and after some course adjustments the committee started the first race. There was no wind at the start but it filled in at the pin end leaving Tillerman, Local Hotshot and me at the boat end watching the Kid and the rest of the fleet ghosting along. By the windward mark I was buried at mid-fleet with little hope of catching up on the downwind in a drifter. Just as we rounded the leeward mark, a breath of breeze appeared...and the fleet started to make mistakes. My cardinal rule in conditions like this is POINT AT THE MARK, so I just stayed on the lifted tack and gained three boats on the last beat to finish third.
The rest of the morning was more of the same drifting conditions with almost no opportunities to make strategic gains except at the start and at mark roundings. Tillerman was leading the third race at the windward mark in absolutely no breeze when the race committee drove around in their skiff to take a vote on whether to abandon the race. No decision was made though, the wind filled in nicely and Tillerman finished in second. Despite the best wind of the day, the race committee sent us in for lunch; hot dogs courtesy of the Jet 14 fleet.
By the time we had finished lunch the wind had died again, so I headed back out to the course by standing on the bow and rocking the boat with the rudder flipped up. As Tillerman pointed out, I fell off the bow while circling around the committee boat waiting for the rest of the fleet to arrive...I can't wait to see the photo taken by the fleet webmaster. The afternoon conditions were more drifty than the morning but somehow I managed to find myself first at the windward mark twice...Local Hotshot was too good for me though and he beat me in both races. I managed to fall/slide off the boat again while sailing downwind...upon reflection my shiny boardshorts were probably not the best attire for Laser sailing.
I had low expectations for the regatta considering it was my first Laser regatta in 9 years, that I am easily 45 lbs overweight for Laser sailing, and that the conditions were so light but after everything was done I was somehow in 2nd place overall. Not bad...maybe I did learn something from all that college sailing that I managed not to forget since then. I have plans to attend some more competitive regattas this summer as well as my usual Star sailing. Hopefully the rest of the regattas will be as enjoyable as the "Collander Cup".