Sunday, March 27, 2011

Online Club Races - Laser Fleet

Well, I have finally got around to it. I have managed to publish some races from our club racing at Albert Park Lake. Late last year a few of the Laser sailors acquired GPS trackers and purchased TackTracker. With a bit of effort we have been managing to get 3 to 5 sailors recording their tracks for the day. We plan to add to our online race data and if you are interested to view our online races click on Albert Sailing Club - Laser Fleet Racing at the Tack Tracker website.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday Racing at Albert Sailing Club

Well I am finally racing at the club again. Over the last 2+ months I have only sailed at Albert Park Lake once, as I was preparing myself for the 2011 Laser Masters Nationals in Port Stephens, by spending more time sailing on Port Phillip Bay. Well to say that I was pleased with my result yesterday is an understatement. I was personally wrapped with the way I sailed, achieving a first. The image above represents the position of boats at my finish, with the last marks of the course A, D, C, G, Finish.

After sailing in open waters for the last 1+ months I found getting back onto the Lake all maneuvers felt easy and I felt fast in my warm up. My start was good, with me rounding the first mark in third, just behind James. The second leg turned out to me to be the defining leg of this race for me. Not only was able to pass James and making 100+ metres on this leg, but I was able to catch and pass Alex getting myself into first place.

Now the of rest of the race was focused on not making any mistakes and making the most of my opportunities. I managed to achieve this on the day by matching the fleet on leg times or beating them, resulting increasing the distance between myself and second from 50 metres at the end of leg 2 to 300+ metres at the finish.

I hope to keep applying the lessons I learnt from my my time at the Laser Masters National over the coming months to my club sailing.

Till next my next update.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Laser Masters Nationals

At the start of the 2010-11 summer sailing session I decided it would be good to do some planning as I wanted to try a few Laser sanctioned regatta’s, subject to family or work commitments taking a precedence. As it panned out I was good to go to my first Laser Masters Nationals in Port Stephens, NSW. I was prepared to travel to this regatta by myself, but I was really pleased to see that Kerry had decided to take the plunge as well to compete in his first National Regatta.

The conditions for the opening day of the Laser Masters Nationals couldn’t have been better. The idyllic bay of Port Stephens greeted the 185 boat fleet with clear blue skies top temperature of 34C and 15-18knots, gusting to 20-23knots. Kerry and I decided to launch about an hour before our start, as we just wanted get out onto the water. It was amazing to see the entire fleet of 185 being launched and then sailing around in close proximity was a real rush.  We had two races for the day, which we both really enjoyed the competition.

Day two was bit different, as the fleet was greeted with an overcast day, but still the temperature was mid to high 20’s. The breeze for the day was southerly at 15-20knots, gusting to 30knots at times during the afternoon. Day two saw three races run, but the day on the water was longer again, as our division got a bit aggressive during the day, with 2 general recalls, which culminated in our division being relegated to the back of the start queue.

Day three was similar to the previous day being overcast and temperature in the mid 20’s. The breeze for the day was lighter than yesterday at 8-18knots. Individuals had the opportunity to make some big gains on the fleet today, as the wind was very shifty. Again three races were held for day.

Day four and the final day of the regatta, only two more races to be sailed. We woke to a very different start to the day. The last three days in Port Stephens we all woke to dead calm mornings and only at around 11 to 11:30 the breeze started to kick in. This morning was different, as it was raining and the wind already blowing in from the South at 15-20knots and gusting to 25-30knots. The final day for me was a good one to finish off, but unfortunately for Kerry is was not the best day for him. Just after the start of the first race Kerry capsized and for some reason was having a lot of difficulty righting the boat. After struggling for a while he decided to retire. Once on shore he found out what the problem was. Somehow the mast retainer had slipped down in-between the mast and the mast step. The result was that his mast could not turn and thus making his boat very difficult to sail.

Congratulation goes to Owen McMahon for winning Laser Radial Apprentice division. It was a well deserved win. As for Kerry and me, we placed 39th & 37th respectively in the Laser Full Rig Masters division. We both were pleased with our result, at our first major regatta.

In summary, I found the regatta was well configured and set-up for a Masters regatta, with time allowed for sailors who brought the young families to spend time with them in an idyllic location and every evening a dinner, cocktail party, or sausage sizzle was provided to allow plenty of time to socialize. I would highly recommend attending a regatta like this one.

The next Laser Masters Nationals is scheduled to be held in May 2012 at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly. Kerry and I are planning to venture out again next year, as both found it to be a great experience on and off the water.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 2 Laser Masters

Second day of Laser Masters in Port Stephens, brought very different conditions to the previous day. Southerly was the fleets challenge with average wind strength of 13-22kts, with gusts reaching 29kts at times during the afternoon.

Today for me as not as good as yesterday, as I was being challenged by the stronger wind for the first race of the day, but generally I was pleased with getting through the day. I was able to improve on my downwind speed, as again yesterday I was always loosing out to the fleet.

In general today we have many restarts, with if memory serves me right I think in the last race of the day for Masters Standard division we had 2 general recalls. The Masters Radial division had a general recall on the second race of the day. I think everyone is getting tighter on the start, which is always fun.

Tomorrow is Day 3 and another 3 races are scheduled. The forecast is indicating that it will be a lighter day and potentially the lightest for the regatta. We will just have to wait and see what Sunday has in store.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 1 Laser Masters

Well the the first day is over and I can say it was a great day for sailing. Temperature 34C and upto 15kts from the NE, gusting to 20-23kts during the afternoon, a bay full of 185 Lasers....

The day started very quietly, will with little to no breeze, but at 11:30 and on time the wind picked up to 10 to 15, from the NE. It steadied, as the boat park commenced getting ready for a good afternoon sail.

For me I launched around an hour before my start, as I just wanted to get sometime on the water. It was amazing to see all 185 Lasers being launched from the shore and sailing around in close proximity. I took a couple of moments to take in the sites of my first Regatta and it was an fantastic site to see. So onto Race 1.

Race 1

As I was sailing in a Full Rig Masters division. I was lucky to be the four start, so in the pre-start I was keenly watching the large fleets already heading upto to the first mark to see if the left or right had any advantages. Good planning, but in our start sequence I got lost in the moment, which resulted in Kerry yelling at me to get a hurry on, as I missed the start by a few boat lengths. So already at the back of the fleet I had my work cut out. I was reasonable pleased with my up wind work for this race, as I was able to catch a few boats, but it was my downwind legs that cost me. As primarily a Lake sailor I still do not feel comfortable downwind using the waves. The result was the boats in front increased the gap and the boats behind caught up. So the result for me was me that I ended up at the tail end of the fleet.

Speaking to Kerry after the race 1. He suggested that I should sit a bit further back in the boat to help surfing down the waves. Lets see if I can put this into practice for the second race.

Race 2

By this time the wind was picking up to 15 and above. I did learn from Race 1. Start was much better. Still not on the front line, but a much better start. Generally I was further up the fleet and I did listen to Kerry, by sitting further back in the boat and I did feel that I did sail downwind a bit better, but I need to keep working on using the waves to my advantage.

So bring on tomorrow and lets see what it brings.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

tis the night before the Laser Masters

Well I have made it to Port Stephens this afternoon. It is great to be here for my first Laser Regatta and seeing so many other Laser sailors around is fantastic. 

I spent the afternoon catching up with Kerry, registering and setting up the my boat for tomorrow. We are expecting N/NE 15/20 kts for the start tomorrow at 13:30. Looking forward to being out on the water with 182 others Lasers. I am thinking it will be busy out on the water.

If anyone is interested in the progress of the regatta can see it at the 2011 Laser Masters National website.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Laser Toestrap Adjustment

I found this youtube video on toestrap adjustment for the Laser from Rooster Sailing. I think I will look at modifying my toestrap to option 2 shown on the video. Watching the video highlighted to me that I would find it very difficult to replicate my toestrap setting on another boat if I needed to do so.