Eriksson takes Laser Fleet title | SierraSun.com

Eriksson takes Laser Fleet title

Buff Wendt
Special to the Sun

Jill Casey/Provided to the SunLes Bartlett, who at the age of 71 is the Lake Tahoe Laser Fleet's great-grandmaster, sails in the Monday Night Racing Series on Lake Tahoe. Bartlett placed second on the evening in the 'A' Fleet.

The last Monday night of the summer Laser series displayed ‘A’ Fleet sailor Stan Eriksson’s incredible talents yet again.

Eriksson wrapped up the series with a pair of first-place finishes to compliment winning the summer series and the overall championship title.

“I can’t believe that I won that last race,” Eriksson said. “My start, which is really critical in sailboat racing, was beyond dismal. I was dead last.”

But Eriksson kept his head, didn’t give up and managed against all odds to battle through the fluky winds to beat everyone to the finish line.

The other big upset in ‘A’ Fleet came from Les Bartlett, the fleet’s great-grandmaster sailor who placed second on the night.

Laser sailing, along with being an Olympic event, also has the greatest number of sailors of any one-design boat in the world. Master sailing is quite competitive in the class, and the category of “great-grandmaster” exists for sailors 65 and older.

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“I came up to Tahoe mid-season, so it took a little while to get back into the Laser sailing groove,” the 71-year-old Bartlett said.

Nevertheless, the great-grandmaster ended the Laser season as a force to reckon with.

“He definitely found his pace,” said ‘A’ Fleet sailor Dan Hauserman. “Every time I looked over my shoulder there was Les right next to me.”

There were a few upsets in ‘B’ fleet, as well.

Courtney Taves persevered and ended Kiwi Moore’s long nightly winning streak to take first place on the evening. Moore sailed into second place and took the summer series championship.

Fifteen-year-old Ryan Hackbarth, racing in the ‘B’ Fleet, decided that he needed some more weight, so he tried a new strategy and brought along his younger brother Cory.

“With Cory on the boat, we weighed 200 pounds, which was definitely helpful in the breeze,” Hackbarth said.

The two teamed up well, placing second in the first race and fourth on the evening.

With the Monday Night Racing Series wrapped up, the Tahoe Laser Fleet has one remaining event in September.

“The Stampede ” Kip LaRieu ” Fleet Championships are a long time tradition,” said fleet leader Justin Casey. “It’s a great family event.”

The Laser Fleet will be camping Sept. 8-9 at the Stampede Reservoir group campsites. A clinic for beginning racers will be held on Friday afternoon sometime after 3 p.m. at the boat ramp. The racing will start at noon on Saturday.

Anyone interested in Laser racing is invited to participate or come down and meet the fleet and try out a boat. Contact Casey at jgc@aol.com for further information.

‘A’ fleet

Stan Eriksson 2 points

Les Barlett 5 points

Jim Granger 7 points

Dan Hauserman 9 points

Buff Wendt 10 points

‘B’ fleet

Courtney Taves 3 points

Kiwi Moore 5 points

Chaco Mohler 8 points

Ryan Hackbarth 11 points

Brad Tyler 11 points

‘A’ fleet: 19 boats

1. Stan Eriksson

2. Dan Hauserman

3. Jim Granger

4. Buff Wendt

5. Todd Jackson

‘B’ fleet: 10 boats

1. Kiwi Moore

2. Chaco Mohler

3. Courtney Taves

4. Brad Tyler

5. Ryan Hackbarth