Sailing for victory | SierraSun.com

Sailing for victory

Caroline McNally
Provided to the Sun

At first, the wind did not look promising as the Lake Tahoe Laser fleet gathered at the Coast Guard Station on Monday for its weekly racing series. Around 5 p.m., 24 Laser and Pico sailors joined each other in the Lake Forest boat ramp parking lot to share stories, play with dogs and kids and get their boats rigged for the night of racing.

As the wind picks up and the power boats leave the lake, the Tahoe Yacht Club sets a course right off Tahoe City for the competitors to challenge each other. While some sailors hesitated to rig, others were on the water early searching for the next line of wind. Luckily, the breeze filled and the races began.

This night of racing included three fleets: ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘Pico.’ The Pico fleet is a group of promising young sailors that has been growing in strength and started the season with eight boats on the line.

With 11 boats cruising around, the ‘A’ fleet started first.

The conditions were such that one side of the line was favored, and offered a better starting position. This made for some heavy competition at the one end. The boats all line up, then try to accelerate when the “go” gun sounds. This requires precise movements and some finesse.

As Dan Hauserman said: “I look over, and Nick (Pullen) is right next to me at five seconds to go. Then I look over after those five seconds, and poof, he’s gone.”

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Most of the boats managed to start on time; the ones that did not were left in the dust. Pullen managed to go on and win the race, however, but not without some heavy competition.

Newcomer Doug Perini showed up to the Coast Guard Station with a determined look in his eyes. He enjoys lighter air sailing, given he’s not 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. Hailing from the East Coast, with family and dogs in tow, Perini managed to pull off three beautiful starts.

He led Pullen around the entire course until the last grueling 100 feet, during which Perini let his guard down for just a moment, allowing Pullen to pounce and take the lead. Perini placed second for the evening to earn the ever-so-coveted “glass.” This was his first, but fleet members are all certain it will not be his last.

The ‘B’ fleet had an amazing turnout.

Fierce competition is arising between Drew McMillan, Zack Thomas and Hayden Hauserman. All three have grown up learning to sail through the Tahoe City Public Utilities District (TCPUD) sailing program, in which they are all currently junior instructors.

Nothing is going to stand in their way to success, including a broken boat. McMillan made the best of a busted boom vang ” a control that helps to properly trim the mainsail ” and sailed on to take third place.

Hayden “Horizon” Hauserman took the night by placing first in all three races. The term “horizon” is given to a sailor who wins by a substantial distance.

Monday marked the first day of the Pico racing. Eight sailors took to the water, and each one was smiling from ear to ear.

Many of these sailors are no strangers to a race course. One in particular, Ryan Conner, dashed out in front with an excellent first start and won the first race.

Overall, Ryan and Nick Thomas of the “Sailing Thomases” are following in the footsteps of older brother Zack (who took second for the evening in the ‘B’ fleet), as they placed second and third, respectively.

As the fleet grows and people gain experience, it creates a highly competitive playing field. To help with this, Pullen volunteered to give a chalk talk at the Yacht Club following the race.

He spoke of finding the favored end of the starting line, as well as rules that play a part at the windward mark. There has been a special request for the next lecture to regard tactics of sailing against one’s spouse.

‘A’ fleet:

1. Nick Pullen (3)

2. Doug Perini (8)

3. Matt Clark (10)

4. Stan Erikson (17)

‘B’ fleet

1. Hayden Hauserman (5)

2. Zack Thomas (7)

3. Drew McMillan (8)

4. Rick Radeizuner (12)

Picos

1. Lucus (5)

2. Ryan Thomas (5)

3. Nick Thomas (8)

4. Ryan Conner (9)