Windy sailing for Laser Fleet
August 8, 2006
Another windy evening on Lake Tahoe greeted the 20 Laser sailors and four Pico sailors who showed up for the Monday Night Racing Series off the Lake Forest Boat Ramp.
“Tonight’s wind was more consistent than last week’s conditions, which was nice for the race committee with respect to setting up the course,” said Stacy Conner, a member of the race committee. “However, it wasn’t any easier for the competitors. I think very few people escaped without capsizing.”
In ‘A’ fleet racing, Jim Granger took first place overall with two top finishes. However, even he was not immune to capsizing and suffered a multiple capsize before the windward mark in the second race.
“I flipped trying to avoid hitting a fellow competitor,” Granger said. “Then as I righted the boat, a gust hit and flipped my boat back over on top of me.”
While flipping a Laser several times during a race is a common occurrence in windy conditions, it can be a disaster for the racer, as the time lost against other competitors is significant.
Todd Jackson won the race that Granger spent in the water.
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“(Jackson) had a great lead at the first mark, which he extended for the rest of the race,” racer Rob Sproehnle said. “He just horizoned the fleet; there was no catching Todd in that race.”
Sproehnle made a great showing himself for his second night out in the breeze, sailing to second place overall.
“Rob showed that sailing consistently was the key to doing well for the overall score for the night,” said Nick Pullen, who was also on the race committee boat. “He had solid scores in every race, whereas most other people scoring in the top five had at least one race where a capsize or an early start wrecked their overall standing.”
Conner said she was partial to one wreck in particular.
“Our favorite ‘A’ fleet capsize was Luke Fredericks’, who had a giant death roll right in front of the race committee,” she said.
A death roll is when a boat capsizes to windward and on top of the sailor. Always a dramatic capsize, the sailor oftentimes is left swimming after the boat as the sail remains in the air and the boat takes off in the breeze.
The ever modest Fredericks summed up the experience:
“I think the boat was just tired of my poor handling and bucked me off,” he said. “Then it took off quite happily without me. I did, however, eventually catch up to it.”
The ‘B’ fleet had an impressive turnout given the strong winds, though capsizes were equally as common as they were in the ‘A’ fleet.
Limping into dinner, Kiwi Moore relived his close finish with RB Clark.
“I was hiking out by the tips of my toes and I knew that I had a better angle to finish when the wind shifted and I fell in the water,” Moore said. “But my boat was still sailing with just a few feet to cross the finish. I could not climb back into my boat, so I managed to bear off just enough to keep sailing even though the upper half of my body was submerged.”
Moore’s persistence paid off, as he made it across the line just in front of new Laser sailor Clark ” but not without receiving some bruises on his legs.
“It’s a common theme with sailors,” said ‘B’ fleet winner Chaco Mohler. “You never really know at what specific point you actually got the bruises, but it’s always worth the experience.
“We also have great fun rehashing the racing on shore with each other.”
1. Jim Granger 8 pts
2. Rob Sproehnle 10 pts
3. Stan Eriksson 11 pts
4. Todd Jackson 16 pts
5. Justin Casey 16 pts.
1. Chaco Mohler 4 pts
2. Kiwi Moore 5 pts
3. RB Clark 10 pts
4. Jacob Freepons 14 pts
5. Courtney Taves 15 pts
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