Eriksson tops Laser fleet in light winds |

Eriksson tops Laser fleet in light winds

Rick Raduziner sails in the breeze before the start of Monday's Laser races off of Tahoe's north shore.
Courtesy Jerry Harding |


1. Stan Eriksson, 6 pts

2. Nick Pullen, 9 pts

3. Buff Wendt, 9 pts

4. Dan Hauserman, 11 pts

5. Rick Raduziner, 14 pts

6. Todd Jackson, 15 pts

7. Sean O’Toole, 21 pts

8. Kiwi Moore, 24 pts

9. Robbie Gales, 26 pts

The Monday Night Laser racing fleet was pretty excited for a windy night after an exhilarating reach out to the race course.

“Yes, we laser sailors live for a screaming reach where our boats exceed the speed of the waves and start skipping across the tops of them,” said fleet member Kiwi Moore. “It’s a fantastic adrenaline rush and this time of year a bit of a brisk wakeup as the spray blasts your face.”

Alas, for Moore and his fellow competitors, the wind shut off almost completely after the start of the first race.

“We were experimenting with a new course named the ‘Harry Anderson,’” said race officer Stacy Conner. “Named after an icon and famous dinghy sailor in our sport, it is a combination of a triangle and a windward-leeward course and meant to give the racers the best of all worlds by splitting the downwind leg half reaching and half of a straight downwind leg. Of course, it helps to have steady winds.”

The lack of wind did nothing to deter Rick Raduziner, who had spent the weekend, along with Buff Wendt, representing the Tahoe Fleet at the Go for the Gold regatta at Scott’s Flat reservoir.

The lack of wind did nothing to deter Rick Raduziner, who had spent the weekend, along with Buff Wendt, representing the Tahoe Fleet at the Go for the Gold regatta at Scott’s Flat reservoir.

“We saw a lot of conditions like this over the weekend, so I was attuned to seeking out where to go for my next puff and knowing how to make my boat continue to sail in next to no wind,” Raduziner said.

Still, it is extremely hard when the wind comes out of multiple directions and fills from any side of the course to always be on the right side of a shift. Sometimes you can see where the wind is filling but have no means to get over to that side of the course fast enough to maintain a lead.

And that is what happened to Raduziner.

“I call these conditions the hero to zero state,” said Nick Pullen. “You can be so far ahead of the fleet and then the wind will fill from behind you and the entire fleet will pass you taking you from first to last.”

That happened to Raduziner, but he persevered and came back to finish first, with Pullen and Wendt finishing second and third, respectively.

Since the wind was not settling into any direction, Conner switched the second race back to the standard windward-leeward course.

“The wind was wildly gyrating around the race course,” said Stan Eriksson. “I felt like I was doing a hula in my boat trying to figure out which side and point of sail my boat should be on next.”

Eriksson obviously wasn’t that flustered as he won the race.

The finish between Wendt and Dan Hauserman was more interesting, as Wendt thought she had second place sewn up when she tacked for the finish line. Hauserman sailed a couple more boat lengths on port tack to finish immediately against the race committee boat and inch out Wendt.

“I didn’t see that one coming,” Wendt said. “I tacked to give a little room at the favored boat end because I was worried that the race committee boat would create a wind shadow and slow me down, but obviously Dan had enough speed in the light winds to soundly beat me. It just reminded me to never, ever lose cover over Hauserman. He’s just too fast.”

Behind them, Todd Jackson, Pullen and Raduziner had a photo finish as well. When Raduziner asked how the finish went between the three, Jackson with his quick wit made everyone on the course laugh with a “Not well for you” rib.

At this point the wind perked back up a bit so the fleet decided to have a quick race to the windward mark and finish.

Eriksson rounded the mark in first with Pullen and Wendt next. Pullen had a great downwind leg and was gaining heartily on a nervous Eriksson. With the close friends bantering with some pirate talk between the two, Eriksson held onto his lead with a mighty “argh” as a celebration.

The fleet has three buddy boats for anyone who wants to try Laser sailing or is considering joining the races. Those interested may contact Rick Raduziner at 530-308-1628.

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