Gusty, gutsy sailing
A week after the initial Monday Night Racing Series was called off due to a lack of wind, Tahoe Laser Fleet sailors knew they were tempting fate when met at the Lake Forest Boat Ramp with a warning sign that winds were gusting up to 35 knots.
“We’ll go out in these types of winds, and it isn’t always pretty,” said Buff Wendt, one of the “A” Fleet racers. “But you like to at least have one week of sailing under your belt to work out the kinks in your equipment before you hit weather like this.”
Nonetheless, 16 boats left the dock and participated in three races.
In the “A” fleet, the racing was mixed. David Adolphs horizoned the fleet early and never looked back.
“To horizon the fleet is to win the start, be first to the windward mark and just extend your lead,” explained Jim Granger, the “A” Fleet winner on the night. “David has superb speed, especially in the lulls between the gusts. He shifted gears really well and just dominated the first race.”
In the second race Todd Jackson won the pin end on a port tack for a picture-perfect start, rounding the first mark in the lead. However, downwind, Jim Granger worked the gusts and managed to surf by Jackson to beat him to the next mark.
“He passed me downwind and I never was able to hunt him down during the next upwind leg to the finish,” Jackson said. “Jim lives for wind and waves, and his experience and boat handling proved that tonight as he surfed by me in several large gusts.”
The third race had the most crashes of the night, with a huge blast of wind leaving many of the boats upside down and sailors swimming.
Dan Hauserman and Matt Clark were leading when the wind hit. Clark flipped on the jibe and Hauserman was about to flip as he went through a series of wild gyrations as his boat high sided back and forth about five times.
“How Dan stayed upright was beyond me,” Adolphs said.
The majority of the fleet was not so lucky.
“I was completely unaware the lasers could mate,” said “A” Fleet racer Justin Casey, much to the amusement of the fleet. “Rob Loeber and I capsized into each other and spent at least 10 minutes swimming, hoping that we could pull our boats apart.”
Adolphs was also a casualty in that race, capsizing and righting his boat with part of it missing, causing him to retire and miss placing in the standings in what had otherwise been an extremely strong showing.
Ultimately, Hauserman’s ability to keep his boat upright during the gusts allowed him to win the last race of the evening with a good lead on the rest of the fleet.
In “B” Fleet racing, there was an unprecedented four racers, which is substantial so early in the season.
Like Hauserman, Tony Dahlman took first place on the night in the “B” Fleet by managing to stay upright in many of the huge gusts.
“We all were thrown from our boats at some point tonight,” Dahlman said. “I managed to win the last race solely by my determination to hang on somehow and capsize after crossing the finish line.”
In a notable “B” Fleet finish, and new to sailing last year, Mark Oshiro won his first engraved mug from Sunnyside for finishing in the top three.
Jim Granger 6 points
Dan Hauserman 11 points
Todd Jackson 11 points
Buff Wendt 12 points
Matt Clark 12 points
Tony Dahlman 5 points
Brad Tyler 6 points
Mark Oshiro 9 points
Ron Driller 10 points
The spring Monday Night Racing Series will continue through July 9. The summer series starts on July 16 and runs through Aug. 27. To join, call Justin Casey at 386-0553.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.