Laser racers gearing for new season |

Laser racers gearing for new season

Eighteen laser sailors gazed out at a glassy Lake Tahoe as they sat with half-rigged boats in the Lake Forest boat ramp parking lot. It was to be the opening day of the spring Monday Night Racing Series.

“It’s been really windy all week,” said fleet captain Justin Casey, “and tonight there was nothing on the horizon.”

Convinced that it was only a night for waterskiing, the sailors packed up and headed off to one of the three laser fleet sponsoring restaurants, Jake’s on the Lake, for dinner.

“We sat down for dinner, only to watch the wind fill from the west around 6:30 p.m.,” Matt Clark, one of the laser racers, said. “It was painful. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve decided to go out and hope for wind only to be disappointed, and this time we called the race and the wind filled 30 minutes later.”

In spite of the frustrating wind situation, the 2007 season promises to be a good one for the Tahoe Laser Fleet. There were many new competitors joining the fleet, with more promising to show up once school is out.

The weekly laser races are held off the Lake Forest Boat Ramp at 6 p.m., sharp, every Monday.

There are two fleets, the “A” and “B” fleets, depending on racer experience. The “B” fleet welcomes all new sailors and those who are learning to race. Once a sailor wins a series in the “B” fleet, they are promoted to the “A” fleet. “A” fleet sailors are experienced racers.

Every night after racing the fleet goes out to eat and socialize at one of the sponsor restaurants, which includes Jakes on the Lake, Sunnyside and Garwoods.

“It’s a nice debrief because we’ll talk about the races and various situations and the sailing rules,” said Luke Fredricks, one of the laser racers. “I’ve learned a lot analyzing various situations with some of the more experienced sailors.

“This fleet is great, because I started as a “B” fleet sailor, and with the coaching of fellow sailors advanced into the “A” fleet. We try to learn and bring up our level of sailing so that we can compete at a national as well as a local level.”

On Aug. 25 and 26 the local sailors will try to do just that, as the Tahoe Yacht Club will be hosting the Laser Masters Pacific Coast Championships.

“Master’s sailing is a blast.” said fleet member Buff Wendt. “They handicap based on age, which starts at 35 as an apprentice master.

“Forty-five is a master, 55 a grand master and 65-plus a great grand master,” Wendt continued. “The masters get one point taken off their scores, the grand master gets two points off and so on. We have amazing master, grand master and great grand master local sailors.

“I can’t imagine giving points to the likes of Stan Ericksson, Dan Hauserman, Jim Granger, Justin Casey, Geoff Feige, Rob Lober and Les Bartlett, whom I struggle to beat without a handicap. I think our local sailors will do really well at this event.”

The spring series will officially start on Monday, June 4 and run through July 9. The summer series will start on July 16 and run through Aug. 27. To join the fun and the rest of the new faces, call Justin Casey at 386-0553. Used boats are plentiful and easy to find and this fleet welcomes new sailors.

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