Monday Night Laser Series: Doug Pierini wins spring season
Special to the Sun
TAHOE CITY and#8212; The Lake Tahoe Laser fleet completed its Spring Series of races Monday in long-awaited medium winds and sunshine.
The Tahoe Yacht Club schedules 14 weeks of races for the lightweight, single-handed Laser sailboat, almost always on Monday nights. The seven-night Summer Series begins Monday, July 13.
Racing is open to anyone who can show up with a Laser sailboat near the Coast Guard station south of Dollar Point by 6 p.m. And there is a B-fleet for anyone new to sailing or to the boat.
The last two weeks saw three nights of sailing as the competitors and race committee made up for two previous nights that were canceled due to thunderstorms and lightning.
The first sunny skies and medium winds of the year greeted 15 A-Fleet boats and five in the B-Fleet June 29. Mistakes were made by all, but the talk of the fleet as they dined at Jake’s on the Lake was Nick Pullen’s mistake of rounding the wrong direction around a leeward and#8220;gateand#8221; buoy in the second race.
As often happens, Pullen was leading and just needed to hold on until the finish, but the leeward gate buoys had been switched after the first race, presumably to accommodate a wind shift. Pullen rounded the big buoy thinking it was still marking the starboard, or right side, of the gate, even though now it represented the port, or left side. Sailors 100 yards behind shouted, and#8220;Wrong way!and#8221; But Pullen did not correctly sail back through to make a proper rounding.
He did prove himself an honorable competitor in the age-old game of yachting when he disqualified himself and announced to Stacy Conner on the Committee Boat that he could not legally finish, thus giving him last place plus one instead of the second or third place finish he might have had if he had properly undone his mistake.
At dinner, much credit was given to Conner for sufficiently confusing the race course so that someone other than Pullen, the former Canadian national champion, could win.
Glassware honoring the top three finishers for the evening went to Matt Clark, Todd Jackson and and#8212; losing the tie-breaker for second and#8212; Dan Hauserman.
The B-fleet also sailed three races with trophy glasses going to Roger Lancaster, Drew McMillan and Hayden Hauserman, each of whom took turns finishing first in one of the races.
June 30, a Tuesday, was selected to make up for having had to cancel twice during the Spring Series.
and#8220;As sailors, we know that Mother Nature is going to keep us from sailing every now and then,and#8221; said Justin Casey, who is in charge of the racing agenda again this year. and#8220;But when she takes two of our precious seven nights away, we always try to have a make-up.and#8221;
Nevertheless, racing almost didn’t happen as the winds were so light that sailors waited nearly an hour before launching. Finally, a dark cloud floated overhead, producing a light northerly that would at least allow everyone to sail out to the committee boat for some kind of a race.
In fact, Conner and her committee boat crew were able to pull off two races for the 11 boats, including three B-fleet sailors. The light and fluky winds resulted in huge wind shifts, but Pullen managed to score two and#8220;bulletsand#8221; (first-place finishes) despite it all. Tony Dahlman and Doug Pierini got second- and third-place glassware at Gar Woods as the sailors genially complained about the lack of wind that had held them back.
B-Fleet stalwarts McMillan, Zach Thomas and Rick Raduziner took home glass trophies, well earned in the light and frustrating breeze.
The final week of the Spring Series again saw sunshine but also the strongest winds of the year, as both A- and B-fleets got in three long and tiring races. There was some chop and a disorganized swell from the southwest as 10- to 20-knot winds hurried the 13-foot-10-inch Lasers up and down the course.
With the stronger winds and 12 A-fleet boats turning out, the series results were hanging in the balance, and the stronger, more experienced sailors all gained. The windward mark was unusually close, penalizing those who started to leeward and got pinned there, unable to tack.
A good time was had by all, however, as Pierini took first for the A-fleet, followed by Danny Pavel and Jim Granger, who barely edged out Dan Hauserman for third place.
In the B-fleet, with three boats, McMillan scored three respectable and#8220;bullets,and#8221; followed by Lancaster and Zach Thomas.
But the competition was fierce, as McMillan was said to be sailing low and shouting and#8220;proper courseand#8221; just after one of the starts. Lancaster was to leeward (downwind with right of way) and didn’t feel he should sail low just because his younger opponent wanted him to.
It was all good at the after-sail party and dinner at Jake’s on the Lake, since McMillan couldn’t quite catch up with Lancaster for the series.
Both the A- and B-fleets looked like yawners for the series going into the final night. Pierini had a lead over Pullen and a big lead over everyone else. Pullen could not be beaten for third, so he joined his wife, Buff, in Chicago for a few days, locking Pierini into an uncontested victory for the seven-week series.
But with Pullen gone, Hauserman sailed almost as fast as Pierini, Pavel and Granger, squeezing into second place for the unofficial series results.
Surprisingly, a three-way tie for fourth subjected Jackson, Dahlman and Casey to the ruthless tie-breaker rules. The rules put Jackson fourth, followed by Dahlman fifth and Casey sixth. And even more surprisingly, there was a three-way tie for eighth, featuring Pavel, Granger and Luke Frederick, respectively, who just barely edged out Kiwi Moore, who had to settle for 11th.
All these good friends plan to wreak vengeance on one another in the Summer Series starting Monday.
The B-fleet final result featured Lancaster eking out a series win over McMillan, followed by Hayden Hauserman, unofficially.
In the youth sailing program, there were two nights of competition in which everybody excelled. All look forward to many more evenings of racing fun this summer.
Final results are to be announced and duly celebrated Monday evening at the Tahoe Yacht Club, after the first races of the summer series.
A-Fleet (18 boats)
Place, Skipper, Score
1. Pierini 33
2. D. Hauserman 55
3. Pullen 62
4. Jackson 78
5. Dahlman 78
6. Casey 78
7. Clark 87
8. Pavel 94
9. Granger 94
10. Frederick 94
11. Moore 97
Spring Series Results B-Fleet (5 boats)
1. Lancaster 19
2. McMillan 20
3. H. Hauserman 41
4. Raduziner 43
5. Z. Thomas 48
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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.