Picos join Laser party | SierraSun.com

Picos join Laser party

Buff Wendt
Special to the Sun
Jill Casey/Provided to the SunNick Pullen of the "A" Fleet races to a first-place finish during the Monday Night Laser Series on Lake Tahoe.
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Weather cooperated once again and breezes were up, delighting the 24 Laser and Pico sailors racing out of the Tahoe Yacht Club in the Monday Night Laser Series.

The “A” Fleet featured an exciting evening of back-and-forth racing, with sailors swapping spots between the front and back of the pack.

“The winds were really shifty (Monday) night,” said Dan Hauserman of the “A” Fleet. “You would think that you were on the right side of the course and in the next minute be looking like you were in last place.”

Shifts in both direction and speed allow sailors to pass one another, and figuring out where to be on the race course is a life-long learning pursuit.

“It’s like playing chess while physically trying to keep your boat moving at optimum speed and not capsizing or hitting another boat,” said “B” Fleet sailor Brad Tyler.

Ultimately in the “A” Fleet, Stan Erikkson picked off Nick Pullen for first place in the opening race, but Pullen fought back to win the next two races.

“It was interesting racing out there,” Pullen said. “My wife has been racing most nights and we just swapped, so I’ve just gotten back into the boat after a year off.

“I was deep quite a few times, with new faces ahead of me, which is actually really thrilling as it means the level of sailing is improving fleet-wide. It’s anyone’s game out there right now.”

The same was true in the “B” Fleet, in which Brad Tyler took the top spot on the night by ousting Tony Dahlman and Mark Osh from the first-place position they were trading the last several weeks.

“Brad does well in the windier weather, he really held his boat flat and had great speed,” Dahlman said.

New teen racers Zach Thomas, Drew McMillan and Hayden Hauserman also held their own in the wind.

“I think I saw Hayden flip no less than 10 times, but he hung in there and finished,” said Justin Casey of the “A” Fleet. “He’s so young that with this experience, he and his other graduates from the Youth Racing Team will be moving up rapidly. It was not that long ago that it was me flipping 10 times in a race. The key is sticking with it, which they all did.”

Meanwhile, the youth team was out in the breeze in their Pico Lasers and once again they were looking good.

Bryce Griffith has headed up the youth program, which has successfully started feeding youth sailors with solid skills into the local Laser fleet. Sailing instruction is run through the North Lake Park and Recs department and any youth is invited to join.

“Some people view sailing as an elitist sport, but at the local level, it is very reasonable for anyone to become a good sailor,” Griffith said.

“A” Fleet

Nick Pullen 4 points

Matt Clark 8 points

Stan Erikkson 10 points

Dan Hauserman 10 points

Jim Granger 14 points

“B” Fleet

Brad Tyler 3 points

Mark Osh 8 points

Tony Dahlman 9 points

RB 12 points

Zack Thomas 13 points

“C” Pico Fleet

Nicole 2 points

Julia Lanza 4 points

Ryan Conner 6 points

Ingrid Roske 8 points