Tahoe tacking duels
Special to the Sun
Tight racing and exciting finishes off the North Shore of Lake Tahoe highlighted the Monday Night Laser Series as a record 29 sailors combined for some interesting results.
In “A” Fleet action, Nick Pullen and Stan Eriksson were engaged in a hot battle in the moderate and variable winds.
But in the end it was Pullen who pulled off the win in race No. 1, with Eriksson placing second and Dan Hauserman third.
“I was holding a loose cover on Stan when I decided to go to the left side of the course,” Pullen said. “He’s so incredible fast downwind right now, and when the winds filled on his side of the course I lost him.
“It took everything I had along with some luck in the form of increased wind velocity to catch him by the finish.”
Covering people, in sailing terminology, refers to sailing on the same tack, or angle, as another person to ensure that he or she is unable to get a different shift and pass. Racing gets interesting when a sailor is trying to cover two or three boats immediately on his or her tail.
A common strategy for the trailing sailor is to try and split tacks and pull ahead on the opposite tack. A tacking duel is when two close sailors make a series of closely spaced tacks in hopes of gaining ground or keeping a competitor at bay.
In the second race Matt Clark employed the age-old philosophy of never giving up as he, along with Pullen and Jackson, were over early at the start. The penalty for going across the start line is to go back and start again. By the time a competitor weaves through the boats, he or she usually is in last place.
Clark went off to the opposite side of the race course as the leaders and saw large gains as the wind shifted dramatically. This, combined with a great downwind leg, allowed Clark to go from dead last all the way to first. Eriksson had a consistent second-place finish, followed by Jackson in third.
“Back in the parking lot, I was thrilled to find out that my worst race was better than Nick’s, allowing me to beat him for the night,” Clark said. “However, consistency in such fickle wind conditions was crucial, which is where Stan excelled and is the reason why he won the night even though he didn’t win any races.”
Meanwhile, with a record number of 10 “B” Fleet sailors competing, Mark Oshiro was having an amazing night with two first-place finishes.
“Mark was on fire,” said junior sailor Zach Thomas. “None of us could quite catch him, although we were close at times.”
In the first race Thomas himself placed a respectable third place while visiting Bay Area sailor Josh Lindsey came in second. Lindsey also placed second in the next race and Brad Tyler third.
On the Pico race course, as with the other fleets, the racing was very close.
Ryan Conner almost upset Julia Lanza’s winning streak by finishing only two seconds behind her in a 20-minute race. Patrick McElravey finished third in the first race, edging out Ingrid Roske, who took fourth.
In the second race Lanza held on to her top spot again, with Roske making a comeback for second place, followed by Conner and McElravey.
“The kids have all made great progress in their racing skills and it’s exciting to see such close finishes,” said coach Bryce Griffith.
Stan Eriksson 4 pts
Matt Clark 7 pts
Nick Pullen 8 pts
David Adolphs 9 pts
Todd Jackson 10 pts
Mark Oshiro 2 pts
Josh Lindsey 4 pts
Brad Tyler 8 pts
Hayden Hauserman 9 pts
Zach Thomas 10 pts
Julia Lanza 2 pts
Ryan Conner 5 pts
Ingrid Roske 6 pts
Patrick McElravey 8 pts
Correction: The Aug. 1 Monday Night Laser Series article incorrectly identified Pico sailor Patrick McElravey. McElravey placed fourth during that event.
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