The Times They Are a-Changing in Laser series
The tide is starting to turn on Lake Tahoe. A Laser fleet once dominated by the power of Pullen Nick Pullen, that is is seeing the talents of other sailors.With the backdrop of the Sierra and the majestic blue of the water, it is no wonder adventure seekers flock to this area. Such is the case with this group of people, who meet every Monday night off the Coast Guard Station for their weekly Laser race series.
This past Monday there were 15 strong, able and experienced sailors competing in the A fleet.The night started with local sailmaker/canvas guy Matt Clark leading the charge. With moderate winds, he was able to shoot off the line and lead the entire race. Clark attributed his success to some personal puffs that he as able to catch while sailing downwind. Stan Eriksson was hot on his trail the entire time.The capricious winds of Lake Tahoe create challenging sailing conditions. Quite often the winds will be more favorable on one side of the course than the other. This is also subject to change from race to race. These conditions were described best by Justin Casey as very interesting, very very interesting. Doug Perini was able to strategize correctly and sailed the right, more favored side to victory. David Adolphs, fresh off the college sailing scene, started leading the pack with Jim Granger biting at his heels. It was Perinis persistence, however, that won out in the end.The third and final race saw lighter winds and a pin end-favored line. This translates to all the boats starting at the opposite end of the committee boat. Two of the fleets top competitors found themselves duking it out yet again. Pullen and Eriksson battled upwind and downwind. Eriksson jibed immediately after rounding the windward mark, which enabled him to sail with clear air downwind. This paid off as he sailed on to win the race as well as the night overall.
The B fleet was well represented on the evening.Going strong with seven boats on the line, the fleet saw changes in lead this week. Nicole DeAngelles, a promising young female sailor, took to the water with fire in her eyes. Sailing consistently all night, she gave the boys a run for their money. However, it was the power of Brad Tyler that took the reins and won the night. He sailed two flawless races to ensure his victory.Fleet members were glad to see Zach Thomas give his father, Mark, a break this time. Mark took second in the last race, which enabled him to beat Zach for the evening.
Two weeks ago Pullen gave a lecture at the Tahoe Yacht Club on finding the favored end of the line. Pico fleet sailor Ryan Conner, who was in attendance, must have been hanging on his every word. On Monday night, Conner was the only Pico sailor to identify the favored end and start there every race. This enabled him to achieve a hat trick. He won all three races. It goes to show that sometimes youth do listen to their elders.The night ended with the fleet gathering at Sunnyside for beverages and awards. There, everyone raised a glass to Tony Dahlman. He is currently unable to participate due to an injured back. He is missed on and off the water, and the fleet wishes him a speedy recovery.
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