Laser Heavy Weather Slalom, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco was held during 3 and 4 August 2011.
Laser Heavy Weather Slalom 2011
It was much more of a heavy weather day today at the Maclaren/Laser Performance Heavy Weather Laser Slalom. I made it to the final six boats before I lost my race by a foot or so at the finish and tied for the fifth spot.
The slalom was sailed in Laser full rigs. The course was an eight buoy course set into an n-shape with four buoys on each side. The sailors start on opposite legs at the bottom of the 'n', tack around each buoy of their upwind leg, cross each other on a reach across the top of the 'n', gybe around every bouy on the downwind leg, round the bottom buoy, tack at every mark upwind, reach across the top, and gybe at every buoy to the finish, finishing only when they have gybed around the bottom mark. One difference to regular rules was that we were allowed to hit the marks. We raced off in a double elimination bracket, meaning if you lost a race in the top bracket, you moved the the 'losers' bracket. In the 'losers' bracket, you were still alive as long as you didn't lose another race. If you did, you were done!
With the winds starting the day's racing around 20kts and building into the mid to high 20's quickly, the racing was very fast and exciting to watch. I started my day with a loss against Scott Ferguson which moved me into the 'loser' bracket.
We had a tight race going and I managed to round the first bottom mark ahead of him, but misjudged my top mark lay line and had to do two quick tacks and ended up losing that race by 1.5 lengths. I was mad at myself for making such a silly mistake, but I wasn't out at that point and had to turn my focus to winning the rest of my matches. My next race went very smoothly as the wind increased and was clocked around 26kts. I won the race quite easily and felt comfortable with the conditions.
The next race got a little squirly for me. I took an early lead after my opponent capsized on the first downwind. I knew that I just had to keep my mast upright and I would move to the next round. On the last downwind, I got caught a little off guard by a big puff and capsized after my gybe. To top it off my centerboard fell out. I wasn't too panicked in the beginning, but then saw my opponent quickly closing the gap. I managed to get my boat upright, my board back in and round the rest of the marks ahead of him to take the win.
I had a quick break to get a drink of water and it was back to racing. I was up against Michael Matan. We had an even upwind, but I edged out on him on the downwind. Up the second beat, I lost a little speed and we hit the reach at the same time. We both pushed as hard as we could on the downwind leg, and crossed the finish line almost bow to bow. Unfortunately, I was a foot or two behind so ended up being eliminated from the game.
Peter Shope was the overall winner of the event after advancing out of the 'losers' bracket and taking down Ben Richardson in two final races. Third place went to Scott Ferguson.
It was a great event and I had so much fun. The full rig was a lot of work in that much breeze, but it it wasn't as bad as what I thought it would be. I wish all of the guys good luck in their world championships next week, and thank Maclaren, Laser Performance, Svendsen Marine, and St. Francis YC for a fantastic and fun event!
Team Maclaren website
We would very much like to thank our Title Sponsor, Maclaren, our Gold Level Sponsors 11th Hour Racing and Laser Performance, and our Bronze Level Sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics(USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.