Steve Cockerill from the Racecourse
Another great regatta, organised by Glyn Purnell of the UKLA for those over the age of 35 and still sailing lasers. The event was hosted by Queen Mary Sailing club and attracted some ex Olympians and some legends in the Laser World, some might just call them the old gits. The feel of Masters' Regattas is different to the testosterone challenge of Senior Regattas, but we still enjoy high intensity racing and a good chat afterwards before making our way back to the weekly grind. I know there are many who are counting down the days till their 35th Birthday so they can race with the Masters. I have often wondered why we can't add a junior apprentice division, say from 30-35 so those who might be loosing their mind racing against the super fit top in the sport might be able to join in and enjoy racing against those who sail a desk from Monday to Friday, and then juggle family and kids for the odd weekend of intensive racing.
I opted to sail the Standard Rig as Radial sailing on inland waters at 75Kg is a bit sticky. I used the standard sail and lower mast that came with my boat so was pretty much untested. It was interesting talking to Alan Davis before the start of the racing on Saturday. He was asking what I do with my vang with a standard rig in light winds. He said he always goes block to block and takes up the slack with the vang, we would call that block to block tension. He said that he sails with that all the time in the light airs. My response was; if the top mast is bendy relative to the lower mast - then I would normally use less or no vang, but if the top mast is stiff relative to the lower mast then I am happy to use lots of vang. As I said this I wondered what my rig was like. In reality it was probably the worst combination - the lower mast was super stiff and the top mast was medium stiffness. This meant that if I pulled the sheet anywhere near block to block, the sail inverted and looked pants, so if you were watching - you might have noticed me using far less than block to block tension even when hiking out. Not exactly ideal for sailing in light winds on Saturday, but at least the conditions were my favourite; very shifty with cloud influenced pressure. With flags on the shoreline and windward mark, there was always indications of what was to come - as well as the signposted blacker water where the pressure was touching and moving, telling me which way the wind was about to shift. The art is to position yourself on the outside of the pressure to give you the lift to take you back to the centre of the course. I have heard it called gust hopping. It seamed to work out most of the time. Scoring a 1,2,1,2,1,1. Luckiest race - Race 5. Saw a cloud come over on the right hand side of the course and aimed straight for it. The wind died across the course apart from on the right - where I tacked onto starboard, took a 30 degree shift to the right and took me from 5th to 1st by a long way.
After racing the Standard Laser® this weekend, I am looking forward to the Rooster 8.1
in a couple of weeks. The regatta to be held at London Corinthian Sailing Club
has just got better. There is free beer now as well as a free meal on Saturday evening - all for an entry fee of £25!
Rooster 8.1 Sailing in 28 knots at the Nationals in 2008