Transitioning from Toppers to Lasers - Event Round Up.
Flown the coupe for the weekend! Sunday 22nd May was my first step away from Toppers outside of my home club, Stokes Bay. The changeable forecast eventually got it right - LIGHT!
After a wait on the beach at Spinnaker for the wind to fill in, we eventually got away. The first beat was one sided and I came off the line OK and went left to where the fading breeze was just hanging on. With a squeeze and pinch I rounded 1st by half a boat length which I stretched down the first run to a good distance. I had to keep an eye open on the last reach though as the chasing pack pulled into a building breeze..... but too little too late... my first open meeting bullet in the bag and in a LASER not my Topper!
After a great lunch provided by the club, race 2 saw a more solid breeze across the race course. I started poorly but my Dad's laser (RAT) showed good pace with it's new second hand sail (thank you Jamie!). I closed the gap on the leaders down the first run, the leaders hit right and I went left in to the pressure and squeezed through to 2nd. All the way down the next beat I exchanged places with a fellow Topper sailor, thankfully leaving him well behind to hold the second!!!
Race 3 I was a little to eager to get going and arrived at the pin end far too early and couldn't get back around to re-start for a while! I wasn't the only one and we had to work to get back in to the race. With a steadier, but very light wind, it was hard work on the shifts and though I closed up to 4th for the final drift in to the line it wasn't a great race... but with a 1st, 2nd and a discard I was looking OK!
The prizes where perhaps not age appropriate for a twelve year old with a bottle of white wine and a glass to put it in and the chocolates going to the standard rig sailors! Sill Anna our neighbor will enjoy the wine as a thank you for looking after Eliza's Guinea Pigs! Back to Toppers for the next few events.
Head to Head @ Hill Head The weekend of the 23rd and 24th was a weekend at Hill Head – the Rooster Southern Area Topper Open followed by the Rooster Southern Area Laser Open.
Rooster Southern Area Topper Open I’ve now only got one event left in my Topper – the Nationals in North Berwick. Then it's Laser Radials for me! With a number of Toppers away at the Rooster Topper Worlds in Ireland I was worried the turn out would be down for Hill Head. I shouldn’t have been, as the quality on the day meant we had some great racing in the building sea breeze with a National Squady, Angus, and returning for the day in his mum’s yellow Topper, James Russ.
With blue skies, a 10 – 15knt wind, rising tide and waves, we were in for a great day on the race track with three back to back short races. The first start gun went after a general re-call whilst I was still waiting for my watch to count down – FAIL! All I saw was Angus heading off closely followed by the pack – I managed to pull up to the back of the leaders but there was too much for me to do with not enough track left on the course – I had my work cut out!
Race two and the wind and waves had built, I’d “borrowed” my sisters watch and set up nicely mid line to trigger pull and GO! A look over my shoulder saw James Russ disappearing in a yellow streak upwind – he really nailed that start! I was away well too though, heading out to sea on a clear lane to the stronger tide, a few wind shifts went my way and by the windward mark I had a small lead over James and Gus. Down the run I pulled away and extended for my win of the day.
Going in to the last race it was looking like a three boat race for 1st – I had a win, as did Gus, and James had two solid results – it was gonna be a case of winner takes all!
We all got away well on the start and I had a small lead by the windward mark. Down wind surfing the waves in the sunshine was epic, but I could feel Gus and James breathing down my neck! I think we all took it in turns leading by the close of the first run and we swapped tacks up the beat. At the windward mark I’d pulled a lead and headed down to the finish. As it stood I was 1st, James 2nd and Gus 3rd. Half way back we were all neck and neck – depending on who was on a wave dictated who was 1st – I defended my inside lane and Russ and Gus pushed high. With great boat speed they got passed me and I missed a set of waves to pull back as they soaked down on and through me - Opps! James rounded 1st followed by Gus and then me – 1st to 3rd in 250 yards!! That’s how the results ended. Fantastic racing, great waves, wind and sunshine – can't really complain when Topper sailing is that good and that fun! Thank you Rooster for the great prizes!
Rooster Southern Area Laser Open. Sunday dawned and a kit swap to my Dads Laser. The weather was a little more cloudy, windier & wavier! James Russ was back in his preferred platform nowadays - his Laser Radial - as was another ex-topper sailor, David Saunders. James was one up on me for the weekend as we went head to head again on the first start. To be fair, all day Sunday the only time I saw him was at the start! At the end of the first beat the pecking order was established. James and David followed by another radial then me – I’m starting well but not yet got this Laser Radial upwind racing in wind & waves sorted – think I need to hike harder and get stronger!
James won the first followed by David. David took revenge to win the second whilst I spent some time examining the bottom of the boat for scratches. James and David where in a race of their own to win the event on the last race – sounds familiar! David led and James tried some awesome corner banging to try and get back at him, but with no joy! I kept my head up & out of the boat and loved the surfing and gusts in 15+knts with loads learnt from the weekend to take to HISC Youth Week and my Laser sailing going forwards. I picked up 1st male outside the top 3 and again some more great Rooster prizes were distributed!
All in all Hill Head put on a great weekends racing in near perfect conditions! Next stop HISC Youth Week (Laser Radial), Chichester Yacht Club Family Week for a couple of days Topper practice before my last Topper event in North Berwick at the Nationals. Good Luck to all Team Rooster sailors this summer at their chosen events!