ILCA-NA Laser District 3

This past weekend the New York Yacht Club hosted the North American Laser Master Championships at their swanky facility in Newport, Rhode Island. There were 99 lasers and 38 radials who made the trip to Newport, including 14 keen master sailors from here in District 3. This included 9 sailors from the Water Rats Sailing Club, which was one of the largest teams in attendance. The competition was intense given that sailors attended from as far away as the U.K., Dominican Republic, California and Florida.

We had 3 days of fantastic sunny weather on Narragansett Bay with wind ranging from 4-20 knots. The conditions were challenging, as you had to be focused on the wind priorities (pressure, wind shifts and clear air) but also the impact of the tidal currents. Given that low tide was in the middle of the afternoon, we had several races in which the tide was both ebbing and flooding during the same race. On day 2 a 3 boat-length per minute current easily pushed boats over the start line early, resulting in general recalls, OCS and Z-flag penalties. Those that realized that the RC end of the start line was protected from the current by a nearby island, while the pin end was in full current, stood to benefit by starting at the pin, going left and riding the conveyor belt towards the windward mark.

On day 3, we were sailing in a tight area enclosed by a huge cruise ship (Princess Cruises Love Boat) anchored just beyond the gybe mark, an island at the top of the course and the shore line about 100 yards below the start line. Shifting wind made for difficult conditions for the race committee, but the tide once again made for trying conditions for the sailors. The current was passing directly along the start line from RC boat towards the pin at 4 boat lengths per minute. In the first race the pin end was highly favoured from the wind perspective, but was highly dangerous from the tidal perspective as 4 boat lengths of drift is a long distance in the final minute before the start. The result was considerable carnage at the pin, except for a few sailors who were able to tack quickly onto port and escape the log jam.

All in all, it was a difficult regatta to show consistent results as each day brought highly varied conditions that required a lot of thinking, good luck and good skill.

Congratulations to the following District 3 sailors:
Laser Class: Andy Roy 5th overall, 3rd Grand Master; Ray Davies 6th overall, 1st Apprentice Master. 
Radial Class:  Nigel Heath 4th overall, 2nd Master; Rob Koci 10th overall, 2nd Grand Master;   Richard Roberts 11th overall, 3rd Grand Master. 

Check out all the results and the amusing regatta video at the following link:
http://www.nyyc.org/latest-news-public-blog/1501-lasers-masters-north-american-title-decided-in-final-race

Nigel HeathNigel Heath is an avid Laser and Radial sailor from the Water Rats Sailing Club in Toronto. Nigel is also a member of the Ontario Masters Racing Team.