ILCA-NA Laser District 3

Richard Roberts and I arrived in Charleston on May 21 the day before the event was to start. We unpacked the boats had some lunch and went out for a warm-up sail in Charleston bay. Thursday produced the only SW winds of the weekend, blowing at 10-15kts with warm humid air. After several up and downwind tuning exercises in warm wind and waters we headed back in to find Jeff Fullerton had just completed the drive from Toronto and was chilling with an adult beverage in hand. We derigged and joined him.

Windfinder, Windguru and other weather models predicted a light air regatta, so some guys were considering a shift to full rigs, but for Richard and I this debate was non-existent as we had only brought Radial rigs with us. Our game plan was to get as much practice as possible in both light and heavy air in the Radial as we prepare for the Masters World Championships in Kingston in July.

On day one of racing, the wind had shifted to the north and brought in cool air of only 80F!, with a denser, dryer wind. It turned out that the wind was considerably stronger than we had expected and after a fluky first race we sailed the remaining races in a decent 12-18 knot breeze. Day 2 saw much of the same with a decent seabreeze building from the east and Day 3 was essentially the same but with even stronger wind in the 15-20kt range. Being in the Charleston Bay we didn't experience much big wave action, but we faced considerable tidal flows at certain times of the day. We sailed where the two major rivers meet so you could have different current directions on different sides of the course, so it was important to be thinking about the impact of tidal flow prior to rounding each mark. Numerous sailors rounded too closely, only to be pushed straight onto the mark (me included).

Not having sailed much during the past winter months, these three days of solid breeze and good competition was exactly what the doctor ordered with respect to my Worlds training program. My main training focus was boatspeed at the start and holding my lane after the start. I think we made progress and I was happy with my results. Congrats to Peter Seidenberg who won the event and Mike Schmidt who I battled with frequently on the course. You guys are awesome competitors!

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.