Club News

Taisei Hatter Laser Racing at Nationals and Youth Champs

By Taisei Hatter | July 26, 2018
Youth Champs Laser Nationals

2018 Youth Championship Reatta
Wrightsville Beach, NC

This year the Youth Champs Regatta was located in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  It was four days with many kinds of boats including the Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, i420, 29ner, Nacra, and windsurfers.  I was sailing Laser Radials, but it was great seeing friends from all of the other fleets as well as mine.  It made it difficult though when we started because of how the Radials needed to wait for the i420s and the Full Rigs to start before us.

While sailing you could see the large beach going further than the eye can see.  The land is very flat since it is on the East Coast and is overall a very beautiful view.  It is very hot there at a normal temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  At first, that might seem not too hot but when it is complemented by the humidity that could get up to 95%, it gets very muggy.  The water temperature is around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which also makes it feel much warmer, especially when sailing.  

When I got there for the practice day I recognized many of the other sailors.  Most were either from Southern California or I had met them at other regattas.  Since I was using provided coaching for that regatta, I had no coach for the practice day.  Eventfully, the practice day was by far the windiest day of the regatta.  It was very risky going out for long in 18 plus knots in the ocean, so my friend Bastien Rasse and I only sailed for around 45 min.  In that short practice I was worried the whole regatta was going to be like that but luckily it was not.  

The first day of the regatta was quite windy with the wind starting out of weird direction then shifting towards the normal sea breeze direction.  As soon as the wind direction changed the wind velocity increased a lot.  It was fairly breezy at around 14-16 knots.  With the wind coming out of that direction it also made the waves very big.  I had a very rough day with most places around 25th or so.  I was not pleased with my performance and thought of ways I could improve for the next few days.  

The second day was very different from the first.  It was much lighter, and the sea breeze had a lot of trouble filling in.  The lighter air helped me a lot, and with that, I was able to move up to 20th.  After the second day, there was a lot of lightning and rain, to the point where we were issued a warning for the third day for possible unsafe sailing conditions. 

When I arrived the third day there was hardly any wind and it was coming out of the completely wrong direction.  We were luckily postponed on land, and most everyone stayed in the shade.  Around 3:00pm the race committee canceled racing for the day.  The rest of the day I had fun swimming in the warm waters of North Carolina and really enjoying the venue.  The final day was also uneventful in that there was no wind.  Up until there was only 20 min for us to start before the cutoff, the race committee was able to start a race in very unstable conditions.  Unfortunately, that was my worst race and my throw-out. 

I learned a lot at Youth Champs 2018 even though I was not able to perform like I had wanted to.

I would like to thank the San Diego Yacht Club Competition Fund for supporting me in being able to go to Youth Champs 2018.

2018 Laser National Championship
Houston Yacht Club

This year's Laser Nationals was hosted at Houston Yacht Club in Houston, Texas.  It is a fairly windy venue, with the wind almost always increasing to at least 12 knots as soon as the sea breeze fills in.  The water was very brown and shallow.  If you stick your hand even one foot underwater you could barely see it.  The flight there was very eventful because of how our plane was canceled at Atlanta airport.  Due to that, we needed to stay a night in Atlanta and missed the practice day.  It was okay though because I was still fresh from sailing in North Carolina for the Youth Champs Regatta. 

The venue was actually even hotter than North Carolina.  The temperature and humidity were usually in the 90s which made it really hard to be outside in general.  When there was no wind and I sailed downwind I was sweating so hard almost my entire body was wet.  

The first day was a fairly normal day for the venue.  It was around 15 knots from the normal direction and very shifty.  It was really hard for me to wrap my head around how the wind in the venue shifted and isolated.  I had a really poor first three races finishing around mid-fleet.  The next day was fairly similar and I was able to do a little better.  One race I was able to win the pin and get third in the race.  That secured me a spot in the Gold division since in this regatta, after the second day, they split up the fleets into Silver and Gold. 

The Third day we started postponed and once the breeze shifted we went sailing right away.  When we were doing lineups it was fairly light because the breeze just filled in, but it quickly became windy due to the windy tendencies of the sea breeze.  I sailed a decent race in Gold, getting around mid-fleet every race. 

The final day’s wind was not looking good.  All forecasts called for the sea breeze to fill in after the last race cutoff.  Unfortunately, just like the forecast, the breeze did not fill in and we did not race the whole day.  Even though I didn't perform the way that I wanted to, I learned a lot about sailing in very shifty conditions. 

I would like to thank the San Diego Yacht Club Competition Fund for supporting me in going to Laser Nationals 2018.