The 2017 Laser Nationals was held in Lake Tahoe and was hosted by the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club in Tahoe City, CA. It is a place that is known to have very light and shifty wind. The regatta was 4 days long with 2 practice days. The first practice day was very windy, with winds anywhere from 12 to 22 knots. It was the complete opposite of the typical Lake Tahoe conditions that I had been hearing about. The next day was similar with a bit lighter winds at only around maximum 16 knots. After the practice days I felt prepared for a windy regatta.
The first day of the regatta had a lot less wind than the practice days. The first race started with moderate breeze, and then a huge puff rolled down the right. The puff filled the course with wind, and I was luckily in it. I sailed well and passed a few more boats and ended that race in 7th place. The next race I sailed to the right on the first upwind and unfortunately the left was favored. I passed a few boats and ended up in about 24th place. The next race I sailed to the favored side. I sailed a poor reach and downwind and ended up in about 11th place. After that day, I was somewhere around 10th because of everyone having a very inconsistent day.
The second day was very light in the morning and we were even postponed for about two hours. The wind finally shifted around to the correct side and we were able to start a race. It was very late, around 4 o’clock, but the race committee was still determined to start a race. The first race was very rough for me because I had a poor start at the pin and it was very difficult to tack and duck the fleet. I ended that race in 39th and it was my worst race of the regatta. After that I did not feel too optimistic. I started at the pin on the last race of that day and tacked. I rounded the top mark in 6th place. Then I sailed downwind and rounded the right leeward mark, looking downwind. I went left because it had been the favored side the whole day with about 10 other boats. Then a massive righty rolled through and I lost many boats. I finished that race in 21st and was very unhappy. We came in very late around 8 p.m. I learned from that race that it is very important to stay with the fleet when ahead, even if they are sailing to the “unfavored” side.
The third day was even lighter. The race committee luckily gave us an on land postponement so we were able to wait for wind on land instead of on the water. We waited for 3 hours until 5 o’clock and they finally called the racing for that day. It was sad that we did not get any races off but it was good that we didn’t race in light inconsistent conditions. Some of other sailors and I ended the day by floating down the Truckee river in inner tubes until it was almost too dark to see.
The fourth day, much like the third day, was not looking too great. There was no wind and we were postponed for about an hour and a half. Suddenly, 10 knots of breeze rolled down the course and we were able to sail a race before our 5 o’clock cut off. It was about 4 o’clock and we started the first race. I started at the boat because I sailed upwind a few times and the right was very favored. Then suddenly a huge left shift rolled in and the whole fleet tacked. Because of my boat end start I was under the whole fleet and rounded the windward mark in 5th to last place. I passed many boats and ended with a 31st place. It was very unfortunate for me to have such a bad race on the last race of the regatta.
Overall it was an interesting regatta and I want to thank the SDYC competition fund for helping me sail for the first time in a lake and in Laser Nationals.