Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pendragon 6

Film and Editing by Peter

Sunday, August 21, 2011

LMW Practice Day Video

Here is some video from my GoPro HD camera placed on my bow during a practice day sail.. These cameras are amazing little tools for recording lasering sessions for review later. They are easy to use, completely waterproof, small in size, record great sound, super sharp 1080 16:9 video, good battery life and relatively inexpensive ($285). I truely wish the International Laser Class would make them legal to race with but at this time they are not. The footage would of been incredible during this championship. Peter

Monday, August 15, 2011

Photos from the week...

This picture is of me sailing upwind looking surprisingly peaceful in this very confused sea. Photo by Chuck Lantz

panaramic gate shot by me.

GGM start.

Chuck heading for a spill.

Radial reaching.

Conner from MBYC going for a save.

Eugenio rounding the leeward gate.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Last Day of the Championship..

A very busy morning for our whole group (see previous post).. The racing was now the priority and time to finish this event in style. My goal of top twenty was in serious jeopardy with just a few points separating me from a large chase group in the standings. I needed one good race.. two would be even better. Of course San Francisco Bay wasn't going to give me an easy day to accomplish this goal. The wind was the... Windiest! day so far... Not much sleep.. But I was determined to give it my all. Hold back nothing.. race full out. Get aggressive downwind.. leave it all on the race course. Sounds like a plan huh? Well the first race was following the script perfectly till I experienced "pilot ejection" five hundred yards into the first downwind. Not just a simple capsize.. A swim after your boat ejection deathroll.. the worse kind when your needing to score well in a race. By the time I got the boat back up I had lost most of the fleet. I could ony count a few boat behind me. I sailed another lap in what seemed like 30knots to me (they said it was only high twenties). Caught a few boats but on the next downwind I "augured in" (buried the nose) and went down again. This time I hit my head on the centerboard as I dropped head first towards the water. As I rode the boat and got back in I told myself that I need to have a talk with my boat before I get started again. "Please! do not eject me.. and do not hit me on the head!" Once we got that straight.. I was off again in a blaze of whitewater. One thing about sailing in the back, the passing opportunities are more frequent. I shot by a few crashed boats at the gybe mark and pass another two going for the finish. I ended up 33 in race. That would not cut it for my goal of top twenty and I knew I needed to dig deep to reel off a good last race to make my goal. This was the windiest race!!! No exaggeration.. Started in 25-28 knots with gusts to 30. This is laser sailing with 1-3 feet of mainsheet out all the time and wave breaking over the bow on every wave. Well... I start near Laser class President Tracey Usher (210lbs?) and headed for the left corner. It better be the favored side because.. No way am I tacking! My good friend Vann Wilson is to leeward and sheeted out and on his ear. Vann is an amazing sailor and he looks totally overpowered in these conditions. I limp along with the rest of the fleet dreading the first downwind leg ahead. Staying upright in those conditions is almost like trying to win the state lottery. The chances of flipping are high and my track record from the race before wasn't too good. In the end, I had my "Complete Race" and crossed the line in 14th place. I only lost one place to my good friend Mark Bear right at the finish line. We congratulated each other for sailing a good series and for just being able to finish in those conditions. I ended this Laser Master Worlds in 20th place overall.. this was my goal for the regatta.. equally important I gained a massive amount of heavy air and tide sailing experience in these unique conditions I'd really hadn't sailed in before this championship. Most important to me during the last 10 days was renewing many old friendship and making new ones with sailors from around the world. Coming to the San Francisco Bay and testing my skills in truly this world stage for single handed dinghy sailing. I highly recommend those who can.. go to one of these events in any sport. For me, these are the memories that define who I am. The next Laser Maters Worlds are in Brisbane, Australia in March 2012.. Are you going? Peter

A Friend in need..

After a long day of sailing.. I was with a great group of old and new friends eating dinner at the sensational StFYC Grill Room enjoy the exchange of stories of the day. Adjectives like, "augured in", "pearled", "ejected" were just a few of the terms that summed up the day for some of us. Others in the group had a stellar day of top five scores in there respective fleets. Kevin was in 3rd place overall in the tough Standard Apprentice Master fleet (35-44), Chuck was moving up in the equally tough Standard Grand Masters Fleet (55-64). Both these fleet are packed with World and Olympic champions from around the world. Russ was in 4th place overall in my fleet which is arguable the hardest fleet. He is a world class sailor in many different classes and travels all over the globe racing for St. Francis Yacht Club. Our entire group was beyond tried from a long day of high speed planning around the bay but happy about surviving it's challenging conditions. After dinner, we were all heading for the door when we were confronted with some sort of terrible accident that just occurred in the club parking lot. I was walking out a little behind my friends to see two fire trucks and two police cars with all their emergency lights spinning. A small crowd was standing there as they were putting someone into the ambulance. "What happen?" I ask someone in the crowd.. I was horrified and shocked to hear one of my good friends and a sailor from our SoCal group had been hit by a car in the parking lot. I was able to speak to him in the ambulance and told him we would take care of everything at the scene and would meet him at the emergency room. Our whole group went into immediate crisis mode and shifted all our energy to getting our teammate the care he needed. Five of us drove to the San Francisco General Hospital that was located across town to assist in any way possible. The San Francisco ER on a Saturday night was like what I 'd imagine a wartime MASH OR would be like. People on stretchers lining the hallways. A packed waiting room with no place to sit. We were lucky in that an excellent orthopedic surgeon was on staff and took him right in for x-rays. The good news that night was that his injury may now be as serious as first thought and his doctor said the chance of a full recovery are very good. No broken bones were seen in his initial x-rays. It was getting very late and the five of us still had a championship regatta in the morning. There was no need for all of us to stay... I volunteered to stay on to drive our buddy home. I also had the later afternoon start (2pm) and it made the most sense.. on top of that I have a pretty good working knowledge of how hospitals/clinics work because of my job at DISC. This turned out to be very helpful in getting his paperwork completed in the minimum amount of time. We got back to Russ's house pretty late (2am) and I setup our injured friend downstairs to avoid him climbing any stairs. The next morning we got him on his way back to LA (his wife flew in) early and the whole group rallied to get his gear and boat broken down and ready for travel. Jorge was car topping his own boat but had a trailer hitch on his car to tow an extra boat back to LA. This whole event was a complete flashback for me and my own experience of getting injured in the UK last September at this same regatta. I badly fractured my collar bone which required surgery back in the states. What I remember most about the whole event is how my friends and even friends I didn't know came to my aid in my time of need. In some ways I was feeling that I was getting to repay this incredible act of friendship and kindness extended to me a year ago. Anyone of our group would of done the same. It truly represents what these Laser Master World events are about and what keeps me coming back. Speedy recovery my friend.. We all look forward to seeing you out on the water soon. Peter

Day 5 Roared through the Master Standard fleet...

OMG!! Could it get any windier!?!?!?
San Francisco Bay delivered again today with big wind and waves in the second to last day of the Laser Masters Worlds. Today was a day I was hoping to move up in the standing with only four races left. With the big breeze showing who was boss even before we left the beach.. that was a tall task. Maybe just keeping right side up show be my goal for the day after yesterday's RAF score. An RAF is a retire after finish or start but not finish score for a race. The points are the number of entries (55). With two throw outs from your twelve race series, I most definitely will be dropping my RAF. I now have a small margin for error with only one throw out left. A single capsize in this competition usually means a score of twenty or worse. I see several boats each day that capsize even on the way to the race course is a good indicator of how challenging the conditions are for our division. Setting up the race course is being expertly accomplished by StFYC each day. It's been a battle for the race officers with the ever changing San Francisco Bay current. In the Laser Masters Worlds, the upwind legs cannot be more than 25 minutes, with the goal of getting approximately 60 minute races. The races are extremely hard work for the sailors, using their quads and core to hold the boat flat (ish) upwind, and then squatting down inside the boat on tip toe downwind to keep it stable. With an ebb tide and 20+ knots of breeze, the Race Officers can afford to make long upwind legs, thanks to the Laser's ability to surf downwind in sometimes surprisingly short - time wise - legs.

Our division, the Standard Masters had an upwind leg today that started near Alcatraz and went upwind with the ebb current to the Golden Gate Bridge. I looked up and could see underneath the Golden Gate! It was spectacular but there wasn't much time to enjoy it because I was in total survival mode and focusing on keeping my laser dinghy in control. I use the word "control" very loosely. Regatta leader Arnoud Hummel said, “We had the longest beat ever today, and I was hating the race officer, until I finished the downwind leg.” My race was going great.. Good start near the boat end. Height and speed kept me with the lead pack as the wind built to mid-twenties. We're racing more and more into an ebb tide which mean the current is pushing us up the course towards the first mark. This all sounds good to make a quick leg of the most demanding and exhausting part of the race.. but the ebb creates a wicked chop or wave every boatlength or so that is almost impossible (for me) to steer through. Correction.. I can get through it.. i just can't get through it without filling my cockpit full of water. The average amount of water I carry in my self draining cockpit is slow. I was told that 2 inches of water in a laser cockpit weights 35 pounds! I seem to sail upwind with 4 to 6 inches all the time. It's experience and technique that separate the best from the rest.. but I'm gaining both by just being up here. I rounded the first weather in 12th.. I sailed conservative on all the downwind and only lost 1 or 2 boat each downwind. I had enough game upwind to hold my place and scored a hard fought 16th place. The second the wind build to the strongest of the regatta so far (notice a pattern here?... I said that every day I've been up here!). We started the race in the mid-twenties and saw gusts maybe to the low thirties. Everyone was overpowered but some more then others. It really come down to where you sail and how often you see this condition to be good in it. Let's just say in Southern California.. we cancel races before it gets this windy! The race was going really well.. my strapped sail technique downwind seem as fast and functional as any in that condition.. I was sailing right around the top ten boat for the first two laps when one of the several huge San Francisco ferries lined me like a bowling pin. Is he going to move for me? I don't think so.. So I better tack and go the other way. A tack in a laser in 25+ knots on wind is never fun. It's an ticket to flip and you general only when you have too in that kind of breeze. I tacked and was head across the grain of traffic but it didn't seem so bad. One other boat was doing the same thing. So I continued in the direction. Unfortunately it turned out to be a costly move. I went from a solid 14th to 25th at a shorten course finish that finished us up at the second weather mark. Ugh! Oh well.. that racing! Last day tomorrow... Time to pull out all the stops! Peter