Laser Standard Worlds – Finals

Day 4 

The finals series started today with 5-8knots of wind and a solid left over swell from the last few days of breeze. I’ve gotten some feedback that the last post was too long, so I’ll try and keep this one a bit shorter.

Race 7 – punched out a little bit too much on a black flag start BFD.

Race 8 – The pin end was biased by about 10-15 degrees after a left shift during the start sequence. I started towards the middle with a good lane and was able to tack and cross immediately. I stuck towards the right of the fleet, and dropped back a bit on the leaders by falling out of phase with every shift. I eventually decided to head all the way right after seeing some others make gains out there, and was able to find a good lane to round the top in 12th.

Managed to gain a boat on the reach, by sailing a shorter/lower course. From there, I worked the middle right of the downwind, and lost a few boats from being in dirtier air. 15th at the gate. Similar to the first upwind, I played a few shifts early in the beat, before heading out to the right after losing some ground initially. Found some good pressure on the right, but never got any decent shift out of it. A little right-hander on the layline helped me recover a bit to round the top in 20th.

I sailed the middle of the last downwind, and was making good gains, until the end when I crossed towards the inside of our next mark to  protect the inside advantage. Two boats who stayed wide managed to sneak in front of me with a little better pressure. 21st at the gate.

Held my place on the reach, as the wind began to die. The last upwind turned in to a bit of a mess with super light pressure, and lots of coach boat wake/swell. I was looking good on the starboard layline for the finish, but got lee bowed and had to double tack to clear my lane. 23rd at the finish.

A tough race, but I was generally happy with how I managed the tricky conditions. Two more days to work on keeping decent positions…

Lessons from today;

  1. In short oscillating shifts, it’s really important to stay in phase with the leaders through every shift. You can’t afford to get lazy and sail through some of the shifts.

Day 5

5-8 knots NE wind with a small chop.

A frustrating day with some questionable mark incidents and average second upwinds.

Race 9 – Started towards the pin end on a slightly boat biased line; expecting the left side to pay as we had seen most of the week. I had a good start about 10 boats up from the pin and was able to cross 10 boats pretty early before tacking under a punched committee boat group. Worked a few oscillations on the left but ultimately lost out by getting caught in the ‘Bermuda triangle’ under the top mark. 18th at the top.

Didn’t really assess my position on the reach, and tried to sail the rhumb line but ended up getting covered by the group above me who went high road. 21st at the wing mark.

Initially went by the lee on the run, and then straightened up and was making good progress on the mid right (looking upwind). I then started searching for pressure on a broad reach angle and ended up sailing all the way across to the left group. That put me on the outside of a 5 boat pack at the right turn gate, meaning I rounded the gate in 26th. Would’ve been better to stay on the right and go to the much less crowded left turn gate…

Lost a few places out of the gate from dirty air in the group around me, and tacked back towards in the middle after a couple of minutes. Big mistake. I ended up getting bounced around in dirty air in the middle of the fleet to round the second top mark in 48th. Some of the boats who were around me at the gate pretty much sailed straight to the port layline and didn’t lose any places.

Then tried to sail as fast as possible, straight to the subsequent marks. I made a nice move at the last mark, going outside around a big pack of boats fighting for the inside spot. I was then able to sail low groove all the way to starboard layline of the finish line, to finish the race in 43rd.

Race 10 – Really good start towards in the pin on a 5 degree pin biased line – this put me in  bow ahead immediately after the start, but unable to tack and cross. My position deteriorated through the first half of the beat thanks to a gradual right shift. Then made a similar mistake to the previous race but on a much grander scale… Not wanting to get too close to the port layline, I tacked early and ended up below the vast majority of the fleet. This left me sailing over a third of the beat in the dirty air of 1/4 of the fleet. 45th at the top mark.

Sailed a pretty good reach with clear and good speed – 41st at the wing mark. I kept sailing down the left of the run (looking upwind) with good pressure and speed, and made up some good ground. Then coming in to the gate, but outside the zone, I was caught on the inside of a 5-boat luffing battle for the inside overlap. The luffing battle got so extreme that I ended up having to tack just to get around the gate…on a downwind. This led to an ultimately dismissed protest, but cost me quite a few places. 50th at the gate.

I decided to go all the way to the port layline, as the left had been significantly better in most of the second upwinds thus far. Except for this one…where I lost a place. There was a long right hand shift for most of upwind with no decent opportunities to tack back on. 51st at the second top.

I then went hell for leather on the downwind, and managed to gain a few places thanks to some good pace. Tried to keep gaining on the last reach and upwind, but ultimately finished the race in 48th. Not the best day…

Lessons from today;

  1. Make sure to get your protest in before the time limit, even if it means filling it out in your sailing gear…
  2. In light to moderate air, avoid the ‘Bermuda triangle’ upwind at all costs, unless clearly at the front of the fleet. The dirty air created by the converging fleet in the triangle area below the top mark is a sure fire way to lose places. Whilst laylines and possibly overlaying are costly, being stuck in dirty air for significant periods of time is even more costly.


Day 6

Last day of racing – 10-12 knots of NE wind with a bit of building wind swell.

Another day with only one race to talk about…

Race 11 – After a few general recalls, I decided to start at the leeward end of the main group  on a heavily boat favoured line. I accelerated early, and was one of the most visible boats due to being at the leeward edge of the main pack. BFD…Whoops.

Race 12 – Eager for redemption after sitting out the first race, I had a similar plan to the first one. There tended to be a bit of boat end bias/a right hand shift in the first half of the first upwind, so I started towards the leeward end of the ‘committee boat group’ – about 1/3 of the way down the line. I got a good start and was able to continue on starboard for a long way. I then worked the left in the second half of the beat, and lost a few places in an ill timed tack back to the middle in dirty air, but then managed to get to the port layline and come in to the mark with speed. 18th at the top mark.

I wasn’t able to commit to going high enough on the reach to keep a clear lane, and lost a few places early. A few miracle waves coming in to the wing mark were a saving grace, meaning I only lost two places. 20th at mark 2.

Picked the wrong side of the first downwind, and a group with better pressure on the left managed to gain some ground during the run. 25th at the gate.

Went for the right turn gate, and continued on starboard for roughly 1/2 of the beat. I had a good lane, and waited for an opportunity to tack back. Eventually got a bit of a lefty, and then played the middle after consolidating some gains. 21st at the 2nd top mark.

Had a good lane to the right of the rhumbline on the second downwind, but got a bit lost when trying to get back to the mark. Two boats who stayed on my inside snuck in front of me in the last 1/3 of the downwind. 23rd at the last gate.

I then sailed pretty cleanly for the rest of the race, and managed to finish in 23rd.

Lessons from today;

  1. Pretty basic one, but the last downwind really reiterated the importance of following gusts directly downwind, and then using the lulls to sail hard angles back to the mark. I lost places through not picking the right opportunities for sailing downwind vs sailing to the mark.
  2. Consider picking a spot on the start line which in the middle of a pack during a black flag start – will help keep you more covered by the boats around you.

The 2019 Worlds was a tough regatta as always, and didn’t end in the result that I know I was capable of. Nonetheless, I was able to improve on my previous Worlds results by a decent margin even with two BFD’s on my scorecard. Next up is the World Cup in Enoshima, which I plan on doing another journal for.





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