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Report from the Laser Masters Worlds 

22/08/2011

Well done to Orlando Gledhill who came second in the Laser Masters Worlds - here is his report

At the 2011 Laser Masters Worlds hosted by San Francisco's St Francis Yacht Club the Apprentice Masters Standard Rig sailed in the early (lighter wind) slot on the North race course. The famed San Francisco summer sea breeze typically starts at about 11 am and builds to a peak of low to mid 20s knts by mid-afternoon. The start line just off Alcatraz and windward mark up near the Golden Gate bridge made this a spectacular venue. The event was very well-run with free food every night and lavish on-shore facilities. One decision that was controversial was the decision to race our fleet in the lighter wind slot on all but one of the days, leaving the Masters fleet to race every day in the 20 knot plus afternoon sea breeze. By contrast, Apprentice Radials raced with the Masters in the windy slot. For the Standard Apprentices, Days 1 and 2 were sailed in 8-14 knots and ebb tide taking the fleet upwind and some big puffs and holes. Days 3 and 4 were much windier, also ebb tide. Days 5 and 6 were medium winds and very strong flood tide (current with wind at almost 4 knots at times). Current strength was extreme at times: racing on Day 6 was postponed in 10 knts as the fleet would have struggled to cross the start line, far less make progress upwind. And in the stong ebb tide the fleet could sometimes be found broad reaching to stay below the line until 45 seconds before the start. In 12 races for the Apprentices, the left paid every time and this was particularly pronounced in the flood tide later in the week, in which even a small hitch right for clear air was costly. This obviously put a premium on starting, holding a lane and speed. I placed 2nd overall in the Apprentices. 5 race wins, but too inconsistent on Days 1 and 2 to win overall in a fleet where the top 3 typically shared the winning. I felt that I hit my stride better in the windier conditions later in the week, but the damage had been done early from my point of view. All in all, a really fun week and a well-run championship in conditions that were not straightforward for the organisers.'

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