Yes, its true that the 2011 Laser Master Worlds was just last August, barely more than half a year ago, but its already time for the 2012 edition! The regatta is being hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron located in Manly, near Brisbane, Australia, which explains the timing as we at the end of their Summer.
Christy and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, after a 15 hour flight from San Francisco to Sydney and then a short hour flight up to Brisbane from Sydney. No drama, as they say, but we were zonked on arrival and were in bed in short order.
On Thursday we got ourselves sorted out, got our boats, put them together and made it out for a short sail at the end of the day. Light winds but WARM! Finally, the semi-tropical worlds we have not seen since Fortaleza in 2005. First thing we noticed about sailing here was the massive number of jellyfish in the water. There are patches that are so thick you simply cannot avoid them. It is also very shallow here, much like the Berkeley Circle, so one does not want to capsize else risk returning to the dock with an unwanted badge of honor at the top of the mast.
On Friday we got ourselves through registration and measurement in relatively short order and then hid under the trees (in the shade) until we thought the wind had filled before hitting the water. Big moment for me was putting the blue band, not a red band, on the mast... just "aged in" to the Grandmaster division! Will definitely miss racing in the Standard Masters fleet but I'm looking forward to the Grandmasters, it is a good group of sailors here in Brisbane and several are definitely sharks in what is expected to be somewhat less breeze than we had in San Francisco.
Christy and I did try to get in some practice time on Friday but, unfortunately, we elected to launch right as the seabreeze was fighting a fair offshore and we ended up drifting around in the transition zone getting a bit overheated. So, not really much of a practice day.
Saturday saw more fiddling with the boat and then a short sail with Brad Taylor, a local sailor who is very fast (and, fortunately, not in my fleet). He gave me some nice pointers on the local knowledge and we had several good lineups to check speed, point, etc. Given the conditions, I came back to the dock pretty happy with my setup.
Evenings so far have been clear and beautiful, have seen the Southern Cross every night!
Today is the first day of racing and Christy and I are sitting here on the back deck of the RQYS enjoying the morning. The weather has decided to change from crystal clear sunshine to overcast with possibility of showers. But the wind forecast is to push 15 knots which sounds just fine to me (ok, I'd prefer 20...).
Competitor's meeting at 10:45, on the water by 11:30, racing starts for our circle at 12:30 and the Grandmasters should be racing by 1:00. Will try to file first day report tomorrow morning!