A very nice day with the wind about the same as yesterday but without the swell. So, just right for me.
The first race went relatively well - I actually beat someone. I got a relatively poor start, getting sandwiched between two boats on the line and drawing lots of dirty air. I tacked away as soon as I could and went right. I was the next to last at the top mark but it was fairly closely bunched and I was not more than about 30 seconds behind the lead (Bethwaite, who else?). And, I am glad to report that I did indeed round the offset mark before heading downwind.
There was no swell, but the chop was fairly messy, with little waves. I tried to negotiate them as best I could and I am getting a bit better at it, but it is clear there is lots of work ahead.
Downwind, I managed to catch a few waves, mainly by bearing off to sail by the lee. I didn't pass anyone, but didn't lose any spots either. I finished second to last, but almost caught 2 other boats who finished a few seconds ahead of me. So, I was pleased.
The second race started well, with a clean start with good air. The chop was steady and I was working the sheet quite a bit. We were on the second beat and I was in the last group but was holding my own. Then halfway up the second beat I noticed that the covering on the main sheet had been worn through and the inner core was now in direct contact with the blocks. I was wondering if it would hold for the rest of the race. But the mainsheet gremlin had other tricks up his sleeve. About 2/3 up the second beat I tacked and noticed the mainsheet was twisted around the block. OK, I thought, just untangle it and get on with things. But I couldn't untangle it - a loop had passed through the block and was stuck very tight. I tugged everywhere and it wouldn't budge. Finally, I signalled to a safety boat to come over and they tugged on it also, even using a screwdriver, but to no avail. Finally, we just cut the mainsheet and I limped back into port.
So, taking stock of the first 3 days of racing, I am convinced more than ever what a great event this - the things I have learned so far from my friends and people I have just met is amazing. Admittedly, I have never taken a formal course and I am sure much of what I am learning is relatively standard for experienced Laser sailors, but for me it is really great. And I am also realising how much our lack of open water sailing at our club in Abu Dhabi is a handicap to developing skills.