From Racing Coordinator Dave MacDonald
The LASC sailboat race course is designed to be of a consistent easily recognizable layout. It is also set up to be an easy course. All buoys MUST be passed to the port side of the boat. Races usually take 30-60 minutes to complete. Our buoys are orange with flags on top and are very difficult to see from a distance. Knowing where they are will get you close enough to easily find them. The first leg is due North, the second towards the 422 bridge and the home stretch due East past the small island.
1) The start/finish line is always in the same location on a line from Neeley’s Point to the boat rental. Motor towards the boat rental to find it.
2) The start gate is always in line with the wind as opposed to the traditional perpendicular to the wind setup elsewhere. The reason being getting through a gate into the wind is very difficult for novice racers. The gate in-line with the wind allows boats to pass through on a reach which is much easier. It also forces all boats to be on the same tack which totally eliminates any conflicts between port and starboard tack entry. All boats must start on the boat rental side of the gate.
3) The first leg is always north to the first mark which is always to the northwest of Neeley’s Point. It will always be a few hundred yards short of the north shore to allow plenty of room to maneuver around it. It’s exact location may vary slightly because of wind direction. The goal of the first leg is to be a fast reach to the first mark without the need to tack. Think of it as a drag race. HINT: At the start be as close to the windward buoy as you can get. This has two advantages. The first being the windward boat will “steal” the wind of the leeward boats. The second puts the windward boat free to tack at will. The leeward boat can’t tack into the windward boat. The windward boat is in charge and faster.
4) The second leg to the windward mark is towards the 422 bridge. This is the tacking leg. The buoy is always in the center of the lake. The length of the leg is dependent upon the strength of the wind. On light air days the buoy will be on the near side of Watts Bay. On moderate air days it will be on the far side of Watts Bay. On heavy air days it will be 500 yards or more short of the right side of the 422 bridge.
5) The last leg is a downwind run to the finish line. Technically a boat finishes when the bow crosses the line between the two buoys of the start/finish line. Since that line is setup in-line with the wind the boat has finished as soon as the bow reaches the first gate buoy. To seal the deal hang a quick left to break the line. Since we don’t have a committee boat call your finish in on VHF channel 14. If you don’t have a working radio give a short blast of your air horn and we’ll record your time.
The picture below illustrates the course layout. The red mark is the start/finish line. The green is the first mark. The windward mark is the orange for light air days, the violet for moderate air days, and the blue for heavy air days.
The descriptions above are based on the prevailing westerlies. If the winds are from another compass point that will only change which leg is the reach, the downwind or tacking leg. The position of the buoys will ALWAYS be in the same configuration.