With 25 knots registering on the committee boat the Laser Slalom 2011 fleet hit the water for the wildest ride on the Bay, the St. Francis Yacht Club's Heavy Weather Slalom event, presented by Maclaren, LaserPerformance and Svendsen's Marine.
The talent-stacked fleet included international competitors from 16 years old to 70-something, with anything from 40 years Laser sailing experience to six years. With no room for error in this double elimination regatta, spectacular - and frequent - crashes throughout the fleet made for tense moments on and off the course.
Scott Ferguson took first prize for a phenomenal crash in his last race that catapulted him some two boat lengths off his stern. "I needed to jibe, I got a huge puff and was just not going to make the jibe. Making the jibe is the difference between staying in the race - or not! It was a lot of fun."
Watching competitors' rapid fire maneuvering and hiking demonstrated just how intense it is in the Slalom just to make it around the course unscathed. And that's what Laser sailors love about it. Olympic Gold Medalist and Team Maclaren Ambassador Anna Tunnicliffe had this to say, "I loved competing in the event. I really like the physical aspect of the boat and how you have to work really hard to make the boat do what you want it to do."
Peter Shope and Ben Richardson (both USA) went head to head, with Shope taking the overall first place trophy after four exhausting races. "I don't know where that came from," said an elated Shope. "I tried to stay in the moment and not to look forward too much. That really helped me."