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July 10, 2014
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Pullen scores Laser victory in light winds

Conditions were not as calm as the previous week, but once again, the Monday Night Laser Racing fleet faced extremely light winds from the east, deviating from Lake Tahoe’s normal westerlies.

Stacy Conner, the ever-persevering chief race officer, did manage to get a course set as a slight breeze filled the course and wasted no time getting the race under way.  

Hillary and Buff Wendt headed to the far left side of the course, which ultimately paid off for Wendt at the first mark as she rounded with a solid lead.

Going downwind, Kiwi Moore also headed to that same side of the course and caught the entire rest of the fleet by sailing a brilliant downwind leg and successfully catching a nervous Wendt along with the rest of the fleet at the leeward mark, making for an extremely exciting mark rounding as the entire fleet stacked up at the mark at the same time.

“I felt like I was at the front of the peleton and we had just taken care of the breakaway,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, I entangled myself with Hillary at the leeward mark and my boat just screeched to a halt. It’s absolutely critical in these extremely light conditions to always keep what little momentum you might have.”  

In the end, Nick Pullen nearly prevented Wendt from securing the win only to miss it by 3 feet in a photo finish. Dan Hauserman beat out the rest of the group for a third-place finish.

Pullen came out with a vengeance in the next race, which was held in lighter winds still, as he took an early lead that he never relinquished.  

That left Stan Eriksson, Hauserman, Wendt and Rick Raduziner battling it out for the next five places. With some distant lightning spotted, there was a moment where it was questionable if the race would be completed, but with a shortening of course, Eriksson took second with Hauserman behind him.

Meanwhile in the Laser radial fleet, Ryan Conner took the line honors in spite of having a last-minute capsize by the finish line.  

“Fortunately I was able to right the boat quickly, but let’s just say the lake is still quite cold,” Conner said.  

Perhaps the rowdiest and most vocal fleet on the water for the night was the Picos. With tight competition, they were all fighting for winning the start and the mark roundings. Ultimately, Cole Garner won with Andrew Bourke and Nikolas Burkhardt securing the second and third spots, respectively.

The Lasers officially finished their Spring Series, with Eriksson winning, Wendt placing second and Pullen third.

Plenty of visitors take part in the buddy boats and the fleet welcomes anyone who wants to come out and give Laser sailing and racing a try. Racers arrive at the Lake Forest boat ramp between 4:30 and 5 p.m., with a 6 p.m. start every Monday through August.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 11, 2014 12:42PM Published Jul 10, 2014 05:56PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.