i deffinately have been in the same situation. so first of all, don't ever get intimidated by these guys that have brand new boats or give you dirty looks. second, find the boat on the course that you know could be the best. whatch him and sometimes even try what tactics he does. look at his body positioning, sail trim, ext... And even if you come in last place every race like i did, just remmember that it is only a learning experience and you can only improve.
i agree with the following someone idea... however, be careful not to sit on their air or screw them up... give them a little more space than you think necessary, it sucks to have someone on your air/in your way.
oftentimes its best if the person you follow is someone you know, that way they'll tell you the best way of following them w/o getting intheir way, and you can ask them questions about their strategy.
of course, if there's not really anyone from your club, then you could just pick someone based on appearnance :wink:
I finished up the regatta. I live in Chicago and the event was held on Lake Michigan. We had winds up to 30 mph and gust up to 50. It was crazy. Being so light I went out an tried to sail but in only five minutes I crashed and burned on a beam reach. I was on plane to so my boat did a cartwheel and I got flug off it. My coach sent me in after fliping 5 more times in only half and hour (they were not just normal capcizes). It was still a lot of fun.
-Thanks for the tips. I already love Laser sailing.