After yesterday’s Opening Day Race, Fishing Bay Yacht Club started the offshore spring series on Sunday with some buoy racing. We only had about half of the crew we had yesterday and had several new folks in new positions. Overall we held our own going 3-2-3 on the day. Results.
What a beautiful weekend to start the sailing season at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. The first race of the season was a middle distance race of 12.8 nm from the mouth of the Piankatank out to the entrance to the Rappahannock River and back. I was sailing on Wavelength, a C&C37, with Rob Whittet and Steve Utley. We were among the 20+ other boats gathered in the 8-10 knot northerly breeze and mostly sunny skies.
We had a great start in the 5-boat PHRF-A fleet that consisted of a J/109 Double Eagle, J/105s Corryvreckan and Shamrock, and modified Quest 30 Chilcoot. The first leg was a short upwind leg inside the mouth of the Piankatank. We then sailed close-hauled out to the entrance to the Rappahannock followed by a spinnaker run down to the entrance of the Piankatank. Up until this point we were hanging with everyone except Double Eagle who was starting to get away from us. At the turning mark the J/70s and the C and non-spin fleets were also using this as a turning mark.
Most of the fleet who had asymmetrical spinnakers went low on their way back to the finish up the Piankatank. They weren’t laying the mark, but making really good VMG. With a symmetrical spinnaker, we elected to take the high route with the #1 up. About halfway back we could see Double Eagle get significantly headed and then drop the spinnaker. They had to beat back to the mark, while we just cracked off and came back down to the rumb line nice and fast and closed the gap. We didn’t beat them over the line, but had enough to make up the difference and won the race on corrected time. What a great way to start the season.
This season will be bittersweet for Wavelength and crew – this will likely be the last spring series for the boat.
Following racing the club held their blessing of the fleet and opening day party. The food was great – as was the fun!
The influence of social media as a common mainstream promotional tool for sports is at an all-time high. Sailors around the world are using social media to capture special moments on the water, from stunning visuals to regatta results. Perhaps, nobody knows the power of social media in the sport of sailing like Jon Deutsch (Richmond, Va.). Jon received the One-Design Award for Leadership at the Sailing Leadership Forum Awards Dinner, sponsored by Old Pulteney and hosted by the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame in February.
For the past nine years, Deutsch has been the mastermind of the widely popular Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship. Deutsch is known for his spectacular photography, energetic regatta reports and phenomenal website. He frequently provides on-water updates via Twitter while racing.
Deutsch documents events with his omni-present GoPro and other cameras, and promotes through social media channels and the club site. Competing sailors arrive home after the event to find a “Thanks for Coming” email from Jon with the results and photos attached.
As with everything he approaches, Deutsch made himself into an expert, both on and off the water. His knowledge and service is in demand all over the Bay. He has served as the Laser District Secretary for the past seven years.
Jon has social media covered, from blogs to video and everything in between. “I stick to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram,” explained Jon. “I use them each a little differently to share the best kind of content for each service and the different audiences.”
Jon had some helpful advice for those who are starting to use social media to promote their sailing events and activities. “Pick one or two social media outlets and do them really well,” stated Jon. “Starting out trying to update too many, ends up being a waste. See what service your audience is using, connect with them and build before expanding elsewhere. The goal is to connect with your audience.”
Social media has been personally beneficial to Jon in his own sailing. “By sharing what I’m doing on social media, I’ve been able to meet up with friends, find carpooling opportunities, jump on last minute crew openings and learn about the events and sailing that my friends are doing. The best way we have to grow our sport is for all of us to share what we do.”
Jon has always been an avid sailor. He began his junior sailing career at Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club in Lakewood, NY. Jon is a now a self-described “weekend warrior,” competitively racing and tweeting from his Laser, usually in the Mid-Atlantic area. When not racing his Laser you can find Jon crewing on everything from PHRF boats, to J109s, J70s, and Flying Scots.
Saturday I celebrated the wedding of my sailing buddies Mark Stephens and Melissa Orndorff. The wedding was held at Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables near Waynesboro, VA. Here are some of my favorite photos:
My date to this wedding was a real nag:
Of course I had the GoPro up in a tower simultaneously taking video and stills:
Some of the sailing crowd
This is also the first real photography opportunity I’ve had since I’ve switched to using back button focus on the D7000. I generally liked it. My biggest fear was that I’d try to hand the camera to a non-photographer or someone would pick it up to take a picture and either get out of focus pictures or just get frustrated with it. I’m looking forward to using this more and I really think it helped my hit % of properly focused pictures.
For the 3rd and final day of the Severn Sailing Association Soling Frostbite we had another day of light thermals and mostly overcast skies. I was once again the middle guy flying the chute and calling tactics on Mike Waters boat along with bowman Al Tierney.
In the first race we were a little late to the start and wound up behind the other 4 boats. We worked the left while the rest of the fleet went right and wound up rounding the first mark in last. While the rest of the fleet took the rhumb line to the mark in wind that had shifted to the right looking upwind. We instead went downwind for a bit, straight out into the bay to meet the new breeze coming in and then gybed downwind in pressure and carried that to the downwind mark. That new wind took a while to reach the rest of the fleet and we found ourselves in 2nd at the leeward mark.
Going upwind we picked the shifts and pressure well and passed a boat to round in first. Again we headed out into the bay while the boat just behind us did a tight rounding and headed down the rhumb line to the finish. We were out of the wind barely making headway to the left of the course while our competition was nearly halfway to the finish. Other boats were rounding and following the other boat and making better distance on the finish than we were. And just like clockwork, the breeze came in from the left and carried us right by everyone and we won the race.
In the second race we got a good start and just played the shifts and pressure upwind and kept ourselves between the other boats and the next mark and were able to win that race as well.
In the 3rd race we had a pretty solid lead using the same strategy as the 2nd race. On the final run we just tried to just stay ahead. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t cooperate and brought some of the boats behind us right up to us and one boat was able to squeak ahead of us at the line.
In the end a 1-1-2 was enough to win the day and pull ourselves up into 1st overall for the frostbite series. In the last 43 years the winter series has only been won by 3 different guys. Congratulations to Mike Waters on becoming the 4th person to win the series. I was glad I could be along for a ride, I enjoyed getting to try some Soling sailing and I can’t wait to do it again.
For the 2nd day of the SSA Soling Frostbite we had a bit more variable conditions than 2 weeks ago. This time we had 5 boats out and were able to get 2 races in. Mike Waters was skipper, Josh Page did bow and I was in the middle flying the spinnaker and doing wind/tactics.
We did well in the first race by having good boat speed up wind and making the left work for us. We finished 2nd having held that position all race.
In the 2nd race we had another good upwind and rounded in 2nd. At the leeward mark, there was no committee boat and we mistaked which one of the two marks was our rounding mark and lost some distance to the leader. The next two legs each had 180 degree shifts in them making it challenging, but it switched swiftly and did little to change the results as we still ended up second.
I got to join Rob Whittemore on a Flying Scot for the 4th and final day of the Greater Richmond Sailing Association Frostbite Series. We had an absolutely beautiful day with temperatures in the high 60′s and shifty winds from 5-12 knots.
We sailed in the cove right off the shore. To windward, the weather mark is set right below a roadway on a berm which is pretty open, but makes it very hard to see the wind beyond it coming down the course. The starting line was short and with 9 boats the starts were all tight with boats barging the line on every start.
In the puffs the weather leg could be sailed in 2-4 minutes…. in the lulls it could take 5-8 minutes or more. While we were never really able to figure out the exact patterns there were a number of things we used to help gauge which way we thought the wind would go and where we thought we’d find more pressure. These things ranged from the fetch up the lake we could see under the bridge, the flag on the other side of the bridge, the flag at the yacht club and of course the wind on the water in what little fetch there was between the weather mark and the lee shore.
As shifty as it was – we definitely had to be on our toes. Miss a shift – and we learned this the hard way- and we could be passed by a couple boats immediately. We did well to stay in the front of the fleet around the course and our consistency paid off allowing us to recapture first whenever we let it slip and we were able to take 1st in all 5 races today.
Following racing Rob and I were asked to judge the chili cook off.
A big thanks again to GRSA for hosting this frostbite series. All of the FBYC sailors really appreciated being able to get some winter sailing in so close to hope. I’m looking to being back again soon!
Saturday I got to sail on a Soling for my first time in SSA’s Soling Frostbite. A Soling is a 27′ 3-person keel boat and I was sailing as the middle crew with skipper Mike Waters and bow Gretchen E. We had a bit of a slow start as we dialed in the boat and got through each of the crew mechanics the first time. We learned, we got better and while our results don’t show it, we were actually pretty competitive.
Today’s weather was perfect for frostbiting. Air temperatures on land in the high 50′s with a water temperature of 38. That created great thermal conditions and we had relatively steady wind that started around 8 and built to about 12 before coming back down to about 10 out of the SSW.
In the first race we had a good start, were 2nd at the windward mark and were the first boat to the leeward mark. Unfortunately for us we couldn’t get the spin halyard down and ended up sailing 1/2 mile past the leeward mark before we were able to free the halyard to retrieve it. We took a DNF in that one.
The 2nd race went much better for us. While we weren’t able to fix the core problem with the spin halyard, at least we knew the problem and could work around it. We ended up leading that race wire to wire. We did a great job picking the shifts on both upwind legs and kept a comfortable cover on the boats around.
For the 3rd race we had another great start, got to the windward mark first, but lost a boat downwind. On the 2nd upwind we got on the wrong side of the course as more pressure came from the other side dropping us back to 5th.
Overall the racing was really tight with only a few points separating the boats, but with our DNF we got the short end of the stick and wound up 5th overall. It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the next frostbite day.
The final day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum started out with James Clark (founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape) telling us about his j-boat programs and the new 100′ grand prix boat that will be launched later this year.
Later in the day I attended sessions on Adult Lear To Sail Programs, Growing Membership and Increasing Participation, and regatta websites. That was followed by a farewell party by the pool.
I came to this forum having previously only met 3 or 4 people in person out of the more than 600 attendees. It was great to finally meet so many of the people I’ve emailed, conference called or worked with in some way over the years. I’m also incredibly appreciative of all of the prominent sailors and leaders in our sport who I got to speak with for a couple minutes and thankful they attended to provide their insight and guidance.
I have to commend US Sailing on doing such a great job to bring so many people together. It was informative in all the right ways and I got more out of it than I ever expected I would.
And finally – on the ride back into Richmond we came in directly over the city. Thanks Delta for allowing us to use electronic devices during all stages of flight!
This was the 2nd day at the US Sailing Leadership Forum with 1 more day left. It was really a great day of learning and connecting with people and meeting people in the sport I’ve never been able to meet in person. I’d name some highlights, but I can’t name a highlight when just about everything from today was a highlight.
So what did I do today?
Listened to the state of the union on big boat racing. Learned about the rating rules as well as their strengths and weaknesses; the universal measurement rule; keel failures; and the diversity of events.
Went to a seminar on creating sailing opportunities: Diversifying through outreach. Learned about various demographics and opportunities to introduce new demographics to sailing and how to do it.
Learned about building and motivating an organization. This was incredibly relevant for both sailing and my work. Learned about having clarity, empowerment, excitement, respect and ownership; how to be a good leader as well as a good follower.
Found out how the rules apply to the electronic age including how some of the technology used at the America’s Cup for enforcing the rules worked and when it might or might not trickle down to other forms of sailing.
Got to see a variety of new boats up close and on the water and how they may fit as tools to bring new sailors to the sport
Saw Chris Love’s GoPro equipped quad copter and some pretty awesome shots of the beach front activity.
And to top it all off – there was a pretty kick ass party.