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.
The first full day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum was started early by west coast standards. I ran the 1.5mi from my hotel to the beach in front of the event hotel and we got to do a Stand Up Paddle Board fitness class.
After running home and cleaning up we started the forum with presentations by Gary Jobson and Ken Read. It was great hearing their views on sailing as well as it’s challenges and opportunities. I attended sessions on:
How to Unleash the Power of Social Media
Lowering the Average age of Your Sailors
Fleet and Club Owned Boat selection
Between the sessions and getting to talk to so many sailors from such a wide background was really a great experience and great way to share ideas and learn from others. I took about 2 pages of notes from each session and after I get home I distill those down and share some of the biggest things I learned this week.
In the evening was the US Sailing Community and One Design Awards Ceremony held at the San Diego Hall of Champions. I got to sit next to the President of US Sailing, Tom Hubbell, on the bus there and talked to him about being/having been sailors on Chautauqua Lake among other things. The Hall of Champions is a great sport museum and as a sailor I loved the full-sized Star boat on display as well as all of the sailing history and America’s Cup history in the rooms of sailing exhibits. I also got to visit with my sister and meet her boyfriend who came down from L.A. for the dinner.
The awards ceremony itself was neat to see and hear about all of the amazing and wonderful things that so many others were doing for the sport of sailing. It was an honor to be among them and it was an even greater honor to receive the 2013 US Sailing One Design Leadership Award presented by my friend Margaret Podlich.
I traveled to San Diego California today to attend the US Sailing Leadership Forum. Getting up at 4am to make my flight made for a long day. Once in San Diego I met a friend, Karen, for lunch and we toured the USS Midway air craft carrier.
In the evening I attended the welcome reception and got to meet a lot of people whom I had heard about or even emailed with, but never met in person.
This weekend Greater Richmond Sailing Association invited Fishing Bay Yacht Club Flying Scots and Lasers to join them for frostbiting out on Swift Creek. Dan and I were the only two Lasers; there were 10 Flying Scots and 3 Thistles. The goal for the day was simply get back in the boat and try a few things out. I tried a new GoPro Camera (Hero 3+) and a new stern mount for it. I got to try out some new boots and I got to try sailing at a club I had never been at before. Thanks again to GRSA for inviting us to come sail!