16 years I’ve run the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and this one – like many before – will be like non-other. We’ve had hurricanes, Nor’easters, Power Outages, exceptionally high tides just to name some of the challenges we’ve faced at this regatta and all have made it an interesting and well remembered event. This year it’s COVID and we’ve had to make some modifications to the off the water activities to social distance. We’re all thankful our hobby is singlehanded sailing which enables us to continue to participate while remaining socially distanced.
It was a cool, rainy and blustery day at the club as we prepared for 45 Laser Masters. Nobody arrived early or was looking to go a practice. A number of sailors did pitch their tents and set up a fire pit for the weekend. This front should start to clear this evening, leaving us with winds in the low teens for much of Saturday. Sunday is less certain. Regardless of what we get, it’s fun to be sailing and seeing sailors again even if from a distance.
The drizzle was a blessing in disguise. It wet the tell tails causing them to stick to the sail all day long. Having not sailed the boat and being out of practice – I didn’t have a good feel for the boat and not having tell tales forced me to feel the boat and not rely on them.
The fleet we had was fantastic – everyone sailed well and was fun to sail with. The fleet was deep too – with a lot of passing in the top 10 in any given race. Evan H was great in his return to the Laser. Dave W was consistently just a little faster and always in the right spot on the critical first beat.
Several sailors from Severn Sailing Association made the trip and made a mini weekend out of it staying in town tonight and driving back to Annapolis in the morning. All of them are returning next weekend for the 39th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters.
Bob F ran a great RC, the length of the line challenged us and he made adjustments as teh wind shifted a bit and got lighter. Clark and Jen were on point in the Parker.
Day one of the Stingray Point Regatta was a breezy one. This was my first time taking sailing pictures with a new-to-me Nikon D300s and it’s great to have a camera again to take pictures with. We watched the finish of the first race and the start of the 2nd race and got some great shots.
The forecast looked a little bleak for FBYC’s Laser Summer Regatta in August, but the wind did come in and we had a great fleet to sail with. We sailed 5 races in about 8-10 most of the day.
Luke sailed really well and was consistently fast and in front. David H was also always in the right spot on the course able to just pull away anytime he was with some traffic. Rob also had a great day and was followed by me and Britt.
The starting line most of the day was very long for such a short course making it pretty critical to start at the favored end which happened to be the pin. This also led to some over early boats and eventually we started under the Z-flag. Britt did well to buck this and went right when everyone else was going left and managed to catch the shifts and round with the top group most races. I tried this in one of the last races and was too far behind to catch up.
I originally launched this site back in 2014 to enable me to more quickly and easily see weather buoy data in the various places I sail. Most of the existing sources of this data are slow to load and hard to read and I wanted something easier. The original site was PHP-based and ending up being a bit finicky and unreliable.
I’ve been spending my free time during COVID to learning AWS and getting the AWS Architect Associate certification as well as learning Python. This site has been a great project to re-invent the website using a modern serverless architecture that should prove to be a lot more reliable as well as provide flexibility for more functionality in the future.
We visited friends sailing Albacore’s at Ware River Yacht Club’s Governor’s Cup regatta and got to see an absolutely beautiful sunset. There was a pretty Blue Jay sailboat anchored in front of the club that made for a great subject. This was my first time really using a new to me Nikon D300s that I had picked up a few weeks ago.
This year Jess and I sailed lasers in the FBYC One Design Division Long Distance Race. All of the smaller boats <24′ waterline sail using the Portsmouth handicap system in a race that covers a total of 7-8 miles in the Piankatank River.
We had a variety of boats in the fleet from Lasers, Radials, Flying Scots, a Weta and a few J70’s. The 70s would be fast and the off-angle sailing under asymmetrical spinnakers would really give them a chance to pull away.
The start set the boats off on port tack eastward down the river. The rest of the fleet all came barging in on port tack at the pin and I did a starboard dip line start and forced all of them to give me room and Nostalgia had to circle around and restart. The J70 Billy Buff started just behind me and I was able to pinch them off and slow them down before they eventually went under and around me.
The wind held at a steady 9-11 knots out of the north east. The course took us towards Gywnn’s island, around #8 and then towards the entrance to Jackson creek. It then doubled back and then went ~3 miles west up the river and then back to Godfrey Bay.
I kept up best I could with the Flying Scots and stayed ahead of the Weta while the J/70’s sailed pretty far into the distance.
Following racing as we were packing up the boat the scorer walked by and let me know that after the handicaps were computed, I tied for 3rd with Billy Buff and we both beat Nostalgia by 2 seconds. Just goes to show that starting on starboard made a difference between 3rd and 5th.
From the look of this blog it might look like we don’t have anything going on – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite quarantining we’ve been busy planning a wedding for this fall and this weekend we went to Deltaville to get some engagement photos taken.
Huge thanks to Joe, George and David for letting us pose on their boats!
Since the last time I’ve raced a Laser the world has changed a lot. With the virus and social distancing and the cancellations and postponements – my first time Laser Sailing this year would be in June at the postponed Laser Spring Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. We had a fantastic turnout with 11 Lasers and another 10 radials like on account of few other regattas going on this month and Junior week that was postponed, but junior race teams that have started practices.
The forecast all week was for cloudy, windy and chance of rain. It ended up being absolutely beautiful with sunny skies, light winds to starts and moderate temperatures.
Out on the racecourse we were originally going to start the Laseres with the Radials – we did a practice start with all of us together and there was a lot of over-earlies and just a lot of confusion. After the practice start and a general recall the fleets were finally split and we sent the Radials first followed by the Standards. The wind was about 8-9 for that first race.
With a little boat favor I made sure to win the boat and stay in clear air. By the top mark I found myself in 2nd just behind Avery who sailed just a little to the left of me. I followed him downwind, but on the final upwind to the finish I got a little out of phase and dropped 3 boats to finish 5th. Having not sailed in almost 7 months it was great to hang with the fleet and have upwind speed. I’m also down about 10 pounds and the lighter air helped there too.
In the second race I again won the boat and led at the windward mark and downwind. On the final beat I missed a big shift almost auto-tacked. By the time i recovered Avery sailed by and I was able to stay ahead of Luke for 2nd.
In the 3rd race the wind went a little more left and picked up a bit. I had an ok start and didn’t quite win the boat. Rounded the top mark in 4th and wound up finishing there. Alex had a great race and got away from me and just about caught Avery.
For the 4th and final race I decided to start closer to the pin. The wind had come a little left and the boat was looking at little crowded. I sailed in clear air and was 3rd at the top mark. Downwind James got around me and I would wind up 4th.
It’s been a while since I carried my cell phone with me in a waterproof case to tweet from the race course – today was the first time I was able to tweet between races using a cell-enabled watch. The dictation wasn’t super great, but it worked.
Huge thanks to Lew and the crew of Catitude for heading up race committee today.