Tuesday/Wednesday

We had an easy trip down to Florida splitting it up into two days and arriving Wednesday evening with a stop in South Carolina.

Ready for 4 days of what looks to be light-air sailing in St. Petersburg in a 41-boat ILCA 7 fleet.

Thursday

We don’t have a great prospect for wind in the next couple days, but there was 6-7 knots in the morning so we went out relatively on time. After a short postponement on the water they got the ILCA 7 fleet racing.

I had good start at the boat and made my way middle right. The left ended up paying even better, and I was mid-fleet at the top mark. The next leg was a reach and the wind started to drop a bit. We went downwind and then on the second upwind I went right and made up a few boats. I lost a couple downwind and managed to finish 26th.

The 4.7’s also got a race in and the 6 fleets were all abandoned in their races. We stayed out on the water for another hour and a half and with no wind they sent us in to postpone on short. A nice sea breeze filled around 4, but it was too little too late and racing was called for the day.

Friday

Another day without a great prospect for wind at the 2024 ILCA Midwinters in St. Petersburg. The RC was expecting a sea breeze to fill later in the afternoon so they postponed us on shore for a couple of hours with the plan to tow us 4-5 miles south where we’d likely find a sooner and stronger sea breeze.

We floated around for almost 2 hours with no sign of a sea breeze. Eventually they called it and towed us the 5 miles back in with no racing at all.

Saturday

Saturday was a repeat of Friday but with a little more wind. The RC again postponed us on shore until noon and then towed us to the race area 5 miles south. When we got there, we found enough light air to run a race and all of the fleets were started.

We had a light air race and the wind eased as we were raced. I didn’t have a great start and had a little trouble getting a clear lane, but once I did I stayed in it as long as I could up the middle of the course and rounded in top 15 with a nice gap behind me. I only lost a boat on the downwind and upwind and they shortened the course at the end of the reach to the outer course. Once the U-flags were processed I was given a 14th for the race.

With the wind dead, we stayed out on the course for an hour and a half hoping the sea breeze would fill. It eventually did very late in the day and given that the seven fleet had 2 races already and none of the other fleets did, they all got starts and there wasn’t enough time to sail us and we were sent in.

I got a fast tow in. Jess and I got to see St. Petersburg and went out to dinner on Central Ave.

Sunday

Sunday saw a line of strong storms rolling in during the morning and racing was postponed. It cleared in the afternoon with enough time to sail 2 races in windy conditions. We elected instead to do some tourist stuff in town and get an early start on the ride home.

Thanks to St. Petersburg Yacht Club for hosting the event. Check out the video here.

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Allan and Jon starting an ILCA race from the signal boat.
Allan and Jon starting an ILCA race from the signal boat.

For the 2023 FBYC Frostbite Regatta we were short on RC and so I pulled the short straw to run races. Thankfully Allan, Rick and David volunteered to help. We had 10 ILCA and 5 other double handed boats out there too.

ILCA sailing downwind while Flying Scots and Melges 15 sail upwind.
ILCA sailing downwind while Flying Scots and Melges 15 sail upwind.

We didn’t have any wind when we planned on starting so we postponed about an hour. We could see it was coming out of the south and had the fleet out there and got started around 12:15. We ran two different course options and the final race included a 1mi downwind leg to the finish at the FBYC dock.

Rick and David on Marie's Mink setting the starting pin.
Rick and David on Marie’s Mink setting the starting pin.

I also go to try out Allan’s big camera with a monster lens and he tried out my mirrorless camera. It was nice to have a chance to finally photograph some sailing from the water with the Nikon Z50 I had gotten a couple months ago. The other innovation we tried out was a starting countdown timer video connected to a Bluetooth speaker telling us on the signal boat when to raise and lower flags so we didn’t have to keep time ourselves. Needs a few tweaks, but worked pretty well.

Great end to the season and while I’m disappointed I didn’t get to sail, it was nice to make it a great event for everyone and I’m looking forward to getting back out there next year.

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I recently digitized some old Laser Masters footage from the 2000 US Laser Masters. I was aboard the Judge boat for most of the event recoding on a Sony Hi-8 camera. It had been a while since I had seen this footage and it was great to be able to reminisce and remember the sailors who were there at the time and what Fishing Bay Yacht Club looked like with the old clubhouse.

As I processed the footage and spliced this together, I was amazed at the improvements to the software to be able to stabilize what was pretty shaky video at the time as well as the ability to clean up some of the audio.

I was also many years from being a master and yet I’m now older than many of the masters-age sailors at the time. Ooof. 

Check out the video and the event results can be seen here.

This year we moved the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship up to a September date to avoid some other masters conflicts in early October so it was a rare treat for the sailors not used to the pool being open to be able to hop in and cool off on a boiling hot Friday afternoon. I spent the afternoon getting things ready for the regatta by alternating between things I could do in the air conditioning and things outside and eventually joined the visiting sailors in the pool and later out to dinner at The Table.

Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.
Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.

On the Saturday, we arrived to nice weather and much cooler temperatures than the prior few days. There wasn’t much wind to start, but forecast to have some by mid-day and so the 32-boat fleet was sent out. We ended up having a 10-15 minute postponement before getting into a starting sequence. We would go through 2 false starts and finally a successful start under the Z flag. I didn’t have a great position at the start and was blanketed on the first beat. I was deep at the first mark and made up a few boats on the downwind and a couple more on the upwind to the finish on the short course. I would settle for 20th.

Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.

The wind continued to be a little shifty, still in the 8-10 range. In this race I had a fantastic start at the boat end with just a couple boats between me and the boat. Soon after the start I tacked and ducked a couple of boats to get out to the right. I continued to play a few shifts in the middle right and found myself out there in clear air with Dave Waiting near me. I would follow Dave into the first mark and on the downwind I went right thinking we were going to have a new breeze from the right. I was really wrong on that and 6 boats past me on the left by the time we got to the bottom mark. On the upwind I stayed to the right (facing upwind) side of the course while most of the boats ahead played the middle left. I got some great shifts and more pressure and by the time we got to the windward mark I had passed everyone and was just ahead of Dave. He has a lot more speed downwind than me and went by in pretty short order. I followed him to finish 2nd with the two of us well ahead of the bunch behind us.

While waiting for the 3rd race the wind started go to light and move around. We postponed on the water and then it became clear there were some storms to the south headed our way and so the fleet was sent in.

Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.
Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.

Alain wasn’t able to sail, but he brought food and the fleet had a good time hanging out and eating while it rained on and off outside.

On Sunday the forecast wasn’t very good and that’s what was delivered. After sending the race committee out to look for wind while the sailors waited on shore, they didn’t find any and with more thunderstorms coming – racing was abandoned for the day.

Sailors waiting for wind on Sunday at the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship.

Congratulations to James Jacob on winning this event for his 7th time. Thanks to David Lee and everyone who helped on RC to make the most of the wind we had.

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Drifting out to the race course before the wind filled.
Drifting out to the race course before the wind filled.

Sunday started with very light winds and the forecast to build. We were postponed on the water as we all drifted out to the course. After about 20 minutes or so there was 3-5 out of the ESE and we were able to get a race started for the 6-boat ILCA fleet.

Alain got the best start in the first race, caught a nice shift on the first beat and lead all the way around the H3.

We would have 2 laps for the 2nd race and I had a great start at the boat. The left phase we had at the start came over to the right and being the right most boat, I was able to lead the whole way around the course. Dave T was right next to me and hot on stern.

By the 3rd race the wind went way left at the start and none of us were really laying the starting line. I tracked immediately at the start and got left and into pressure and had a nice lead at the windward mark. On the second beat I went more left and found less wind. Mike and Holly had more wind to the right, at one point I lee bowed Mike back to the right and into an amazing lift while I proceeded to sail into a hole and he went ahead as did Holly. On the final upwind I was able to get past Holly, but not Mike.

In the 4 race Alain had a great start covering me and I had to duck him and Dave to get out to the right and clear my air. Mike caught some better shifts and pressure to the left and led at the windward mark. Most of the rest of the fleet didn’t catch the lefty at the top of the course that Mike and i caught and so we were launched for the rest of the race. Mike covered me well on the 2nd upwind and stayed just ahead downwind. At the leeward mark I went around the outside of Mike, had a clean rounding and just out transitioned and out hiked him to nose out at the finish line that we were able to lay from the mark.

Given the wind shift, the RC postponed, moved the course and reset everything. The wind started to ease a bit. In the final race I just got ahead and stayed ahead finishing 1st. Thanks to Bob, Lisa, Ruthanna, Glenn and Becca for being our RC today!

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This year I did double duty at the 84th Annual One Design Regatta as both a sailor and as the event chair. I hadn’t planned on doing both, but had a bout 2 months to pull the event together. We had a great team and the biggest surprises were a couple fleets we weren’t expecting, but they were great to have and we made it work and work well and we’ll have it even better for next year.

Melges 15 launching at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club Beach

By the time Saturday rolled around most of the hard work of hosting was done – thanks to Doug, Paul, Jess and a number of other volunteers who spent hours and days preparing for the event. I was able to join the ILCA fleet out on the course for some racing. But before I could do that – I had to get to the race course which had been set in Hills Bay ~3+ miles from the launch site very near Gwynn’s island. I missed our first start by 2 minutes. From there it was a matter of playing catch up in the first race and I would settle for a 7th.

In the second race I had a fantastic start with Noah just below me. We went upwind side by side before I eventually split off. I had a good beat and found myself first to the weather mark. Of course Scott would go right by me downwind and then I passed him again upwind and repeat on the downwind. Only on the final beat I would blow it and let Dave by me as well to leave me in 3rd.

The 3rd and 4th races were similar. I didn’t quite have the speed or tactics that Dave and Scott had. I was mixing it up with Natalie, Noah and Mike M putting up a 3 and a 4 and leaving me winning the tiebreaker for 3rd with Mike M.

Sunday stayed true to the forecast and we never really had enough wind to sail and so we called it around mid day and the results stood. Scott sailed a great regatta – he’s so fast down wind I just couldn’t keep up with him.

Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony.  Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony. Photo by Paul Almany.

All in all the regatta was a success. Certainly some things to improve upon for next year, but most everyone was pretty happy.

PICTURES | ILCA RESULTS | EVENT WEBSITE | VIDEO

Ten ILCA joined 6 Flying Scots and 7 Melges 15 for an afternoon of sailing. The wind started out light in the 6-8 range and by the third race we had gusts into the mid teens.

In the first race didn’t start where I wanted to, but had a clear lane to tack out when I saw a shift and caught some nice wind before everyone else and had a nice lead for the first lap. On the second upwind, Noah was fast and I parked the boat in some waves right at the top mark while he sailed around me. Meanwhile Scott went around both of us and we finished that way.

ILCA Sailing down wind.

The wind picked up a bit for the second race while also going left making the legs a little one sided. Knowing it was going left I tried to win the pin. I won it a little too much and had to unwrap the board from the anchor line and spin and restart. Once i was clear I went a little bit right to find a clear lane. I was 4th by the top mark but all of the boats ahead of me went to the wrong mark downwind that was well past our turning mark. I was first to round the correct mark and led the rest of the race.

Jon hitting the mark at the start.
Hitting the mark on the start.

3rd race I went to the left and just didn’t have the consistent pressure as those on the right. Rounded 3rd and mostly stayed there. Wind was up to about 15 at one point in the race and then eased off.

For the 4th and final race I was in 2nd right behind Scott at top mark. He started to inch away downwind until halfway down the leg he flipped and lost of bunch of places. I had the lead the rest of the race and Mike held off Scott at the finish – leaving me and Scott tied with the same points AND the exact same finishes – my 3-1-3-1 to his 1-3-1-3 and so I won the tiebreaker on account of finishing ahead of him in the last race.

It was really fun racing and great mixing it up with Scott, Noah, Mike, William and the rest of the fleet. Thanks Tom R for race committee.

PICTURES | RESULTS | VIDEO

Jon before the start.
Jon before the start.

16 boats and nice wind out of the SSW for FBYC’s One Design Long Distance Race. I was sailing the ILCA against 6 Melges 15s, 5 Flying Scots and a few other boats.

The race started in Fishing Bay and we sailed about a mile upwind to Piankatank 11. I had a good start at the boat with Phil just below me and held my lane for a bit. I thought I wanted to be able to tack out to the right to keep my air clear, but turned out to be much less wind over there and boats to the right got left behind a bit. By the time we got to 11, some of the Melges were 5 minutes ahead.

Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race
Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race

From 11 to the red 8 marker was a board reach and the Melges 15s put their asymmetrical spinnakers up and went like rocket ships. A few didn’t stay high enough and had to douse their chutes to fetch the mark, but they were all pretty much gone.

Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.
Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.

The next leg took us on another broad reach North towards the entrance of Jackson Creek and then back upwind to retrace the same course back.

I sailed well to stay ahead of a couple of the Flying Scots along with the other ILCA and after the handicaps were calculated finished 9th overall. This race is always fun to do with so many different boats on the same line and usually an interesting course around the Piankatank. In an ILCA, with the rating it has, I don’t stand a chance. We did use slightly different ratings this year using DPN-2 for all boats to better account for the wind ranges and based on the performance and the course we had, we do feel it did a better job balancing the higher performance boats.

Jon – Photo by Paul Almany

Congrats to Parker and Mike on their win!

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We had a nice day and 8 boats for FBYC’s ILCA Spring Regatta. We were sailing alongside 5 Flying Scots and 5 Melges 15s. The wind was a little shifty, mostly out of the south at 5-10 with slightly overcast skies. In 4 races I would win 1 of them, the only one that wasn’t really a race and was just single shot to the windward mark and a broad reach back. In the other races I would have a good upwind first leg, a slow downwind and end up following 3 boats around the course for a 4-4-1-4 scoreline – good enough for 3rd overall. A well-sailed event by Reed and Scott.

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