Category: ILCA Sailing
ILCA Sailing and Racing. (Prior to 2021 known as Laser Sailing and Racing)
Today’s forecast looked even worse than yesterday so the postponement flag was hoisted in the morning. We then proceeded to do all of the things that ensure wind – namely other things like packing the boats, going power boating and canoeing. And by 10:45 the faithful who stuck it out were treated to a 7-9 knot breeze from the SSE.
We got 4 more races in before the time limit. I won the first race using a similar strategy to yesterday. But as the conditions changed in the 2nd and 3rd races and as I went into lead-conservation-mode – I found that everyone else was suddenly just as fast as I was and there weren’t many passing lanes. I settled for 3rd in the next two races and not knowing if there was a drop or not in the last race, I just figured I just had to be better than DFL. A 6 in that race ended up being my drop and I ended up 1st by 5 points.
It was great for me to finally put more than a just few races together and get a good result. Thanks Steve, Dorian and everyone else for doing everything they did to put on the regatta. I enjoyed sailing with the SSA Laser sailors and look forward to sailing with them again soon.
It was all doom and gloom on the forecast all week ahead of the Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association and we were pleasantly surprised with the 3 races were were able to get in. We headed out to the race course and got the first race off on time in a 6-8 easterly breeze just off Bembe Beach. I had remembered sailing in this exact location and with this exact wind direction and I remember the strategy was to go right or to go left – I just didn’t remember which way.
At the start I wanted to be at the boat and to go right where there appeared to be more wind. I took a second row start just behind Luke Shingledecker and tacked to the right as soon as I cleared the boat. About a minute and a half later I realized it was the left that I wanted to be on because of the left-to-right current, so I tacked and continued, taking a few sterns, until I was left-most boat on nearly the lay line. Once on the layline the current carried me to the mark in the lead. I led the rest of the race favoring the right on the downwind and just doing my best to stay between myself and the pack of Jonathan Phillips, Luke and Bill just behind me.
After the first race was completed – the wind completely shut off – just as was expected. We sat around in power boat chop for over 2 hours before the wind started to fill. This wasn’t the 6-8 that we had earlier in the day but it was a solid 6 – enough to call it racing – and not punishment.
By the time we started the current was supposed to have changed so I again took a second row start behind Luke and worked the right. Once there I realized it hadn’t changed yet and again worked my way out to the left. This time Luke came in ahead of me and I followed him downwind. At the gate I saw some nice pressure on the lower right of the course so I stayed right while Luke went all the way to the left. I came back to the left lay line and was 5-8 lengths ahead of him when we reached the top mark. On the final downwind he closed the gap, but I was able to finish just ahead of him.
For the 3rd race the pin was a little favored so I planned to start down by the pin with Carlos and Luke below me. I got there a little too quick and was OCS and so was Luke so we both tucked around the mark and restarted. I ended up with a nice lane and crossed behind most of the fleet on port until I got to clear air. Once in clear wind I worked my way back across to left-most boat and rounded only behind one other boat who was ultimately tossed for OCS.
On the 2nd upwind of the 3rd race the course was moved to the left and this time I played a conservative middle-left to stay ahead of the guys behind to finish 1st.
Despite the light wind and washing machine seas due to the power boat chop – it ended up being some fun racing. I appreciate that the RC stuck it out and we were able to race. I had the upwind boat speed thing figured out and while there were some things I could have done better – I didn’t make any mistakes and that got me to the front and let me stay there. It was a nice accomplishment putting a whole race day together after the mistakes I made last time I was racing at the Laser District 11 Championship in August.
The forecast for Sunday is even more dismal than today’s, but we do start an hour earlier so I’m hoping we get some more racing in and I can keep the streak going.
Photos courtesy of Carlos Linares
In the first race I didn’t have a stellar start, but tacked out immediately and was able to cross a few boats on port and get to clear air on the right. I worked my way up the middle left of the course and rounded the top mark in ~5th and turned to go downwind. Only I wasn’t supposed to turn downwind – I missed the offset and had to sail back upwind 100 yards. By the time I did my obligatory capsize and returned to round the offset I was in last place. I stayed there until the 2nd upwind beat and I started sailing fast and picking up boats. I continued to do that in the next two legs picking off 8 boats and managed to get back to 11th.
By the 2nd and 3rd races the current started to come in and was coming right down the course. As a result our speed over ground was diminished and it felt like we had much less wind than we did. Couple the wind/current with a little chop and the going started getting a lot tougher only because the feel of the boat was off. I didn’t have great starts and found myself bouncing around in the middle of the pack and pulled a 9-7.
Going into the final race the current started to slow down a bit and I got my head on straight and I was determined not to make any mistakes. I won the favored end of the start at the boat and just sailed to windward of leaders Luke Shingledecker and Henry Amthor. I lead at the first mark, but Luke had better downwind speed and overhauled me. Henry got me on the next leg and I continued to follow them around the course finishing with a 3rd.
While I had hoped for a top 5 finish, I ended up with a 6th and it goes to show despite flashes of brilliance it still came down to time in the boat and some unpolishedness that pulled me back. All in all it was a fun event. I was glad to finally have a chance to visit Tred Avon Yacht Club and the volunteers there including PRO Mike Waters did a great job putting on our regatta. Congrats to Luke and Henry who sailed a great regatta!
This year’s Laser District 11 Championship is being held at Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford Maryland. Since FBYC and TAYC have their annual regattas on the same weekend – after all these years I’ve never had the opportunity to sail at TAYC and I was excited to see the place and sail there. The racing is being run in conjunction with TAYC’s Heritage Regatta and so there were Shields, Stars and Log Canoes also out racing.
As we headed out to the race course the wind was somewhat light out of the north east with mostly overcast skies. The race committee set a nice long mile+ course and got a start going for the 20 boats in the Standard fleet. The wind was going a bit left at the start and a lot of boats were trying to win the pin. I found a nice hole about 1/4 up from the boat and started there. It wasn’t a great spot and I quickly found myself in a 2nd or 3rd row spot.
Up the first beat I knew from watching the wind pre-race that I wanted to be on the left side of the course. So as boats tacked out I just kept going left until I found myself in clear air. I took that most of the way to the layline and found a wind lane to tack back on. That worked out great because the right side of the course had less pressure. I found myself 3rd around the top mark behind only Ted Morgan and Bill Lawson who had gone slightly more left than I did.
Downwind I made my way down the same side of the course I had come with and made sure I was the outside boat. The better pressure and a little better current there helped me pull just ahead of the rest of the fleet at the windward mark.
With the wind starting to die out the RC shortened the course at the next windward mark. With the patchiness of the wind Joe Moran and I traded the lead a couple times before I ultimately banged the left too hard and he, Luke Shingledecker and Jeff Robbins were able to slip by leaving me 4th at the finish.
After the race we sat around in no wind as some light showers moved through the area. We eventually called it a day without any further racing. Back on shore we had a great vantage point of the Log Canoes capsizing – 3 of them.
The 75th Annual One Design Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club got off to a bit of a slow start with hardly any wind to be found. The Laser fleet sat on the shore, boats rigged and communicated with the RC for when to come out to sail. Eventually a whisper of something showed up on the course and we headed out. Once on the course it was another 2 1/2 hours of sitting around before admitting defeat that the wind wasn’t going to fill and calling it a day.
By race time on Sunday we had a nice 6 knot breeze out of the ESE. We had 8 Standard Lasers in our fleet.
In the first two races of the day the wind was still what I’d call ‘light’ with some shiftiness. Eric Roos did a great job picking the shifts and put a nice lead on the rest of us on the first beat and held that to the finish. I never felt comfortable with the boat in the first two races and just didn’t like my setup or boat speed. I was hanging within sight of the leaders, but had to work to stay ahead of Brad, Mike and others all around me and settled for 3 & 5.
By the 3rd, 4th and 5th race we had another knot or two of pressure and I had settled down and gotten the boat setup right. At the starts I was careful not to get pinned to one side of the course and to have clear air. Upwind with the boat finally moving well I was able to pick my head out of the boat and really start picking the shifts. On all 3 first upwind legs I was really well in phase and had 10+ boat length leads at the windward mark.
In one of those 3 races I made the downwind work and actually pulled away in one of them. On the other 2 I felt like I was in a hole and struggled to not loose too much ground on the boats behind me. In the final beat to the finish of race 3 and 4 I was able to just cover the fleet and finish comfortably in 1st. In the 5th race I made a few mistakes getting out of phase early in the final beat and had to play some catchup to finish just ahead of James Jacob who had been consistently 2nd all day long.
By the 6th and final race of the day the wind started easing just a bit. I had a bad start, let myself get pinned on the wrong side of the course and rounded the first mark in 6th. I clawed back to a 4th, but James Jacob’s consistency and my 4 & 5 put me 2 points behind him settling for 2nd place overall.
Having had the new Laser out 5 times and this being the 2nd race day for it – it was really nice to finally have some races where I felt good and had it dialed in. Two weeks from now is the District 11 Championship at Tred Avon and I can’t wait to give it another go.
Thanks to all of the other Laser sailors who came out and sailed with us and thanks to Matt Lambert for putting the regatta together and to Alex Alvis, Geoff Cahill, Donna Alvis, Cindy Corbett, David Lennarz, Brad Miller and everyone else who helped on RC.
We started the day with steady rain and plenty of it and hoping for a clearing to enable us to get some racing in for Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s Summer Laser Regatta. After watching the weather for a bit we were going to have a break around mid-day so we made the call to race right off the dock in the 8-10 SSW breeze we had.
We got off to an on time start with 11 boats on the line. The racing was fun and competitive. The wind was shifty. A few quick sprinkles rolled over the course before clearing later in the day.
Alex Jacob did a masterful job in the first 4 races and stretched out in all of them to take bullets. Robert Suhay, Len Guenther, myself, Mike Moore, Brad Squires and James Jacob all sailed in a pack just behind with any one of us challenging for 2-6 in every race.
PRO Lud Kimbrough and his crew of Eliza Strickland, Anna Matchett, Clay Harris, Katherine Harris, Miles Kimbrough & Just Wilton did a great job being out there under threat of storms and adjusting the course as the wind flaked back and forth. The course lengths were great allowing us to stretch out just enough, but still keeping the starts and the races close.
My day and my first race with my new boat – No Quarter – was a bit of a mixed bag. I had the boat together well enough, but my lack of time in the boat this year clearly showed. I stayed with the pack and had some great legs, but wasn’t able to put a whole race together. I’ll be Laser sailing the next 3 weekends and should be ready by then for the District 11 Championship at Tred Avon August 23-24.
I spent most of today at Fishing Bay Yacht Club putting the new boat together. After 4 hours and 3 trips to West Marine and I had it all tricked out like I wanted and ready to sail.
What really surprised me when I was sailing was how much stiffer the mast seemed. I haven’t sailed many boats and am pretty used to the feel of the old boat. I’m guessing after 17 years the old mast has been flexed so many times it’s lost a bit of stiffness. Couple the stiffer mast with control lines that are just a little thinner than I’m used to and I really felt like a wimp trying to crank everything in. I’m sure it’ll loosen up a bit as I get used to it. The other difference was the all Holt-Allen fittings which were just a little different than the Harken ones I’m used to. I’m not sure yet which I prefer, but I’m sure I’ll be able to tell in time.
I was supposed to be on my way to Cape May New Jersey today for the District 10 Championship Regatta at Wildwood Yacht Club and Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May. I was looking forward to visiting with NJ sailors and visiting a new club. I was also looking to avenge a demon of the last time I was in Cape May and had a run-in with yacht in the harbor.
That wasn’t going to be. Last night when I was loading the Laser I slipped with it and it fell off the car with the bow hitting with a thud. It got a small crack in the gunwale and there were several inches of the hull/deck joint that separated where the boat flexed so it was clearly out of commission. It’s fixable, but it will be a while. Me, the car and the ground made out with out any scratches.
159785 was one of the boats at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, has a great logo on the side of it and was a very well made boat. I was fortunate that the boat was a spare for that regatta and didn’t get as beat up as the other boats. We picked it up at the beginning of 1997 and it served me well for the 17 years since. But with any boat sailed that hard for that long – it was beginning to show its age and have little things go wrong with it from time to time. Almost exactly a year ago I was in NJ and the traveler fairlead pulled out. I had planned on getting a new boat in the next year anyway so might as well move that up and pick up a new boat to use while the old one is getting fixed. Eventually, I’ll keep the old boat at the club for local sailing and keep the new boat in Richmond ready for travel events.
The name for this boat will be No Quarter. That’s the beloved battle cry of my ECU Pirates and loosely means show no mercy, take no prisoners and accept only unconditional surrender.
I ultimately decided I had enough things go wrong for one weekend and didn’t want to temp fate any further by trying to race on a brand new boat… so I thought it best to sit this D10 Championship out and get the boat put together and take it easy this weekend. I’ll have the boat out for it’s maiden voyage tomorrow.
The sun was shining Saturday at the Sunshine Open as 35 lasers took to the waters of Annapolis for the 36th running of this event. That group included 3 sailors from Canada and a couple from New York and New Jersey.
After waiting on the water for about an hour for the wind to fill, we were treated to a 8-10 knot breeze. The large starting line gave everyone a lane and the fleet got off cleanly on the first try. For the first leg the wind went left and that meant all of the pin-end starters who stayed to that side made out much better as the fleet reached the windward mark. The next two marks were changed to square up the course to the new wind. From here the wind held in place although it let out a bit towards the end of the race.
Only one race was sailed and Jon Deutsch (FBYC) finished first followed by Rodger Link (WRSC) and Chad Coberly. Kyle Swenson (FBYC) was the first Junior with a 5th place. Kin Couranz (SSA) was first Radial and Karen Long (SSA) was first Woman.
Following that race the fleet stuck around for almost another hour waiting for some more wind to get another race off, but it never came. We were lucky to get in one race because other courses out on the water such as the J22 and Etchells didn’t get any races off.
Back on shore the fleet was treated to a Mahi Mahi diner and everyone sat around with their favorite drink talking about how their race went.
Sunday started with 8-12 knots of wind, partly cloudy skies and lumpy waves. The Race Committee took us way out into the bay to away from potential powerboat traffic and to get clear air. As everyone was getting to the course we were watching a small rain cell moving from the south to the east of us. It appeared to be going right past us.
In the course of just 5 minutes, that tiny cell off in the distance became a wall of showers headed straight for us. As soon as everyone realized it we started heading in. Minutes later it was raining and gusting into the middle and upper 20’s. Thankfully it was a broad reach back to Annapolis.
Several Vanguard 15’s were coming out to race with us and hadn’t quite made it out to us yet. Just two minutes after we turned to head in, all of the lasers watched as one of the V15s in front of us lost its rig. Soon the rain hit and it was coming down sideways in sheets.
That ride back was the wettest, fastest, scariest and most fun ride I have ever had on a laser. Reaching in, we were flying across the harbor. Several times I could feel the boat lift off the top of one wave and come down on the next. In the peak of the rain about halfway to the dock, the visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile or less and that was one of the few times I’ve been on a laser and had to resort to navigating by compass and buoys. We were in the middle of the harbor yet couldn’t see downtown, the naval academy, or the towers behind us.
Reaching along in high winds it was imperative to keep the boom out of the water and keep the boat flat. I did great at that until I got in front of East Port Yacht Club just a few hundred yards from our own dock. At that point I just lost it and spectacularly crash jibed and came to a screeching halt. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were about 25 high school sailors sitting on the dock in the rain watching us come in and they gave me 10’s for my dismount and a standing ovation. Never before have I actually caught air as I was launched off the boat and into the water.
Once boats starting hitting the docks everyone pitched in to get everyone’s boat landed and on dollies. We all made sure to get everyone out of the water as soon as possible and we grabbed the results from last night and checked off every sailor as they came in to be sure no one was left out there. Once everyone was on shore we swapped stories of our trip in. All in all everyone made it in safely, relatively unscathed, and with a new appreciation for hard ground.
We only ended up with one race, but everyone still had a great time and probably a few good stories they’ll be telling for the rest of the season. I want to thank Dorian Haldeman, the Race Committee and all of the folks at SSA for putting on another great regatta and I look forward to coming back in the fall for the Crab Claw.