Laser Sailing

2017 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: Sunday

Day 2 at the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship saw a little stronger wind that yesterday out of nearly the opposite wind direction. In 3 more long races I was able to move up one spot in the Apprentice Division while only falling one spot overall finishing 12th.

Ahead of the first race I did my prep, checked the wind current, favored side of the course, etc. I would learn pretty quickly in the first race that I was exactly wrong on all of it. I also managed to hit a mark, did my turn and then on the 2nd beat I flubbed a tack and capsized.  So much for dropping the 23 from yesterday, I’d now have a 32 to drop.

As the wind picked up to light hiking conditions I did much better to get a good start and hold my lane up the first beat.  I rounded 10-12 and held my own downwind.  On the 2nd upwind I made some good moves and passed some boat holding onto 5th the rest of the way around the course.

In the 3rd race of the day the wind eased back to 8-10.  I had a good first lap rounding in the top 6, but I picked some bad shifts on the 2nd beat and lost 10 spots.

All in all I was pretty happy finishing near the top 1/4 of the fleet.  The regatta ran as smoothly as it could have and I have the members of FBYC’s Laser fleet as well as Rick Klein and our race committee to thank.  I can’t wait to finish grad school and have some more time to do more masters events.

FINAL RESULTS | PICTURES

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2017 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: Saturday

Starting mark.

We had a busy morning checking in 44 competitors and making sure our RC and safety boats had all of their equipment – on top of rigging a boat.  But it all came together for the first day of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and we were able to sail 4 races in light conditions out of the North. Approaching the club was a challenge – the tide was very high and most vehicles drove through 6-8 inches of water on Fishing Bay Road.  Never had I seen a line at the hose stations to wash the salt water off the cars.

Car was station.

At the skippers meeting this morning I was made a marked man with a shirt to wear for sailing making it very clear it was my first time sailing the event.

Jon and his masters 1st time shirt jon getting a shirt

Out on the water had high 60’s air temp, 72 degree water and cloudy skies with winds 5-7 out of the North.  Occasionally we’d get some 8 or 9 and occasionally it also die out to 3. We were sailing in area B and given the super high tides we’re having, there was a lot of water flowing out of the river going left to right across the course at almost a 90-degree angle.

The first race was a slow H3 on a course that was just under a mile in length.  I didn’t follow my plan to go left and despite a decent start – worked my way out to the right, was the wrong side and paid for it never really  being able to climb through the fleet and finished 23rd.

The 2nd race was a two lap race and I did better playing shifts in the middle of the course to stay just behind the lead pack.  Going left downwind was paying well and I picked up a few boats there on both runs and wound up 10th.

Jon sailing downwind

Jon sailing downwind

The 3rd race was a similar but just 1 lap.  With the first beat being over 20 minutes long there are definitely passing lanes and the fleet spreads out a bit up wind.  I was top 5 0r 6 around the top mark, but this time the left didn’t pay off as well.  I lost some boats downwind, but picked a couple upwind and settled for 9th.

In the 4th race I started to worked the middle on the first upwind and found myself in the mid-teens around the top mark.  Downwind I held my spot down the middle. I rounded the right gate – took a hitch to the right to clear my air and then banged the left corner going into the current, but doing it in the lee of a shore.  When I came back on the port layline I crossed all but the top 3 boats.  That position held for the rest of the race finishing 4th.

Given the forecast and the possibility that it was going to die – we were very happy to have gotten in 4 races and we weren’t in until 4pm making it a rather long day.

Jacque Kerrest, Luke Shingledecker, and Gavin O’Hare were all consistently at the top of each race and are on top of the leaderboard.  Tomorrow’s forecast had been for more wind, but that might not be true anymore so we’ll see what happens in that one especially after the drop.

Eating Dinner

Alain prepared another fabulous meal of ribs, crab cakes, and mac and cheese.  Everyone hung out for a couple hours and finally turned in.  Over half of the fleet is camping at the club.

DAY 1 RESULTS | PICTURES

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2017 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: Friday

This has been the most anticipated regatta I have ever been a part of.  Back in 2005 I was the event chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship for the first time.  I got put in charge then because I was the most active fleet member at the time who couldn’t sail it yet. It would be 12 more years before I finally aged into being able to sail and something we’ve been discussing ever since.  I got a taste of masters sailing earlier this year when I went to Florida Masters Week and I can’t wait to finally be able to participate in an event I have put so much effort into over the past nearly 20 years I’ve been a member at FBYC.

Jon getting registrations into the scoring system

The last two days have been a whirlwind of pulling all the details together.  Being the 13th edition of this event I’ve chaired – the script for it is pretty well established, but it is a bit of a 48 hour mad dash to get all of the food, trophies, souvenirs, and other gear plus my own sailing equipment loaded, transported and readied at the club for the weekend.

some went for a sail friday afternoon

Throughout the day sailors began to arrive and some went for a sail in the mid-teens wind and light misty rain.  Later we piled a bunch of folks into the van and all went into town for dinner.

High high tide

I also got to check out Rob’s new setup.  He now has a sprinter van loosely modeled after my setup – so now there’s two laser sprint vans on the circuit.

Rob's Sprinter

Each year one of the preparations is to make a breakfast casserole that can be easily heated up and served for breakfast.  I make 4 of these a couple days before the regatta and keep them refrigerated.  Here’s the recipe I’ve been using:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 role breakfast sausage
  • 1/3-1/2 bag cubed potatoes
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • 18 eggs
  • 13×9 pan
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese

 

  • preheat oven to 325
  • Brown breakfast sausage
  • Cook strips of bacon, once cool – crumble into small bits
  • Cook cook cubed potatoes
  • eggs into a large mixing bowl and mix
  • Add potatoes, salt, pepper, mix
  • Add sausage, bacon, mix
  • Add all but 1/8 of the cheese, mix
  • Pour mixture into a pam-sprayed tin
  • Bake 45 minutes
  • Add remaining cheese over the top, bake another 6 minutes, let cool.
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2017 FBYC Laser Summer Regatta

The FBYC Summer Laser Regatta was a pretty light-air affair with only two races sailed.  11 boats out including the club’s junior coach who schooled us all with 2 bullets.  Charlie Brewer took 2nds and I had 3rds.  Thanks to Rick F for running our races.

RESULTS

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2017 Moving Jess From Dallas to Richmond

In July I drove out to Dallas for a week to help Jess pack up and move.  It wasn’t all work though – I got to go sailing two days with the Dallas Laser Fleet and raced a night in their summer series.

It was tight fit getting everything into the van and ended up spilling a few things over into a Uhaul trailer.

We visited with Jess’ Dallas friends and said some farewells.

And two days of driving later we were back in Richmond.

PICTURES

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2017 Laser Masters Midweek Madness: Wednesday

In an about face in weather from the rest of the week – wind is what we got on Wednesday with winds in the upper teens and gusts into the lower twenties.  Slightly overcast skies with temperatures in the lower 70’s.  Having sailed in light air all week and most of 2016 – I wasn’t well prepared for these conditions.  My goal would be to just get around the course and salvage as much as I could.

In the first race I had an ok but not stellar start.  I made my way out to the right of the course and I moved the boat ok, but was a few rows back.  Towards the top it was clear the left was coming in better and I was in the back quarter around the top mark.  On the reach to the offset I lost my hand hold on the mainsheet and ended up capsizing to windward as what remained of the fleet sailed by.

I continued the race sailing conservative downwind to keep the boat under me and managed to pick off a few boats on the next two legs.  At the final jibe mark to the finish I messed up the timing of my duck and thwacked the boom on my head to add a little injury to insult.  I’d have a bruise for the next several days.

At that point it was clear I wasn’t competing and I decided to get home and save some time-off for later in the year.  And to finish it up – my dolly broke as I recovered the boat on the beach.  Thankfully the ride home was uneventful including an overnight stop in Florence SC.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Laser Masters Midweek Madness: Tuesday

Following an off day between sailing where I worked remotely from an airbnb I arrived at Sarasota Sailing Squadron late last night.  Sarasota Sailing Squadron is on the point of an island jutting into a wide bay making it a great sailing venue.  There is plenty of beach launching and the sailing area is less than a mile from the launch.

The day started with a bit of a haze and no wind.  Temperatures in the low 70’s.  Even before the skippers’ meeting we were postponed ashore where we would wait for 1 1/2 hours.  The wind finally started to pick up, we went out and a race was started in 5-6 knots of breeze.  That ended up being the best of the breeze as it got very light during.  The wind was out of the South West and there was a little current from left to right at the bottom of the course.

I had a good start and focused on keeping a clear lane of wind and trying not to duck too many boats on port tack.  I did well on that first beat and rounded the first mark in 5th.  Downwind I lost one boat and on the 2nd upwind I didn’t stay in phase as well as I could have and lost a few more boats.  The final 3 legs of the race were pretty brutal.  It was a LONG race not moving very fast and the Radial fleet behind us wouldn’t finish in the time limited.  I ended up with a 12 in the 49-boat fleet.

After waiting for a little another race was started in a little bit more wind.  This time I started at the boat and had a good start on the front line.  I would sail almost to the left layline and was only crossed ahead by two boats.  At the top mark I was caught by a few boats on the right and was top 10 around the mark.  I continued to focus on clear air both up and down wind and held my position around the course as the 13th boat over the line – I would be 11th after OCS boats were taken into account.

By the 3rd race the wind had picked up a little more – now 8 and sometimes just over 10.  Where I could find pressure and make the boat go in light air – pretty much everyone could make the boat go in this wind and it would be a lot harder with the fleet clumped up a lot more around the course.  I had a good start, but got pinned to the left side and missed some shifts coming back the other way.  I was probably in the low 30s around the first mark.  Downwind I stayed in the middle of the course and was playing the shifts better to keep the boat moving fast towards the mark.  I picked off a few boats.  On the 2nd upwind I played the shifts and tried to keep my air clear and picked up some more places.  On the final run I gained a few and lost a few – again playing the middle of the course.  I finished 19th.

That put me in 12th overall – which sounds familiar as that’s how I finished the last regatta.  Back onshore we put boats away, cleaned up and there was a nice seafood dinner at the club.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Sunday

There would be no wind on Sunday and after postponing onshore for a little over an hour the days racing was called off and results were final.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Saturday

It was a light air day at the Florida Masters with temperatures in the mid 70’s and wind out of the south at 5-10.  I did a quick video of the grounds while people were rigging seen here.  I also admired some of the other travel setups including some enclosed trailers and another sprinter van set up as an RV with the boat riding on the (low) roof.

46 standards and 19 radial launched and sailed south to the inlet and out onto the ocean.  There were some large swells at time and when you were at the bottom – there were times you couldn’t see the tops of the sailboats at bottom of the other side of the swell.  The lumpy conditions, wind swinging 50 degrees and the current pushing us down the course made for some challenging racing.

In the first race I had an ok start down by the boat and made my way out to the right side of the course.  I hadn’t quite figured out how to make the boat go in the lumps and found myself midfleet at the top mark.  At the bottom mark we had a course change to shorten the course and this time I banged the left side of the course mostly to get in clear air.  It worked out great and I was 7th at the top mark and I held that to the finish.

In the second race I started mid-line and this time worked my way all the way out to the left.  I caught up to the Radials who started 7 minutes ahead of us and rounded 5th or 6th.  Downwind I played the right side of the course and was 2nd around the right gate and again decided to go out to the left.  With the wind down a little bit and maybe a little more current further from shore on the left – it didn’t pay for me and I dropped 10 spots to the folks who played the right more and finished 12 at the shortened upwind finish.

In the 3rd race I had an atrocious start and had nothing but bad air anywhere I looked upwind.  I think I was ahead of only a few boats at the top mark.  Downwind I played the right side of the course, caught some puffs and passed quite a few boats.  Upwind I played the middle right and passed another 10+ boats.  On the final downwind I passed another boat to finish 20th.

I was happy with my sailing that I was having good speed especially upwind.  I just need to get a little more consistent and work on starting to start out in a good position.  After 3 races I’m in 12th overall and 2nd Apprentice.

A couple general observations – I was sailing with the Mk2 sail and in the light and lumpy conditions I found the looser outhaul gave me better pointing and power through the waves upwind.  Today also highlighted for me how important it was to have clear lanes of wind.  As big as the swells were – they blocked the wind – so it seemed as if only the top of the sail was always in the wind and so it made an even bigger difference without a clear lane of wind.

Following racing I did a quick run down the river front and cleaned up for a nice dinner at the club.

EVENT WEBSITEPICTURES | RESULTS

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2017 Florida Masters: Friday

I’ve arrived in West Palm Beach for my first Laser Masters Regatta.  I finally qualify (35 years old) and I am looking forward to the next 2 days of sailing at Palm Beach Sailing Club followed by a day off and another 2 days of sailing the Masters Midweek Madness regatta at Sarasota Sailing Squadron.

It took about 13 1/2 hours of driving to get here from Richmond having left late yesterday afternoon and spent the night in Manning SC.  Palm Beach Sailing Club is located on the sound just a short sail from an inlet and the racing area will be out on the bay.  They have beach and ramp launching with a small dock and a clubhouse with a big pavillion.  I met up with some familiar NJ and MD friends and also ran into some far-flung sailors I’ve met at various regattas.

Racing starts tomorrow with temperatures in the high 70s and winds 10-14 out of the east.  Can’t wait!

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES

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