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.

VIDEO | PHOTOS | RESULTS | EVENT WEBSITE

Here are my favorite photos from 2023:

March - Tulips in front of the Washington Monument.
March – Tulips in front of the Washington Monument.
June - Outer Banks, North Carolina
June – Outer Banks, North Carolina
July - Melges 15 racing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club
July – Melges 15 racing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club
August - Sunrise paddle on Queens Creek
August – Sunrise paddle on Queens Creek
Queens Creek Sunset
August – Queens Creek sunset
September - J120 sailing at the Stingray Point Distance Race
September – J120 sailing at the Stingray Point Distance Race
September - Sailing under spinnaker under the Norris Bridge
September – Sailing under spinnaker under the Norris Bridge
September - Stingray Point Regatta
September – Stingray Point Regatta
October - Fall colors on Fishing Bay
October – Fall colors on Fishing Bay
October - Fall foliage at Fishing Bay Yacht Club
October – Fall foliage at Fishing Bay Yacht Club
October - Race Committee for the FBYC ILCA Frostbite Regatta
October – Race Committee for the FBYC ILCA Frostbite Regatta
November - Antique car in front of Richmond's Main Street Station
November – Antique car in front of Richmond’s Main Street Station
December - passing the Norris Bridge on the Rappahannock River
December – passing the Norris Bridge on the Rappahannock River

See past years here.

It was the first weekend in December and the plan had been to race in FBYC’s winter series but fog and lack of good weather on future weekends for a delivery to Irvington for a haul out meant today was the day to make the trip.

With the winter series going on, we left the dock and sailed out into the fog in the mouth of the Piankatank where the other boats were racing. We could see maybe a 1/2 mile at time. We sailed by the other boats and then headed out to Stingray Point and around it and into the Rappahannock. The fog was a little denser out there and that was the only run in with another boat when a 25′ center console fishing boat went buzzing across our bow with barely visible lights.

The rest of the trip was smooth and the fog lifted as we closed in on the bridge.

Once in Irvington we pulled the sails off, did a few other clean up items and carpooled back to FBYC.

PICTURES

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.

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES

FBYC closed the regular season with the Closing Day Distance Race. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful fall foliage – it felt more like September than almost November. Except there wasn’t much wind. Knowing it was a distance race with little prospect of more wind later and oysters to be eaten this afternoon the RC chose to start us on time and let us make the most of what wind there was.

I was sailing on Battle Rhythm, we were the 3rd fastest boat and thus the 3rd to last boat to start. We were just behind Tradition as we came to the line and ended up underneath a bunch of boats who had parked up just above the line. It took us a long time to sail around them and after 35 minutes to the weather mark – we set a spinnaker and headed due east out of the river to the next mark of the course.

We soon passed a few boats that had rounded the first mark ahead of us. With the spinnaker up, we were a little low and eventually had to drop it and go back to a jib as the wind went a little south. By the time we reached the far mark we were around 7-8th place. On the way back to Stove Point we passed two cruising boats leaving only Afterthought, Nanuq and Goin’ ahead of us. We didn’t catch them, but had a good time to get at 4th and learned some things about how to make the light reaching spinnaker work in light wind and close reaching.

Following the race were oysters and we had a great time catching up with a lot of folks for possibly the last time of the year.

PICTURES | EVENT WEBSITE

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.

We had a really nice day for some practice aboard Todd’s J99 Battle Rhythm along with Kevin, Ron, and Ron’s wife Nancy. The wind was out of the NNE from 10 to about 16 while we were out there. We started with some compass and wind angle calibrations and then did some upwind sailing to the mouth of the Rappahannock where we could see all the boats up the river sailing in the Turkey Shoot Regatta while we tried different settings with the jib sheet leads.

When we were off Windmill point it was pretty waving and choppy and as we were setting the chute we took one huge wave over the bow soaking Todd who had gone forward to get the spinnaker ready. We also sailed through a pod of dolphins at one point.

Kevin, Ron, Jon, Todd, Nancy
Kevin, Ron, Jon, Todd, Nancy

With the chute up we had some really nice running conditions and got the boat planning a bit hitting over 10 knots a couple of times. As we got close to the Piankatank we did a few gybes and headed in for the day.

PICTURES | VIDEO

The Tony Dahlman Trophy
The Tony Dahlman Trophy

Last year at the ILCA US Masters Regatta – I received the Tony Dahlman Trophy which is given to the sailor who finishes in the middle of the fleet that includes full rig lasers. This award has been hanging out at the house and after engraving is now set to be re-united with a friend of Tony’s who helped establish the award in his honor – Richard Leland.

I never had the honor of meeting Tony or crossing tacks with him – he passed away in 2009 – but I appreciate the spirit he had for ILCA sailing and hope to do my best to embody that and pass it on.

Here’s what was posted on the ILCA class website at the time:

Tony Dahlman, a Laser Master sailor from Marysville, California, passed away unexpectedly this past weekend while attending the Laser Masters’ US Championship in Monterey, California. He was sailing the first race of the series when he was stricken. A safety boat immediately came to his aid and rushed him to a waiting ambulance at the Coast Guard pier in the Monterey harbor. He was then transported to the local hospital where he died the next day. All of the sailors at the event as well as the entire Laser Class wish to extend their deepest sympathies to Tony’s wife and family during this difficult time.

laser.org – August 17, 2009

And the deed of gift for the award reads:

DEED OF GIFT
TONY DAHLMAN TROPHY

Gift. The undersigned, on behalf of the laser sailors of District 24, hereby gives to the Laser Class Association of North America a perpetual trophy consisting of a half model of a full rig laser mounted on a cherry wood plaque, 18″ by 24″, bearing the sail number 185526, to be known as the “Tony Dahlman Trophy.”

Purpose. The purpose of the Tony Dahlman award is to honor Tony Dahlman, a master laser sailor and member of the Tahoe Yacht Club, renowned for his dedication to laser sailing, and to recognize master sailors who compete for the fun of sailing and the opportunity to improve rather than finishing at the top of the fleet.

Selection Process. The trophy is to be presented to the competitor who finishes in the middle of the fleet of registered overall competitors at the U.S. Masters Championship each year. If the regatta is divided into separately scored fleets the trophy shall go to the competitor who finishes in the middle of the fleet that includes the master full rig lasers. If two sailors are equally close to the middle of the fleet, the trophy shall go to the competitor with the better finish according to the Racing Rules of Sailing. The determination of the winner of the Tony Dahlman Trophy each year shall be made by the regatta chairman whose decision shall be final.

Rededication. In the event of insufficient interest or for any other reason this trophy may be rededicated by the Laser Class Association of North America.

Care of Trophy. The winner of the trophy each year may, at his or her option, retain the trophy until the next U.S. Laser Masters Championship; provided that such winner assumes the duties set out on the attached Assumption of Duties. If the winner does not so elect to take possession of the trophy, the Laser Class Association of North America shall have it shipped to the Association’s offices, or other location specified by the Association, engrave it with the winner’s name and yacht club in Century OSSL font, store it, deliver it to the following year’s U.S. Laser Masters Championship, and at that event give it to the winner determined in the manner described above; provided that the winner assumes the duties set out on the attached Assumption of Duties. If the winner elects not to so take possession of the trophy, the Laser Class Association of North America shall retain it and perform the above duties the next year.

Jon Deutsch of Fishing Bay Yacht Club receiving the Tony Dahlman award at the 2022 ILCA US Masters Championship at Hampton Yacht Club
Jon receiving the Tony Dalhman trophy at the 2022 ILCA US Masters

To date the winners have been:

YearWinnerClub Represented
2010Ben HagoodSullivan’s Island, SC
2011Terry McMahonMilwaukee Yacht Club
2012Michael ParramoreSevern Sailing Association
2013Greg JacksonPort Madison Yacht Club
2014Chris KlotzBritannia Yacht Club
2015Chris BoomeSt. Francis Yacht Club
2016John TagliamonteWinchester Boat Club
2017Simon BellRichmond Yacht Club
2018Scott WilliamsonSevern Sailing Association
2019Lance KimTreasure Island Sailing Club
2021Claudio FassaradiMission Bay Yacht Club
2022Jon DeutschFishing Bay Yacht Club

Ready to jump back into a new ‘big’ camera. Having had a D70, D3000, D7000 and then a D300s – I found all of those to be big and impractical to lug around and use; I was still taking 95% of my pictures on my iPhone, so when the iPhone 12 Pro came out, I figured I could do without the big camera.

Now that I’ve got better video editing and capture equipment and am trying to do all video in 4k, I wanted something that would give me a little better control and quality. And now that the mirrorless cameras have matured – I think the Z50 is small enough to not feel like I am lugging something huge around – will take good enough pictures to match or beat the iPhone in quality in many situations, and can make use of bigger zoom lenses when I am photographing sailing and want to use the heavy stuff.

Current Camera Equipment:

  • Nikon Z50
  • Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR
  • Nikon Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR
  • Nikon Mount Adapter FTZ
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • Drift XL Pro
  • GoPro Hero 3
  • Olympus Tough TG-6