Ever since the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship Trophy was completed in 2011 it never really took it’s place on display upstairs in the club house at Fishing Bay Yacht Club among the other trophies there. Primarily because it was too heavy to hang and there was no suitable place to prop it up and thus it lacked a stand. So my Dad and I recently made folding legs for the trophy using some of the left over wood from the original project. Now the trophy is on display in the club house just a few feet from where the old trophy used to hang next to the TV.
My last Laser regatta of the year was the Frostbite Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. It was a perfect fall day with wind and water temperatures in the low 60’s, plenty of sun and wind 8-13. We had a fleet of 14 boat sailing to winds out of the ENE in Fishing Bay. I had some mediocre starts making it tough to get a good lane early in the first beat often leaving me mid-fleet at the first rounding. Downwind there would sometimes be some puffs to be had on either side, but this was a pretty good fleet downwind and with the lighter air their weren’t many passing lanes. Upwind I could usually pick up a boat or two and get myself back into the top 5 most races.
For Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s Offshore Fall Series #4 I was aboard the weather mark boat with Justin running marks for the races. The wind was steady out of the west making it easy to set the course once for both races. With winds in the upper teens and temperatures in the 60’s – there was some spirited racing and it was fun to watch. Definitely interesting to see which boats were trying hard and making mistakes versus the boats that took it a little easier and were less aggressive, but made fewer mistakes.
Saturday was the 3rd day in the Fishing bay Yacht Club Offshore Fall Series and I sailed aboard Mayo Tabb’s Farr-Dickenson 37 Excitation. It started out overcast with some occasional drizzle with winds 14-18 out of the SW. We were short handed with only 6 on board precluding use of the spinnaker most of the day. We made the most of it and focused on good upwind legs and made a lot less mistakes than those flying chutes and the short 1-mile legs allowed us to be competitive. All in all it was a fun day of 3 races.
Power returned to Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the 2nd day of the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship around 9am just before we were set to launch. We had enough wind to sail in, but it was light. It built a bit and we got a race started. Halfway through the race it started to die and we did some floating. There was enough to finish with only the last couple boats being TLE. We were in by noon, had some lasagna and left overs from last night and gave out awards. A 17th in today’s race let me drop a 21 and finish 11th overall and 4th Apprentice Master.
Congrats to Rob Hallawell on his win overall. This regatta could not have happened without Rick Kline, all of the RC, Alain and his chefs, Bryan, Eric, Bob F, Mayo and everyone who helped get the club ready. And it was great seeing all of my Laser sailing friends who come back year after year and thanks for putting up with some inconveniences this year.
It was the first day of racing at the 2018 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship and we had 51 boat arrive including several who arrived late at night last night. With all of the preparations already made we went through the morning routine and it almost unnoticeable that we didn’t have power.
On the water we found the wind built to a few knots more than forecasted. In the first race I was a little late for the start and had to go upwind in dirty air rounding the first mark below mid-fleet. By the second upwind leg on the modified windward-leeward course I was able to pick some shifts and get within striking distance of the lead group and finished 9th.
At the start of the 2nd race the wind had shifted favoring the port end of the line and I was one of only 2 boats down there set to cross the fleet on port just seconds after the start. Unfortunately for me there was one boat to duck while I was on port and I took my eye off him for a second and managed to tag his transom. Two turns later there were only 3 boats behind me at the windward mark. I sailed well to pick off some boats and finished up in 15th.
For the 3rd race I had a great start in the middle of the course and held my lane well upwind. I was in the top 5 around the windward mark and used some of the downwind knowledge I learned in the previous race to get around a couple boats to round the leeward mark in 3rd. Upwind I held my position and extended on the boats behind while Gavin and Rob extended a little on me, but I was able to come back a bit on them downwind with all of us rounding nose to tail. Upwind on the final beat to the finish I split with the two of them and managed to just get my nose in ahead of Gavin at the finish for a 2nd place.
By the 4th race of the day the wind was at the peak in the upper teens – this would be a triangle windward-leeward course. The wind was also shifty and while I was beating I got a puff and wind sheer that knocked me over before I knew what was happening. I was deep again in this race and managed to pull myself back up to 21.
In the 5th race I had a good start and was able to sail with the lead pack the entire way around the course sailing my way to a 7th. Overall it was a fun day of sailing. We were fortunite not to have any light air where we were guessing where the wind was coming from. Not only did I have good boat speed upwind, I had much better boat speed downwind and felt like I picked up on the improvements I had made last month in Annapolis. When I didn’t hit boats, didn’t tip over and started on time – I did pretty well – I should do more of that!
Saturday evening back at the club we had a wonderful dinner prepared by Alain and his helpers. We fed 93 people – under lights powered by generators with power cords snaked all over the club.
It’s a been a week of preparing for the 2018 Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Everything from building trophies, pre-cooking breakfast, ordering food to buying all of the other supplies was coming together. Also coming this week was the remnants of hurricane Michael which roared through on Thursday evening. Friday morning I woke up to hear that FBYC was among the hundreds of thousands of customers in Virginia without power and the prospect of getting power before the end of the weekend was slim.
Calling around to our club manager, flag officers and others who are familiar with the systems at FBYC I figured out the following: The club had hosted an event without power after a hurricane in the past and had an electrician wire a place to plug in a generator. The water system had it’s own generator. And 4 J/70s had been knocked over in the dry sail lot. The water system was the only thing that could necessitate cancelling the regatta – it would be unsafe to have that many people at the club without proper sanitation. With the knowledge that we had that solved, I knew once on site we could use some ingenuity to solve the rest of our needs for electricity. I owned a small generator and I borrowed a bigger one from my parents and got on the road to Deltaville by noon.
Once I arrived at the club I found things as expected. I got one of the generators plugged into the refrigerators in the kitchen and worked on other preparations. Mayo Tabb – a member with extensive electrical systems experience came by a short time later and had a way to plug into the club generator outlet that was sized for a very big generator into a more standard household generator. This would enable us to power only 1/3 of the club including the refrigerators and range hood that we would need to cook on the gas stove top. Bob Fleck also brought by a bigger generator and by late afternoon Mayo had scavenged all of the parts to wire everything safely. We used the smaller generator to use the air pumps to inflate the marks and to wire it into the boat lift to get the mark boat lowered into the water.
While this was going on I communicating with the sailors who were driving in from as far away as Michigan, Colorado and Toronto. They knew our facilities would be limited through the weekend without power – few lights at night, no hot water in the showers and that we’d have to conserve water. 1/3 of the fleet was camping out anyway, so lack of power wasn’t going to be much of a concern. It also helped that all of the businesses in Deltaville had power, so at least folks could purchase what they needed. One way or another it was going to make it a memorable weekend and they were all in for the ride. Not a single sailor canceled or didn’t show.
Huge thanks to the club staff Bryan and Eric as well as Bob and Mayo who spent their afternoon Friday helping get things wired together. And thanks to the fleet members Alain, Charlie, Britt, Frank, Mike, Ron and others for help pulling together the other details to make us ready.
Day 2 of the District 11 Championship and Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis started with light drizzle that would continue through out the day. At least that kept the power boaters away. The wind was in the mid-teens a little east of where it was yesterday and the temperatures just warm enough to wear summer attire plus a spray jacket.
I did a lot better in today’s races – generally staying close enough to the lead group to nip at their heels. Sailing upwind was tough with the rain – telltales were unusable because they stuck to the sail requiring me to sail only by feel. On port tack the waves were a little more square on making it a challenge of picking when to point and pound through the waves, or go low and foot through the waves at a better angle.
Downwind the waves were awesome – very little of the slop that we had yesterday and typically see in that sailing area (A) in Annapolis. I managed to catch the waves and S-turn in a way that I never have before. Almost every downwind I made up 10-15 boat lengths on the boats around me – I’m usually the one loosing a few boat lengths down wind.
That was good enough for me to finish 12th and stay in the top half of the fleet. Big thanks to Scott and Dorian for organizing the regatta, Steven for the place at to stay and to PRO Steve and everyone else on the RC who ran the races!
The first day of the Laser District 11 Championship and Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association started with nice weather and winds in the upper teens out of the north. Despite the wind direction the temperatures will still warm enough for summer sailing attire, may just a spray top for some.
I got off to a rough start racing – I was taking it a little easy in the stronger winds, in part due to an emergency room visit earlier in the week, to keep the stitches in my head dry and getting more comfortable not re-injuring my wrist. I also hadn’t figured out the right boat settings for the wind, and I was just plain tired. Note to self – don’t do these things again. So that led me to to not be totally aware of the course on a downwind leg and to confuse where the leeward marks were with the separate finish and I ended up rounding the gate the wrong way. I certainly wasn’t the only one, but I’d need to take a DNF. That wasn’t my only trouble, I also deathrolled downwind.
By the 2nd race the wind eased a little bit – still in the mid-teens. I had a great start and worked my way to the left getting almost to the layline. Once there I tacked and proceeded to botch it and not get under the boom and flipped over. When I came up, I reset the boat and I must have done something right because I was suddenly wicked fast. Like somehow fast enough to catch a boat that is normally as fast or faster than I am from 8 lengths behind and to roll over over them. I was back up with the lead group just behind them. Downwind I played it conservative to keep the boat upright and on the 2nd upwind I picked the wrong side and didn’t play the shifts well and would end up 13th.
For the 3rd race the wind eased enough to be squarely in the 12-14 range that I am very fast in. I had a good start and sailed with the leaders the whole race. I was a pinch slow downwind, but felt more comfortable in the boat and had more confidence in my wrist.
The 4th race was 11-13 and I did more of the same – this time getting as high as the top 4 or 5 at some marks. I actually start getting comfortable surfing the waves and actually had good speed downwind. I would end up 7th.
The final race was a disaster again. The wind eased off to around 10 with lulls around 8 and the larger chop was still bouncing around making it tough to power over or through them. I had a good start, but didn’t keep my lane clear and got rolled – then I missed some shifts to put myself in the middle of the fleet. A deathroll and later fouling a boat to do turns meant I was racing for last and finished 20th.
All in all it was great to be out racing, the RC ran great races and folks like Mike and Scott were having great days. After racing I took a van-nap and we had a crab picking feast. I’m in 13th.
Sunday at the US Laser Masters saw more wind as it built through the day. We went out on schedule and sailed the first race in similar wind to yesterday in the 8 knot range as the wind bounced around between 200 and 220 before finally settling in at 210. I had another bad start and had to pick my way through the fleet to finish 26.
By the 2nd race of the day, the wind had built to the mid-teens. I cramped up on the first downwind, wasn’t practiced enough in the wind and waves and ended up with a case of the flipsies. I sailed a little more conservatively downwind after that and kept the boat upright, but would finish 39th.
In the 3rd race of the day and 7th total race the wind was a bit steadier in the 15-20 knot range, I had a good start, but struggled getting the boat dialed in and sailing fast in the stronger breeze. Part of it was being out of shape and the other part of it is probably doing 90% of my sailing in the 5-12 knot range over the past couple years and not having enough time in the boat in those conditions. I would go on to finish 41st.
By the 4th and final race of the regatta the wind was the same, I was a little more comfortable in the boat and making it go in the wind. I sailed conservatively until the very last leg – I passed two boats on the short reach, had the inside track on the pin when a gust hit and I started to round up into the pin boat. I did all I could to dump mainsheet while rotating the boat around just enough so that as I tipped over to windward my mast fell just to leeward of the pin boat. I hadn’t hit anything, I cross the finish line and I even found I could stand up. I righted the boat and sailed in exhausted.
Back on shore we packed up and the awards ceremony was held. I finished 24th overall and received the award for the top Apprentice.
Eric, Mike and everyone at Brant Beach Yacht Club put on a great regatta all the way around. I had a great time visiting with all of the sailors there and enjoyed 3 days of sailing. I’ll be back next year when Brant Beach hosts the open North American Championship Regatta in July.