Sailboat Racing

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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Beginning of a Snipe Adventure

My adventure with the Snipe sailboat began in early December. It’s a boat that has intrigued me since looking at pictures of the 1st Snipe World Championship at the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club when I was growing up.  My girlfriend Jess has been sailing them in Dallas and I think for a variety of reasons they could be a good boat at FBYC for those that would want something smaller and with fewer sails than a Flying Scot.  A Laser sailing friend of mine has one that he hasn’t sailed for some time and said I could have it for a case of beer.  So today I rented a trailer and went up and got it.  It’s going to need some work, but it’ll make a good boat for getting started in the Snipe.

PICTURES

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2016 FBYC Laser Frostbite Regatta

The Laser Frostbite Regatta was the last event of the year at FBYC and we made it quite easy on the RC by setting a course that allowed them to signal it from the dock.  The wind was just the right direction out of the south west where the RC could run the races from the end of the dock.  We used a boat to move the weather mark and pin.   They had a great time and the proximity to shore enabled the sailors make breaks at the club in between races.

10/30 FBYC Laser Frostbite Regatta

The wind was a little light for this one, but we rolled through the races doing short courses with 10 boats.  While I seemed to have good boat speed – I did find myself on the wrong side of some shifts and occasionally out of the top 3.  Charlie Brewer once again sailed incredibly consistently and took the day.  I followed in 2nd with Len close behind.  What a great way to end the season!

RESULTS

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2016 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

It was the 35th Anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and the regatta is finally old enough to be a competitor.  The color coral commemorates a 35th anniversary and the shirts we designed turned out pretty cool:

Regatta tshirt

The first day saw medium winds just into the double digits with mostly clear skies.  In 5 races we had some close competition up top between Gavin O’Hare and Charlie Brewer who both finished the day tied with 20 points.  Mike Schmidt was close behind in the 41 boat fleet.

Alain and his kitchen crew prepared another fabulous me and a tent city popped up full of sailors.

Sunday started out with no wind and we waited ashore as it began to build about an hour later.  A little lighter than yesterday we ran a little shorter courses and made it through 4 more races.  Charlie and Gavin stayed close and Gavin managed to edge just ahead of Charlie to win the championship.

Thanks to Alain, Rick, Len, Frank and everyone else who helped make this another great Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.  And after 13 years of only being the event chair – I’ll be looking forward to next year where I can both run it and qualify to sail in it!

PICTURES | RESULTS | VIDEO

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2016 FBYC Offshore Fall Series #3

#DoubleEagle #j109 just after a start from the bridge of #mrroberts on Saturday #deltaville #piankatank #fishingbayyachtclub

A photo posted by Fishing Bay Yacht Club (@fishingbayyachtclub) on

We had a rainy, wet and cold day for the FBYC Fall Series #3 and I jumped on Double Eagle as none of the J70s were going to go out.  We had a good first race, solid crew work, picked the right side of the course and led Nanuq all the way around the course.

The 2nd race didn’t go so great for us – on the second upwind leg we were going through a tack.  As we were switching to the other side and the boat started heeling over, one of the crew who was switching sides over the cabin top, lost their footing and went right under the lifeline and into the water.  I quickly jumped to the back of the boat and threw the heaving line while we stopped the boat.  We pulled the crew in and took them down below to warm up.  That didn’t take too long, but even after a few minutes we were so far behind that we just took a DNF instead of going around the course again.

In the last race of the day we had a little trouble at the start and ended up a couple lengths late at the line.  We weren’t able to recover our time on Nanuq and otherwise sailed a solid race.  Thanks again to Sam and crew for having me along!

RESULTS

 

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2016 FBYC Indian Summer Regatta

9/25 Indian Summer Regatta

I got to take one of Jess’ college sailing friends Michelle out racing on a Front Runner for the Indian Summer Regatta.  Once again we had a very competitive fleet of 4 boats.  Michelle did great to learn the boat very quickly.  In the first race we even had the spinnaker flying upside down (my fault).  With that sorted we picked shifts well and stayed competitive.

RESULTS

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