Severn Sailing Association hosted the Crab Claw Regatta and 2019 Laser District 11 Championship Regatta. It just so happened that East Carolina’s football team was playing at Navy this afternoon so I figured out how to do both.
The skies were overcast with temperatures in the high 70’s and the wind out of the North at 11-13. I sailed the first two races in some lumpy seas making it critical to keep the boat flat to go fast upwind. There were some shifts to hit as well. Downwind it took a while to figure out how to catch the waves – by the 4th time I went downwind finally started to figure it out just before I headed in.
This year on the Snipe we’ve had a goal all summer to: finish all of the races in a regatta, Jess driving, and not breaking anything. We finally had the perfect day to do it. ‘Jess Wind’ if you will that’s just enough to be challenging, but not so much that we’re overpowered. We had a 3-boat Portsmouth class sailing against Lee’s FrontRunner and Mike’s San Juan 21. The wind was 8-10 out of the North East and the RC set a course between areas A and B.
In the first race we had a good start and sailed well, but didn’t have the boat tuned as well as we could. We focused on reading the wind and keeping the boat moving and sailed a solid race finishing behind the other boats and taking a 3rd after the handicap was calculated.
For the second race we had the boat going a little better and made some good tactical decisions. We were the first boat to the first weather mark, but were overtaken by the Front Runner downwind and the San Juan was still able to correct over us.
In the 3rd race the wind was as far right as it had been all day – knowing it would go back left we banged the left corner while the rest of the fleet went right. Sure enough it came back and we had very solid lead at the first weather mark that we were able to hold the rest of the way around the course and got the bullet. Jess’s first as a driver.
In the 4th race we again had a good weather leg leading the other boats to the first weather mark, but didn’t have enough separation and still finished 2nd.
Jess sailed great. She’s learned a ton about the boat and being a driver and we’re both making the boat go better and improving our maneuvers. We wore out a few parts that need fixing, but nothing that was unexpected and nothing that prevented us from sailing.
Saturday morning we helped Jess’ father put the power boat in the water. This would be the first weekend we truly got to use it without worrying about it taking on water. Jess and I took it out for a cruise to FBYC and then out to the racecourse at the mouth of the Piankatank to watch a start. Racing Pictures.
That evening we had a low country boil back at the river house for some neighbors and friends.
The rest of the weekend was spent helping around the house, paddle boarding, boat rides, crabbing and of course picking them afterward.
FBYC’s Laser Summer Regatta 2 had a great crowd out in some fantastic wind for one of the last race days of the Summer. With winds into the mid-teens and some anchor problems with Mr Roberts delaying our start for an hour we had some attrition in the fleet bringing us down to 10 boats that ended up racing all 4 races.
In all 4 races today, I had great starts usually just a couple boat-lengths down from the boat. I focused on accelerating off the line and keeping a hole for myself and holding my lane before worrying about settings.
With the course in the middle of the Pianakatank just North of the channel and inside Stove point and the wind out of the NNE it was a bit shifty and it was relatively flat given the wind speed. Generally, the left side had better shifts most legs upwind. Often I would head out there sometimes overstanding, but always with James just ahead or behind. Alain, Mike and Greg also had some good upwind legs as well and were usually within striking distance even though it became a 2-boat race between me and James.
The one race left didn’t work was the 3rd race. By this time James had won the first two races and I finished 2nd in both. I was trailing him by a few boat lengths and he rounded and went to the left. When I came around I found myself to be in a header with a lot more wind on the right while James was in a hole. I went right and played the shifts putting myself ahead of James at the windward mark by a few both lengths and was able to hold that to the finish.
Even though James I did a lot of dueling – he had great speed upwind making him hard to pass. Downwind he had another gear I didn’t have – he was playing the angles in the puffs and had great acceleration. My more dead-down approach lost me a few lengths on each leg.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day of racing. I was a great tune-up for the Laser District Championship in Annapolis coming up in a few weeks. Thanks to George Burke for bringing out a novice RC team and doing a fantastic job running races. Congrats to James, Mike, Josh and everyone on a well-sailed regatta.
A little more wind today made it more of my conditions and despite a bad start in the first race I was able to get to the right of the fleet and found pressure to get back ahead. Dave had to compete with his son which allowed me to stay ahead and win the 1st race.
In the 2nd race Dave beat me to the first mark, but I stayed close on the downwind. I was able to get into a position with right away and Dave capsized in his effort to stay clear and I sailed on to win the race.
In the 3rd race Dave tried to port tack the start and I just stayed clear of that, but made sure to give Mike, just to leeward of me, all the room he needed to close the door on Dave at the pin. Mike and I went to the left, got clear and stayed ahead for the rest of the race. Trip had a great race and picked off Mike to finish 2nd while I finished 1st.
In the 4th race I had a poor start and was back in the fleet and had to push hard around the course to make up a few boats and get back to 2nd. Dave was clear ahead and I settled for 2nd.
Going into the final race of the regatta the wind was starting to get light and I knew I was either tied or 1 point behind Dave in the standings. With no drops I’d need to beat him to win the regatta. I ended up taking a bit of a flier out to one side. Dave smartly covered me, the rest of the fleet passed us and he put some boats between us to safely finish ahead of me and win the regatta.
Thanks to Bob Fleck our PRO for the day and his crew who made the best racing they could with the winds we had. Dave, Mike, Trip, Brad and Alain were great to sail with and we all had some fun competition.
We started FBYC’s 80th Annual One Design Regatta with light winds and a 10-boat Laser fleet. We were set up in the middle of the Piankatank and had some current diagonal to the course that made going downwind a little tough. Upwind being generally to the left and definitely in more pressure helped a bunch. We were on the course with San Juan 21’s and staying clear of them was important too.
Dave was just fast all the way around the course and got 3 bullets on the day. Any time I let him get away and didn’t catch my own great shift – he usually just pulled away. Alain had some good racing – especially the 3rd race where he went left and was first to the new pressure and came across the top of all of us. Brad also had a good day and was near the top most races. I finished 3rd in 4 of the 5 races and 2nd in the other to be sitting in 2nd.
I was the PRO for FBYC’s Summer Seabreeze 2 regatta and the racers wanted a Caribbean theme so I changed a few racing rules to ensure the racing fit the theme.
We changed the definition of what constituted a mark so that we could use any inflatable – including a pink flamingo for our starting mark.
We changed the starting line to enable us to use a tiki torch for one end of the line
We required boats over early under I flag to do a Caribbean interpretive dance while only permitting them to clear by rounding the boat end of the line where their dance could be videoed for posterity
We also exempted boats wearing costumes from the clothing weight limits
At the skipper’s meeting the wind was blowing, but we knew the forecast was for it to die and so we postponed about an hour. When something did come, we picked the only spot in the middle of Fishing Bay that seemed to have a lane of wind. It was light, but we got 6 short races for the 6 flying Scots before the wind died.
I could not have done this without the help of Britt and Ruthana and huge thanks to them for being there today.
Sunday, the final day at the Laser North American Championship greeted us with a light west wind. We weren’t sure it was going to hold, but it was enough to race in and so we went out and did. With the lighter winds I had better starts, was able to focus on my boat speed and actually play tactics upwind. I was a little out of phase and a little deeper than I wanted on the first leg, but made up some spots on the succeeding legs and finished 23rd.
In the 2nd race of the day and what would be our final race of the regatta – we had a little less consistent wind across the course. I thought I had a good start, but quickly got rolled and had to tack out. As I made my way to the right side I caught some great pressure and tacked on a few shifts to find myself lined up with the leaders about halfway up the beat on the right side. Alas – I kept going right and they went left and while I did great over the people on the right, it was the left that won out. I made a couple moves on the reach and downwind, but it got pretty light on the downwind. Upwind I started as far left as I could in the light air figuring the tide might help me get there if it really goes out. This was great as the wind filed from the left and I passed a few boats, but made the mistake of going to the right for the top 1/3 of the course and left some more spots on the table. Downwind and on the reach I was able to stay ahead of a pack of 5-6 boats and finished 19th.
After 11 races – this was a fantastic event. Thanks to Eric and his family for the place to stay. The volunteers at BBYC did a great job running races, feeding us and keeping everything organized. I’ll definitely be back for more BBYC regattas.
On Saturday at the Laser North American Championship temperatures had soared and neared 100 degrees with high humidity. There was no wind when it was time to leave and so we were postponed ashore for an hour and a half. Even when we did get out there wasn’t enough wind to sail and we were postponed on the water for another 45 minutes.
And then the wind came. At first it was about 8 knots when we started the first race. I had a beautiful start and punched out for a while until the fast guys caught up and overtook me. As I tried to keep clear lanes of wind I got out of phase and ended up on the wrong side of the course on the right. Boats on the left got more pressure and a lefty to the mark. On the next few legs I did ok and was probably deep 20’s, but at the final jibe mark I got pinwheeled with some 4.7s and a bunch of Lasers and lost a couple spots for a 35th.
By the 2nd race the wind had picked up to 13-15. I had a terrible start, tried to tack out, mis-judged the dip/cross and tapped the back corner of a starboard tacker and had to do turns putting me well behind the fleet upwind. I was able to pick off a few boats on each leg and pulled myself up to a 28th.
By the 3rd race it was even windier with gusts into the upper teens – this was a range where I was just hanging on to make the boat go and not really able to work the boat or be too strategic. I was clearly a bit tired on the downwinds and I got the tipsies and flipped a few times trailing almost the entire rest of the fleet. I was happy to finish rather than take a DNS, but it was some tough slogging.
After racing I did a nice run on the beach then got take out chicken wings and had dinner with some sailors.
Day 2 of the Laser North American Championship at Brant Beach Yacht Club started with a postponement ashore while we waited for the wind to fill in and the fog to lift. By 11:30 the fog and the postponement had lifted and we were headed out to the racecourse with the Radial fleet doing the first start to catch up and get their 3rd race in.
In the first race with the wind at 8-10 I won the boat, albeit I was half length late to the line. I stayed in clear air up the beat and even played some shifts finding myself in the top 20 at the top mark. The rest of the way around the course I ceded some boats and finished 23rd.
The second race saw the wind up another knot or two – now at a range that required some depowering. I had a good start in the middle of the line and held my lane for a while, but eventually got squeezed off and sucked out the back. I never really felt like I got the boat going upwind and was probably bottom 5 around the top mark. I was able to claw back a few boats downwind and reaching finishing 35th.
In the 3rd race I started midway down the line, but was a little late so I immediately tacked out to the right to find clear air. I played the shifts much more so than I had in previous races and was a little more comfortable with the boat moving through the waves and little higher winds. At the top mark I found myself mid-fleet and I was able to actually work the boat through the waves to catch up on boats ahead of me downwind and reaching and rode that to a 21st place finished pulling me up to 28th overall before a drop was factored in.
One fun observation today was how much better the masters sailors were on the reach. There’s a technique to it that I just don’t think the younger sailors have seen since it’s not often we sail on courses with reaching legs.
Post-sailing I did another 4-mile run, got dinner with sailors at the club and caught up with some of the junior parents from FBYC.