This year we moved the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship up to a September date to avoid some other masters conflicts in early October so it was a rare treat for the sailors not used to the pool being open to be able to hop in and cool off on a boiling hot Friday afternoon. I spent the afternoon getting things ready for the regatta by alternating between things I could do in the air conditioning and things outside and eventually joined the visiting sailors in the pool and later out to dinner at The Table.

Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.
Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.

On the Saturday, we arrived to nice weather and much cooler temperatures than the prior few days. There wasn’t much wind to start, but forecast to have some by mid-day and so the 32-boat fleet was sent out. We ended up having a 10-15 minute postponement before getting into a starting sequence. We would go through 2 false starts and finally a successful start under the Z flag. I didn’t have a great position at the start and was blanketed on the first beat. I was deep at the first mark and made up a few boats on the downwind and a couple more on the upwind to the finish on the short course. I would settle for 20th.

Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.

The wind continued to be a little shifty, still in the 8-10 range. In this race I had a fantastic start at the boat end with just a couple boats between me and the boat. Soon after the start I tacked and ducked a couple of boats to get out to the right. I continued to play a few shifts in the middle right and found myself out there in clear air with Dave Waiting near me. I would follow Dave into the first mark and on the downwind I went right thinking we were going to have a new breeze from the right. I was really wrong on that and 6 boats past me on the left by the time we got to the bottom mark. On the upwind I stayed to the right (facing upwind) side of the course while most of the boats ahead played the middle left. I got some great shifts and more pressure and by the time we got to the windward mark I had passed everyone and was just ahead of Dave. He has a lot more speed downwind than me and went by in pretty short order. I followed him to finish 2nd with the two of us well ahead of the bunch behind us.

While waiting for the 3rd race the wind started go to light and move around. We postponed on the water and then it became clear there were some storms to the south headed our way and so the fleet was sent in.

Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.
Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.

Alain wasn’t able to sail, but he brought food and the fleet had a good time hanging out and eating while it rained on and off outside.

On Sunday the forecast wasn’t very good and that’s what was delivered. After sending the race committee out to look for wind while the sailors waited on shore, they didn’t find any and with more thunderstorms coming – racing was abandoned for the day.

Sailors waiting for wind on Sunday at the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship.

Congratulations to James Jacob on winning this event for his 7th time. Thanks to David Lee and everyone who helped on RC to make the most of the wind we had.

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After missing Saturday’s racing while helping Todd deliver the boat – day 2 at the Stingray Point Regatta would be the first race of 2023 for J99 Battle Rhythm. As we were heading out to the course we were seeing winds of 8-11 and we used it to practice some maneuvers with our short-handed 4-man crew of Todd, Len, Ron and myself.

The first race started on time – still in 8-10 knots and we had a fantastic start. Other boats in the A2 fleet had better first legs and we found ourselves deep in the fleet at the first mark. We picked up places as the race went on and as the wind continued to drop. By the last downwind leg to the finish it was pretty light. We had past most of the boats ahead of us except Afterthought and Voodoo 2 who were just ahead of us drifting to the finish. Just as we got close the RC abandoned the race with all 3 of us just a couple hundred yards from the finish. It was disappointing to come all of this way and race through all of that, but wasn’t going to be a fair race and was the right call. We definitely learned a lot, started to get the boat dialed in and worked on finding the sweet spot on the new spinnaker we were flying.

After some time postponed motoring around to make some wind and stay cool – the sea breeze eventually filled in out of the south. The RC reset the course and sent us racing again. We didn’t have quite as good of a start this time and had to tack out pretty early and get away. That wasn’t awful as it was the right way for current relief and it allowed us to go in clear air. As the breeze built we spent the race getting back in the grove and taking our time in the maneuvers to not mess anything up. Sometimes we were pulling away from other boats, and other times they were running up on us. We got a 4th in that one.

In the last race of the day – now in the late afternoon, we had another pretty good start. This time we did better to keep up with Afterthought and Voodoo and they were just ahead of us for most of the first lap. The wind had built to 9-11 and we had to adjust modes for the wind and adjust our maneuvers with only the 4 of us to raise and lower sails a little slower to keep things controlled. Voodoo 2 and Afterthought did get a bit more ahead of us, but we held off the boats behind and managed a 5th.

I had a great time sailing with Len, Todd and Ron and it was fun to show all of these other fully crewed boats what we could do short handed.

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Carrie trimming the spinnaker as we sail under the Norris Bridge.
Carrie trimming the spinnaker as we sail under the Norris Bridge.

Today we took Todd’s J99 Battle Rhythm from the boatyard in Irvington, where it had been undergoing some repairs, to Deltaville. We missed the first day of the Stingray Point Regatta – but now have the boat at Fishing Bay Yacht club and ready to race. The wind was light on the Rappahannock for the 8-10 mile trip and we were able to get some sailing in. Even with just 4 of us onboard we were able to put up a new spinnaker to try out. Later as the wind shifted we did some upwind sailing too and arrived in Deltaville mid-afternoon.

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We started the Labor Day Weekend with a distance race ahead of the Stingray Point Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. The boat I was to be sailing on wasn’t here on Friday so I jumped on a J120 called Bogey from Hampton Yacht Club with Steve, Daryl, Jim, Vicky, Amy, Tom, Rob, Mitchel and other Tom. This was my first time on a J120 which is almost like a 40′ version of a J105 and also has an asymmetrical spinnaker. My position was at the mast working with Tom on the bow and also providing some local knowledge as one of the only few who had sailed in this area before.

The wind was out of the NNE at 14 to 16 and we saw some periods of 8 while we were out there and some shiftiness. The race started in the mouth of the Piankatank River and we sailed about 4 miles to the south entrance of the Rappahannock River.

We had a great start right on the boat and we could just about lay the mark from there so we only spent a short time on starboard before tacking over for the long leg out. On the way out we crossed a current line where we could clearly see where the water from the Rappahannock met the water from the rest of the bay. We arrived at the mark just behind Nanuq with Excitation and Voodoo 2 just behind us.

Tradition, Nanuq and Voodoo 2
Tradition, Nanuq and Voodoo 2

The next leg took us straight upwind to another entrance mark of the Rappahannock River. To our surprise the cruising class was also using this mark as a leg of their course, only they were rounding in the opposite direction. We arrived at the mark at the exact same time as Running Tide and we were on Starboard so they made a wide rounding to avoid us. I can’t say I’ve ever been in that situation in a sailing race before and I’m not 100% sure how all of the rules might apply.

From there we went back to the mark we had just came from and then did another lap around both of them. We got to some spinnaker sailing and made up some ground on Voodoo on the first downwind, but ceded it upwind by being on the wrong side of the course.

The last two legs were reaches back towards Stove Point. Nanuq was first over the line and well ahead followed by Voodoo 2 just ahead of us. Excitation and Osprey were a bit behind us. We would go on to finish on corrected time 4th behind Osprey, Excitation and Voodoo 2 with Nanuq behind us.

I had a lot of fun and it was a great day of racing. Thanks Steve and the rest of the crew on Bogey for having me aboard!

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Drifting out to the race course before the wind filled.
Drifting out to the race course before the wind filled.

Sunday started with very light winds and the forecast to build. We were postponed on the water as we all drifted out to the course. After about 20 minutes or so there was 3-5 out of the ESE and we were able to get a race started for the 6-boat ILCA fleet.

Alain got the best start in the first race, caught a nice shift on the first beat and lead all the way around the H3.

We would have 2 laps for the 2nd race and I had a great start at the boat. The left phase we had at the start came over to the right and being the right most boat, I was able to lead the whole way around the course. Dave T was right next to me and hot on stern.

By the 3rd race the wind went way left at the start and none of us were really laying the starting line. I tracked immediately at the start and got left and into pressure and had a nice lead at the windward mark. On the second beat I went more left and found less wind. Mike and Holly had more wind to the right, at one point I lee bowed Mike back to the right and into an amazing lift while I proceeded to sail into a hole and he went ahead as did Holly. On the final upwind I was able to get past Holly, but not Mike.

In the 4 race Alain had a great start covering me and I had to duck him and Dave to get out to the right and clear my air. Mike caught some better shifts and pressure to the left and led at the windward mark. Most of the rest of the fleet didn’t catch the lefty at the top of the course that Mike and i caught and so we were launched for the rest of the race. Mike covered me well on the 2nd upwind and stayed just ahead downwind. At the leeward mark I went around the outside of Mike, had a clean rounding and just out transitioned and out hiked him to nose out at the finish line that we were able to lay from the mark.

Given the wind shift, the RC postponed, moved the course and reset everything. The wind started to ease a bit. In the final race I just got ahead and stayed ahead finishing 1st. Thanks to Bob, Lisa, Ruthanna, Glenn and Becca for being our RC today!

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Aboard Mad Hatter at the start of the Rescue Regatta.

This year Fishing Bay Yacht Club joined up with Stingray Harbor Yacht Club and the Middlesex County Rescue Squad to do a fundraiser regatta in place of what had been FBYC’s Delta Dash race. This year the race would be a 10 mile triangle with a progressive start – ie the slow boats start first and the faster boats start last and first over the finish line wins. It was still broken down by class, but it was fun for a bit to race boat for boat and try to catch the boats ahead.

Sailing downwind with the faster boats just behind and yet to catch us.

I was sailing on Mad Hatter and the wind started out great – in the 10-12 knot range as everyone was gearing up to start. With the wind out of the north the first leg was pretty close hauled. We quickly passed a couple of the boats who started just ahead of us and after a little over 4 miles of sailing there were just a couple boats still ahead of us.

Mad Hatter being passed by Sting and Excitation. Photo by Paul Almany.

The second leg was mostly downwind and the wind started to ease a bit. We put up the symmetrical spinnaker and gybed toward shore hoping for more wind. All the while the fast boats were catching us. After 2 miles of sailing – Sting, Afterthought and Excitation had caught us and rounded just inside the mark. We did a sail change and switched directly from a symmetrical spinnaker to an asymmetrical spinnaker. That worked for a while, but when the wind got really light, that sail didn’t do much and other boats with symmetrical spinnakers started catching up to us. Eventually we went back to the symmetrical, but by then Sting, Excitation and Afterthought were gone and all we could do was hold off Shenanigan and Schiehallion. As we started to get back towards the Piankatank the wind picked up again. We would finish shortly before 3pm which was the time limit for racing. Only 6 boats would finish the race before the time limit expired.

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This year I did double duty at the 84th Annual One Design Regatta as both a sailor and as the event chair. I hadn’t planned on doing both, but had a bout 2 months to pull the event together. We had a great team and the biggest surprises were a couple fleets we weren’t expecting, but they were great to have and we made it work and work well and we’ll have it even better for next year.

Melges 15 launching at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club Beach

By the time Saturday rolled around most of the hard work of hosting was done – thanks to Doug, Paul, Jess and a number of other volunteers who spent hours and days preparing for the event. I was able to join the ILCA fleet out on the course for some racing. But before I could do that – I had to get to the race course which had been set in Hills Bay ~3+ miles from the launch site very near Gwynn’s island. I missed our first start by 2 minutes. From there it was a matter of playing catch up in the first race and I would settle for a 7th.

In the second race I had a fantastic start with Noah just below me. We went upwind side by side before I eventually split off. I had a good beat and found myself first to the weather mark. Of course Scott would go right by me downwind and then I passed him again upwind and repeat on the downwind. Only on the final beat I would blow it and let Dave by me as well to leave me in 3rd.

The 3rd and 4th races were similar. I didn’t quite have the speed or tactics that Dave and Scott had. I was mixing it up with Natalie, Noah and Mike M putting up a 3 and a 4 and leaving me winning the tiebreaker for 3rd with Mike M.

Sunday stayed true to the forecast and we never really had enough wind to sail and so we called it around mid day and the results stood. Scott sailed a great regatta – he’s so fast down wind I just couldn’t keep up with him.

Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony.  Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony. Photo by Paul Almany.

All in all the regatta was a success. Certainly some things to improve upon for next year, but most everyone was pretty happy.

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Ten ILCA joined 6 Flying Scots and 7 Melges 15 for an afternoon of sailing. The wind started out light in the 6-8 range and by the third race we had gusts into the mid teens.

In the first race didn’t start where I wanted to, but had a clear lane to tack out when I saw a shift and caught some nice wind before everyone else and had a nice lead for the first lap. On the second upwind, Noah was fast and I parked the boat in some waves right at the top mark while he sailed around me. Meanwhile Scott went around both of us and we finished that way.

ILCA Sailing down wind.

The wind picked up a bit for the second race while also going left making the legs a little one sided. Knowing it was going left I tried to win the pin. I won it a little too much and had to unwrap the board from the anchor line and spin and restart. Once i was clear I went a little bit right to find a clear lane. I was 4th by the top mark but all of the boats ahead of me went to the wrong mark downwind that was well past our turning mark. I was first to round the correct mark and led the rest of the race.

Jon hitting the mark at the start.
Hitting the mark on the start.

3rd race I went to the left and just didn’t have the consistent pressure as those on the right. Rounded 3rd and mostly stayed there. Wind was up to about 15 at one point in the race and then eased off.

For the 4th and final race I was in 2nd right behind Scott at top mark. He started to inch away downwind until halfway down the leg he flipped and lost of bunch of places. I had the lead the rest of the race and Mike held off Scott at the finish – leaving me and Scott tied with the same points AND the exact same finishes – my 3-1-3-1 to his 1-3-1-3 and so I won the tiebreaker on account of finishing ahead of him in the last race.

It was really fun racing and great mixing it up with Scott, Noah, Mike, William and the rest of the fleet. Thanks Tom R for race committee.

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Jon before the start.
Jon before the start.

16 boats and nice wind out of the SSW for FBYC’s One Design Long Distance Race. I was sailing the ILCA against 6 Melges 15s, 5 Flying Scots and a few other boats.

The race started in Fishing Bay and we sailed about a mile upwind to Piankatank 11. I had a good start at the boat with Phil just below me and held my lane for a bit. I thought I wanted to be able to tack out to the right to keep my air clear, but turned out to be much less wind over there and boats to the right got left behind a bit. By the time we got to 11, some of the Melges were 5 minutes ahead.

Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race
Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race

From 11 to the red 8 marker was a board reach and the Melges 15s put their asymmetrical spinnakers up and went like rocket ships. A few didn’t stay high enough and had to douse their chutes to fetch the mark, but they were all pretty much gone.

Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.
Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.

The next leg took us on another broad reach North towards the entrance of Jackson Creek and then back upwind to retrace the same course back.

I sailed well to stay ahead of a couple of the Flying Scots along with the other ILCA and after the handicaps were calculated finished 9th overall. This race is always fun to do with so many different boats on the same line and usually an interesting course around the Piankatank. In an ILCA, with the rating it has, I don’t stand a chance. We did use slightly different ratings this year using DPN-2 for all boats to better account for the wind ranges and based on the performance and the course we had, we do feel it did a better job balancing the higher performance boats.

Jon – Photo by Paul Almany

Congrats to Parker and Mike on their win!

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