We had quite a day for the final day of the Annapolis NOOD Regatta – plenty of wind and plenty more excitement. The forecast was for it to start into the low teens building with gusts into the 20s. Only two races were planned.
During the first downwind leg of the first race we had trouble with a gybe and broached. Not fun seeing the cockpit coamings in the water and going sideways while the fleet sails by.
I did learn a few things about J/22s this weekend – particularly how beat up a bow guy gets in a breeze!
Thanks again to Art Silcox for having me on his J/22. It was a pleasure sailing with him and Mike Waters.
Today started with a dismal forecast for wind. After being postponed an hour ashore we were sent out where we floated around for another 1 1/2 hours before some wind made an appearance.
The wind eventually filled in with 4-8 out of the south and we went racing. We had a good start and had good position and lane out front 1/3 up the first beat, but we fouled a boat, did our turns and had to suck air in the back of the pack for the rest of the race. The current ripping down the bay didn’t make things any easier for us to try and claw our way back into the fleet.
One of the things that has really hit home for me sailing on the J/22 this weekend is how important it is to have clear air and stay away from other boats.
Today at the Annapolis NOOD regatta was my first time sailing on a J/22, and for a first time, it went pretty well. I’m sailing on Art Silcox’s J/22 along with Mike Waters out of Severn Sailing Association. My training for this event consisted of watching 15 minutes of YouTube videos last night on J/22s to have an idea what I was doing. For the most part the boat was pretty easy to pick up and I had my footing and got comfortable moving about a boat that doesn’t have any lifelines.
We started pretty early to get out and practice before the race. We did some of the maneuvers and were ready to go by the time the first gun sounded at 11. The wind was out of the west and a bit fluky. We’d have 8 knots for a bit followed by puffs of nearly 20. Add to that a building current going across the course due to the big storms we’ve had in the prior couple days. At times we were dodging logs like telephone poles floating through the course.
The first two race were where we did our learning. As we adjusted to the boat and figured out how to sail it together we started to get faster and faster. We didn’t beat a lot of boats in the first two races, but we figured out what we were doing.
The 3rd and 4th race were very different for us. We figured out how to make the boat go, could hold our own with the boats near us and we were able to make our own decisions on where to go. We ended up 20-23-9-12 for 15th overall in the first day.
Two more days to go – lets hope we can stay in the top half of the fleet.
For the 3rd and final day of the Severn Sailing Association Soling Frostbite we had another day of light thermals and mostly overcast skies. I was once again the middle guy flying the chute and calling tactics on Mike Waters boat along with bowman Al Tierney.
In the first race we were a little late to the start and wound up behind the other 4 boats. We worked the left while the rest of the fleet went right and wound up rounding the first mark in last. While the rest of the fleet took the rhumb line to the mark in wind that had shifted to the right looking upwind. We instead went downwind for a bit, straight out into the bay to meet the new breeze coming in and then gybed downwind in pressure and carried that to the downwind mark. That new wind took a while to reach the rest of the fleet and we found ourselves in 2nd at the leeward mark.
Going upwind we picked the shifts and pressure well and passed a boat to round in first. Again we headed out into the bay while the boat just behind us did a tight rounding and headed down the rhumb line to the finish. We were out of the wind barely making headway to the left of the course while our competition was nearly halfway to the finish. Other boats were rounding and following the other boat and making better distance on the finish than we were. And just like clockwork, the breeze came in from the left and carried us right by everyone and we won the race.
In the second race we got a good start and just played the shifts and pressure upwind and kept ourselves between the other boats and the next mark and were able to win that race as well.
In the 3rd race we had a pretty solid lead using the same strategy as the 2nd race. On the final run we just tried to just stay ahead. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t cooperate and brought some of the boats behind us right up to us and one boat was able to squeak ahead of us at the line.
In the end a 1-1-2 was enough to win the day and pull ourselves up into 1st overall for the frostbite series. In the last 43 years the winter series has only been won by 3 different guys. Congratulations to Mike Waters on becoming the 4th person to win the series. I was glad I could be along for a ride, I enjoyed getting to try some Soling sailing and I can’t wait to do it again.
For the 2nd day of the SSA Soling Frostbite we had a bit more variable conditions than 2 weeks ago. This time we had 5 boats out and were able to get 2 races in. Mike Waters was skipper, Josh Page did bow and I was in the middle flying the spinnaker and doing wind/tactics.
We did well in the first race by having good boat speed up wind and making the left work for us. We finished 2nd having held that position all race.
In the 2nd race we had another good upwind and rounded in 2nd. At the leeward mark, there was no committee boat and we mistaked which one of the two marks was our rounding mark and lost some distance to the leader. The next two legs each had 180 degree shifts in them making it challenging, but it switched swiftly and did little to change the results as we still ended up second.
Saturday I got to sail on a Soling for my first time in SSA’s Soling Frostbite. A Soling is a 27′ 3-person keel boat and I was sailing as the middle crew with skipper Mike Waters and bow Gretchen E. We had a bit of a slow start as we dialed in the boat and got through each of the crew mechanics the first time. We learned, we got better and while our results don’t show it, we were actually pretty competitive.
Today’s weather was perfect for frostbiting. Air temperatures on land in the high 50’s with a water temperature of 38. That created great thermal conditions and we had relatively steady wind that started around 8 and built to about 12 before coming back down to about 10 out of the SSW.
In the first race we had a good start, were 2nd at the windward mark and were the first boat to the leeward mark. Unfortunately for us we couldn’t get the spin halyard down and ended up sailing 1/2 mile past the leeward mark before we were able to free the halyard to retrieve it. We took a DNF in that one.
The 2nd race went much better for us. While we weren’t able to fix the core problem with the spin halyard, at least we knew the problem and could work around it. We ended up leading that race wire to wire. We did a great job picking the shifts on both upwind legs and kept a comfortable cover on the boats around.
For the 3rd race we had another great start, got to the windward mark first, but lost a boat downwind. On the 2nd upwind we got on the wrong side of the course as more pressure came from the other side dropping us back to 5th.
Overall the racing was really tight with only a few points separating the boats, but with our DNF we got the short end of the stick and wound up 5th overall. It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the next frostbite day.
Sunday’s racing at the Laser District 11 Championship in Annapolis started out much like Saturday, but with less wind. We started the first race under mostly cloudy skies and 8-10 knots of breeze.
After a general recall under P flag the RC went straight to the black flag. I had a decent start near the boat end and worked my way out to the right along with Ted Morgan. Karen long hit the right even better than we did and rounded the mark first with me and Ted just behind her. Downwind I got ahead and put some distance between myself and the group just behind me. From there I just kept ahead on the remaining 3 legs and took the gun.
Sunday’s 2nd race didn’t go so well. My start wasn’t as good and I got behind early by being on the wrong side of the shifts on the first beat settling for a 12. The thing I learned in the 2nd race was that the mode I was using to make the boat go fast upwind in a little more wind and more chop, stopped working when the wind lightened and the water got flatter.
By the 3rd and final race the wind was pretty light and the chop was just the random power boat variety. We were moving, but it was slow going at times, particularly downwind. I won the boat at the start and again worked my way up the middle right. This time the far right didn’t pay. And much of the fleet had gone left hoping it would pay off like it did last race – it didn’t. I rounded 2nd just behind Brady White with Brett Morris behind me. Brady extended his lead and I was able to hold off Brett. We would go on to finish 1-2-3.
With that finish and knowing several boats would have black flags, I knew the top 2-7 boats would all be pretty close. The 1 & 2 today certainly helped, but the 12 meant I’d have to keep a 10. In the end it was the bullet that won me the tiebreaker for 3rd place overall.
Despite the light winds, it was fun to be competing at the top of the fleet – especially with some sailors who I’m usually following around the course. And with 34 boats there were plenty of sailors keeping the competition close. Thanks again to Steven Cofer and everyone at SSA for hosting our championship! And congratulations to winner Mike Russom who sailed a very consistent regatta with top 5 finishes.
We started the 2013 District 11 Championship with 32 standards and 9 radials at Severn Sailing Association. It was overcast with and the wind was blowing 8-12. Out on the water we had a bit of a time getting started with the current pushing us over and multiple general recalls and restarts.
I didn’t have a particularly great start in the first race, but I made my way to the right and picked the shifts up the beat catching boats on every upwind. As the race went on the wind started dropping and was 7 or 8 with left over lumps and chop. I ended up 7th.
In the 2nd race I had a terrible start and won the 6th row getting shut out at the boat. I worked my way up the first beat just looking for clear lanes and only had 4 boats behind me at the first mark. Downwind I picked up boats and I picked up another handful on the upwinds. Salvaged a 10th.
For the 3rd race we still had a 7-8 knots and the chop started going down a bit. I had a great start, but let Brady and Mike get ahead and to the right. I followed and when they broke to the left I hung out to the right and crossed both of them. I was first at the top mark and lost a boat downwind. Mike Russom was fast and made a good comeback. But Ted Morgan had the best lines and speed and beat everyone at the top mark. I held onto 4th.
After racing we had crabs and listened to a band on the SSA deck.
This weekend is the Laser District 11 Championship at Severn Sailing Association. The J70 North American Championship is going on Thursday through Saturday with 90 boats and so I decided to come up a day early to go out and spectate. The wind didn’t cooperate much and after 4 hours sitting on the water, racing was cancelled for the day. While we didn’t get to see any sailing, it was still nice to get on the water. Thanks to Brian Reagan for the ride out to spectate.
Tomorrow we’ll have 40+ Lasers and Radials out for our two-day championship. Lighter winds are expected which just means – it’s anyone’s race to win!
Lighter winds and cooler temperatures for the final day of the Annapolis NOOD regatta. We gave it what we had, but just weren’t able to improve our score in the final two races. With winds up and down and forming lanes up and down the course, we just weren’t able to string enough pressure together to keep us moving. Despite the scores, it was still a fun weekend and I want to thank Craig & Susan Wright on Afterthought for having me along.