We had a nice day and 8 boats for FBYC’s ILCA Spring Regatta. We were sailing alongside 5 Flying Scots and 5 Melges 15s. The wind was a little shifty, mostly out of the south at 5-10 with slightly overcast skies. In 4 races I would win 1 of them, the only one that wasn’t really a race and was just single shot to the windward mark and a broad reach back. In the other races I would have a good upwind first leg, a slow downwind and end up following 3 boats around the course for a 4-4-1-4 scoreline – good enough for 3rd overall. A well-sailed event by Reed and Scott.
With storms expect later in the day I headed out early at 9am for some practice time in the ILCA. Winds were 14-19 out of the south and I did a long upwind sail in the Piankatank. The wind was surprisingly steady until I got closer to the south shore. From there I did a long downwind toward the entrance to Jackson Creek and met up with the PHRF boats gathering for the start of the opening day race.
I hovered around for a bit and at 11 when their warning went off, I started off on their course to watch and see them off. I figured once they had passed by me I’d peel off for some more practice and head back up the river to Fishing Bay.
With a 5 minute head start I beat the first fleet to the short upwind mark. From there it was a 3nm to E which is 1P at the entrance of the Piankatank due east into the bay. On the long reach out there I was planing and just flying along. None of the boats were really getting any closer. After 40 minutes of sailing, only Nanuq – the 46′ boat that rates -18 PHRF had passed me and was only 2 minutes ahead at that mark. So much for a short sail into the bay. After turning downwind I eventually headed back into the Piankatank for the long sail home. I can only imagine what the crews on those boats were saying to each other on that leg as the tiny Laser ahead of them wasn’t really getting any bigger/closer.
Thought we were going to postpone, but the wind filled just as we were set to head to the course. Day 2 started with 6-7 knots. I had a crappy 2nd row start, but got right as soon as I could and went fast. Was first to the windward mark. Had a terrible downwind and lost some boats, held on to around 8th.
By the second race the wind had picked up to around 10 or 11. Was 4th to the windward mark. Picked up a spot downwind and stayed there the rest of the way around the course for 3rd. Scott A first, James 2nd.
3rd race – had a great start at the boat and after going left a bit and then right- I was about 5th at the top mark. Lost about 5 boats downwind and so I worked to the left early on the long upwind and passed 4-5 boats on the upwind. I was right behind the lead pack rounding the top mark and finally seemed to figure out the wind and waves going downwind and went around that pack to first and finished that way. Was never able to repeat that speed downwind for the rest of the day.
4th race had a good start and stayed about top 4 or 5 all the way around the course and made a dumb move on the last upwind and fell a few boats to 8th.
Such a fun regatta – being the event chair went great and so many folks pitching in to help out and make it go. And it was fun being a competitor and sailing well and regularly being in the top 5 at some point in almost every race. It was unfortunate we had to reschedule to November and not everyone was able to come, but the weather made for far better sailing than we would have had if we had tried to sail around the storm.
We had hoped to sail the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship in early October, but Hurricane Ian was a little too close for comfort and we ended up postponing the entire event mid-week when it was clear the remnants of the hurricane were going to make it a questionable race weekend. So we rescheduled for early November and 27 boats were able to sail the makeup.
Day 1 started light on the race course and we ended up waiting around about 45 minutes before wind we could race in finally settled. First race was sailed in a very light 6 knot breeze and built as the race went on. I went left on the first beat and that was not the place to be. I managed to pick up a few spots on the way back upwind for an 11.
A second race start was tried and the wind wasn’t steady so we postponed again while it built. Eventually it did and we sailed another race. I played a little more left than I should have and stuck around the middle of the lead pack for an 8th place finish.
By the 3rd race the wind built a little more and we were comfortably hiking. I had a fantastic start and was able to tack to the right almost immediately after the start and protected that side. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick the shifts very well and the folks picking shifts on the left did it better. Ended up 8th again.
We rolled right into a 4th race of the day and I started relatively close to the boat end and mostly by myself. I tacked to the right and took it all the way to the lay line – even over standing a bit and rounding in the top 5. I lost a few spots downwind and played the middle left picking puffs on the 2nd beat to pick up some spots to round the top mark in 2nd and held that to the finish.
For the final race of the day the wind eased off a bit while staying in the double digits. We still had the waves that were a little harder to work through. I went more to the left this time and stuck around the top 5 most of the race.
There was definitely some current going across the course. David, James, Peter, Scott A, all had good races consistently at the lead. First two races were in 6-8 and by the 3rd race the wind had started to build and even had a shot of high teens for a few minutes as some clouds passed.
We wrapped up the evening with pizza from a local gourmet pizza place and a cake as the reschedule didn’t work with Alain’s schedule.
This was supposed to be the final race of the season had we not had to reschedule the ILCA Chesapeake Masters due to the hurricane, so we had 6 ILCA plus a couple of Melges 15s that came out to sail singlehanded with us in 6-8 knots of wind on a beautiful day.
We sailed a bunch of very short races that were 8-12 minutes each of 2 laps around a course that was just a couple hundred years long. It was great because it kept the racing close and everyone was nearby and would jump on any mistakes.
I swapped boats with John Hubbard and sailed his Melges 15 for one of them. I figured out how to heel it and sail by the lee downwind to go as fast as the ILCA. Upwind without a jib was pretty tricky in less than 8 knots.
Overall I had a series of 2nd place finished. I swapped spots with Scott A a bit, but I just couldn’t match the speed or pointing of Reed upwind and settled for a 3rd. It was a great tune up for the ILCA Chesapeake Masters next weekend. Thanks to John L and his crew for RC today!
We had light air and 12 boats for FBYC’s ILCA Summer Regatta II. A course was set out in Fishing Bay with the weather mark just west of the end of Stove Point.
In the first race I had an ok start near the boat. In the 4-6 knots I just focused on going fast and picking shifts towards the middle left of the course. I came in at the weather mark with the lead pack including others who had been a little more middle and more right. Alain came in over all of us from way out on the right and was well ahead. Downwind I held my position and on the 2nd upwind I went more right, but still not as right as Alain and found myself in 4th behind Craig and Scott with Alain out front. On the final downwind to the finish it got really light and I went left with Craig and we managed to catch a little more pressure to get by Alain and Scott, but in the end Alain came back and I finished 3rd behind him and Craig.
The second race saw winds in the 4-5 knot range and further south of the ESE wind we had in the first race. Mike had a good start at the boat and shut me out so I was parked at the start in no wind behind the boat and was 20 seconds late. I worked my way middle right catching shifts and hunting for more pressure. As I came into the mark, Scott was way ahead and Chad just ahead and Craig got there at about the same time and ended up fouling me and had to spin. Downwind I went right and then the wind went way right making it more of a reach and by the time we got to the leeward mark I was right behind Chad. Upwind I went left towards shore while Chad played more of the right. The wind also backed making it a little more of an upwind again. Scott played the shifts in the middle. I was able to string some pressure together to pass Chad and held on to that to the finish 2nd behind Scott leaving us both tied with 5 points and him having the tiebreaker.
For the 3rd race the wind was very light again and we were ghosting along at the start. I saw more wind to the left so I did my best to start nearer the pin with a front row start so I could hopefully poke out and get to that wind first. That largely worked and I used the pressure to get right. Chris Rouzie also had a great first leg and was ahead of me at the rounding mark. The wind died and the race started to be a ghosting reach into the leeward mark. I got to weather of Chris and adjusted to the new reaching breaths of air a little faster and was able to roll him by 1/2 a boat length on the inside of the leeward mark. The RC shortened course there and with some rain in the area and little prospect of more wind we called it a day.
Wasn’t the day we hoped for, but we made the most of what we had and enjoyed some good competition in a 12-boat fleet on a short course. It really showed the importance of clear air and pressure and deciding when to chase the lifts vs when to chase more pressure. And when the pressure did change – shifting modes from sitting in with a little heal in the very light stuff back out to a flat boat in a little more pressure made a difference.
Thanks to the RC lead by Rick Klein for getting us a race in.
We had a super day for the FBYC One Design Long Distance Race. I was sailing an ILCA, one of 3 in the race, including one that sailed off a beach in Mathews to join us, against 10 other boats ranging from Melges 15s to Flying Scots to a Front Runner and a Rocket.
We started in Godfrey Bay and did a short leg upwind to #12 in the Piankatank in 8 knots out of the ENE. The first mark could be fetched from the start, but just barely so a boat end start was critical. I was a few seconds late following a Melges 15 who was a little early and bore off leaving a nice hole for me to start. Another ILCA was behind me and behind them was a Flying Scot.
Upwind I tried to hold my line and make the Flying Scot go around me. I ended up rounding 3rd as we headed east on an almost upwind angle to Piankatank #8. As we passed Stove Point the clear fetch enabled the wind to build to the low teens. My decision not to wear hiking pants didn’t seem so wise. The Front Runner passed me on this leg leaving me in 4th as we went nearly upwind again to FBYC-B just off Stove Point. Thus far everything has been almost upwind and I was in 5th as we turned to go back.
The course in reverse was still a lot of reaching making it hard for the symmetrical boats to fly their chutes and even the asymmetrical spinnaker boats weren’t able to fly their chutes all of the way back. It was great reaching conditions for the ILCA and I was able to reel in the Front Runner and the Flying Scot on the long leg back to 12. Eventually 1 Melges 15 got around me and I was the 4th boat over the line behind 3 Melges 15s and corrected to 3rd overall.
Thanks to Lew and his team for running our races and congrats to Walker on a well sailed race.
We had a light-air day for the first day of ILCA sailing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the ILCA Spring Regatta. We shared the course with the Flying Scots and first race at FBYC of the Melges 15.
I had a good start in the first race and held my speed against Reed and Scott. Near the top mark I went the wrong way and rounded behind both of them. Holly was just behind. Downwind I caught up and passed Scott at the mark and then on the second long upwind he went left while I went right into even less wind allowing Scott to get back ahead and stay there to the finish.
In the second race the ILCA were started with the Melges 15. I started down at the pin to keep boats from port-tacking the fleet.
For the second race – the ILCA were started with the Melges 15. From there it was just following the other ILCA around the course. What we didn’t do, however, is follow the Melges 15 around the course. This was the first day for many of those sailors in those boats, though it was interesting to see their speed in such light air.
In final race the ILCA were started together with the remaining Flying Scots and the Melges 15. The wind was continuing to die and we just needed to get racing on al already shortened course. At the start I creeped up to the line at the boat end and just got there a little too soon and had to wait for the fleet to sail away so I could duck and clear my OCS. The rest of the race went much like the rest, the ILCA sailed out ahead of the other fleets upwind and I was still unable to catch Reed or Scott and finished 3rd for the 3rd time today. It was a nice day to shake the cobwebs out and thanks to David H and the RC for getting us as much racing as the wind would allow.
After over a week of preparation it was time for the 40th Annual Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship. This year was quite easy compared to the stress of last year and running an event during the pandemic and planning it not knowing if we would be able to have it. And being the 40th – we had a couple special things planned to commemorate it.
Not only was I running the event, but I also sailed in it. I don’t tend to treat this as a serious competitive event for myself as my attention is often on on running it, but it’s not often I have a chance to test my mettle against 51 boats of great competition on my home waters, so I try to put up a good showing. With that being said – I didn’t get off to a great start in the first race having fouled Luke just off the starting line and was behind almost everyone after doing my turns. I spent the rest of race focused on staying in clear air and pressure and picking shifts. It helped that there were a lot of boats ahead of me and on all sides of the course to see the angles on upwind and help figure out where to go. I picked well and was able to pick my way through the fleet to finish 3rd. I probably wouldn’t have finished that well had I not had such a bad start and had to watch everyone else.
In the second race I got rolled shortly after the start and shoved out the back and never recovered. I didn’t have a good feel for the boat likely due to sailing in dirty air. There were only 3 boats behind me at the 1st weather mark and I was only able to climb up to 21st by the end.
In the 3rd race I had a great start and even though I was around some of the fast boats, I was able to stay ahead in clear air. I managed to race with the lead pack most of the way around the course swapping positions at times. I was 6th at the bottom mark before the final upwind leg to the finish. I stayed left and picked off several boats, but got passed by Scot and Adam who passed everyone else to win it. James sailed into a hole allowing me and David to catch up with David finished just ahead of James and me just behind. The wind got pretty light at the end and a 4th place finish left me in the top quarter of the fleet after the first day of racing.
At dinner we celebrated 40 year with Alain telling us the story of how the regatta was started and we had several special guests who sailed in the event that first year. A group of regulars also presented a perpetual trophy to be awarded to the first woman.
The forecast Sunday wasn’t nearly as good as the day prior, but we were determined to sail if there was wind. We sailed out in light wind and got one light air race started. I played the middle-left on the first beat and rounded the first mark in 5th, proceeded to go the wrong way downwind, lost a few boats and finished 9th overall. We stayed out on the water for over an hour hoping the wind would come for another race, but it never did settle in and we pulled the plug and sailed in.
David Waiting won the Championship for the 2nd time – a well-sailed event having not even won a race among some stiff competition. Huge thanks to Rick Klein and the RC for getting us racing and to Alain for another great dinner!
We had a light air day for the second of the FBYC ILCA Summer Regattas. We sailed in Fishing Bay just off the dock in a SSW sea breeze. 5 races were sailed until some weather started rolling in. With 10 boats out, I had all top 5 finishes aside from the last race that I needed to skip in order to pack up and get back to Richmond.