This year Jess and I sailed lasers in the FBYC One Design Division Long Distance Race. All of the smaller boats <24′ waterline sail using the Portsmouth handicap system in a race that covers a total of 7-8 miles in the Piankatank River.
We had a variety of boats in the fleet from Lasers, Radials, Flying Scots, a Weta and a few J70’s. The 70s would be fast and the off-angle sailing under asymmetrical spinnakers would really give them a chance to pull away.
The start set the boats off on port tack eastward down the river. The rest of the fleet all came barging in on port tack at the pin and I did a starboard dip line start and forced all of them to give me room and Nostalgia had to circle around and restart. The J70 Billy Buff started just behind me and I was able to pinch them off and slow them down before they eventually went under and around me.
The wind held at a steady 9-11 knots out of the north east. The course took us towards Gywnn’s island, around #8 and then towards the entrance to Jackson creek. It then doubled back and then went ~3 miles west up the river and then back to Godfrey Bay.
I kept up best I could with the Flying Scots and stayed ahead of the Weta while the J/70’s sailed pretty far into the distance.
Following racing as we were packing up the boat the scorer walked by and let me know that after the handicaps were computed, I tied for 3rd with Billy Buff and we both beat Nostalgia by 2 seconds. Just goes to show that starting on starboard made a difference between 3rd and 5th.
Sailors are used to minding tides to plan their sailing – this ended up being another year the sailors needed to mind the tides with their cars. A harvest moon and a Nor’easter off the coast made the road to the club impassable at times throughout the weekend and we had to adjust the regatta schedule around when the road would be passable.
After all the high water in the morning we were postponed ashore close to 2 hours waiting for the wind to race. By the afternoon the wind had filled and the first race was started. I started on the left and banged the left corner seeing that there would be more wind there. I stayed clear of everyone and lead at the first mark. Gavin caught me downwind and I held on to finish 2nd.
For the 2nd race the wind went to the right and I started in the middle of the line and tacked to the right as soon as I was clear ahead. I was 5th at the top mark and stayed there after not being able to catch anyone in the lead pack.
In the 3rd race I started near the pin again and was able to punch out with just Natalie to my left. We continued to the lay line and she tacked onto my hip and stayed there until just before I should have ducked James Jacob who was coming across on starboard and instead of ducking him I was free to lee bow him into the mark in first place. As I rounded the mark I dropped the main sheet causing the boom to hit the mark and my weight to windward pulled the boat over on top of me. Between righting the boat and doing my turns I was deep and was only able to salvage a 16th.
I was super happy with my upwind speed today. I had good starts with room around me allowing me to punch out and go where I wanted with speed. Downwind I held my own but wasn’t fast relative to those around me. It was a solid day of racing sitting in 11th overall.
After sailing we had a fantastic meal and I was honored with a toast to years of service as the District 11 secretary and handed the baton to Scott Williamson who will be taking over. We enjoyed having so many people there to enjoy dinner with and reminise on regattas past and look forward to future sailing.
On Sunday we moved the first warning up to 9:30 since everyone had to arrive super early to get in before the tides went way up. I had never rigged my boat in the dark for a regatta. We also knew the wind was forecast to be better in the morning and die out as the day went on, so we were out early to make the most of it.
I started the first race I started right at the pin and went left into the NNE breeze heading across the river for Berryville Shores. I didn’t go quite as far as Dorian did to get into the lifted breeze closer to shore and I settled for a top 10 rounding. Typical for me I’d loose boats downwind and gain upwind ultimately settling for 9th.
The 2nd race was another long 5h. The wind dropped from 16 in the first race of the day to 14 and the wind went more right now coming right off Stove Point. I had a great start middle right and quickly punched out in front of the boats around me to the right. Boats to the left would get better shifts and more pressure and I would end up mid-teens at the first mark. I would go on to loose a couple boats downwind, but eventually claw my way back to 12th at the finish.
Around noon we were starting what would end up being hte last race of the regatta. The wind went back left and dipped to 9-10 at the start. I started right at the boat and there were numerous boats over early at the pin. I tacked out early to the right to find more pressure and at times looked punched. Had I sailed a little further to the left I would have gotten into the new wind and watch Eric J roll past me further to the left. I was in the teens at the mark and stuck way left downwind with Jeff M. The wind eased to 6-7 as we went downwind. I split from Jeff while he stayed left and got in better wind and as I went right I continued back into the pack still in the mid-teens. I had a good last upwind and picked up a boat or two finishing 11th.
By the time the 3rd race was done it was clear the wind was dying and so we called it a day. After the drop and after 3 boats ahead of me in the last race were OCS I finished 2-5-16-9-12-8 – good enough to tie me for 10th, but I lost the tie breaker on account of being in the younger age group.
It was a very successful regatta. I was so glad so many sailors came to join us. The race committee did a fantastic job making the best racing they could and keeping us sailing in the best wind each day. Alain not only got us fed, but well fed – another marvelous meal. And thanks to Jess for all of her support throughout the regatta and on the safety boat.
The FBYC Fall Regatta started out with a late start due to some confusion over the race time. In the morning the wind was blowing great – into the low 20’s as folks were arriving and those that would have sailed standard rigs all elected to switch down to the radials and join the juniors so we could sail in a single fleet with the same rig. All of the Flying Scots bailed on the day. By the time we had a race committee the wind had cracked off into the low teens – perfect standard-rig weather had we all not already decided to go Radial.
We finally got out to the race course for a 1pm start. Unfortunately for Henry, he broke his gooseneck in the prestart dropping us down to 7 boats. I had a great start and sailed up the middle left of the course while Finn and Reed worked the right in better shifts and pressure. I was right behind Finn at the top mark with Reed behind me. By the 2nd upwind the wind had dropped to 10-11 and I really had to focus on staying in pressure. I managed to beat Finn to the top mark, but downwind he caught a puff and blew right by me. At the finish Finn mistook the lap we were on and went for a rounding while I went across the finish line.
At the start of the 2nd race another boat flipped
over and startled me when the top of the mast hit my deck just beside me. I pushed off the mast to keep us from
tangling and was able to go on and start relatively on time. In this 1-lap race
I stayed right behind Finn the whole time finishing 2nd.
In the 3rd race I won the boat but was a bit slow
upwind with the traveler looser than I would have liked. I tried to play the
shifts to the left, but was mostly on the wrong side of the course letting Reed
get around me and had to settle for a 3rd.
In the 4th race the left finally paid, except
Britt went even more left and led us at the top mark. Chad was right behind us
and gave Finn some trouble and I was able to get around Britt to win the race
with Finn behind me and Chad behind him.
At the start of the 5th race Margaret had a
fantastic start and was mixing it up with the leaders to begin the leg. After
many days of practice, today was her first time racing. I tried to bang the left again, but it didn’t
work and I trailed Finn and Britt at the top mark. This being an H course I was able to tack
early on the upwind to lay the finish and just managed to beat out Britt for a
2nd. Finn would go on to win
the day by 2 points.
We had a ton of fun racing today. The wind held in most of the day. Finn, Reed, Chad, Britt and the rest of the fleet were all fun competitors to sail with and the race committee did a good job keeping our course square and getting us started.
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.
All summer the best wind of the day has been early in the morning, so I was up early to take advantage of it Saturday morning in the Laser. After sailing for a couple hours I headed across the club to sail on Mayo’s Farr-Dickinson 37 Excitation.
Sailing went well and we had a good time against some good competition in the PHRF-A fleet. We wound up 4th in the 7 boat fleet with 4 races over 2 days.
FBYC was doing a Race Committee training day which made it a great opportunity for Jess and me to get out in Lasers with the rest of the fleet to do some starting practice and very short course racing.
We had what was probably the best day we could have asked for on a opening day of the one design season at FBYC. It was warm, partly sunny, good wind and the rain held off until we were done sailing. I was joined by 5 Lasers in what started out as light wind around 5-8 and through the course of 5 races built to about 15. I was talked out of wearing hiking pants thinking it wasn’t going to be hiking conditions and boy was I wrong. And I’m still sore as I write this 3 days later.
Finn, one of the junior radial sailors was out with us and I loaned him a Standard sail to sail with so we could all be in the same fleet. Despite being 40 pounds lighter than I am – he was quite competitive even for his first time sailing a Standard.
The first two races started with the boat heavily favored. In the first race I followed Finn around the first two legs, but was able to split upwind and find more wind and better shifts and got ahead and was able to hold that to the finish. In the second race, Finn and I both sailed out to the left side of the course and ended up past the layline and all I could do was follow him in to the mark. He was able to slip away down wind and I was never able to mount much of a challenge the rest of the race.
In the 3rd race Mike Toms joined us and made it more of a 3 way battle at the front. We stayed close most of the race and in the 2nd upwind I was able to get just enough ahead of them to finish 1st. By the 4th race the wind started to come up a bit and was definitely hiking conditions with some white caps. I followed Mike and Finn around the course, but was able to get inside of them on the final downwind mark rounding. Finn capsized on the 2nd downwind rounding allowing Mike to slip around him into 3rd.
In the final race the wind was up to at least 15 and the course was shortened to 2 laps. At the start both Mike and Finn started to leeward of me and I was able to cover them and push them out to the left side of the course past the layline. From there I just held my lead and didn’t make any mistakes to win the race and win the day. I was great to see how much tighter the racing got with each race – by the last race all of us finished within a minute of each other and any slip would have meant going to the back of the pack. Kudos to Trip, Dave and Britt who got much faster all day long.
All in all it was an awesome day of sailing and a great way to kick off the racing season at FBYC. Huge thanks to Glenn and Becca for heading up the RC for the day as well as to all of the folks who volunteer to help for the day.
My first time sailing the laser for the year was on the last weekend in April and I had a nice sail into stiff wind out of the south at 16-20. I did some exploring and sailed 1h 45m upwind through Hills Bay to Queens Creek. I got to check out Jess’ parents place from the water. The trip back broad reaching only took 40 minutes.