Laser Midwinters Day 2

For the second race day at Laser Midwinters we had 12-14 knots all day.  I sailed with the leaders all day long … that was the leaders of the fleet behind me.  It was a beautiful day with warm weather and we sailed 3 races.  It wasn’t my best day as I am not competitive in the top end of that range wind range.  I’m getting more experience in that kind of wind and getting my muscles used to hiking again after a few month hiatus.

I was in the back of the pack so I’ll definitely be in the silver fleet.  Looking forward to sailing with the back half of the fleet in what should be some laid back and competitive sailing at more my level.

Jon sailing the start of race 2 at Laser midwinters

We had some light winds and chop for the first day of the Laser Midwinters in Clearwater Florida. They split the 78 boat standard rig fleet and I was sailing with the blue fleet with the 3rd start of the day. I was one of the last to arrive at the race course and after a quick postponement they got the fleets started. In the first race I had a bit of a slow start and was in the 30s around the first mark. As I got more comfortable in the boat I clawed back a few spots at a time and came back to 27th. On the last downwind leg I was going downwind on starboard with another boat sailing parallel to me on port. Our masts touched so I protested him. I normally wouldn’t follow through with a protest that doesn’t really affect my finish, but I wasn’t a fan of how the guy handled it on the water so he got tossed later that evening in the protest hearing that he failed to show up to.

We sat on the water for over an hour while the wind clocked around to the right and the course got reset. We started the 2nd race in about 8 knots of breeze. I had a good start and was on the favored side of the course. I had better boat speed than the first race and hung right behind the lead pack. Up until the last two legs I held my place pretty well, but by the last two races I made some positioning mistakes and let some boats sneak inside me and ended up 23rd.

All in all it was a good day of sailing. The weather was comfortable and the water is not too cold. I’m sitting in 50th and if I can put up some solid finishes tomorrow, I might be able to sneak into the top fleet going into the weekend. The forecast tomorrow is for more wind in the 10-15 knot range.

Welcome Laser Midwinter Sailors

The trip to Clearwater Florida for the 2011 Laser Midwinters East was an easy one.  Ted brought brought my boat down last week when he came for Masters Midwinters and so this afternoon I was able to fly down. Once in town I settled into the hotel, got the boat checked in and went to dinner with Bob, Ted and Adam.

Tomorrow will be the first of 4 days of racing in the standard rig.  The forecast is for lighter winds on Thursday with a little more on Friday and Saturday.  There will be close to 80 other boats with me in the Standard rig fleet and over 200 total at the regatta.  This is my first time at Midwinters and I’m looking forward to a great weekend of sailing.

Throughout the regatta I’ll be one of a couple people updating the regatta twitter feed (@LaserMWE) as well as my own twitter account when I’m off the water (@jondeutsch).

I used Sunday’s Laser frostbite as an opportunity to get some of the cobwebs out.  Last weeks’ frostbite at Hampton was good for getting the boat together, but with little wind, wasn’t much of an opportunity to do the kind of sailing I’ll be doing at Midwinters in Clearwater Florida in a little over a week.

The temperature on Sunday in Annapolis was in the high 40’s and low 50’s with winds 13-16 knots, overcast skies and a water temperature of 38 degrees.  Generally it was good sailing in wind that I had to hike in and I got some of the feeling back in how to sail the boat and make it go.  With boat handling being my priority, results of the 4 races I sailed in were secondary and the scoreboard was not friendly – finishing 15 out of 17 boats on the line including two DFLs.

All in all it was a good day on the water and I’m glad to have gotten that past me now rather than on the first day of the regatta.  This was also an opportunity for me to practice filming with the GoPro.  I had gotten several mounting locations set up and today I mounted the camera to the bow.  Check out the video:

Made a trip to the ODU sailing center on Sunday to Frostbite with the Hampton Roads Laser Fleet. This was the first of two frostbite outings to tune up for the Laser Midwinters East Regatta in Clearwater Florida in a couple weeks.

The day was fraught with very little wind and thus we were only able to get in two short races before calling it a day. The video below shows just how light it was. This was also my first experiment mounting the GoPro camera to the Laser. It turned out pretty well and I can’t wait to try another mounting location next week when I’m frostbiting up at SSA in Annapolis.

Another great weekend in Deltaville.  Saturday was probably the last regatta I am going to sail in for the year.  It was the Sail Against SIDS/Indian Summer Regatta and we had 3 lasers out.  I can’t say I sailed very smart, missing things like the number of laps and major wind shifts.  But I made up for it by being fast and won 5 close races.  It was fun sailing with Mike and Steve and I want to thank Allan’s crew for putting up with me always wanting our fleet to sail a different course than the other fleets.

FBYC Fall Series #2 Upwind

Sunday was the Offshore Fall Series #2 at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  I ran the mark boat with Miles.  With a strong, cool north wind, we sailed the races in Fishing Bay.  Occasional light rain added a little misery. It’s always a sight seeing 15-20 twenty to forty footers racing in the shifty conditions in the Piankatank.

Lining up the marks
My only real responsibility as the mark boat: making sure the marks all line up with the committee boat.

Despite the bad weather, I was able to get some pictures of the action that can be seen here.

As a follow-up to my post from Sunday it turns out there is a photo of the yacht coming up the channel through the race course.

District 10 Champs Yacht

I believe this was taken from the weather mark boat.  At the point the picture was taken, I’m already along side the yacht, and my boat is on its side and I’m sitting on top waiting to right it.

Day 2 of the District 10 Championship brought a lot more wind than we saw yesterday. Given that and the fact that the tide would be going out when we were coming in, the race committee decided to sail us in the harbor.

I got a great start in the first race and was hanging with the leaders until I botched a tack and dumped the boat. I was able to right myself and stay with the lead pack on the downwind.

Laser Radial Start

On the next beat upwind a large yacht (130ft?) was transiting the channel and was about to go right through the middle of the course. I was a little behind the fleet and rather than being cut off, I figured it would be best to duck behind the yacht and sail upwind on the other side of the channel and by the time I got to the mark, the yacht would be well past the course.

I aimed to pass about 20ft behind the boat while knowing it was still going forward and would probably be even farther away by the time I got to it. I also was anticipating a bit of a wind shadow. What I didn’t anticipate were the other sailors in the fleet yelling to this boat that they had right of way (they didn’t) and cutting in front of it.

Just as I got behind the yacht in the wind shadow the captain stopped the yacht and put it into full reverse. In no wind I had no way to get out from behind the yacht as it got closer. The wind behind the yacht ended up sucking me towards it and caused me to capsize to windward with the mast on the swim platform. Thankfully I wasn’t further away or the mast would have hit the water and the yacht would have driven backwards over it. My sailboat eventually turtled and I swam it around to the side of the yacht. A couple parents, coaches and safety boats were there 20 seconds later and helped me right the boat and get away from the yacht.

After that scary experience I was pretty exhausted. In the second race I was making all kinds of dumb mistakes from being tired and ended up death rolling the boat a few times downwind. At that point I knew no more good was going to come out of this day and felt it was best to just hang it up before I get even more tired and frustrated, or worse, do damage to a borrowed boat.

An hour later I was packed and ready to go. I stopped on the shoreline near the racecourse and was able to get a few good photos of a radial start and a standard rig mark rounding.

To avoid some of the 95 traffic I decided to give the Cape May to Lewes Delaware ferry a try. The rest of the ride home was thankfully less eventful than my day of sailing.

Cape May/Lewes Ferry

All in all it was a fun trip.  I had good results on day 1 and it was great meeting all the sailors from D10. CYCCM did a great job with the regatta and I want to thank Mark for the loaner boat and Dave for the place to stay.

Photos from the weekend can be seen here.

Jon at Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape MayToday was the first day of the District 10 Championship at Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May. The day started with a nice sail out to course out the channel and in the ocean. At that point the wind died and the confused seas were rather uncomfortable to try and sit in.

Cape May Harbor SunsetAn hour later the wind picked up and the race was started. I had a great start in the middle of the line on Port! Found a great hole in the mid-line sag and jumped out to a 4 boat lead. I was first boat around the windward mark with one boat close behind. He got me on the downwind and I followed him to a 2nd place finish.

CYCCM Lasers SunsetThe wind picked up a little in the 2nd race, but I still wasn’t overpowered and managed a 5th. The wind picked up for the final two races and I finished 11th and 12th in the 26 boat fleet. What started out as a pretty miserable day sitting on the water really turned into a great day of racing.

Gynn Island Circumnavigation Map

Saturday I sailed the Laser out of Fishing Bay and circumnavigated Gywnn Island. The wind was out of the South-South East from 8-12 knots in the Piankatank to 14-18+ out in the bay. I started with a 2 hour beat upwind heading first east, and then south down the Chesapeake Bay. Out a mile offshore sailing upwind in 15+ in the standard rig was great with steady wind and some good wave action. At the 2 hour mark I entered the channel at the south end of the island and sailed the 1 ½ hour mostly downwind sail back to FBYC. I ended up sailing roughly 20 miles and I could not have asked for a better day of sailing.