Tag: Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters
Annual ILCA Masters Regatta held at Fishing Bay Yacht Club since 1981.
Formerly known as the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Day 2 of the 39th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and we were set to have very nice weather for mid-October – 8-12 knots out of the east. I arrived early to the club as I always do to get breakfast ready for the sailors and get the day started. I also had some last-minute to-dos including putting the trophies together. In the process of cutting some line I cut my finger. I wasn’t too bad of a cut, but it was right across my pointer finger – right where I would be holding a line. I thought it best not to sail and risk it not healing or getting worse, so I bandaged it up, put a rubber glove over it and a sailing glove over that and went out on a RIB to take pictures and be an extra safety boat.
This was one of the first times I’ve photographed Lasers with my Nikon D300s and 18-200mm. That combination was great – it’s relatively light and easy to hold and being able to zoom all the way in and back out without changing lenses meant I could easily change perspectives.
In the end it was another terrific Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Regatta. Even with COVID precautions it all ran pretty smoothly and everyone had a great time. Thanks again to all of the sailors who made the trip. To James Jacob on winning this regatta for the record 6th time. And to all of the RC, volunteers and staff who continue to make this one of the most special events on the bay, in the laser class and at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.
The first day of the Cheseapeake Bay Laser Masters was a beautiful day – just a little on the cool side with with the wind out of the North. The best sailing area for the large fleet was across the river in Godfrey Bay and it was definitely blowing with winds in the upper teens.
For the first race I had a great start at the boat, held my lane upwind and quickly found myself in clear air ahead of the fleet. I worked my way to the right side of the course and worked a couple shifts to the top mark. As I got to the mark Scott Williamson was just ahead of me. Downwind I held my own and on the 2nd upwind I picked some shifts and found myself leading Scott and James Jacob who were just a little behind. Downwind we held our positions and on the final upwind I made a couple small mistakes allowing them to catch up and ultimately pass me by just a half boat length at the finish leaving me in 3rd. What a way to start the regatta – in 40+ boats to be in a position to lead it and in wind I’m not usually as competitive in was great.
In the 2nd race to my surprise – went much the same way. I was 2nd at the top mark behind James after playing more of the middle-left of the course. Downwind Scott got around me and we stayed that way to finish the 2nd race in the same order – James, Scott me.
By the 3rd race the wind hadn’t let up much – still steady 15+. I was starting to get a little tired and cold. I wouldn’t realize it until later that I had forgotten to take any of my food with me. In this race I was 15th at the first top mark. I still had good speed all the way around the course and was able to climb my way back to 9th.
For the 4th race I had a pretty terrible start having to tack out and duck some boats. I wasn’t used to doing this from the past 3 races – and I didn’t like it. I spent some time mid-fleet and still had good speed. I liked the left side of the course going downwind and this was one of the days of racing where I consistently was passing more boats downwind than were passing me. The waves were just a little off angle to the wind and especially at the bottom of the course were just big enough to get some good surfing on. I was able to climb up to 11.
By the middle of the afternoon the wind was supposed to start easing – yet it never did making for a long and hard day of sailing for the fleet. By the 5th race the fleet had dwindled to about 30 boats still racing. In this one I had another good start, played the shifts and hung in around the top 10 boats. I was able to pass some boats and finish 10.
What a great fleet we have! There’s a lot of parity in the fleet and any of the top 15 boats are chasing for the lead. But Scott and James are both making a run at the title after today’s racing.
Following racing we had some outdoor socially distant happy hour followed by dinner in the open porch with the tables all spread out. We weren’t able to seat everyone together, but we made it work and everyone was great about staying apart and wearing masks.
Ultimately it was an early night and I spent some time fixing some of the scores in the new scoring system and getting to bed.
16 years I’ve run the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and this one – like many before – will be like none-other. We’ve had hurricanes, Nor’easters, power outages, exceptionally high tides just to name some of the challenges we’ve faced at this regatta and all have made it an interesting and well remembered event. This year it’s COVID and we’ve had to make some modifications to the off the water activities to social distance. We’re all thankful our hobby is singlehanded sailing which enables us to continue to participate while remaining socially distanced.
It was a cool, rainy and blustery day at the club as we prepared for 45 Laser Masters. Nobody arrived early or was looking to go a practice. A number of sailors did pitch their tents and set up a fire pit for the weekend. This front should start to clear this evening, leaving us with winds in the low teens for much of Saturday. Sunday is less certain. Regardless of what we get, it’s fun to be sailing and seeing sailors again even if from a distance.
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.
Ever since the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship Trophy was completed in 2011 it never really took it’s place on display upstairs in the club house at Fishing Bay Yacht Club among the other trophies there. Primarily because it was too heavy to hang and there was no suitable place to prop it up and thus it lacked a stand. So my Dad and I recently made folding legs for the trophy using some of the left over wood from the original project. Now the trophy is on display in the club house just a few feet from where the old trophy used to hang next to the TV.