Saturday at the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship started out with the wind too light for sailing.  So what did we do with 45 Laser Masters sailors while waiting for the wind to fill?


Lucky for us the wind filled a short time later and we got to go racing!  Regatta Results | Sailing Video

name tags for dinner!

This weekend I was the event chair for Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  This is the 9th year I’ve been the event chair and by now I’ve gotten a pretty good gameplan and a great team of volunteers to help execute it.  And of course it could not have gone more smoothly from the food to the race committee to the social activities – everything went off without a hitch for 42 competitors.

A complete wrap-up of the event can be found here including more pictures and results.  I’ll have some videos of the sailing and the paddle board competition later this week.

Some of my favorite pictures:

watching the America’s Cup on the screen I rigged up.

Our yacht club has been working on a new long range plan and we’ve done a bit of age analysis to see how our membership has changed over the past 10+ years.  For the past 8 years I’ve run the Chesapeake Laser Masters Championship and I usually skimp on awards for the Great Grand Masters (65+) because historically there have only been a handful of competitors in that bracket compared to the more numerous competitors in the younger age brackets.  This was the first year that several competitors pointed out how many more GGM sailors there were and thus deserved trophies that went a little deeper.  And that has gotten me thinking about the age demographics of our Laser Masters regattas.

Here are the demographics of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship for all of the years I have available.  Laser Masters sailing starts at 35 years old and the brackets are Apprentice: 35-44, Master 45-54, Grand Master 55-64 & Great Grand Master 65+.  I’ve broken down each year by % of the fleet in each of the age groups to show how that has changed over the years.

Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship Age Demographics

Here is the same type of data for the US Masters Championship:

US Masters Age Demographics 2000-2012

Both regattas differ a little bit in what they show and which age groups are growing, but both clearly show over the past 3-4 years a smaller Apprentice category and slightly larger M, G and GGM categories.  What’s causing this?  It could be the aging Baby Boomer population who were in their teens-20-30s when the Laser became popular in the 1970’s and learned to sail on them.  There’s always been a bit of a boomerang in sailing where people go away during and after college and while they are starting families, and then they tend to come back and involve their family in sailing.  Could it be that the following generation (X) that was raised in Optis and spent less time in the Laser, is not returning to the Laser in the same numbers as the generation before them?  Or are more boomers just boomeranging back into the class later in life and skewing the pot? Time will tell, but there’s clearly a change underway.

What are your thoughts?  Leave them in the comments.

Raw Data:

Chesapeake Laser Masters

Year A M GM GGM Total
1999 12 19 9 9 49
2000 26 41 16 8 91
2003 8 11 9 1 29
2004 5 10 6 2 23
2005 4 7 7 1 19
2006 12 14 10 3 39
2007 9 12 11 1 33
2008 9 12 6 1 28
2009 3 13 5 4 25
2010 9 20 9 5 43
2011 7 17 7 5 36
2012 5 22 9 9 45
US Laser Masters

Year A M GM GGM Total
2000 26 41 16 8 91
2005 31 29 16 2 78
2007 19 33 10 5 67
2009 9 19 9 2 39
2010 14 48 12 12 86
2011 5 14 11 5 35
2012 8 27 22 5 62

Why Chesapeake Laser Masters and US Masters? 1) Because Masters events are the only events where we know the age bands of sailors.  While there are regattas that know the age of the competitors, it’s not typically published.  2) These are the events that I had the most and oldest data on.

Last weekend was the 31st Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  We had a great fleet of 45 boats come to sail.  I was the event chairman and I also got to be out on the water during racing to take some pictures.  Here are a few of the best:

191980 Richard Biggs, 182374 Doug Keiler

158670 Ron Thompson, 179132 Donald Hahl, 203957 John MacCausland, 199142 Newton Wattis, 188702 Roger Link, 121384 Mike Schmidt, 175592 John Gebhardt

186519 Dorian Haldeman, 179132 Donald Hahl

121384 Mike Schmidt, 171628 Ken Swetka, 92 Gavin O'Hare, 50005 Henry Amthor

191967 Jeffrey Moore, 166892 Jolie Homsher, 175892 Jacob Donkersloot, 175592 John Gebhardt, 170642 Frank Patch Jr, 121384 Mike Schmidt, 166046 Bob Peronne, 50005 Henry Amthor, 166063 Jane Schmidt, 196080 Steven Schmidt, 200528 Lindsay Hewett, 92 Gavin O'Hare, 179132 Donald Hahl, 186519 Dorian Haldeman, 158670 Ron Thompson, 178857 Adam Glass, 188702 Roger Link, 203957 John MacCausland, 196023 Bob Tan, 188182 Anthony Burton, 195478 Michael Moore, 148542 Bill Lawson, 188102 Mike Toms, 180536 Steven Cofer, 171628 Ken Swetka, 189774 Finn Hassing, 199142 Newton Wattis, 191980 Richard Biggs, 151860 Rich Parolski, 272727 Had Brick, 200405 Michael Parramore, 152912 Chuck Lee, 157552 Frank Murphy, 195431 Len Guenther, 174236 Jacques Kerrest

Sunset on Fishing Bay Friday night.

All in all it was a great regatta.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of our race committee and all of the Laser Fleet members who helped out.  And it was nice to have all of the masters sailors I see so often on the regatta circuit come sail with us in Deltaville.

Results | Photos | Video

Original Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship trophy
original trophy

The Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship has been sailed by Laser sailors over the age of 35 since 1981.  In the early years of the regatta Alain Vincey had beautiful plates made that were given to the competitors as prizes.  The last of these plates was made into a perpetual trophy for the regatta.  About 10 years ago the trophy fell over, and the ceramic plate was shattered.  The plate was painstakingly repaired and has hung in the clubhouse ever since.

As great of a trophy as it was, I wanted to be sure the plate would be protected and that the regatta would have a trophy that would last for years to come.  With those goals in mind, I planned a trophy that looks like a serving tray with sides that would protect the plate mounted to it.  And although I’m not yet of age to sail in Masters regattas, I made sure there would enough room for winners to cover well past the time that I ‘age out’ of Laser masters sailing.

The trophy was built at the beginning of October out of 13 pieces of 3/4″ mahogany.

Laser Masters Trophy


Next chocks were made to hold the plate in place and the plaques were aligned and drilled.

Aligning plaques on the Laser Masters Trophy

The trophy was then finished in a natural glossy finish.

Laser Masters trophy finish

Then the rope border was mounted.

Laser masters trophy mounting the rope border

Finally the plate and plaques were mounted to complete the trophy.

Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship Trophy

Winners at the 30th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship on October 15-16, 2011.

189794 Keith Davids, 199142 Newton Wattis, 186519 Dorian Haldeman, 121384 Mike Schmidt, 191498 Alain Vincey, 174236 Jacques Kerrest, 194512 Ted Morgan, 188095 David Schoene

More pictures of the trophy and the build process can be seen here.

I want to thank my father, Stan, for his help and tools.  And thanks to Alain Vincey for the kicking off the regatta years ago and providing the plate and original trophy for it.

This weekend Fishing Bay Yacht Club hosted the 30th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship for Laser sailors 35 years of age and old.  Since I don’t yet meet the requirements to sail, I’ve been made the event chairman.  The event went off without a hitch and 36 sailors participated.  The RC did a fabulous job getting 7 races in, including 3 in 20+ knots of wind on Saturday.  Alain’s pork Ossobuco was fantastic as all of his meals were.  I just want to thank everyone who helped out and all of the sailors who came.

Results and photos have been posted.  Here are a few of my favorite photos:

188095 David Schoene, 188702 Roger Link

188095 David Schoene, 189794 Keith Davids

121384 Mike Schmidt, 187868 Margaret Podlich, 189774 Finn Hassing

199142 Newton Wattis