Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters

2017 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: Friday

This has been the most anticipated regatta I have ever been a part of.  Back in 2005 I was the event chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship for the first time.  I got put in charge then because I was the most active fleet member at the time who couldn’t sail it yet. It would be 12 more years before I finally aged into being able to sail and something we’ve been discussing ever since.  I got a taste of masters sailing earlier this year when I went to Florida Masters Week and I can’t wait to finally be able to participate in an event I have put so much effort into over the past nearly 20 years I’ve been a member at FBYC.

Jon getting registrations into the scoring system

The last two days have been a whirlwind of pulling all the details together.  Being the 13th edition of this event I’ve chaired – the script for it is pretty well established, but it is a bit of a 48 hour mad dash to get all of the food, trophies, souvenirs, and other gear plus my own sailing equipment loaded, transported and readied at the club for the weekend.

some went for a sail friday afternoon

Throughout the day sailors began to arrive and some went for a sail in the mid-teens wind and light misty rain.  Later we piled a bunch of folks into the van and all went into town for dinner.

High high tide

I also got to check out Rob’s new setup.  He now has a sprinter van loosely modeled after my setup – so now there’s two laser sprint vans on the circuit.

Rob's Sprinter

Each year one of the preparations is to make a breakfast casserole that can be easily heated up and served for breakfast.  I make 4 of these a couple days before the regatta and keep them refrigerated.  Here’s the recipe I’ve been using:


  • 1/2 role breakfast sausage
  • 1/3-1/2 bag cubed potatoes
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • 18 eggs
  • 13×9 pan
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese


  • preheat oven to 325
  • Brown breakfast sausage
  • Cook strips of bacon, once cool – crumble into small bits
  • Cook cook cubed potatoes
  • eggs into a large mixing bowl and mix
  • Add potatoes, salt, pepper, mix
  • Add sausage, bacon, mix
  • Add all but 1/8 of the cheese, mix
  • Pour mixture into a pam-sprayed tin
  • Bake 45 minutes
  • Add remaining cheese over the top, bake another 6 minutes, let cool.
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2016 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

It was the 35th Anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and the regatta is finally old enough to be a competitor.  The color coral commemorates a 35th anniversary and the shirts we designed turned out pretty cool:

Regatta tshirt

The first day saw medium winds just into the double digits with mostly clear skies.  In 5 races we had some close competition up top between Gavin O’Hare and Charlie Brewer who both finished the day tied with 20 points.  Mike Schmidt was close behind in the 41 boat fleet.

Alain and his kitchen crew prepared another fabulous me and a tent city popped up full of sailors.

Sunday started out with no wind and we waited ashore as it began to build about an hour later.  A little lighter than yesterday we ran a little shorter courses and made it through 4 more races.  Charlie and Gavin stayed close and Gavin managed to edge just ahead of Charlie to win the championship.

Thanks to Alain, Rick, Len, Frank and everyone else who helped make this another great Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.  And after 13 years of only being the event chair – I’ll be looking forward to next year where I can both run it and qualify to sail in it!


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2015 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

92 Gavin O'Hare

In October I once again played event chairman for FBYC’s Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship – this the 34th running of this event and there’s only one more year I won’t be old enough to sail in it.   As always we had a great group of sailors number 45 in total.  Saturday was a bit light allowing us to get in one race before the wind shut off and then didn’t settle down.  Dinner by Alain Vincey was fabulous as well.  On Sunday the wind held in better allowing us to do 4 more races.  Congratulations to Mike Hecky winning this one for his first time – well sailed!

207152 Mike Hecky

This years photos were probably the best I’ve ever gotten.  The sun was just right and my boat driver Mike Russom knew just where to put me to get the good angles.


168317 Robert Suhay

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2014 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship VIDEO

It’s winter now and what better to be doing than reflecting back on fun fall sailing.  Here’s the video from the 2014 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship at FBYC.

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2014 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

This year’s Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship was probably one of the best yet – good turnout, good weather and great food made for a smooth event.  It was also the year FBYC hosted it as the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship and with it, a few more folks from New England and Kansas.

Ned Rennolds, Jon Deutsch, Mike RussomPhoto by Ned Rennolds

For racing on Saturday we had 7-12 and clear skies.  Ned Rennolds joined Mike Russom and me on the safety boat with his drone and we got some great photos and video of the fleet from overhead during the first and second races.

Photo by Ned Rennolds

For the rest of racing on Saturday I did my usual of floating around and taking pictures and video.  This year we even dress up the committee boat – Mr. Roberts as seen with the red lettering below.

By the end of Saturday we had gotten a good day of 5 races in for the sailors and we called it a day as the wind started getting light and fluky.  We had a few visitors join us for dinner including past fleet captain and chair of this event – David Hazlehurst.  Alain Vincey did another wonderful dinner followed by plenty of Laser stories and a viewing of some of the drone video for today.  Sailors hung out in the club house and later by the fire at their campsite well into the night.

Sunday’s wind was much greater than Saturday and a number of sailors, didn’t go out, took advantage of the rig-swap opportunity, or retired before starting a race.  Fortunately only one sailor needed any assistance and thankfully Mike R was onboard the safety boat and ready to get wet.  Three more races were sailed as the fleet slowly dwindled.  I didn’t get many pictures due to the waves and activities, but I did get some video of some screaming reaches.


Once again it was a very successful regatta.  I really want to thank all of the folks on the race committee, Alain, Brad and all of the FBYC fleet for all of their help putting this event on.  This was my 10th one and I’m looking forward to just a few more years when I can join in!


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2013 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship VIDEO

Here’s the rest of the video from Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship after the wind picked up and the paddle board competition was over.

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Paddle Board Racing at the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

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

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2013 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: More Photos

Not too long ago I stumbled on 54 more photos from the 2013 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship that never made it off my camera.  I’ve now added them to the gallery starting here.

5	Robert Suhay

184603	Brad Squires

Mike Dale, Ron Jenkins

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2013 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

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.

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Demographic Shift of Laser Masters Sailors

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.

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