Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters

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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31st Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship: Video

Video highlights of the 31st Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club October 13-14.

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31st Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship

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

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31st Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship T-Shirt

Here’s the back t-shirt design for the 2012 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.  It’s based on this picture.  The front will feature the plate logo.

2012 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters t-shirt


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