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

This weekend I was honored to be presented with Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s Matthew Fontaine Maury Bowl.

Jon Deutsch being presented with the Matthew Fontaine Maury Bowl

The description of the award:

In 1973, an award was created by gift of the Cruising Class. This gift was made possible by the special generosity of Reid Dunn and Ray Toms. The basis for the award is “outstanding contribution to sailing.” The Bowl is to be a perpetual trophy to be awarded annually by the Board of Trustees of the Fishing Bay Yacht Club; however, for any year for which the Board may determine that a suitable award cannot be made, the award shall be withheld. Generally, the award will be made to members of the Fishing Bay Yacht Club for contribution to sailing at Fishing Bay. In exceptional cases, however, the Board shall not be restricted in these respects. The award shall be accompanied by a citation describing the outstanding contribution to sailing on which the award was based.

The citation that was read by the Commodore at the ceremony and given to me in a frame:

The Matthew Fontaine Maury Bowl, the Club’s most coveted award, is given for the year’s outstanding contribution to sailing at FBYC.  Jonathan M. Deutsch, the 2010 recipient, has made outstanding contributions to Club sailing through his extraordinary efforts, raising the bar for hosting regattas to new levels at FBYC and across the nation.

Jon volunteered to put together the state of the art Regatta web site for the 2010 USODA Nationals hosted by FBYC in June, resulting in one of the finest Regatta web sites in the history of sailing. (optinationals2010.org) The effectiveness of the site was surely one of the reasons FBYC’s Opti Nationals was recently awarded One Design Regatta of the Year by US Sailing. The site was the backbone of the marketing efforts for months prior to the regatta which surpassed 300 boats from all over the country. He developed the site from scratch, built in links to Twitter and Facebook, organized mailing lists for registrants, and dedicated his time, full time, during the 9 day Regatta to keep up with the fast moving event online. He made frequent updates from the race courses, which resulted in notices being sent out to the Facebook event page, and tweets to those following on Twitter.  That drove a lot of traffic to the site, as many people followed both Twitter and Facebook.

This, however, was merely the finale in a long list of other things Jon has done for sailing at FBYC and beyond. A few others include serving as Event Chairman for the wildly successful Laser Masters Regatta at FBYC for the last 5 years. He has been the FBYC Laser Fleet Captain for 5 years. He crews often with our offshore fleet. He is a regular race committee volunteer. As a semi-professional photographer, he has provided the club with literally thousands of photographs of more events than we can name; but just a few recent ones include: the Front Runner Midwinters in Florida, our offshore fall series #2, and the Laser Masters. As the District 11 Laser Fleet Chairman for the past several years, (covers four states) he maintains that web site.

In the words of John Bertrand, an Olympic sailing silver medalist, and winner of our Laser Masters for the last 2 years, “Jon Deutsch is a photographer and regatta organizer extraordinaire.” For this the 2010 Maury Bowl is presented to Jonathan M. Deutsch.

And here’s the acceptance speech I gave:

This year has been so much fun.  And it has been an incredible year for the club. To the event chairs who let me be part of their events, thanks for allowing me to play a role in putting on your great events.  To those who helped me run my events this year, namely the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Regatta, thank you for your help putting on this regatta.

This year coming up will be the 30th running of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters regatta at FBYC.  This is truly a special regatta that has a great reputation among Laser Masters sailors up and down the east coast.  Some of the best Laser Masters sailors in that area regularly come to this event.  Thank you all for everything you’ve done to help us continue this tradition.

Jay [Buhl] and Noel [Clinard], you both did a great job running the Opti Nationals Regatta this summer.  Thank you for allowing me to run with my vision for the regatta website and thanks for all the help you gave me with it.  We learned a lot in the process that we hope to roll back into the Fishing Bay Yacht Club website in the coming years.

It’s been one heck of a great year.  Thank you for allowing me to do what I do.  Thank you for the award.  I can’t wait until next season.  Thank you.

FBYC members can see the past winners of this award by visiting the members only website here.

I want to thank all of the sailors who came out for the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club last weekend.  We had a record turnout since 2000 and it was by far the best and most fun FBYC Laser Masters regattas that I’ve been a part of.  I also wanted to thank the race committee, our fleet members and all of the other volunteers at FBYC who helped make this regatta what it is.  All of the competitors enjoyed it and got some great sailing, and that would not have been possible without the help of everyone involved. Congrats to John Bertrand on winning his second straight Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship.

2010 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Group Shot

The complete write-up of the regatta and results can be read here. With 25+ knot winds on Saturday, the boat I was on was just a little too wet to get the camera out.  I was able to get a few good shots from shore and a bunch of great photos on Sunday.

Mr. Roberts and Lasers on Fishing Bay

I hope to see everyone back at FBYC for 2 Laser Regattas next year: The District 11 Championship and US Sailing Singlehanded Championship Area C Elimination in late May or early June, and the 2011 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship in October.

Today was the first day of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and what a wild windy day it was.  Unfortunately it was so windy and so wild that I was unable to get my camera out.  With all the spray and having to get in the water to help out tired sailors, I just wasn’t able to get too many shots of the racing.

Read about the day here and check out the first day results.  Tomorrow’s forecast calls for less wind and will hopefully enable more photos to be taken.

Start of race one
Start of race 1.

Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Trophy Plate
Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Trophy

The 2010 Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship is less than 48 hours away. This is the 29th Annual running of this regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for Laser sailors 35 years of age or older. Since becoming the Laser Fleet captain in 2005 this is the 6th masters regatta I have been event chair for and my 7th laser regatta total.

As of this writing we have 38 boats registered. We’ve reached that number only once in the last 10 years and if we have 2 more boats show up – this will be the largest Laser Masters regatta since we hosted 91 boats for the US Laser Masters in 2000.

Most of the stuff to feed the sailors and Race Committee this weekend. ~35 cubic ft of gear plus me that has to fit in my car of only 90 cubic ft.

It’s amazing to think back at the last 10 years of Laser Masters regattas on how much has changed, yet how some of the traditions have remained the same.

In 2000 we hosted 91 Lasers without all of the new land we have today. We still had the old clubhouse and somehow everyone had a place to rig and eat dinner.

We still have all of the awesome traditions like Alain’s fabulous dinner, excellent race committee, and a fun group of masters sailors who come every year for a great time.

Here are a couple videos of the 2000 Masters showing just how things were: