This was supposed to be the final race of the season had we not had to reschedule the ILCA Chesapeake Masters due to the hurricane, so we had 6 ILCA plus a couple of Melges 15s that came out to sail singlehanded with us in 6-8 knots of wind on a beautiful day.
We sailed a bunch of very short races that were 8-12 minutes each of 2 laps around a course that was just a couple hundred years long. It was great because it kept the racing close and everyone was nearby and would jump on any mistakes.
I swapped boats with John Hubbard and sailed his Melges 15 for one of them. I figured out how to heel it and sail by the lee downwind to go as fast as the ILCA. Upwind without a jib was pretty tricky in less than 8 knots.
Overall I had a series of 2nd place finished. I swapped spots with Scott A a bit, but I just couldn’t match the speed or pointing of Reed upwind and settled for a 3rd. It was a great tune up for the ILCA Chesapeake Masters next weekend. Thanks to John L and his crew for RC today!
FBYC’s Closing day race features a pursuit start distance race taking us on a tour around the mouth of the Piankatank and towards Fishing Bay. I was sailing aboard Mike Toms’ J105 and as one of the faster boats of the fleet we were one of the last to start. Winds were 12-18 out of the NNE and there wouldn’t be too many spinnaker legs.
Mike drove the start and the first upwind leg. We were able to quickly get by a couple of the boats that started just ahead of us. The next leg took us on a close reach back into the Piankatank towards #7 until the wind shifted and we could turn downwind and set the spinnaker. I was driving this leg while Clark was on the main pumping in the waves and getting us surfing when we could. The next leg south to 8 allowed us to get the spinnaker up and we did 1 jibe while in VMG mode before dousing the spinnaker around 8 for another close reach up the Piankatank keeping Nanuq well behind us. We picked off a few more boats before getting ot the turning mark at #13 and coming back the way we came.
Clark drove back while I worked on keeping the main trimmed and Mike T and Mike S worked on the jib. We passed the remaining boats except the two that remained just ahead of us. The final leg to the finish was from 8 back to B, almost in line with Jackson Creek entrance for about 1.25nm north. Knowing the direction of how the current came into the river we elected to come around 8 and continue on port towards Gwynn’s island before tacking to Starboard to fetch the finish.
When we tacked onto starboard it quickly became clear that the other boats that went left were being swept south by the current, vs where we were it was taking us west which wasn’t as bad. We just focused on our upwind speed and keeping the boat on our feet and managed to grind it upwind just a minute or two ahead of Nanuq at the finish for the win.
We started with a windy day along with some apprehension at the skippers meeting about what kind of conditions we might see out on the course. We were seeing gusts to 26 on the weather buoy at Stingray Point as we were leaving the dock. Out on the race course we had some shelter behind Stingray Point and saw at most 22 in the sailing area as we started. Onboard for the day were Todd, Jon, Joe, Reed, Ron and Len.
First race was 1.2nm, we had a reef in and were doing a lot of figuring out on how to make the boat go. We didn’t get the reef set as well as we wanted and definitely didn’t tighten down the rig for the conditions. As expected the left was best and boats that went more left came back across with more pressure, less current and a better shift from around Stingray Point. We had started near the boat and had a good lane and eventually went up the middle left. There was a small issue with our first spinnaker set so we held off setting for a minute while we cleared something. Once the chute was up we were off and running. We did a little better on the second upwind and had a good downwind. Weren’t able to catch the fleet and ended up almost 2 minutes behind the next boat settling for 6th.
In the second race we had a terrific start at the boat and held our lane up the left side. We had the boat going and had good sets and douses and passed some boats on the first downwind. By the end only Nanuq was ahead and we corrected to 3rd overall.
For the 3rd race we didn’t have a good start and got stuck behind Corryvreckan near the boat-end of the line. We had to do a tack and went a little too far to the right. Boats on the left made out, but we did find some pressure to catch up. On the downwind we held our own. At the bottom mark the wind shut off and we were trying to go upwind in the same sloppy waves and just a couple knots of wind and against the current. We parked up there for about 8-10 minutes before it finally filled again and we were able to get the boat moving. We managed to put enough space between Corryvreckan and Excitation (who both went more right than us) to finish 3rd on the shortened upwind finish.
We didn’t expect as much wind as we got – in fact it was too much for the Flying Scots while 7 ILCA and 2 Melges 15 ventured out into winds in the mid-teens.
The first race was a very long one. I broke my tiller extension universal joint while sailing the first downwind leg. I had been in the lead and I lost a couple boats while I stopped to replace it. I was able to pass one of the boats that passed me to finish in 3rd.
The course was shortened significantly for the remaining races and it was a dead heat between myself and Reed. I would win 2 of the final 3, but his bullet in the first race and my 3rd was enough to give him a point advantage.
Had fun sailing with Reed, Len, Todd, Brad and Holly on what was a rare windy summer day. Thanks to Clark, Rick and crew for running the races.
It was a light air day of offshore buoy racing at Fishing Bay for the first day of the Fall Series. We had 6 boats in our fleet and wind out of the NNW at 2-4 knots for the first race.
At the start the wind was shifting all over the place and light. All of the boats were right in the box just behind the line and we were coming just below them all on port – just drifting through. Since everyone else was down the line and given the shift to the left, we started on port at the boat and worked our way upwind. I don’t recall ever winning the boat on port before.
The upwind .8 leg took us towards Stingray Point. We picked some shifts, but mostly looked for pressure and had to tack to clear away from other boats a time or two.
On the downwind leg it got even more light and shifty and we struggled to keep the chute full. Eventually pressure came down the course and were able to lay the finish as the 2nd boat over the line behind Sting and just ahead of Corryvreckan.
By the second race the wind went about 60 degrees to the left, now out of the west and we were sailing into the Piankatank. At the start, we were coming up on the boat end with Excitation close by and to leeward of us. Sting had an even better position and was able to shut us out requiring us to around at the boat and started about 40 seconds late behind everyone.
Upwind we focused on shifts and pressure and were able to get around a couple of the boats in our fleet. At the top mark, Afterthought, Excitation and Sting were ahead. We started downwind with some wind and worked to the left which was into the current that was taking us towards the finish. As we went down the course some boats jibed to the right and were becalmed. We held onto the left and eventually the current pushed us down to the finish behind Sting and Excitation.
With only 5 of us on the boat, it was a little challenging doing the maneuvers, but the light air helped and we got it down. It was great sailing with Todd, Spencer, Len and Joe. We wound up with a 2nd place finish overall.
Sunday at the Stingray Point Regatta was even lighter than the day before. We thought we would be postponed out at the water to start the day, but there was around 4 knots and so we started.
With the course set towards the east, port tack took boats closer to Gwynn’s Island and any boat that went too far in that direction ended up becalmed over there. We were careful to pick the shifts and pressure often in the middle right of the course and later to the left when the current switched. We continued to work on our boat speed in light air and our crew maneuvers.
The second race ended up being shortened to 1 race. The wind went to just about nothing and luckily we had current pushing us down the course to the finish. There also was a good bit of power boat chop making it tough to keep the spinnaker full.
Despite the light outcome and not being a boat in a single race – it was still a fun event and we learned a lot more about the boat and how to make it go.
The first day of buoy racing for the Stingray Point Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club brought light air and a combined A1/A2 start consisting of 11 boats (5 with us in A1). This was the first time buoy racing for Battle Rhythm and there was a bit to be learned about making the boat go upwind. We also got a lot better at spinnaker work having a full crew and plenty of opportunities to put the sail up.
We had a very tough fleet with 3 of the boats being light sport boats that we seldom ever even saw on the race course except shortly after the start. We never even came close to correcting over them. Had we been sailing with most of the boats we normally sail with in the A2 fleet, we’d be closer to finishing mid-fleet.
Current at the mouth of the Piankatank definitely played a factor given how light the winds were. At one point they were so light during the second race that it was shortened to just one lap. By the 3rd race the wind started picking up, we had a good start and we even got to sit on the rail for a time.
Post racing there was a great party and band at the club and it was great catching up with folks from other boats and others who just came for the party.
Labor Day Weekend started with the Stingray Point Regatta Stingray Light Distance Race. This was effectively a warm up for the 2 days of buoy racing on Saturday and Sunday. Only 1 other boat in our A1 fleet had arrived and was there to race and we were started with the A2 and B fleet.
At the start the wind was pretty light. We worked our way upwind and out into the bay. There was some current around the mouth of the Rappahannock as we were sailing to weather heading North. Once we rounded the entrance to the Rappahannock we headed south again and were able to put up a spinnaker in the light air and catch up to the boats just ahead of us. It was a very tight reach and only because it was so light were we able to run the spinnaker almost like a code 0. GOIN’ was the only other boat with a spinnaker up and they were just ahead of us. As we approached – we couldn’t go above them or we couldn’t carry the chute. We couldn’t go below them because we wouldn’t lay the mark. Eventually that didn’t matter when a barge went by and messed up the wind for both of us requiring us to pull the chute to the deck and go upwind for less than a minute to fetch the mark.
Though our competition finished well ahead of us, it was a good day for only having 5 of us aboard the boat. Nice light day and we didn’t make any big mistakes and actually got to do some upwind sailing. More racing tomorrow and we’re going to get A LOT more light air practice.
We had light air and 12 boats for FBYC’s ILCA Summer Regatta II. A course was set out in Fishing Bay with the weather mark just west of the end of Stove Point.
In the first race I had an ok start near the boat. In the 4-6 knots I just focused on going fast and picking shifts towards the middle left of the course. I came in at the weather mark with the lead pack including others who had been a little more middle and more right. Alain came in over all of us from way out on the right and was well ahead. Downwind I held my position and on the 2nd upwind I went more right, but still not as right as Alain and found myself in 4th behind Craig and Scott with Alain out front. On the final downwind to the finish it got really light and I went left with Craig and we managed to catch a little more pressure to get by Alain and Scott, but in the end Alain came back and I finished 3rd behind him and Craig.
The second race saw winds in the 4-5 knot range and further south of the ESE wind we had in the first race. Mike had a good start at the boat and shut me out so I was parked at the start in no wind behind the boat and was 20 seconds late. I worked my way middle right catching shifts and hunting for more pressure. As I came into the mark, Scott was way ahead and Chad just ahead and Craig got there at about the same time and ended up fouling me and had to spin. Downwind I went right and then the wind went way right making it more of a reach and by the time we got to the leeward mark I was right behind Chad. Upwind I went left towards shore while Chad played more of the right. The wind also backed making it a little more of an upwind again. Scott played the shifts in the middle. I was able to string some pressure together to pass Chad and held on to that to the finish 2nd behind Scott leaving us both tied with 5 points and him having the tiebreaker.
For the 3rd race the wind was very light again and we were ghosting along at the start. I saw more wind to the left so I did my best to start nearer the pin with a front row start so I could hopefully poke out and get to that wind first. That largely worked and I used the pressure to get right. Chris Rouzie also had a great first leg and was ahead of me at the rounding mark. The wind died and the race started to be a ghosting reach into the leeward mark. I got to weather of Chris and adjusted to the new reaching breaths of air a little faster and was able to roll him by 1/2 a boat length on the inside of the leeward mark. The RC shortened course there and with some rain in the area and little prospect of more wind we called it a day.
Wasn’t the day we hoped for, but we made the most of what we had and enjoyed some good competition in a 12-boat fleet on a short course. It really showed the importance of clear air and pressure and deciding when to chase the lifts vs when to chase more pressure. And when the pressure did change – shifting modes from sitting in with a little heal in the very light stuff back out to a flat boat in a little more pressure made a difference.
Thanks to the RC lead by Rick Klein for getting us a race in.
Saturday was the Smith Point Race where we race from the mouth of the Piankatank about 25 miles north to the lighthouse at the southern side of where the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The forecast wasn’t great and so the course was shortened taking us not quite as far north to the entrance of the Great Wicomico.
Out at the race course there was almost no wind at 11am so we were postponed a short while. Eventually enough filled and we were started in just a few knots as we made our way out of the Piankatank sailing upwind with the wind out of the ESE. As we went, most of other boats in PHRF-A, that all had overlapping sails, drifted ahead of us.
Once out of the Piankatank we headed north mostly under spinnaker and ghosted along past Windmill Point. Dennis drove the first part of this and I drove the later. Eventually, we were able to keep the chute flying better than the heavier boats and stayed inshore out of the current along the rhumb line and were able to get just ahead of the fleet at the turning mark as the wind started to pick up in the early evening.
Heading back home was close hauled on port tack. Holly drove most of this and did a good job sailing to some of upwind targets. We haven’t done a lot of upwind sailing on this boat, so we’re still working out the best angles and speeds and this leg gave us a good idea of what to expect. Still the larger boats that were just behind us and had more sail area were eventually able to run us down and waterline. We were happy in that it took them about 2 hours to do it just before sundown.
As we re-entered the Piankatank in the dark we were just a few minutes behind the other boats and weren’t able to correct over any of them leaving us in 5th place. It was still a fun day of racing and learned some new things about the boat. Namely how critical driving is to keeping a balanced sailplan.