Frostbite Sailing

2015 SSA March Soling Frostbite

The frostbite season was significantly shortened due to all of the cold weather we’ve had.  Was able to get out for one day of Soling frostbiting at SSA.

Soling

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2015 GRSA Frostbite #1

Joe & Gabe

On Sunday I got to sail for the first time in 2015 in the first race of the Greater Richmond Sailing Association Frostbite Series.  I was sailing with Joe and his son Gabe who are new members at FBYC and were taking their new to them Flying Scot out for the very first time.

GRSA Frostbite 1 conditions

The weather started pretty miserably with rain showers.  After a little over an hour after the expected start time, the rain let up and it turned into a nice clear light wind day.

Jon helping rig before heading out

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 3

For the 3rd and final day of the Severn Sailing Association Soling Frostbite we had another day of light thermals and mostly overcast skies.  I was once again the middle guy flying the chute and calling tactics on Mike Waters boat along with bowman Al Tierney.

In the first race we were a little late to the start and wound up behind the other 4 boats.  We worked the left while the rest of the fleet went right and wound up rounding the first mark in last.  While the rest of the fleet took the rhumb line to the mark in wind that had shifted to the right looking upwind.  We instead went downwind for a bit, straight out into the bay to meet the new breeze coming in and then gybed  downwind in pressure and carried that to the downwind mark.  That new wind took a while to reach the rest of the fleet and we found ourselves in 2nd at the leeward mark.

Going upwind we picked the shifts and pressure well and passed a boat to round in first.  Again we headed out into the bay while the boat just behind us did a tight rounding and headed down the rhumb line to the finish.  We were out of the wind barely making headway to the left of the course while our competition was nearly halfway to the finish.  Other boats were rounding and following the other boat and making better distance on the finish than we were.  And just like clockwork, the breeze came in from the left and carried us right by everyone and we won the race.

Al and Mike Waters

In the second race we got a good start and just played the shifts and pressure upwind and kept ourselves between the other boats and the next mark and were able to win that race as well.

In the 3rd race we had a pretty solid lead using the same strategy as the 2nd race.  On the final run we just tried to just stay ahead.  Unfortunately, the wind didn’t cooperate and brought some of the boats behind us right up to us and one boat was able to squeak ahead of us at the line.

In the end a 1-1-2 was enough to win the day and pull ourselves up into 1st overall for the frostbite series.  In the last 43 years the winter series has only been won by 3 different guys.  Congratulations to Mike Waters on becoming the 4th person to win the series.  I was glad I could be along for a ride, I enjoyed getting to try some Soling sailing and I can’t wait to do it again.

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 2

For the 2nd day of the SSA Soling Frostbite we had a bit more variable conditions than 2 weeks ago.  This time we had 5 boats out and were able to get 2 races in.  Mike Waters was skipper, Josh Page did bow and I was in the middle flying the spinnaker and doing wind/tactics.

3/8 SSA Soling Frostbite

We did well in the first race by having good boat speed up wind and making the left work for us.  We finished 2nd having held that position all race.

3/8 SSA Soling Frostbite

In the 2nd race we had another good upwind and rounded in 2nd.  At the leeward mark, there was no committee boat and we mistaked which one of the two marks was our rounding mark and lost some distance to the leader.  The next two legs each had 180 degree shifts in them making it challenging, but it switched swiftly and did little to change the results as we still ended up second.

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2014 GRSA Frostbite #4

I got to join Rob Whittemore on a Flying Scot for the 4th and final day of the Greater Richmond Sailing Association Frostbite Series.  We had an absolutely beautiful day with temperatures in the high 60’s and shifty winds from 5-12 knots.

We sailed in the cove right off the shore.  To windward, the weather mark is set right below a roadway on a berm which is pretty open, but makes it very hard to see the wind beyond it coming down the course. The starting line was short and with 9 boats the starts were all tight with boats barging the line on every start.

In the puffs the weather leg could be sailed in 2-4 minutes…. in the lulls it could take 5-8 minutes or more.  While we were never really able to figure out the exact patterns there were a number of things we used to help gauge which way we thought the wind would go and where we thought we’d find more pressure.  These things ranged from the fetch up the lake we could see under the bridge, the flag on the other side of the bridge, the flag at the yacht club and of course the wind on the water in what little fetch there was between the weather mark and the lee shore.

As shifty as it was – we definitely had to be on our toes.  Miss a shift – and we learned this the hard way- and we could be passed by a couple boats immediately.  We did well to stay in the front of the fleet around the course and our consistency paid off allowing us to recapture first whenever we let it slip and we were able to take 1st in all 5 races today.
2/23 GRSA Frostbite 4Rob Whittemore

Following racing Rob and I were asked to judge the chili cook off.

2/23 GRSA Frostbite 4Judging the Chili Cookoff

A big thanks again to GRSA for hosting this frostbite series.  All of the FBYC sailors really appreciated being able to get some winter sailing in so close to hope.  I’m looking to being back again soon!

2/23 GRSA Frostbite 4Jon Deutsch, Rob Whittemore, Jere Desvernine, Tracy Swartzchild, Andrew Spencer, Blackwell Knottingham

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 1

2/22/2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 1

Saturday I got to sail on a Soling for my first time in SSA’s Soling Frostbite.  A Soling is a 27′ 3-person keel boat and I was sailing as the middle crew with skipper Mike Waters and bow Gretchen E.  We had a bit of a slow start as we dialed in the boat and got through each of the crew mechanics the first time.  We learned, we got better and while our results don’t show it, we were actually pretty competitive.

Today’s weather was perfect for frostbiting.  Air temperatures on land in the high 50’s with a water temperature of 38. That created great thermal conditions and we had relatively steady wind that started around 8 and built to about 12 before coming back down to about 10 out of the SSW.

In the first race we had a good start, were 2nd at the windward mark and were the first boat to the leeward mark.  Unfortunately for us we couldn’t get the spin halyard down and ended up sailing 1/2 mile past the leeward mark before we were able to free the halyard to retrieve it.  We took a DNF in that one.

The 2nd race went much better for us.  While we weren’t able to fix the core problem with the spin halyard, at least we knew the problem and could work around it.  We ended up leading that race wire to wire.  We did a great job picking the shifts on both upwind legs and kept a comfortable cover on the boats around.

For the 3rd race we had another great start, got to the windward mark first, but lost a boat downwind.  On the 2nd upwind we got on the wrong side of the course as more pressure came from the other side dropping us back to 5th.

Overall the racing was really tight with only a few points separating the boats, but with our DNF we got the short end of the stick and wound up 5th overall.  It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the next frostbite day.

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2014 GRSA Frostbite #1

This weekend Greater Richmond Sailing Association invited Fishing Bay Yacht Club Flying Scots and Lasers to join them for frostbiting out on Swift Creek.  Dan and I were the only two Lasers; there were 10 Flying Scots and 3 Thistles.  The goal for the day was simply get back in the boat and try a few things out.  I tried a new GoPro Camera (Hero 3+) and a new stern mount for it.  I got to try out some new boots and I got to try sailing at a club I had never been at before.  Thanks again to GRSA for inviting us to come sail!

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1/14 GRSA Frostbite

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1/14 GRSA Frostbite

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Photos courtesy of Sharon Wake.

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Annapolis Laser Fleet 10 Frostbite Video

On March 4 I shot this film in Annapolis with the Severn Sailing Association Laser Fleet.  I was on the committee boat with a camera and then we had 5 GoPro cameras on various boats getting footage.  Thanks to Dorian, Luke, Eric, Carlos, Reid and Bob for helping out!

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2/13/2011 SSA Frostbite

I used Sunday’s Laser frostbite as an opportunity to get some of the cobwebs out.  Last weeks’ frostbite at Hampton was good for getting the boat together, but with little wind, wasn’t much of an opportunity to do the kind of sailing I’ll be doing at Midwinters in Clearwater Florida in a little over a week.

The temperature on Sunday in Annapolis was in the high 40’s and low 50’s with winds 13-16 knots, overcast skies and a water temperature of 38 degrees.  Generally it was good sailing in wind that I had to hike in and I got some of the feeling back in how to sail the boat and make it go.  With boat handling being my priority, results of the 4 races I sailed in were secondary and the scoreboard was not friendly – finishing 15 out of 17 boats on the line including two DFLs.

All in all it was a good day on the water and I’m glad to have gotten that past me now rather than on the first day of the regatta.  This was also an opportunity for me to practice filming with the GoPro.  I had gotten several mounting locations set up and today I mounted the camera to the bow.  Check out the video:

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Hampton Roads 2/6 Frostbite

Made a trip to the ODU sailing center on Sunday to Frostbite with the Hampton Roads Laser Fleet. This was the first of two frostbite outings to tune up for the Laser Midwinters East Regatta in Clearwater Florida in a couple weeks.

The day was fraught with very little wind and thus we were only able to get in two short races before calling it a day. The video below shows just how light it was. This was also my first experiment mounting the GoPro camera to the Laser. It turned out pretty well and I can’t wait to try another mounting location next week when I’m frostbiting up at SSA in Annapolis.

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