ILCA District 11 Championship

2021 ILCA District 11 Championship: Sunday

ILCA Dinghies rigged at NYCC
Rigging at NYCC

The forecast for Sunday of the ILCA District 11 Championship at Norfolk Yacht and Country Club called for a little better wind than we had yesterday. Being tied in points with 2nd place and a few points behind the leader with a few folks just a couple points behind me, I had to have a good day with top 3 finishes to stay on the podium.

A crowd at the race 1 finish
Crowd at race 1 finish

The pressure to finish well put only a little pressure on the first race to have a good start – only I started too well and was called over early and had to go back. Just as I cleared myself and turned to go back upwind the tiller extension popped out of the tiller and I had to stop and fix it. The vang also fell out of the boom and I was able to fix that once I was going upwind. So I started about 15-20 lengths behind everyone and just looked for a clear lane and tried to go fast. I caught some shifts and came in on port at the weather mark, ducked a few boats and rounded around 6-7. Downwind I stayed to the right and started working the boat in the waves and puffs, stayed away from the other boats that were in each others’ air and went around all of them. I was first to the leeward mark and I held onto that for the 2nd lap to win it. What an exciting way to start the day!

ILCA at the starting line
ILCA at the startging line

We had similar conditions for the next 3 races. I generally favored the left until the last race when the current turned and the right did a little better upwind. It was great having good boat speed so even when I wasn’t in the exact best spot to start, I was able to get clear air to be among the leaders upwind. Downwind I held my own. As the day went on I was really wiped out and out of energy. I fell back to 3rd and then 5th and then 8th in the subesequent race. I was doing all the right things to be a contender, just ran out of energy to make it happen.

Alex sailed well enough to maintain his lead. David hung in there and had some good downwind moves to get around some boats to save some points. Jake had a great day including a race win to take 3rd and I fell to 4th place.

NYCC did a great job putting on the regatta and running races. It was nice to sail on the same waters as ILCA Nationals next month and get more familiar with Norfolk and Iook forward to coming back next month.

FINAL RESULTS | PICTURES | EVENT WEBSITE

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2021 ILCA District 11 Championship: Saturday

Norfolk Yacht and Country Club hosted the first day of the ILCA District 11 Championship. We planned to go on time and a few of us launched and by the time we got to the end of the dock the RC put up a postponement, so we came and hung out for about 2 hours before there was enough to race with.

Postponed ashore

Out on the race course we had 4-5 knots – not great – but enough to race in. I had a terrible start without any speed at the gun and got shot out the back pretty quick. I tacked out to the right, ducked a bunch of boats and found some clean air and went to work. I rounded the top in 5 and about halfway down the run the wind shut off and then turned completely around. I was to the right and figured it out as fast as anyone and at one point was ahead of everyone. Alex played the zephyrs better and shot ahead to win it. Jack and I split tacks and he played the shifts better and I finished 3rd.

Light air on the racecourse.

After the first race there was no wind whatsoever. We sat around and got swarmed by sand flies. 45 minutes later we were quite happy when the wind filled in not just so we could go sail, but to blow the flies away.

Waiting to start racing

Over the next 3 races the wind would fill for 20 minutes or so and then go very light for 5-10 minutes. This repeated throughout the races. I had good starts near the boat and generally sailed well with a few moments of poor decisions and being in the wrong spot on the course. By the 4th race the current was really ripping slightly from the right making the upwind tacks very challenging to keep boat speed going. I would finish 8-5-3 in those races putting me in 3rd overall.

Coming in at the finish of the last race

David Hartman sailed consistently and he too had a few moments he got on the wrong side of the course. The hero of the day was Rebecca – she was originally signed up for a Radial and switched to a full rig and probably weighs half of what some of the fleet weigh. She ran away with the last two races and is currently 2nd. After winning the first race, Alex sailed consistently and had all top 5 finishes to be leading the fleet.

DAY 1 RESULTS | PICTURES | EVENT WEBSITE

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2019 Crab Claw Regatta: Sunday

Day 2 of the Crab Claw Regatta and Laser District 11 Championship at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis and we were greeted light winds and a postponement ashore while we waited for the wind. It came soon enough and along with the clearer skies we ended up with 12-14 knots of wind out of the North. We were out in the north sailing area looking upwind at the bridge.

In 3 races I had pretty good starts usually winning the boat or close to it and crossed most of the fleet on the first upwind. I didn’t quite have the upwind speed as some of the fast guys, but held my own when I remembered to round the offset and didn’t hit any marks. By the 3rd race I started to get the boat dialed in a little better and had better speed and didn’t make any mistakes leading to my weekend best of a 4th. Ended up 15th overall and it was great to sail with some competition to tune up before the FBYC Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters in October. Luke, Eric, Mike, Scott and Dave all sailed great this weekend and were fast all the way around the course. Thanks to Scott, Dorian and the fleet for hosting!

One other bit of news coming out of the weekend – Scott Williamson is going to take over as the District 11 Secretary. It’s a post I’ve held since the end of 2006. The Laser fleets in the mid-Atlantic remain a great group of sailors and it’s been fun to see the ups and downs of the fleets and to help play a part in connecting sailor and getting them out sailing. Thanks for taking this on Scott and I look forward to continuing to see the sailors I’ve met throughout the district for many years to come.

PICTURES | RESULTS

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2019 Crab Claw Regatta: Saturday

Severn Sailing Association hosted the Crab Claw Regatta and 2019 Laser District 11 Championship Regatta.  It just so happened that East Carolina’s football team was playing at Navy this afternoon so I figured out how to do both.

The skies were overcast with temperatures in the high 70’s and the wind out of the North at 11-13.  I sailed the first two races in some lumpy seas making it critical to keep the boat flat to go fast upwind.  There were some shifts to hit as well.  Downwind it took a while to figure out how to catch the waves – by the 4th time I went downwind finally started to figure it out just before I headed in.

The fleet did 2 more races while I headed in to attend the ECU vs Navy football game.

I’m in 20th after day one and hope to improve once I can drop 1 of my DNS’s.

PICTURES | DAY 1 RESULTS

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2018 Crab Claw Regatta: Sunday

Day 2 of the District 11 Championship and Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis started with light drizzle that would continue through out the day.  At least that kept the power boaters away.  The wind was in the mid-teens a little east of where it was yesterday and the temperatures just warm enough to wear summer attire plus a spray jacket.

I did a lot better in today’s races – generally staying close enough to the lead group to nip at their heels. Sailing upwind was tough with the rain – telltales were unusable because they stuck to the sail requiring me to sail only by feel. On port tack the waves were a little more square on making it a challenge of picking when to point and pound through the waves, or go low and foot through the waves at a better angle.

Downwind the waves were awesome – very little of the slop that we had yesterday and typically see in that sailing area (A) in Annapolis. I managed to catch the waves and S-turn in a way that I never have before.  Almost every downwind I made up 10-15 boat lengths on the boats around me – I’m usually the one loosing a few boat lengths down wind.

That was good enough for me to finish 12th and stay in the top half of the fleet.  Big thanks to Scott and Dorian for organizing the regatta, Steven for the place at to stay and to PRO Steve and everyone else on the RC who ran the races!

RESULTS | PICTURES

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2018 Crab Claw Regatta: Saturday

The first day of the Laser District 11 Championship and Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association started with nice weather and winds in the upper teens out of the north. Despite the wind direction the temperatures will still warm enough for summer sailing attire, may just a spray top for some.

I got off to a rough start racing – I was taking it a little easy in the stronger winds, in part due to an emergency room visit earlier in the week,  to keep the stitches in my head dry and getting more comfortable not re-injuring my wrist. I also hadn’t figured out the right boat settings for the wind, and I was just plain tired. Note to self – don’t do these things again.  So that led me to to not be totally aware of the course on a downwind leg and to confuse where the leeward marks were with the separate finish and I ended up rounding the gate the wrong way.  I certainly wasn’t the only one, but I’d need to take a DNF.  That wasn’t my only trouble, I also deathrolled downwind.

By the 2nd race the wind eased a little bit – still in the mid-teens.  I had a great start and worked my way to the left getting almost to the layline.  Once there I tacked and proceeded to botch it and not get under the boom and flipped over.  When I came up, I reset the boat and I must have done something right because I was suddenly wicked fast.  Like somehow fast enough to catch a boat that is normally as fast or faster than I am from 8 lengths behind and to roll over over them.  I was back up with the lead group just behind them.  Downwind I played it conservative to keep the boat upright and on the 2nd upwind I picked the wrong side and didn’t play the shifts well and would end up 13th.

For the 3rd race the wind eased enough to be squarely in the 12-14 range that I am very fast in.  I had a good start and sailed with the leaders the whole race. I was a pinch slow downwind, but felt more comfortable in the boat and had more confidence in my wrist.

The 4th race was 11-13 and I did more of the same – this time getting as high as the top 4 or 5 at some marks. I actually start getting comfortable surfing the waves and actually had good speed downwind.   I would end up 7th.

The final race was a disaster again. The wind eased off to around 10 with lulls around 8 and the larger chop was still bouncing around making it tough to power over or through them. I had a good start, but didn’t keep my lane clear and got rolled – then I missed some shifts to put myself in the middle of the fleet. A deathroll and later fouling a boat to do turns meant I was racing for last and finished 20th.

All in all it was great to be out racing, the RC ran great races and folks like Mike and Scott were having great days.  After racing I took a van-nap and we had a crab picking feast.  I’m in 13th.

RESULTS | PICTURES

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2015 District 11 Championship

My first race of 2015 and why not do it at a District Championship.  Severn Sailing Association held the District 11 Championship in conjunction with their Sunshine Open Regatta.  27 Lasers and 16 Radials were out in what were nearly frostbite conditions on the first day.

I started with a great race sailing in 2nd most of the way around the course and loosing a spot on the final leg finishing 3rd.  I’d go downhill from there, but not before a few top 3 roundings before giving up spots downwind.  I met my goal of all top 10 finishes.

Back on short after 4 races I warmed up and enjoyed the dinner and band.

Sunday was a little better wind and we sailed 2 more races.  i had a tougher go of it finishing 1 in double digits followed by an 8 to finis 6th overall.

No pictures this time but results can be found here.  Big thanks to SSA for hosting, congratulations to Luke who sailed a great regatta to win it and thanks again for Steve for the place to stay.

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2014 Laser District 11 Championship: Sunday

Sunday at the Laser District 11 Championship at Tred Avon Yacht Club saw much better wind and 4 more races for the standard fleet.  We sailed out in 8-12 and little current and partly cloudy skies.

In the first race I didn’t have a stellar start, but tacked out immediately and was able to cross a few boats on port and get to clear air on the right.  I worked my way up the middle left of the course and rounded the top mark in ~5th and turned to go downwind.  Only I wasn’t supposed to turn downwind – I missed the offset and had to sail back upwind 100 yards.  By the time I did my obligatory capsize and returned to round the offset I was in last place.  I stayed there until the 2nd upwind beat and I started sailing fast and picking up boats.  I continued to do that in the next two legs picking off 8 boats and managed to get back to 11th.

By the 2nd and 3rd races the current started to come in and was coming right down the course.  As a result our speed over ground was diminished and it felt like we had much less wind than we did.  Couple the wind/current with a little chop and the going started getting a lot tougher only because the feel of the boat was off.  I didn’t have great starts and found myself bouncing around in the middle of the pack and pulled a 9-7.

Going into the final race the current started to slow down a bit and I got my head on straight and I was determined not to make any mistakes.  I won the favored end of the start at the boat and just sailed to windward of leaders Luke Shingledecker and Henry Amthor.  I lead at the first mark, but Luke had better downwind speed and overhauled me.  Henry got me on the next leg and I continued to follow them around the course finishing with a 3rd.

While I had hoped for a top 5 finish, I ended up with a 6th and it goes to show despite flashes of brilliance it still came down to time in the boat and some unpolishedness that pulled me back.  All in all it was a fun event. I was glad to finally have a chance to visit Tred Avon Yacht Club and the volunteers there including PRO Mike Waters did a great job putting on our regatta.  Congrats to Luke and Henry who sailed a great regatta!

Final Results | Pictures

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2014 Laser District 11 Championship: Saturday

This year’s Laser District 11 Championship is being held at Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford Maryland.  Since FBYC and TAYC have their annual regattas on the same weekend – after all these years I’ve never had the opportunity to sail at TAYC and I was excited to see the place and sail there.  The racing is being run in conjunction with TAYC’s Heritage Regatta and so there were Shields, Stars and Log Canoes also out racing.

As we headed out to the race course the wind was somewhat light out of the north east with mostly overcast skies.  The race committee set a nice long mile+ course and got a start going for the 20 boats in the Standard fleet.  The wind was going a bit left at the start and a lot of boats were trying to win the pin.  I found a nice hole about 1/4 up from the boat and started there.  It wasn’t a great spot and I quickly found myself in a 2nd or 3rd row spot.

2014 Laser D11 Mark 1

Up the first beat I knew from watching the wind pre-race that I wanted to be on the left side of the course.  So as boats tacked out I just kept going left until I found myself in clear air.  I took that most of the way to the layline and found a wind lane to tack back on.  That worked out great because the right side of the course had less pressure.  I found myself 3rd around the top mark behind only Ted Morgan and Bill Lawson who had gone slightly more left than I did.

Downwind I made my way down the same side of the course I had come with and made sure I was the outside boat.  The better pressure and a little better current there helped me pull just ahead of the rest of the fleet at the windward mark.

Upwind 2 just ahead of the fleet before falling behind.

With the wind starting to die out the RC shortened the course at the next windward mark.  With the patchiness of the wind Joe Moran and I traded the lead a couple times before I ultimately banged the left too hard and he, Luke Shingledecker and Jeff Robbins were able to slip by leaving me 4th at the finish.

After the race we sat around in no wind as some light showers moved through the area.  We eventually called it a day without any further racing.  Back on shore we had a great vantage point of the Log Canoes capsizing – 3 of them.

Results

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2013 Laser District 11 Championship: Sunday

Sunday’s racing at the Laser District 11 Championship in Annapolis started out much like Saturday, but with less wind.  We started the first race under mostly cloudy skies and 8-10 knots of breeze.

After a general recall under P flag the RC went straight to the black flag.  I had a decent start near the boat end and worked my way out to the right along with Ted Morgan.  Karen long hit the right even better than we did and rounded the mark first with me and Ted just behind her.  Downwind I got ahead and put some distance between myself and the group just behind me.   From there I just kept ahead on the remaining 3 legs and took the gun.

Sunday’s 2nd race didn’t go so well.  My start wasn’t as good and I got behind early by being on the wrong side of the shifts on the first beat settling for a 12.  The thing I learned in the 2nd race was that the mode I was using to make the boat go fast upwind in a little more wind and more chop, stopped working when the wind lightened and the water got flatter.

By the 3rd and final race the wind was pretty light and the chop was just the random power boat variety.  We were moving, but it was slow going at times, particularly downwind.  I won the boat at the start and again worked my way up the middle right.  This time the far right didn’t pay.  And much of the fleet had gone left hoping it would pay off like it did last race – it didn’t.  I rounded 2nd just behind Brady White with Brett Morris behind me.  Brady extended his lead and I was able to hold off Brett.  We would go on to finish 1-2-3.

With that finish and knowing several boats would have black flags, I knew the top 2-7 boats would all be pretty close.  The 1 & 2 today certainly helped, but the 12 meant I’d have to keep a 10.  In the end it was the bullet that won me the tiebreaker for 3rd place overall.

Despite the light winds, it was fun to be competing at the top of the fleet – especially with some sailors who I’m usually following around the course.  And with 34 boats there were plenty of sailors keeping the competition close. Thanks again to Steven Cofer and everyone at SSA for hosting our championship!  And congratulations to winner Mike Russom who sailed a very consistent regatta with top 5 finishes.

RESULTS | PICTURES

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