For the 4th and final day at the ILCA US Masters the forecast was for less wind, but it started out in the 11-13 range out of the south. This sent the waves directly into the break wall where they ricocheted back into the sailing area making for really lumpy seas.
In the first of two planned races I had a good start at boat, near Gord and Roman. From there I got bounced around upwind trying to stay in clear air. Upwind and downwind I just never felt like I had the moving right boat moving and settled for 14th.
Second race I started closer to the pin and went left. Wasn’t as fast as the guys on the right who caught some shifts and was mid-teens at the top mark. Downwind I played the middle and held my position. The wind continued to ease as the race went on and was down to 6 or so. On the second upwind I went middle left and lost a spot or two mostly to people who went way right. Then for the long downwind I went left again hoping to get into pressure sooner. It looked great early on, but towards the bottom of the course the angle was better for those on the right and we all ended up about where we were when we rounded the prior mark. On the final beat to the finish I went way left again. Peter was just a bit ahead of me and we sailed in great pressure while the guys who went right initially had no pressure and I passed about 5 boats to finish in 9th.
This event apparently has an award – the Tony Dahlman award for the mid-fleet finisher. That was me, and I ended up coming home with the biggest award given.
Thanks again to Max, Henry and all of the folks at Hampton Yacht Club for hosting the event! Great job!
Expected a little relief from the wind on Day 3 of the ILCA US Masters National Championship, but ended up getting the same upper teens we had yesterday. Today’s races did not include reaching legs and were all 3 laps that included one extra long downwind leg and 4 upwind legs.
In race 1 I had a good start down by the pin and went most of the way out to the left. Coming back I was 4th around the top mark. Downwind was slow – the waves and current made it hard to find the right angle. Those who figured it out went flying and I was passed on both downwind legs. By the bottom of the 3rd downwind I started to figure it out and everyone was gone. Settled for an 11th finish.
In the 2nd race the wind seemed to pick up just a little – steady 14-16 with gusts to 20. We had one general recall with the current pushing us up the course before a good start under the U-flag. I hung out at the boat, pulled the trigger late after other boats cleared out and had a clean start. I went out to the right and just felt tired going up wind and wasn’t really pushing. I was around 10th at the first rounding. Downwind I started to figure out the waves and actually passed a boat. We did another lap in largely the same positions, only this time when we got to the leeward gate the 8 or so boats ahead just went passed it as if they were doing the final lap to the finish. I quickly conferred with Don next to me and rounded the gate and went upwind. I was the first to do so, Don was just behind me as was Mark and Gord. By the top mark Gord was ahead and I was able to pinch off Don, Mark and Matthew to round in second. Two of them got by me downwind and Mathew got me upwind and I settled for 5th. Of the 8 or so boats who sailed past – 4 of them took NSC (Not Sailed Course) while the other 4 turned back upwind, but were back in the pack.
In the 3rd race we had another general recall then a UFD start. I had a fantastic start at the boat and went right. That was not the place to be and on top of that I flubbed a tack, didn’t get under the boom and flipped. I was dead last at the first weather mark. Downwind I got the boat going and riding waves and picked up 4-5 spots. Had a few more good legs, but couldn’t really catch the front pack ahead of me and had the back pack right on my heels. Then on the long downwind I lost it and death rolled. I only lost one spot on that maneuver and was able to pick it back up on the final upwind to the finish in 11th.
After racing we hung out at the club and had drinks on the patio and caught up with folks who dropped by. When the scores were posted there were quite a few folks who got OCS/UFD/NSC and shuffled the positions – particularly by folks who got 2 of those today or had an OCS earlier in the regatta and weren’t able to drop a 26.
Day 2 at the ILCA US Masters at Hampton Yacht Club and we had only a little less wind than yesterday and 3 races planned. When we got out to the course for a 1000 start we had 14-15 knots and slack current. The wind was also a little more right of where it was yesterday and a little less protected meaning we’d have more wave action.
In the first start I was a little slow off the line and boats around me pulled ahead and eventually tacked out. Once clear I went back left and felt like the left side of the course had a little less waves than out on the right. That wouldn’t matter when a nice shift came my way allowing me to lay the mark and round in 6th just behind the leaders. We sailed two laps before reaching down to the bottom mark. All along the way I focused on not making mistakes and keeping the boat going. I was successful there even though I slowly ceded some positions and settled for a 12th. It was nice to be sailing in the pack around the course.
By the second race the current had begun to push us up the course resulting in a general recalled start followed by a start under the U flag. I hung out at the boat end for the start which cleared out seconds before the gun allowing me to come in with speed and have a great start. This time I played the middle right of the course picking shifts and rounded around 5th at the top mark. The wind had eased a bit for that first leg and then picked up for the rest of the race. I stayed in the lead pack and slowly lost some boats mostly on the downwind legs and settled for an 11th.
In the final race of the day the wind was still up and a bit steadier. I was in the middle of the line and in traffic and after a couple minutes had a clear lane to tack into and get out to the right. I had good speed and made up some distance on the leaders and rounded around 5th. Downwind I continued to play it conservatively and gave up a couple boats though the fleet was much more tightly packed and the leaders weren’t far behind. Upwind I picked some shifts and again passed a couple boats enabling me to cross just behind the 4-5 boats in the middle of the beat. By the final top mark rounding some of the boats that went more left had a more favorable shift and I was back in 7th. On the first reach I held my own, but on the second reach, which wasn’t very wide – Mathew, Luke and Don all stayed on starboard by the lee and made up a ton of distance from behind me. Matthew and Luke both got around me and Don was right behind me. The bottom of the course was a little less sheltered and had more waves. I played the middle left on the final beat to weather. Really felt like I had the boat moving through the waves. Caught and passed Luke while Matthew just got me at the line for an 8th place finish.
I saw a big difference in how I was sailing in the last race from the first race. I started to get comfortable making the boat go upwind and was able to pay more attention to whats ahead of me and looking for shifts and staying in clear air. A tighter hiking strap later in the day helped me more easily keep the boat flat and powering through the waves.
Day 1 at the ILCA US Masters Championship at Hampton Yacht Club called for wind and we got it. After sailing in light air all summer, I wasn’t too ready for winds in the upper teens gusting into the low 20’s. After the early morning drive to Hampton, unloading and the competitor’s meeting the plan was for 2 races for the 21-boat ILCA7 fleet and 12 boat ILCA6 fleets.
The course was set just south east of the entrance to the Hampton River and was to be a long race with reaching legs. The starts were a little tricky – the RC was running a 3-minute horn sequence that was difficult to hear over the flapping sails and the only visual signal was the P-flag that was up for exactly 1 minute. I had a pretty good start in the first race a bit down the line. With only 21 boats out there, we had plenty of room and as the fleet spread out upwind I was able to get to the right. I came into the top mark right in the tail end of the pack. Downwind felt good, I had the boat moving in the waves and closed the gap on some boats ahead. In the second upwind it became clear there were more shifts to catch and some boats gained and others didn’t. From there we reached out to the wing and to a mark way below the course before another long beat back to the finished. All race I stayed engaged with the tail end of the pack and finished 12th.
In the 2nd race the wind had picked up a little more. I missed the starting horn, but was close enough to the line that when I saw the pack of boats lining up, I was able find a spot and be ready. Unfortunately, 20 seconds before the gun the universal joint connecting the tiller to the extension snapped. I limped over the line so that I’d start in the time limit and then sat for about 3-4 minutes while I got a spare fitting out of my life jacket and set to screwing out the old on and in the new. By the time I was going I was way behind the 7 fleet and just ahead of the 6 fleet and did my best to get upwind and catch some boats.
Downwind I was starting to catch up to the tail-enders and I started cramping up. In trying to not cramp, my reflexes weren’t as sharp and I eventually death rolled and went swimming. From there I just sailed conservatively and eventually was able to reel in a couple boats. I finished 16th – way better than a DNF.
For those wondering how I replaced a tiller extension universal on the water – for years I’ve sailed with a Forespar Carbon Fiber Tiller extension that has a screw in universal joint. I make sure it’s not too tight so I can easily unscrew it with a small pair of pliers in my life jacket or my teeth if I have to. I keep an extra universal joint in my life jacket that comes in handy every couple years on a starting line like today and definitely saves a day of sailing instead of having to go in to fix it. There’s also the base fitting to retrofit most tillers.
After over a week of preparation it was time for the 40th Annual Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship. This year was quite easy compared to the stress of last year and running an event during the pandemic and planning it not knowing if we would be able to have it. And being the 40th – we had a couple special things planned to commemorate it.
Not only was I running the event, but I also sailed in it. I don’t tend to treat this as a serious competitive event for myself as my attention is often on on running it, but it’s not often I have a chance to test my mettle against 51 boats of great competition on my home waters, so I try to put up a good showing. With that being said – I didn’t get off to a great start in the first race having fouled Luke just off the starting line and was behind almost everyone after doing my turns. I spent the rest of race focused on staying in clear air and pressure and picking shifts. It helped that there were a lot of boats ahead of me and on all sides of the course to see the angles on upwind and help figure out where to go. I picked well and was able to pick my way through the fleet to finish 3rd. I probably wouldn’t have finished that well had I not had such a bad start and had to watch everyone else.
In the second race I got rolled shortly after the start and shoved out the back and never recovered. I didn’t have a good feel for the boat likely due to sailing in dirty air. There were only 3 boats behind me at the 1st weather mark and I was only able to climb up to 21st by the end.
In the 3rd race I had a great start and even though I was around some of the fast boats, I was able to stay ahead in clear air. I managed to race with the lead pack most of the way around the course swapping positions at times. I was 6th at the bottom mark before the final upwind leg to the finish. I stayed left and picked off several boats, but got passed by Scot and Adam who passed everyone else to win it. James sailed into a hole allowing me and David to catch up with David finished just ahead of James and me just behind. The wind got pretty light at the end and a 4th place finish left me in the top quarter of the fleet after the first day of racing.
At dinner we celebrated 40 year with Alain telling us the story of how the regatta was started and we had several special guests who sailed in the event that first year. A group of regulars also presented a perpetual trophy to be awarded to the first woman.
The forecast Sunday wasn’t nearly as good as the day prior, but we were determined to sail if there was wind. We sailed out in light wind and got one light air race started. I played the middle-left on the first beat and rounded the first mark in 5th, proceeded to go the wrong way downwind, lost a few boats and finished 9th overall. We stayed out on the water for over an hour hoping the wind would come for another race, but it never did settle in and we pulled the plug and sailed in.
David Waiting won the Championship for the 2nd time – a well-sailed event having not even won a race among some stiff competition. Huge thanks to Rick Klein and the RC for getting us racing and to Alain for another great dinner!
Brant Beach Yacht Club would host the 2021 ILCA Masters Atlantic Coast Championship on what would be a rather windy August weekend. I started well in the first race, had a reasonable first leg in the middle to upper part of the 30 boat standard fleet. Downwind I got the flipsies and ended up towards the back of the fleet. The second race went much the same and after flipping too many times I called it a day and skipped the final race.
I intended to race on Sunday, but upon arrival at the club it was clear that I had re-aggravated a foot injury from the prior weekend. With some travel and other activities I have coming up the next month, I didn’t want to put any of that in jeopardy and packed up the boat and headed home early.
Day 2 of the 39th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and we were set to have very nice weather for mid-October – 8-12 knots out of the east. I arrived early to the club as I always do to get breakfast ready for the sailors and get the day started. I also had some last-minute to-dos including putting the trophies together. In the process of cutting some line I cut my finger. I wasn’t too bad of a cut, but it was right across my pointer finger – right where I would be holding a line. I thought it best not to sail and risk it not healing or getting worse, so I bandaged it up, put a rubber glove over it and a sailing glove over that and went out on a RIB to take pictures and be an extra safety boat.
This was one of the first times I’ve photographed Lasers with my Nikon D300s and 18-200mm. That combination was great – it’s relatively light and easy to hold and being able to zoom all the way in and back out without changing lenses meant I could easily change perspectives.
In the end it was another terrific Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Regatta. Even with COVID precautions it all ran pretty smoothly and everyone had a great time. Thanks again to all of the sailors who made the trip. To James Jacob on winning this regatta for the record 6th time. And to all of the RC, volunteers and staff who continue to make this one of the most special events on the bay, in the laser class and at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.
Sailors are used to minding tides to plan their sailing – this ended up being another year the sailors needed to mind the tides with their cars. A harvest moon and a Nor’easter off the coast made the road to the club impassable at times throughout the weekend and we had to adjust the regatta schedule around when the road would be passable.
After all the high water in the morning we were postponed ashore close to 2 hours waiting for the wind to race. By the afternoon the wind had filled and the first race was started. I started on the left and banged the left corner seeing that there would be more wind there. I stayed clear of everyone and lead at the first mark. Gavin caught me downwind and I held on to finish 2nd.
For the 2nd race the wind went to the right and I started in the middle of the line and tacked to the right as soon as I was clear ahead. I was 5th at the top mark and stayed there after not being able to catch anyone in the lead pack.
In the 3rd race I started near the pin again and was able to punch out with just Natalie to my left. We continued to the lay line and she tacked onto my hip and stayed there until just before I should have ducked James Jacob who was coming across on starboard and instead of ducking him I was free to lee bow him into the mark in first place. As I rounded the mark I dropped the main sheet causing the boom to hit the mark and my weight to windward pulled the boat over on top of me. Between righting the boat and doing my turns I was deep and was only able to salvage a 16th.
I was super happy with my upwind speed today. I had good starts with room around me allowing me to punch out and go where I wanted with speed. Downwind I held my own but wasn’t fast relative to those around me. It was a solid day of racing sitting in 11th overall.
After sailing we had a fantastic meal and I was honored with a toast to years of service as the District 11 secretary and handed the baton to Scott Williamson who will be taking over. We enjoyed having so many people there to enjoy dinner with and reminise on regattas past and look forward to future sailing.
On Sunday we moved the first warning up to 9:30 since everyone had to arrive super early to get in before the tides went way up. I had never rigged my boat in the dark for a regatta. We also knew the wind was forecast to be better in the morning and die out as the day went on, so we were out early to make the most of it.
I started the first race I started right at the pin and went left into the NNE breeze heading across the river for Berryville Shores. I didn’t go quite as far as Dorian did to get into the lifted breeze closer to shore and I settled for a top 10 rounding. Typical for me I’d loose boats downwind and gain upwind ultimately settling for 9th.
The 2nd race was another long 5h. The wind dropped from 16 in the first race of the day to 14 and the wind went more right now coming right off Stove Point. I had a great start middle right and quickly punched out in front of the boats around me to the right. Boats to the left would get better shifts and more pressure and I would end up mid-teens at the first mark. I would go on to loose a couple boats downwind, but eventually claw my way back to 12th at the finish.
Around noon we were starting what would end up being hte last race of the regatta. The wind went back left and dipped to 9-10 at the start. I started right at the boat and there were numerous boats over early at the pin. I tacked out early to the right to find more pressure and at times looked punched. Had I sailed a little further to the left I would have gotten into the new wind and watch Eric J roll past me further to the left. I was in the teens at the mark and stuck way left downwind with Jeff M. The wind eased to 6-7 as we went downwind. I split from Jeff while he stayed left and got in better wind and as I went right I continued back into the pack still in the mid-teens. I had a good last upwind and picked up a boat or two finishing 11th.
By the time the 3rd race was done it was clear the wind was dying and so we called it a day. After the drop and after 3 boats ahead of me in the last race were OCS I finished 2-5-16-9-12-8 – good enough to tie me for 10th, but I lost the tie breaker on account of being in the younger age group.
It was a very successful regatta. I was so glad so many sailors came to join us. The race committee did a fantastic job making the best racing they could and keeping us sailing in the best wind each day. Alain not only got us fed, but well fed – another marvelous meal. And thanks to Jess for all of her support throughout the regatta and on the safety boat.
Power returned to Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the 2nd day of the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship around 9am just before we were set to launch. We had enough wind to sail in, but it was light. It built a bit and we got a race started. Halfway through the race it started to die and we did some floating. There was enough to finish with only the last couple boats being TLE. We were in by noon, had some lasagna and left overs from last night and gave out awards. A 17th in today’s race let me drop a 21 and finish 11th overall and 4th Apprentice Master.
Congrats to Rob Hallawell on his win overall. This regatta could not have happened without Rick Kline, all of the RC, Alain and his chefs, Bryan, Eric, Bob F, Mayo and everyone who helped get the club ready. And it was great seeing all of my Laser sailing friends who come back year after year and thanks for putting up with some inconveniences this year.
It was the first day of racing at the 2018 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship and we had 51 boat arrive including several who arrived late at night last night. With all of the preparations already made we went through the morning routine and it almost unnoticeable that we didn’t have power.
On the water we found the wind built to a few knots more than forecasted. In the first race I was a little late for the start and had to go upwind in dirty air rounding the first mark below mid-fleet. By the second upwind leg on the modified windward-leeward course I was able to pick some shifts and get within striking distance of the lead group and finished 9th.
At the start of the 2nd race the wind had shifted favoring the port end of the line and I was one of only 2 boats down there set to cross the fleet on port just seconds after the start. Unfortunately for me there was one boat to duck while I was on port and I took my eye off him for a second and managed to tag his transom. Two turns later there were only 3 boats behind me at the windward mark. I sailed well to pick off some boats and finished up in 15th.
For the 3rd race I had a great start in the middle of the course and held my lane well upwind. I was in the top 5 around the windward mark and used some of the downwind knowledge I learned in the previous race to get around a couple boats to round the leeward mark in 3rd. Upwind I held my position and extended on the boats behind while Gavin and Rob extended a little on me, but I was able to come back a bit on them downwind with all of us rounding nose to tail. Upwind on the final beat to the finish I split with the two of them and managed to just get my nose in ahead of Gavin at the finish for a 2nd place.
By the 4th race of the day the wind was at the peak in the upper teens – this would be a triangle windward-leeward course. The wind was also shifty and while I was beating I got a puff and wind sheer that knocked me over before I knew what was happening. I was deep again in this race and managed to pull myself back up to 21.
In the 5th race I had a good start and was able to sail with the lead pack the entire way around the course sailing my way to a 7th. Overall it was a fun day of sailing. We were fortunite not to have any light air where we were guessing where the wind was coming from. Not only did I have good boat speed upwind, I had much better boat speed downwind and felt like I picked up on the improvements I had made last month in Annapolis. When I didn’t hit boats, didn’t tip over and started on time – I did pretty well – I should do more of that!
Saturday evening back at the club we had a wonderful dinner prepared by Alain and his helpers. We fed 93 people – under lights powered by generators with power cords snaked all over the club.