I recently digitized some old Laser Masters footage from the 2000 US Laser Masters. I was aboard the Judge boat for most of the event recoding on a Sony Hi-8 camera. It had been a while since I had seen this footage and it was great to be able to reminisce and remember the sailors who were there at the time and what Fishing Bay Yacht Club looked like with the old clubhouse.

As I processed the footage and spliced this together, I was amazed at the improvements to the software to be able to stabilize what was pretty shaky video at the time as well as the ability to clean up some of the audio.

I was also many years from being a master and yet I’m now older than many of the masters-age sailors at the time. Ooof. 

Check out the video and the event results can be seen here.

This year we moved the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship up to a September date to avoid some other masters conflicts in early October so it was a rare treat for the sailors not used to the pool being open to be able to hop in and cool off on a boiling hot Friday afternoon. I spent the afternoon getting things ready for the regatta by alternating between things I could do in the air conditioning and things outside and eventually joined the visiting sailors in the pool and later out to dinner at The Table.

Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.
Race 1 Jon (left) following the fleet to the weather offset mark. Photo by Peter Dutnell.

On the Saturday, we arrived to nice weather and much cooler temperatures than the prior few days. There wasn’t much wind to start, but forecast to have some by mid-day and so the 32-boat fleet was sent out. We ended up having a 10-15 minute postponement before getting into a starting sequence. We would go through 2 false starts and finally a successful start under the Z flag. I didn’t have a great position at the start and was blanketed on the first beat. I was deep at the first mark and made up a few boats on the downwind and a couple more on the upwind to the finish on the short course. I would settle for 20th.

Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon (center) ahead of the fleet and heading east on the first downwind leg. Photo by Paul Almany.

The wind continued to be a little shifty, still in the 8-10 range. In this race I had a fantastic start at the boat end with just a couple boats between me and the boat. Soon after the start I tacked and ducked a couple of boats to get out to the right. I continued to play a few shifts in the middle right and found myself out there in clear air with Dave Waiting near me. I would follow Dave into the first mark and on the downwind I went right thinking we were going to have a new breeze from the right. I was really wrong on that and 6 boats past me on the left by the time we got to the bottom mark. On the upwind I stayed to the right (facing upwind) side of the course while most of the boats ahead played the middle left. I got some great shifts and more pressure and by the time we got to the windward mark I had passed everyone and was just ahead of Dave. He has a lot more speed downwind than me and went by in pretty short order. I followed him to finish 2nd with the two of us well ahead of the bunch behind us.

While waiting for the 3rd race the wind started go to light and move around. We postponed on the water and then it became clear there were some storms to the south headed our way and so the fleet was sent in.

Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.
Natalie Burls, Alain Vincey, James Jacob, Nancy Vincey, Barbara Jacob, Kat Martin, John Hubbard helping serve dinner.

Alain wasn’t able to sail, but he brought food and the fleet had a good time hanging out and eating while it rained on and off outside.

On Sunday the forecast wasn’t very good and that’s what was delivered. After sending the race committee out to look for wind while the sailors waited on shore, they didn’t find any and with more thunderstorms coming – racing was abandoned for the day.

Sailors waiting for wind on Sunday at the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship.

Congratulations to James Jacob on winning this event for his 7th time. Thanks to David Lee and everyone who helped on RC to make the most of the wind we had.

RESULTS | JON’S PICTURES | PAUL’S PICTURES | PETER’S PICTURES | EVENT WEBSITE

Thought we were going to postpone, but the wind filled just as we were set to head to the course. Day 2 started with 6-7 knots. I had a crappy 2nd row start, but got right as soon as I could and went fast. Was first to the windward mark. Had a terrible downwind and lost some boats, held on to around 8th.

By the second race the wind had picked up to around 10 or 11. Was 4th to the windward mark. Picked up a spot downwind and stayed there the rest of the way around the course for 3rd. Scott A first, James 2nd.

ILCA upwind in Fishing Bay off Stove Point.
Photo by John Hubbard

3rd race – had a great start at the boat and after going left a bit and then right- I was about 5th at the top mark. Lost about 5 boats downwind and so I worked to the left early on the long upwind and passed 4-5 boats on the upwind. I was right behind the lead pack rounding the top mark and finally seemed to figure out the wind and waves going downwind and went around that pack to first and finished that way. Was never able to repeat that speed downwind for the rest of the day.

4th race had a good start and stayed about top 4 or 5 all the way around the course and made a dumb move on the last upwind and fell a few boats to 8th.

Such a fun regatta – being the event chair went great and so many folks pitching in to help out and make it go. And it was fun being a competitor and sailing well and regularly being in the top 5 at some point in almost every race. It was unfortunate we had to reschedule to November and not everyone was able to come, but the weather made for far better sailing than we would have had if we had tried to sail around the storm.

EVENT WEBSITE | RESULTS | PICTURES | JOHN HUBBARD PHOTOS

Friday night sunset at FBYC on the Piankatank
Friday night sunset at FBYC on the Piankatank

We had hoped to sail the Chesapeake Bay ILCA Masters Championship in early October, but Hurricane Ian was a little too close for comfort and we ended up postponing the entire event mid-week when it was clear the remnants of the hurricane were going to make it a questionable race weekend. So we rescheduled for early November and 27 boats were able to sail the makeup.

Day 1 started light on the race course and we ended up waiting around about 45 minutes before wind we could race in finally settled. First race was sailed in a very light 6 knot breeze and built as the race went on. I went left on the first beat and that was not the place to be. I managed to pick up a few spots on the way back upwind for an 11.

A second race start was tried and the wind wasn’t steady so we postponed again while it built. Eventually it did and we sailed another race. I played a little more left than I should have and stuck around the middle of the lead pack for an 8th place finish.

By the 3rd race the wind built a little more and we were comfortably hiking. I had a fantastic start and was able to tack to the right almost immediately after the start and protected that side. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick the shifts very well and the folks picking shifts on the left did it better. Ended up 8th again.

Photo by John Hubbard

We rolled right into a 4th race of the day and I started relatively close to the boat end and mostly by myself. I tacked to the right and took it all the way to the lay line – even over standing a bit and rounding in the top 5. I lost a few spots downwind and played the middle left picking puffs on the 2nd beat to pick up some spots to round the top mark in 2nd and held that to the finish.

Upwind crossing just ahead of James
Upwind crossing just ahead of James

For the final race of the day the wind eased off a bit while staying in the double digits. We still had the waves that were a little harder to work through. I went more to the left this time and stuck around the top 5 most of the race.

There was definitely some current going across the course. David, James, Peter, Scott A, all had good races consistently at the lead. First two races were in 6-8 and by the 3rd race the wind had started to build and even had a shot of high teens for a few minutes as some clouds passed.

Pizza and cake dinner in the clubhouse.
Pizza and cake dinner in the clubhouse.

We wrapped up the evening with pizza from a local gourmet pizza place and a cake as the reschedule didn’t work with Alain’s schedule.

EVENT WEBSITE | RESULTS | PICTURES | JOHN HUBBARD PHOTOS

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.

Upwind sailing while adjusting the vang.
Upwind sailing while adjusting the vang.

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.

Ken, Adam, Jon, Peter, David, Monica, Craig, Gord, James, Mark & Jacques
Ken, Adam, Jon, Peter, David, Monica, Craig, Gord, James, Mark & Jacques

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!

EVENT WEBSITE | PICTURES | FINAL RESULTS

Rigged and ready Saturday morning.
Rigged and ready Saturday morning.

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.

Race 1 start at the pin
Race 1 start at the pin

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.

4th at the first top mark.
4th at the first top mark.

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.

Boat end start under U-flag. The boat was pointed into the current and away from the wind.
Boat end start under U-flag. The boat was pointed into the current and away from the wind.

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.

EVENT WEBSITE | DAY 3 RESULTS | PICTURES

The fleet sailing upwind (after the general recall)
The fleet sailing upwind (after the general recall)

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.

Race 1 start
Race 1 start

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.

First weather mark rounding in race 2.
First weather mark rounding in race 2.

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.

EVENT WEBSITE | RESULTS AFTER DAY 2 | PICTURES

ILCA ready to go at Hampton Yacht Club
ILCA ready to go at Hampton Yacht Club

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.

Windy racing
Windy racing

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.

Fleet sailing downwind.
Fleet sailing downwind.

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.

EVENT WEBSITE | DAY 1 RESULTS | PICTURES

Jon Deutsch addressing the fleet at the Skipper's Meeting during the 40th Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship- photo by Paul Almany
Jon Deutsch addressing the fleet at the Skipper’s Meeting – photo by Paul Almany

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.

Jon starting well behind the fleet after doing turns at the start - photo by John Hubbard.
Jon starting well behind the fleet after doing turns at the start – photo by John Hubbard.

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.

Jon sailing downwind with boats behind.
Jon sailing downwind with boats behind

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.

Race 2 shortly after the start - Photo by John Hubbard
Race 2 shortly after the start – Photo by John Hubbard

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.

Happy Hubard, James Jacob, Jim Rodgers, Kenzie Hubard, Alain Vincey & Anne Rogers - photo by Paul Almany
Happy Hubard, James Jacob, Jim Rodgers, Kenzie Hubard, Alain Vincey & Anne Rogers – photo by Paul Almany

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.

At the starting line - photo by John Hubbard
At the starting line – photo by John Hubbard

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!

Photo of the sailors at the 40th Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club – photo by Paul Almany

RESULTS | PICTURES | JOHN HUBBARD AND PAUL ALMANY PHOTOS