Lake Norman Yacht Club held their spring regatta and I was one of a dozen Lasers among the various other fleets sailing. This was a good shake down trip with the new VW Atlas cartopping set up and I got to visit and stay with college friends and check out a few spots in Charlotte.

On day one we sailed out to the course in nice wind, it shifted around a couple times and a race was started. The RC lost a minute in the starting sequence, but started anyway. The race would later be thrown out which was unfortunate because I had a good race and climbed my way up to first by the end. The wind would die by the end of that race and shift around for about an hour before finally settling in for another race.  In the second race of the day the wind built a bit.  I was in second place starting the last downwind leg and got passed downwind by two boats.  They both ended up colliding just before the finish resulting in a protest that I wound up participating in as a witness. The wind built a little more for the next two races before dying again in the last race of the day.

Being my first time out for the year I didn’t quite have super speed upwind.  I also struggled a bit to stay in the grove and shift gears while keeping my head out of the boat.  I suspect practicing with the old sail the prior weekend didn’t help me much and it also showed me I just needed more time in the boat.  My starts were generally pretty good and my downwind legs were typical for me.

Saturday, after the protest hearing was wrapped up I met Courtney and Preston at the US Whitewater Center just outside of Charlotte where the Tuck festival was going on.  The center has two man-made white water courses and a whole bunch of other trails and outdoor activities. For the festival there were bands play, vendors and all kinds of people there – thousands checking it all out.  We had a few beers and checked everything out before getting dinner out in Charlotte.

Sunday the wind started out a bit lighter, we sailed a race in light air where it died at the end, then one more race in brutally light air.  I sailed in while the fleet was postponed only to have them join me a half hour later. In the end we had 6 races that counted and I finished 6th overall.  It was great hanging out with Preston and Courtney and getting to meet a few more Laser sailors from NC. Lake Norman is always a great venue to sail at and I look forward to a lot more sailing this season.


The genesis for the trip to Lake Norman was the wedding of my college buddy Tom to his fiance Jaime.  Being the reception was on Lake Norman so close to the yacht club I was able to sail Saturday, attend the reception and sail again on Sunday.

It was a beautiful venue at a home on the lake and it was great catching up with old friends and celebrating with Tom, Jamie and their family and friends.  Congrats Tom & Jamie!


Day 2 at the Lake Norman Yacht Club Spring Lightning Invitational was to see lighter winds – but we were pleasantly surprised with 5-8 knots for our first race.  Steve, Jeff and I had another good start and stayed in the top 5 all the way around the course making gains near the top of the final upwind and finished with a 2nd.  That gave us a few point lead over 2nd place Greg Fisher going into the final race.

As the 2nd race started the wind began to die.  We took a conservative approach up the middle and boats on both sides found more wind and rounded ahead.  We were around 8th at the top mark – picked up a couple boats downwind and then found the wind even lighter and more fickle on the 2nd upwind.  We picked some shifts and caught some boats and even crossed ahead of Greg.  But he found wind on the other side of the course and wound up finishing 3 boats ahead of us and we fell back to 6th as we reached the top mark for a shortened finish.

It wouldn’t be until we were arriving at the awards that we found out that we had tied Greg Fisher for 1st and we won the tiebreaker on account of having won 2 of the races.  A great result for a pick up team in a borrowed boat against some good sailors.  Thanks again Steve and Jeff Hayden for having me along and Bill for all of the hospitality at Lake Norman Yacht Club!


A fun sailing opportunity came together for me this weekend while I was going to be in town for Tom & Jamie’s wedding – I was able to sail at Lake Norman Yacht Club at their Spring Lightning Regatta.  Bill Wiggins set me up with Steve and Jeff Hayden who were coming up from Florida and needed a 3rd.

I haven’t sailed a Lightning since sometime in the early 1990’s when I would ride my bike down to Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club and jump on a boat for their Wednesday night series.  Steve and Jeff are great sailors and it was easy to fit right in with them on the boat.  I did the bow and while I probably wasn’t the quickest nor the most graceful gybing the pole – I don’t think I slowed us down any.

In the first race of the day we had a great start right at the line at the gun.  From there we just picked some shifts and found ourselves at the top mark in first- from there we extended around the course.

In the second race we had a reasonable start – but other boats hugged the left even more and we found ourselves around 6-8 at the top mark.  The wind was coming up a little more from the 6-8 in the first race to where we were definitely sitting out to balance the boat.  On the second upwind we picked some good shifts and made it to 3rd through to the finish.

The 3rd race wasn’t as good to us on the start.  We were near the back of the pack at the top mark, but worked on picking off boats on every leg with good boat speed and managed 6th.

For the 4th and final race of the day – we again had a good start.  Got to the top mark in the top 3, held our position downwind and pulled ahead on the next upwind winning the race and putting us solidly in front of the 19-boat fleet on the first day.


We got an early start on Sunday of the Board Bash Regatta at Lake Norman Yacht Club with our first warning at 9:25.  My tent was only slightly wet through the overnight rain showers.

We started the race with winds in the mid-teens and out of a completely different direction than yesterday.  It was a bit cooler too.  I had a great start and made my way upwind just ahead of the pack of boats.  In these conditions I was fully de-powered and holding the boat down… but John Mellnik and Stanley Hassinger just kept the boat a little flatter and a little faster all the way around the course and I was never really able to catch them ending up in 3rd.

In the 2nd race I was OCS at the start and had to come back and restart behind the fleet.  This race was a 5 leg race with a finish to windward.  Stanley and John got away again and I was just behind the next pack – Mark, Stephen, Finn and Conner.  Downwind we mostly stayed the same.  Upwind I had just a little more speed despite some of them picking better shifts.  On the final upwind I was able to get ahead and finish 3rd giving me 3rd overall for the regatta.  I also won the social media award for posting to facebook and twitter during the regatta and racing.

9/20 Lake Norman Yacht Club Board Bash Regatta3rd place.

Having never been to Lake Norman Yacht Club I was incredibly impressed with the place and all of the people there.  I had a great time and will definitely be back again.  Thanks again to Bill and Angie Wiggins for all their work to put together the regatta.  I’m looking forward to sailing with some of the D12 Laser sailors again in Columbia in a couple weeks.


Jon with New Board

There is no better way to spend a rainy day outside than sailing a Laser.  We might have had drizzle most of the day, but the racing in the Board Bash Regatta at Lake Norman Yacht Club was great.  I got a good sleep in my tent and put the boat together using the new board that I had recently rebuilt and gave a paint job.  I also ran into an old friend -Jaime Espinosa who I used to play club soccer with at ECU.

2013 Board Bash Jon & Jaime

We got racing with 14 Lasers and 11 Radials starting on one line shortly after 11 with wind 9-13 out of the south west. In the first race I had a good start in the middle of the line.  Just a short way up the first beat I miss-judged a cross as a port tack boat and ended up crash tacking, missing the hiking strap and going for a swim.  I recovered quickly and was able to pick my way back through the fleet to round 6th.  Downwind I picked off a boat and another in the upwind to finish 4th.

I had a good start in the second race, but just off the line my daggerboard stopper came apart and I stopped briefly to secure the parts.  The fleet sailed by once again and I had to pick my way upwind through the shifts.  One again I found myself in the top 5 and continued to pick off more boats to a 3rd place finish.

By the 3rd race I was determined not to make any mistakes or have anything fall apart.  While I was successful in there I didn’t have a good start and came to the line late getting pinned under a couple Radials.  At the top mark I was deep and tried to take the right side of the course downwind.  It didn’t work – I got passed by a bunch of boats and ended up 9th.

For the 4th race I had another poor start and had a bit of a time picking my way upwind.  Downwind I was around 4th, but deathrolled 2/3 down the leg and found myself just behind a pack of 10+ boats at the leeward mark.  I went left and picked a couple shifts and passed a bunch of boats to almost get back to where I was before the death roll finishing 6th.

The final race of the day was a Modified Olympic, two laps – a triangle followed by a windward leeward.  By now the wind had shifted left a bit so I  started at the pin.  I went left only for a minute and was able to tack and cross the fleet on the layline and rounded the top mark 1st.  I held ahead of Stanley Hassinger and John Mellnik on the reaches and we rounded the leeward mark bow to stern.  The upwind was a long beat on port and John just had a little more speed upwind and was able to stay ahead of me.  On the final beat Stanley got to the left and passed me, but John overstood the finish line allowing Stanley to finish 1 and me 2.

The final race was probably the best one of the day despite the skewed course.  I had a lot more fun racing John and Stanley closely than I did picking my way through the fleet after bad starts.  After racing we got to catch up with the other sailors and had a good dinner with a band for entertainment after racing. Tomorrow should see a little better weather for the 2nd day.


This evening I arrived at Lake Norman Yacht Club for the 2013 Board Bash Regatta.  This is a regatta for ‘board’ boats such as Lasers, Sunfish and Optis and it looks as if 80 total boats are signed up with the biggest fleet being the Sunfish with 19 and 16 Lasers in the fleet I’ll be sailing in.

LNYC Porch Panoramic

I’ve never been to LNYC, but heard a lot about it from FBYC Flying Scot sailors and wanted to give it a try.  I’ve also wanted to do more events on the Laser District 12 Series and this will be the first of 2 events I’ll be at this year.

After setting up the tent in a primo spot on the point, I got the boat off the car and finished up my daggerboard project.  The club has a lot of property and I smartly brought my bike to get myself from one end of the property to the other.  All we need for tomorrow is for the rain to hold off and the wind to give us something to sail with.

Tent at Lake Norman Yacht Club

During the regatta I’ll be posting my updates at @jondeutsch and the regatta twitter account is @bbash2013