Sunday at the US Laser Masters saw more wind as it built through the day. We went out on schedule and sailed the first race in similar wind to yesterday in the 8 knot range as the wind bounced around between 200 and 220 before finally settling in at 210. I had another bad start and had to pick my way through the fleet to finish 26.
By the 2nd race of the day, the wind had built to the mid-teens. I cramped up on the first downwind, wasn’t practiced enough in the wind and waves and ended up with a case of the flipsies. I sailed a little more conservatively downwind after that and kept the boat upright, but would finish 39th.
In the 3rd race of the day and 7th total race the wind was a bit steadier in the 15-20 knot range, I had a good start, but struggled getting the boat dialed in and sailing fast in the stronger breeze. Part of it was being out of shape and the other part of it is probably doing 90% of my sailing in the 5-12 knot range over the past couple years and not having enough time in the boat in those conditions. I would go on to finish 41st.
By the 4th and final race of the regatta the wind was the same, I was a little more comfortable in the boat and making it go in the wind. I sailed conservatively until the very last leg – I passed two boats on the short reach, had the inside track on the pin when a gust hit and I started to round up into the pin boat. I did all I could to dump mainsheet while rotating the boat around just enough so that as I tipped over to windward my mast fell just to leeward of the pin boat. I hadn’t hit anything, I cross the finish line and I even found I could stand up. I righted the boat and sailed in exhausted.
Back on shore we packed up and the awards ceremony was held. I finished 24th overall and received the award for the top Apprentice.
Eric, Mike and everyone at Brant Beach Yacht Club put on a great regatta all the way around. I had a great time visiting with all of the sailors there and enjoyed 3 days of sailing. I’ll be back next year when Brant Beach hosts the open North American Championship Regatta in July.
Saturday’s forecast at the US Laser Masters called for more wind even though it wasn’t looking promising in the morning. We went out anyway and it built to 5-10 out of the south.
In the first race I had a great start and won the pin. I worked left and found more pressure. At the first mark I was 7th out of 67 boats. I tried not to loose too many boats downwind and held my own upwind. I ended up 13th.
For the second race I had a terrible start and parked it on the line while the fleet sailed away. I was in the 40’s at the top mark. I went low downwind and picked up some boats and on the 2nd beat I picked some shifts up the middle right of the course and passed some more boats. I caught another boat or two downwind and finished 20th.
The 3rd race saw me with another terrible start – this time at the boat end. I had a lot of trouble finding clear air and was towards the back of the pack at the first weather mark. Unlike the last race, there weren’t as many passing lanes and I managed a 35th.
By the 4th race I was tired of sailing in dirty air and determined to get a good start. My start wasn’t just good, it was fantastic and I sailed hard to hold my line upwind and stay in the front row. I found my speed to be on par with anyone around me and as we worked our way out to the middle left of the course I found myself crossing fewer and fewer boats and having all the clear air I desired. I was in 3rd at the top mark and sailed just as well if not better downwind by going high and passed another boat by the gate. Upwind I sailed fast, picked shifts, and found myself in 2nd again but to a different leader at the top mark. Downwind I sailed fast but conservatively so as not to do anything stupid. I again went a little high of the guys chasing just to ensure I had clear air. When we came back together, one boat slipped by and I was able to finish in 3rd. It was pretty amazing to hang with some great sailors and gave me a thirst to try and do more of that tomorrow.
That got me to 15th overall after 4 races with more planned tomorrow. In masters scoring, my handicap as an Apprentice Master (35-35) means 3 points is added to each race finish. Older sailors get fewer handicap points. That evening I enjoyed another dinner at the club restaurant while we watched the sun set over the water and retired early to rest up for more wind promised tomorrow.
I got a late start out of Richmond on Thursday night and finished the 2nd half of the drive this morning arriving at Brant Beach Yacht Club 45 minutes before the skippers meeting. We ended up being postponed on shore another 45 minutes before finally leaving around 12:30.
We would go out and float around another 2 1/2 hours without any wind really filling in. I tried making a GoPro video that made it look as if we really were sailing fast. Kind of glad I did – I took some underwater video and only after reviewing it later did I realize how bad the weeds really were despite not looking bad on the surface. Also note how shallow the bay is.
Back on shore the sailors enjoyed a great dinner in the club house and watched the sunset as the club’s A-Cat Raven sailed by.
This morning we were greeted to sunny skies and light winds out of the North. We launched and sailed almost to Gynn’s Island in area C so we’d have the most fetch with a north wind. We got the first race started and just as we were about the start the wind clocked around toward the east and came in a 8-10. The mark was easily fetchable so we had another parade race. There was some passing and it was important to stay as high as possible so as not to be blanketed by the other fleets on the opposite leg. I rounded the first mark in 4th and then made up two spots on the 2nd ‘upwind’ to finish 2nd.
The course was reset for the 2nd race and the wind picked up to 10-14 with some whitecap and small waves. I had a great start, held my lane and used speed and hiking to pull away from the pack a bit. Charlie and David were to leeward going out left as well. About halfway up the beat I tacked to catch a shift to the right and ended up with less air and more headers. Charlie stayed all the way out to the left and came into the windward mark about 15 boat lengths ahead and I was almost as far ahead of David behind me. On the second beat I tried going more left than Charlie, but couldn’t get any shifts and we held our positions for another 2nd for me. That put him 1 point ahead in the lead again.
For the 3rd race we had a pile of boats at the boat end for the start. Charlie and I pulled ahead a bit and we rounded 1-2 at the top mark. I stayed within 3 boatlengths downwind and we crossed close a few times upwind before I got a shift out of phase and he put 3-4 boat lengths between us and held that to the finish.
It was great being out on the water – I feel a lot better and up to speed before going to Masters Nationals in Brant Beach in two weeks. Thanks to Rebecca and Massey for organizing the event and to John K and all of the folks on the race committee running the races and marks around.
The forecast was pretty dismal for the 79th Annual Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and we were treated to a nice of weather as we could have gotten – I was expecting cloudy skies turning to rain by the afternoon and didn’t even take sunglasses or sunscreen out. We ended up sailing 4 races in 0-7 and the clouds broke up and gave us some sun before the end of the afternoon.
In the first the wind started out more to the west of south and the left side of the course was favored. David went left, while Charlie and I went right. I bailed out halfway up the leg and got somewhat left and managed to round just ahead of Brad. We held our positions downwind and on the second upwind David covered me to the left side of the course allowing Brad to catch a lane out to the right and sail around us. I would end up 3rd.
In the 2nd race I had a great start, this time also worked my way a little left and had to pick my way back right. Alain rounded just ahead of me and I followed him downwind. The two of us again went left on the second beat, this time the course was set 10 degrees more to the south. Charlie and Brad were able to sail around us and I finished 3rd again.
In the 3rd race the boat was heavily favored, I had a great start and punched out working the middle left of the course. Most of the fleet went way to the left and I found more pressure, less dirty air from the other fleets and a favorable shift at the top mark on the first beat. Charlie caught up to me downwind and we jockeyed at the downwind mark with me just ahead of him. Upwind Charlie split out to the left while I stayed middle right and Mike stayed far right. Mike caught up and crossed ahead and headed to the left while I stayed middle right and again found better pressure and shifts rounding 15 boat lengths ahead and held that to finish 1st. That put me 1 point ahead of Charlie, David and Brad who were all tied for 2nd.
For the 4th and final race the wind shifted way right as the race were getting started and it ended up as a parade lap. Those who went high and avoided the other fleet traffic had clearer air and got ahead. The wind for most of this was 0-3 and at one point I think we were making wind by riding the current. I picked up a spot on the final leg and finished 3rd again. Charlie had pulled ahead on the 3rd leg and David squeezed ahead of me. So after 4 races in a regatta with no drop races, Charlie is 2 points ahead of me and David who are tied.
Sunday saw the conditions lay down a bit from the winds we saw Saturday and we were back out on the ocean sailing under overcast skies and 10-15 knot winds in rather large and lumpy swells. I made it out to the race course, but felt absolutely awful out there as we waited to get racing started. After being so uncomfortable out there I left before the first race and would get an early start on the trip back home. I would later figure out that the breakfast bars I had been eating hadn’t been agreeing with me and had actually been making me feel bad all weekend. Make that a lesson for next time.
Even though I didn’t get as much sailing as I might have wanted, it was still nice to enjoy some warm weather, see some old friends and get away for a bit. I am looking forward to more sailing in a few months when it warms up in VA.
After postponing on shore in what was looking to be some gnarly winds, the race committee took everyone out to the harbor for some short course racing in an alternate format. I made the decision to bail on the day and jump on the committee boat for a front row seat. The alternate format meant todays races only counted as one race in the regatta. In the end it wasn’t as bad as it felt on land or was predicted and I was a bit bummed to skip sailing it.
The first day of the Florida Masters was a nice one with temps in the 70s, partly cloudy skies and 86 boats in two fleets. We sailed outside in the ocean. The wind started around 7 or 8 out of the WNW and shifted around to NNE and built to 11-13. We got in 3 races for both fleets with the radials starting under the prep flag and the standards starting under U-flag after general recalling twice each of the 3 races.
In the first race it was lighter and a little lumpier and I picked the wrong side of the course on the first beat and found myself pretty deep at the first mark. By the second leg the wind had shifted much more north making it a parade upwind and down. I topped it off by hitting the same leeward mark both times I went around it and settled for 21st place finish.
After moving the course west and orienting it with the wind out of the North we got our 2nd race started. I was mid-line and had a great start and legged out to the left. I got to the layline and sailed right in to the mark and found myself first around. I lost a couple boats on both downwind legs and settled for an 8.
For the 3rd race I started closer to the pin and had to pinch above a few boats barely laying it. I stayed to the left of the course and by now the wind was 11-13 – requiring some sitting out and occasional hiking. I was making the boat move well upwind and even started figuring out how to work the waves downwind so I didn’t loose boats. I finished 5th and after 3 races I’m first Apprentice Master and 14th overall in the Radial fleet.
The trip to West Palm Beach went pretty smoothly for a 850mi journey with only 1 brief slowdown for construction traffic. I spent the night in Jacksonville Florida and finished the trip this morning arriving at Palm Beach Sailing Club around 12:30.
The forecast for this week is going to be for quite a bit of wind on two of the days. Having not sailed much in the last year and not at all since October, I’ve opted to join the radial fleet this weekend.
After unpacking I went out to practice in 10-11 knots out of the east, mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s.
I got out into the bay and the wind current was ripping, so I sailed around the harbor and got used to the Radial again. In the distance I spotted Rambler 88 and sailed by it.
The boats were put away, I went for a run and ready to camp out at the club and go racing tomorrow in a 30+ boat Radial fleet.
In an about face in weather from the rest of the week – wind is what we got on Wednesday with winds in the upper teens and gusts into the lower twenties. Slightly overcast skies with temperatures in the lower 70’s. Having sailed in light air all week and most of 2016 – I wasn’t well prepared for these conditions. My goal would be to just get around the course and salvage as much as I could.
In the first race I had an ok but not stellar start. I made my way out to the right of the course and I moved the boat ok, but was a few rows back. Towards the top it was clear the left was coming in better and I was in the back quarter around the top mark. On the reach to the offset I lost my hand hold on the mainsheet and ended up capsizing to windward as what remained of the fleet sailed by.
I continued the race sailing conservative downwind to keep the boat under me and managed to pick off a few boats on the next two legs. At the final jibe mark to the finish I messed up the timing of my duck and thwacked the boom on my head to add a little injury to insult. I’d have a bruise for the next several days.
At that point it was clear I wasn’t competing and I decided to get home and save some time-off for later in the year. And to finish it up – my dolly broke as I recovered the boat on the beach. Thankfully the ride home was uneventful including an overnight stop in Florence SC.