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.
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.
It’s a been a week of preparing for the 2018 Laser Masters Championship at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Everything from building trophies, pre-cooking breakfast, ordering food to buying all of the other supplies was coming together. Also coming this week was the remnants of hurricane Michael which roared through on Thursday evening. Friday morning I woke up to hear that FBYC was among the hundreds of thousands of customers in Virginia without power and the prospect of getting power before the end of the weekend was slim.
Calling around to our club manager, flag officers and others who are familiar with the systems at FBYC I figured out the following: The club had hosted an event without power after a hurricane in the past and had an electrician wire a place to plug in a generator. The water system had it’s own generator. And 4 J/70s had been knocked over in the dry sail lot. The water system was the only thing that could necessitate cancelling the regatta – it would be unsafe to have that many people at the club without proper sanitation. With the knowledge that we had that solved, I knew once on site we could use some ingenuity to solve the rest of our needs for electricity. I owned a small generator and I borrowed a bigger one from my parents and got on the road to Deltaville by noon.
Once I arrived at the club I found things as expected. I got one of the generators plugged into the refrigerators in the kitchen and worked on other preparations. Mayo Tabb – a member with extensive electrical systems experience came by a short time later and had a way to plug into the club generator outlet that was sized for a very big generator into a more standard household generator. This would enable us to power only 1/3 of the club including the refrigerators and range hood that we would need to cook on the gas stove top. Bob Fleck also brought by a bigger generator and by late afternoon Mayo had scavenged all of the parts to wire everything safely. We used the smaller generator to use the air pumps to inflate the marks and to wire it into the boat lift to get the mark boat lowered into the water.
While this was going on I communicating with the sailors who were driving in from as far away as Michigan, Colorado and Toronto. They knew our facilities would be limited through the weekend without power – few lights at night, no hot water in the showers and that we’d have to conserve water. 1/3 of the fleet was camping out anyway, so lack of power wasn’t going to be much of a concern. It also helped that all of the businesses in Deltaville had power, so at least folks could purchase what they needed. One way or another it was going to make it a memorable weekend and they were all in for the ride. Not a single sailor canceled or didn’t show.
Huge thanks to the club staff Bryan and Eric as well as Bob and Mayo who spent their afternoon Friday helping get things wired together. And thanks to the fleet members Alain, Charlie, Britt, Frank, Mike, Ron and others for help pulling together the other details to make us ready.
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!
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.
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.