The pressure to finish well put only a little pressure on the first race to have a good start – only I started too well and was called over early and had to go back. Just as I cleared myself and turned to go back upwind the tiller extension popped out of the tiller and I had to stop and fix it. The vang also fell out of the boom and I was able to fix that once I was going upwind. So I started about 15-20 lengths behind everyone and just looked for a clear lane and tried to go fast. I caught some shifts and came in on port at the weather mark, ducked a few boats and rounded around 6-7. Downwind I stayed to the right and started working the boat in the waves and puffs, stayed away from the other boats that were in each others’ air and went around all of them. I was first to the leeward mark and I held onto that for the 2nd lap to win it. What an exciting way to start the day!
We had similar conditions for the next 3 races. I generally favored the left until the last race when the current turned and the right did a little better upwind. It was great having good boat speed so even when I wasn’t in the exact best spot to start, I was able to get clear air to be among the leaders upwind. Downwind I held my own. As the day went on I was really wiped out and out of energy. I fell back to 3rd and then 5th and then 8th in the subesequent race. I was doing all the right things to be a contender, just ran out of energy to make it happen.
Alex sailed well enough to maintain his lead. David hung in there and had some good downwind moves to get around some boats to save some points. Jake had a great day including a race win to take 3rd and I fell to 4th place.
NYCC did a great job putting on the regatta and running races. It was nice to sail on the same waters as ILCA Nationals next month and get more familiar with Norfolk and Iook forward to coming back next month.
Norfolk Yacht and Country Club hosted the first day of the ILCA District 11 Championship. We planned to go on time and a few of us launched and by the time we got to the end of the dock the RC put up a postponement, so we came and hung out for about 2 hours before there was enough to race with.
Out on the race course we had 4-5 knots – not great – but enough to race in. I had a terrible start without any speed at the gun and got shot out the back pretty quick. I tacked out to the right, ducked a bunch of boats and found some clean air and went to work. I rounded the top in 5 and about halfway down the run the wind shut off and then turned completely around. I was to the right and figured it out as fast as anyone and at one point was ahead of everyone. Alex played the zephyrs better and shot ahead to win it. Jack and I split tacks and he played the shifts better and I finished 3rd.
After the first race there was no wind whatsoever. We sat around and got swarmed by sand flies. 45 minutes later we were quite happy when the wind filled in not just so we could go sail, but to blow the flies away.
Over the next 3 races the wind would fill for 20 minutes or so and then go very light for 5-10 minutes. This repeated throughout the races. I had good starts near the boat and generally sailed well with a few moments of poor decisions and being in the wrong spot on the course. By the 4th race the current was really ripping slightly from the right making the upwind tacks very challenging to keep boat speed going. I would finish 8-5-3 in those races putting me in 3rd overall.
David Hartman sailed consistently and he too had a few moments he got on the wrong side of the course. The hero of the day was Rebecca – she was originally signed up for a Radial and switched to a full rig and probably weighs half of what some of the fleet weigh. She ran away with the last two races and is currently 2nd. After winning the first race, Alex sailed consistently and had all top 5 finishes to be leading the fleet.
Made a trip to the ODU sailing center on Sunday to Frostbite with the Hampton Roads Laser Fleet. This was the first of two frostbite outings to tune up for the Laser Midwinters East Regatta in Clearwater Florida in a couple weeks.
The day was fraught with very little wind and thus we were only able to get in two short races before calling it a day. The video below shows just how light it was. This was also my first experiment mounting the GoPro camera to the Laser. It turned out pretty well and I can’t wait to try another mounting location next week when I’m frostbiting up at SSA in Annapolis.
This has been a beautiful weekend and it would have been a shame not to get out on the water. The Hampton Roads Laser Fleet was having a frostbite at the ODU Sailing complex and I decided to get the boat out and join them. This being my first time out since October it was a chance to get the cobwebs out as well as a shake down for regattas in the next couple weekends.
We ended up having the best fleet they’ve had out all year with 9 boats. The weather was gorgeous with 12-17 knots in the Elisabeth River. We set up short 2-lap courses that took about 15 minutes to complete. The short courses really put a premium on picking the right side of the course and on boat handling. There’s no time for that shift to come back in an oscillating breeze.
After the first couple races everyone really got into their grooves and we had some nice tight racing. Overall I kept in the upper-middle part of the pack, usually just a couple boat-lengths out of the lead. I had a 4th over all. All in all it was a good day on the water, and I’m looking forward to getting the season started next weekend at the Capital City Regatta in Washington DC.
I was in Norfolk to help Norfolk Yacht and Country Club put on the USODA Nationals. I helped with a variety of things from running the starts/finishes for the Green Fleet, keeping score for the Green Fleet, monitoring the weather for the championship fleet and of course taking a lot of pictures.