Offshore Racing

2014 Race to Wolf Trap Light House

Saturday we raced Wavelength at Fishing Bay Yacht Club to the Wolf Trap Light House and back.  Wolf Trap is a memorable place both because I’ve sailed my own boat there and because it was the first race I ever did on a ‘big boat’ on Wavelength in 1998 after joining FBYC and getting my drivers license.

The weather was perfect for a race with winds 12-19 out of the SSW and mostly sunny skies.  We had a good start and were 2nd boat around the short windward mark.  The next leg was a little less than a mile downwind and chose not to go with a spinnaker and lost a couple spots to the boats behind us.

Nereid at Wolf Trap Light House

Nereid rounding Wolf Trap Light House just behind us

On the close reach out to the Milford Haven mark we had a full main and a No 1 up which was more sail than anyone else and held our ground and may have even picked up on some of the faster rated boats.  From Milford Haven to Wolf Trap was a beat with a heavy current behind us.

Once around Wolf Trap it was all downwind directly into the current.  As we got closer to the Piankatank the wind moved forward and it became a close reach again.  The final leg was a beat up the Piankatank and we ended up 2nd in the 4-boat PHRF-A fleet behind Nanuq.

Results | Pictures

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2014 Stingray Point Regatta: Stingray Light Distance Race

Friday I started the weekend early and sailed the Stingray Light Distance race at the Stingray Point Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club on Sam Mitchener’s J/109 Double Eagle.

8/29 Stingray Point Regatta: Stingray Light Distance Race

The course was a 13nm route that took just south and north of the Piankatank River entrance.  In our class were Bad Cat, Nanuq, Wairere, Voodoo 2 and Pursuit.  The wind was 8-11 out of the NNE with comfortable temperatures and mostly sunny skies.

Our race went pretty well particularly on the upwind/close reaching sections, we lost a bit on the downwind, but still wound up with 3rd place overall.  I got to do some bow work which was a change since I haven’t done that in quite a number of years.  All in all a great day on the water.

Results | Pictures

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2014 Screwpile Regatta: Video

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2014 Screwpile Regatta: Sunday

7/20 Race 3 start

The final day of racing at the Screwpile Regatta and hallelujah we had good wind for sailing!  Today’s schedule was 2-3 buoy races under partly cloudy skies and high 80’s temperatures.

7/20

The racing today was really pretty fun.  We were right in the thick of it with boats all around us all the way around the course.

Upwind it was a choice between better pressure on the left and a right trending wind along with adverse current on the left.  Downwind we had great sets and worked for clear air.

We sailed well, didn’t make any major mistakes and closed out the final two races with a 5-4 putting us in 6th place for the regatta.  Thanks Sam for having me aboard.  It was great sailing with you, Mayo, Mark, Melissa, Chris, Bonnie, Lauren and Ed.

Pictures | Final Results | Video

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2014 Screwpile Regatta: Saturday

Saturday was distance race day at the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Regatta.  The regatta has a new format for this year where we buoy race on Friday and Sunday with a distance race in the middle.  The conditions were good for racing – about 8 knots with mostly overcast skies – a little atypical for this regatta this time of year when we’re used to sunny skies, scorching temperatures and no wind.

7/19 Ed, Sam, Mark, Jon

In this race we were a pinch late at the pin end of the line and watched a few of the faster boats in the water drive to windward of us.  For the most part we were low enough to keep a clear lane, but they put some distance between us.  After the first mostly upwind leg, the course took us on a couple of close reaches down the bay.  Some of the boats with sails that were close reachers or windseekers were able stretch out in front of us a bit.  We put up our spinnaker late in the leg once the angles were right.

7/19 Mark, Melissa going downwind near American Flier

Once we made the turn back in to the Patuxent River the wind started to get lighter allowing us to catch up to the boats already in the river.  We rode the wind down the right side of the course as we converged with the smaller boats that had been sailing various courses.  There were plenty of crossing situations and boats to be on the lookout for, and it probably made for some great pictures from the helicopter taking pictures of all of the spinnakers in the river.

7/19

One thing that worked really well for us was having me sitting on the rail with an iPad around my neck doing the charter plotting.  We had the boat instruments working as well, but having real time information where we were without having to go below helped keep us on track and out of trouble.

7/19 Jon navigating by iPad.

When the leaders in our fleet were about a mile ahead of us at the last turn to the finish, we saw something unusual happen.  Bad Cat – a local boat with a little over a 7′ draft had run aground in the channel.  A minute later VooDoo 2 was rafted up next to them hard aground.  A third boat from another fleet wound up next to them as well.  We just sailed right on by and were pretty happy with a 6th place finish.

7/19 Bad Cat, Cheetah, and Voodoo all aground in the channel at the turning mark.

Following racing we had a great cookout with the crews from Persuit, Horizon, GOIN’, Cheeky Monkey hosted by VooDoo 2.

7/19 Becca, Jon, Matt, Laurie, Isabel

Here’s what we sailed today.  The blue line is the course and the red dotted line mostly right along side the blue line is our plot.

7/19 the course (blue) and our track (red dotted - pretty much on the rhumb line)

Distance Race Results | Pictures | Video

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2014 Screwpile Regatta: Friday

We had some pretty light winds to start the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Regatta in Solomon’s Maryland.  I am sailing on Sam Mitchener’s J/109 Double Eagle this weekend and we are rated as the slowest boat along with the other J/109 in the 10-boat PHRF-A1 fleet.

7/18 Jon looking around for wind.

In the first race on Friday we got a good start near the pin in clear air.  We worked our way up the 1-mile leg and rounded in the middle of the pack.  On the downwind leg the wind started to go from light to lighter.  We rounded the leeward mark and started making our way out to the right side of the course following most of the rest of the fleet.   Three boats behind us rafted up at the leeward mark and the wind completely shut off.

DCIM\117GOPRO

For the next hour and  half we would float around trying to make distance towards the now-shortened coarse at the windward mark.  At one point we had the anchor down to prevent us from being swept away from the mark by the current.  Many other boats did the same.  Ultimately, the boats rafted up at the mark came from behind everyone to catch just enough of a breeze on the left side of the course to finish.  4 boats got across the line before the timeline, and the rest of the fleet took at TLE/6.  Quite a frustrating day of sailing being out on the water with no wind, a lot of current and not being able to even sail the course.  With two more days of racing ahead lets hope the racing only improves.

Pictures | Results | Video

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2014 Leukemia Cup Regatta: Sunday

What the wind left us wanting for on Saturday was delivered on Sunday.  Perfect sailing conditions with 10-14 knot breezes out of the south west and comfortable temperatures and partly cloudy skies.

Three more races were sailed.  We did as well as we could and didn’t make too many mistakes.  We still couldn’t hang with the faster boats and found ourselves 5-6-5 on the day.  All in all it was a fun regatta and nice to sail with Rob Whittet, Steve Utley and the rest of the Wavelength Crew as we helped raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Photos | Results

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2014 Leukemia Cup Regatta: Saturday

The first day of the Leukemia Cup Regatta got off to a bit of a slow start when racing was postponed on the water for almost 3 hours.  We had a couple teases where it looked to fill and thankfully we didn’t have triple-digit heat while we sat around.

We finally started a race and we had a good start at the boat with only Double Eagle between us and the boat. Below us were a couple J/105s.

We worked our way out to the left as we went up the course. All in all we sailed well, didn’t make any mistakes and got around the course cleanly. Unfortunately, we still couldn’t catch the 2 j109s or Voodoo 2 and settled for 4th.

Two of the j105s didn’t have such a hot first downwind leg. They were just behind us when one of them tried to gybe behind the other and wound up colliding. One boat put their spinnaker pole right into the cockpit behind the driver and as the boats tangled it sheared off the rear pulpit before the boats came to a stop and were untangled. There were no injuries but the damaged boat won’t be racing tomorrow.

With one race complete it was too late for another one and we headed in.

Following racing we boated over to the Deltaville Maritime Museum for a great dinner and entertainment.

And one of my photos was in the live auction raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  It was cool to be featured alongside a couple of John Barbour prints.

Photos | Results

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2014 FBYC Cut Channel Race

Saturday was the Cut Channel Race at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and I was aboard Double Eagle with Sam Mitchener and 7 others for the race.  We couldn’t have asked for much better weather with 10-20 knots out of the East with sunny skies for the 29nm course.  We were among 2 other boats in the PHRF-A fleet and 18 total boats in the race.

We had a good start down by the pin right alongside the other J-109 Afterthought.  The first half of the race was a beat and for the first 2 miles Afterthought inched ahead of us to where they were 5 lengths ahead of us as we turned around C and headed for mark L.  As the wind built we had a better sail selection and a little more weight and were within a couple boat lengths by the time we got to L.

Afterthought crossing us on the way to Q:
Afterthought

From mark L we kept going south while Afterthought tacked and went North as we both made our way east across the bay to mark Q.  The current made all the difference pushing us closer to the mark and we were .8 mi ahead at Q.  As the wind eased and the conditions began to favor Afterthought for the 2nd half of the race they chewed some of that back and we crossed the finish line with a 3:15 minute lead and won our class and had the fastest corrected time of the whole fleet.

I ended up driving upwind and the reach for about 40 minutes which was good to give Sam a break and to see how the sails were affecting the trim.  Mayo, Bonnie, Ed, Matt L, Chris T, Holly F sailed well together and were fun to sail with.  All in all it was a good race and a good result – putting Double Eagle into contention later this year for the long distance series.

Pictures | Results

Our Course (blue) and our track (red dotted):

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2014 FBYC Moonlight Regatta

Having not planned on being in Deltaville this weekend I was a late add to Wavelength for the Moonlight Regatta following my Laser sail in the afternoon.  The weather was perfect for a night race – comfortable temperatures, clear skies and 12-19 knots of wind out of the north east.

We got a pretty reasonable start and were 2nd around the top mark behind Double Eagle.  On the 2nd leg out to mark E, Double Eagle went pretty low and allowed us to slip by while the Tartan 40 Nereid just waterlined us in the chop and was half a length ahead of us to leeward at E.  For some strange reason Nereid went below the mark, we didn’t, but we couldn’t turn right to go to G because they were there.  Eventually it was sorted out and Nereid went back to re-round while we led the fleet to G only to be overrun by Double Eagle once they caught up.  Below is a photo of Nereid (right) going back to the mark, while  Double Eagle tracks us down.

 

From G to J was a close reach up into the Rappahannock River with the current coming right on our nose.  I drove about a mile and a half of the leg before we turned to go back to the Piankatank.   We put the chute up just before F and gybed around it.  We had a bit of a trouble with the jibe before we got settled to head for the finish.  About halfway down the leg to the finish our topping lift broke.  We took down the spinnaker and sailed bare-headed while we got the genoa sorted and hoisted.  We came so close to winning the A fleet… Double Eagle corrected to 34 seconds ahead of us leaving us in 2nd overall.

Below is the course.  The marks as sailed are labeled Moon Start-Moon-E-G-J-B(finish).  The dotted red line is the actual course we sailed.

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Results | Photos

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