SSA

2015 District 11 Championship

My first race of 2015 and why not do it at a District Championship.  Severn Sailing Association held the District 11 Championship in conjunction with their Sunshine Open Regatta.  27 Lasers and 16 Radials were out in what were nearly frostbite conditions on the first day.

I started with a great race sailing in 2nd most of the way around the course and loosing a spot on the final leg finishing 3rd.  I’d go downhill from there, but not before a few top 3 roundings before giving up spots downwind.  I met my goal of all top 10 finishes.

Back on short after 4 races I warmed up and enjoyed the dinner and band.

Sunday was a little better wind and we sailed 2 more races.  i had a tougher go of it finishing 1 in double digits followed by an 8 to finis 6th overall.

No pictures this time but results can be found here.  Big thanks to SSA for hosting, congratulations to Luke who sailed a great regatta to win it and thanks again for Steve for the place to stay.

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2015 SSA March Soling Frostbite

The frostbite season was significantly shortened due to all of the cold weather we’ve had.  Was able to get out for one day of Soling frostbiting at SSA.

Soling

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2014 Crab Claw Regatta: Sunday

Today’s forecast looked even worse than yesterday so the postponement flag was hoisted in the morning.  We then proceeded to do all of the things that ensure wind – namely other things like packing the boats, going power boating and canoeing. And by 10:45 the faithful who stuck it out were treated to a 7-9 knot breeze from the SSE.

We got 4 more races in before the time limit.  I won the first race using a similar strategy to yesterday.  But as the conditions changed in the 2nd and 3rd races and as I went into lead-conservation-mode – I found that everyone else was suddenly just as fast as I was and there weren’t many passing lanes.  I settled for 3rd in the next two races and not knowing if there was a drop or not in the last race, I just figured I just had to be better than DFL.  A 6 in that race ended up being my drop and I ended up 1st by 5 points.

It was great for me to finally put more than a just few races together and get a good result.  Thanks Steve, Dorian and everyone else for doing everything they did to put on the regatta.  I enjoyed sailing with the SSA Laser sailors and look forward to sailing with them again soon.

2014 Crab Claw Standard Winners

RESULTS

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2014 Crab Claw Regatta: Saturday

It was all doom and gloom on the forecast all week ahead of the Crab Claw Regatta at Severn Sailing Association and we were pleasantly surprised with the 3 races were were able to get in.  We headed out to the race course and got the first race off on time in a 6-8 easterly breeze just off Bembe Beach.  I had remembered sailing in this exact location and with this exact wind direction and I remember the strategy was to go right or to go left – I just didn’t remember which way.

At the start I wanted to be at the boat and to go right where there appeared to be more wind.  I took a second row start just behind Luke Shingledecker and tacked to the right as soon as I cleared the boat.  About a minute and a half later I realized it was the left that I wanted to be on because of the left-to-right current, so I tacked and continued, taking a few sterns, until I was left-most boat on nearly the lay line.  Once on the layline the current carried me to the mark in the lead.  I led the rest of the race favoring the right on the downwind and just doing my best to stay between myself and the pack of Jonathan Phillips, Luke and Bill just behind me.

2014 Crab Claw 1

After the first race was completed – the wind completely shut off – just as was expected.  We sat around in power boat chop for over 2 hours before the wind started to fill.  This wasn’t the 6-8 that we had earlier in the day but it was a solid 6 – enough to call it racing – and not punishment.

By the time we started the  current was supposed to have changed so I again took a second row start behind Luke and worked the right.  Once there I realized it hadn’t changed yet and again worked my way out to the left.  This time Luke came in ahead of me and I followed him downwind.  At the gate I saw some nice pressure on the lower right of the course so I stayed right while Luke went all the way to the left.  I came back to the left lay line and was 5-8 lengths ahead of him when we reached the top mark.  On the final downwind he closed the gap, but I was able to finish just ahead of him.

IMG_2854

For the 3rd race the pin was a little favored so I planned to start down by the pin with Carlos and Luke below me.  I got there a little too quick and was OCS and so was Luke so we both tucked around the mark and restarted.  I ended up with a nice lane and crossed behind most of the fleet on port until I got to clear air.  Once in clear wind I worked my way back across to left-most boat and rounded only behind one other boat who was ultimately tossed for OCS.

On the 2nd upwind of the 3rd race the course was moved to the left  and this time I played a conservative middle-left to stay ahead of the guys behind to finish 1st.

Despite the light wind and washing machine seas due to the power boat chop – it ended up being some fun racing.  I appreciate that the RC stuck it out and we were able to race. I had the upwind boat speed thing figured out and while there were some things I could have done better – I didn’t make any mistakes and that got me to the front and let me stay there.  It was a nice accomplishment putting a whole race day together after the mistakes I made last time I was racing at the Laser District 11 Championship in August.

The forecast for Sunday is even more dismal than today’s, but we do start an hour earlier so I’m hoping we get some more racing in and I can keep the streak going.

RESULTS

Photos courtesy of Carlos Linares

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 3

For the 3rd and final day of the Severn Sailing Association Soling Frostbite we had another day of light thermals and mostly overcast skies.  I was once again the middle guy flying the chute and calling tactics on Mike Waters boat along with bowman Al Tierney.

In the first race we were a little late to the start and wound up behind the other 4 boats.  We worked the left while the rest of the fleet went right and wound up rounding the first mark in last.  While the rest of the fleet took the rhumb line to the mark in wind that had shifted to the right looking upwind.  We instead went downwind for a bit, straight out into the bay to meet the new breeze coming in and then gybed  downwind in pressure and carried that to the downwind mark.  That new wind took a while to reach the rest of the fleet and we found ourselves in 2nd at the leeward mark.

Going upwind we picked the shifts and pressure well and passed a boat to round in first.  Again we headed out into the bay while the boat just behind us did a tight rounding and headed down the rhumb line to the finish.  We were out of the wind barely making headway to the left of the course while our competition was nearly halfway to the finish.  Other boats were rounding and following the other boat and making better distance on the finish than we were.  And just like clockwork, the breeze came in from the left and carried us right by everyone and we won the race.

Al and Mike Waters

In the second race we got a good start and just played the shifts and pressure upwind and kept ourselves between the other boats and the next mark and were able to win that race as well.

In the 3rd race we had a pretty solid lead using the same strategy as the 2nd race.  On the final run we just tried to just stay ahead.  Unfortunately, the wind didn’t cooperate and brought some of the boats behind us right up to us and one boat was able to squeak ahead of us at the line.

In the end a 1-1-2 was enough to win the day and pull ourselves up into 1st overall for the frostbite series.  In the last 43 years the winter series has only been won by 3 different guys.  Congratulations to Mike Waters on becoming the 4th person to win the series.  I was glad I could be along for a ride, I enjoyed getting to try some Soling sailing and I can’t wait to do it again.

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 2

For the 2nd day of the SSA Soling Frostbite we had a bit more variable conditions than 2 weeks ago.  This time we had 5 boats out and were able to get 2 races in.  Mike Waters was skipper, Josh Page did bow and I was in the middle flying the spinnaker and doing wind/tactics.

3/8 SSA Soling Frostbite

We did well in the first race by having good boat speed up wind and making the left work for us.  We finished 2nd having held that position all race.

3/8 SSA Soling Frostbite

In the 2nd race we had another good upwind and rounded in 2nd.  At the leeward mark, there was no committee boat and we mistaked which one of the two marks was our rounding mark and lost some distance to the leader.  The next two legs each had 180 degree shifts in them making it challenging, but it switched swiftly and did little to change the results as we still ended up second.

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2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 1

2/22/2014 SSA Soling Frostbite 1

Saturday I got to sail on a Soling for my first time in SSA’s Soling Frostbite.  A Soling is a 27′ 3-person keel boat and I was sailing as the middle crew with skipper Mike Waters and bow Gretchen E.  We had a bit of a slow start as we dialed in the boat and got through each of the crew mechanics the first time.  We learned, we got better and while our results don’t show it, we were actually pretty competitive.

Today’s weather was perfect for frostbiting.  Air temperatures on land in the high 50’s with a water temperature of 38. That created great thermal conditions and we had relatively steady wind that started around 8 and built to about 12 before coming back down to about 10 out of the SSW.

In the first race we had a good start, were 2nd at the windward mark and were the first boat to the leeward mark.  Unfortunately for us we couldn’t get the spin halyard down and ended up sailing 1/2 mile past the leeward mark before we were able to free the halyard to retrieve it.  We took a DNF in that one.

The 2nd race went much better for us.  While we weren’t able to fix the core problem with the spin halyard, at least we knew the problem and could work around it.  We ended up leading that race wire to wire.  We did a great job picking the shifts on both upwind legs and kept a comfortable cover on the boats around.

For the 3rd race we had another great start, got to the windward mark first, but lost a boat downwind.  On the 2nd upwind we got on the wrong side of the course as more pressure came from the other side dropping us back to 5th.

Overall the racing was really tight with only a few points separating the boats, but with our DNF we got the short end of the stick and wound up 5th overall.  It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the next frostbite day.

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2013 Laser District 11 Championship: Sunday

Sunday’s racing at the Laser District 11 Championship in Annapolis started out much like Saturday, but with less wind.  We started the first race under mostly cloudy skies and 8-10 knots of breeze.

After a general recall under P flag the RC went straight to the black flag.  I had a decent start near the boat end and worked my way out to the right along with Ted Morgan.  Karen long hit the right even better than we did and rounded the mark first with me and Ted just behind her.  Downwind I got ahead and put some distance between myself and the group just behind me.   From there I just kept ahead on the remaining 3 legs and took the gun.

Sunday’s 2nd race didn’t go so well.  My start wasn’t as good and I got behind early by being on the wrong side of the shifts on the first beat settling for a 12.  The thing I learned in the 2nd race was that the mode I was using to make the boat go fast upwind in a little more wind and more chop, stopped working when the wind lightened and the water got flatter.

By the 3rd and final race the wind was pretty light and the chop was just the random power boat variety.  We were moving, but it was slow going at times, particularly downwind.  I won the boat at the start and again worked my way up the middle right.  This time the far right didn’t pay.  And much of the fleet had gone left hoping it would pay off like it did last race – it didn’t.  I rounded 2nd just behind Brady White with Brett Morris behind me.  Brady extended his lead and I was able to hold off Brett.  We would go on to finish 1-2-3.

With that finish and knowing several boats would have black flags, I knew the top 2-7 boats would all be pretty close.  The 1 & 2 today certainly helped, but the 12 meant I’d have to keep a 10.  In the end it was the bullet that won me the tiebreaker for 3rd place overall.

Despite the light winds, it was fun to be competing at the top of the fleet – especially with some sailors who I’m usually following around the course.  And with 34 boats there were plenty of sailors keeping the competition close. Thanks again to Steven Cofer and everyone at SSA for hosting our championship!  And congratulations to winner Mike Russom who sailed a very consistent regatta with top 5 finishes.

RESULTS | PICTURES

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2013 Laser District 11 Championship: Saturday

We started the 2013 District 11 Championship with 32 standards and 9 radials at Severn Sailing Association.  It was overcast with and the wind was blowing 8-12.  Out on the water we had a bit of a time getting started with the current pushing us over and multiple general recalls and restarts.

I didn’t have a particularly great start in the first race, but I made my way to the right and picked the shifts up the beat catching boats on every upwind.  As the race went on the wind started dropping and was 7 or 8 with left over lumps and chop. I ended up 7th.

In the 2nd race I had a terrible start and won the 6th row getting shut out at the boat.   I worked my way up the first beat just looking for clear lanes and only had 4 boats behind me at the first mark.  Downwind I picked up boats and I picked up another handful on the upwinds.  Salvaged a 10th.

For the 3rd race we still had a 7-8 knots and the chop started going down a bit.  I had a great start, but let Brady and Mike get ahead and to the right.  I followed and when they broke to the left I hung out to the right and crossed both of them.  I was first at the top mark and lost a boat downwind.  Mike Russom was fast and made a good comeback.  But Ted Morgan had the best lines and speed and beat everyone at the top mark.  I held onto 4th.

After racing we had crabs and listened to a band on the SSA deck.

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2013 Laser District 11 Championship: Friday

9/27/2013 J/70 NAC - J/70 waiting around.

This weekend is the Laser District 11 Championship at Severn Sailing Association.  The J70 North American Championship is going on Thursday through Saturday with 90 boats and so I decided to come up a day early to go out and spectate.  The wind didn’t cooperate much and after 4 hours sitting on the water, racing was cancelled for the day.  While we didn’t get to see any sailing, it was still nice to get on the water.  Thanks to Brian Reagan for the ride out to spectate.

Tomorrow we’ll have 40+ Lasers and Radials out for our two-day championship.  Lighter winds are expected which just means – it’s anyone’s race to win!

9/27/2013 J/70 NAC - out spectating.

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