Rigging in the rain for day 2 at the Sunshine Open at Severn Sailing Association.
Rigging in the rain for day 2 at the Sunshine Open at Severn Sailing Association.

Arrived for day 2 of the Sunshine Open at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis to plenty of rain and even a little thunder. It looked like most of the weather coming was going to be light but likely to persist into the early afternoon. We launched on time and sailed in area C at the mouth of the Severn River.

After a short postponement we got racing in 8-12 knots of wind. For the first race I started at the boat just a tiny bit late and was able to rack out to the right into what looked like some better pressure. By the top mark I was in second just behind Bob T. Downwind I went low and easily passed Bob and extended. On the next upwind I held my position with James, Dave and others just behind me. I didn’t keep the boat going early in the final downwind and 4 boats went right around me leaving me in 5th.

By the second race the wind had picked up to 10-13 and my not so great start at the pin left me just in the top 10 at the top mark. As we went downwind the wind started to ease a bit. I went left seeing the wind going that way as it continued to ease while the rest of the fleet went mostly right. The wind got down to 4-6 and with the left over waves on top of the left to right current made going upwind a real slog. The left paid and I was in 3rd just on Luke’s stern with Dave just ahead of us. The downwind took forever but we finished in those places putting me in 3rd for the race and bringing me up to 5th overall. It had looked like they were going to shorten course for us and they eventually did for the radials sparing them from having to sail downwind again. With little wind we headed in. Congratulations to Dave who was able just ahead of James to win the weekend. It was fun sailing in the top of the fleet with Ted, link, Craig and others. Thanks to Scott, Kat, Gavin and everyone at SSA who made the weekend possible!


The forecast for day one at the Sunshine Open ILCA Regatta at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis wasn’t very good. After the skippers meeting, we postponed ashore for 25 minutes or so until we started to see a little bit of wind to sail in out in the harbor. It was cloudy and overcast with a very light air forecast. The cloudy conditions helped keep the power boats away enabling us to sail in the Severn River on a short course.

On the deck at Severn Sailing Association during the Skippers' meeting of the Sunshine Open.
Skipper’s meeting with little wind

The wind was out of the west and current was coming right out of the Severn River down the course. At the first start I misjudged my timing to the line on account of the current and ended up being late and 3 rows deep. I crossed behind almost everyone and did my best to go fast and find pressure arriving at the top mark around mid fleet. I managed to catch a couple boats on the downwind and after 2 laps finished 10th.

In the second race, I had the timing for the start about perfect and had Dave just below me and only Craig between me and the boat. Craig tacked out early; I kept going for a few more lengths before tacking out into pressure. Craig and I went up the first 1/3 of the leg on the right while most of the fleet was to the left. I started picking puffs and shifts and by the top mark I was a good 150 yards ahead of the guys behind me. I played it a little too conservative on the rest of the course and wound up getting passed on the next two legs, finishing 6th, as the wind started to taper off and the current picked up.

Without a good prospect for more wind we were sent in. James won both races and sits in first with Dave just behind him. Then there are 4 boats within a point of each other and a few more points back to another couple boats and me in 9th.

Tomorrow’s forecast is looking for good wind, but likely rain all day.


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.

The Sunshine Open was a bust for me.  On Sunday morning the wind was already well into the 20’s with a forecast calling for it to get into the 30’s and direction that would make it a difficult beat to get back to the club.  There was no way it was going to be a fun day on the water so I headed back to Richmond instead.

Going back to Saturday evening in Deltaville, Fishing Bay Yacht Club was having their Opening Day Regatta and Dinner. There were about 100 people in the clubhouse having dinner.  About 7:30, just as most people were finishing their dinner, a storm came through Deltaville and with it a tornado that passed about 3/4 of a mile from the club.

About 15 minutes later my phone started blowing up with tweets and text messages from various club members along the path of the tornado.  I spent much of the evening gathering reports, relaying information and looking up other information online about what had just occurred.  And based on the reports I posted updates to the club website and put out a map of the tornado’s path through Deltaville which turned out to be pretty accurate.

Thankfully everyone in the Deltaville area was unharmed, but at least one club members home received significant damage and several buildings and other homes in town were wiped out.  Here are some pictures from someone who was there.

No racing today for the first day of the Sunshine Open at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis.  With gale warnings and thunderstorms in the area we weren’t able to get on the water.  Through the afternoon we saw winds topping 30 knots.  The regatta dinner and band is still on for tonight.  Here’s some video of the conditions.

The second day of the regatta was supposed to start an hour earlier, but the wind wasn’t really cooperating. The RC towed us all out to the race course, but we ended up sitting at anchor for over 2 hours before the wind finally settled in and we could get a race off.

The wind was light and fortunately I had a bad start near the boat. I say fortunately because it forced me to go out to the right side of the course which ended up being brilliant. I was 5th around the first mark, 4th around the second mark and 4 around the final mark. I wasn’t able to hold on to my position on the final beat and surrendered a few boats, but a top 10 finish (8), was nice to have.

In the second race the wind picked up to 10-12. Again, I had a bad start and this time ended up more on the wrong side of the course. I hung right behind the lead pack of about 15 boats and ended up chasing them all around the course with out ever breaking into the pack. I ended up 17th in that one.

All in all it was a good regatta. 13th overall in the 34 boat fleet. I still have a lot of work to do to hike harder and get my boat speed up. The first big regatta of the season is down. Looking forward to some small local regattas in the next few weeks before the ACC in June.

Final Results

Today was the first day of Laser racing in the Sunshine Open and US Sailing Singlehanded Championship Area C Elimination held at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, MD. We started the day in little wind with a long sail out to the race course. I took us over 2 hours to sail a little more than an hour to the race area. Eventually the wind filled in to just over 5 and we got a race off.

The course was supposed to be an Olympic and it was set a little less than a mile to the windward mark. After the first 3 legs the RC smartly shortened to course otherwise nobody would have finished within the time limit. I did my best to get clear air and pick the shifts, but had a tough time making the boat go fast. I started, sailed and finished mid-fleet.

After the first race, the RC postponed again. The wind filled in to a steady 10+ by about 3pm and they started another race. I had a good start and had clean air, but by the time we were at the top mark, I was on the wrong side of a few shifts and found myself in the middle of the 30+ boat fleet. It was nice sailing in some wind. I held my position and finished 16th.

We had a great dinner and camaraderie between the sailors after racing. All and all it was a good day. Tomorrow we’re hoping the rain stays away so we can get in 4 races.

Day 1 Results

Severn Sailing Association - 50 Years of One-Design Excellence
Severn Sailing Association – 50 Years of One-Design Excellence

The sun was shining Saturday at the Sunshine Open as 35 lasers took to the waters of Annapolis for the 36th running of this event. That group included 3 sailors from Canada and a couple from New York and New Jersey.

After waiting on the water for about an hour for the wind to fill, we were treated to a 8-10 knot breeze. The large starting line gave everyone a lane and the fleet got off cleanly on the first try. For the first leg the wind went left and that meant all of the pin-end starters who stayed to that side made out much better as the fleet reached the windward mark. The next two marks were changed to square up the course to the new wind. From here the wind held in place although it let out a bit towards the end of the race.

Only one race was sailed and Jon Deutsch (FBYC) finished first followed by Rodger Link (WRSC) and Chad Coberly. Kyle Swenson (FBYC) was the first Junior with a 5th place. Kin Couranz (SSA) was first Radial and Karen Long (SSA) was first Woman.

Following that race the fleet stuck around for almost another hour waiting for some more wind to get another race off, but it never came. We were lucky to get in one race because other courses out on the water such as the J22 and Etchells didn’t get any races off.

Back on shore the fleet was treated to a Mahi Mahi diner and everyone sat around with their favorite drink talking about how their race went.

Sunday started with 8-12 knots of wind, partly cloudy skies and lumpy waves. The Race Committee took us way out into the bay to away from potential powerboat traffic and to get clear air. As everyone was getting to the course we were watching a small rain cell moving from the south to the east of us. It appeared to be going right past us.

In the course of just 5 minutes, that tiny cell off in the distance became a wall of showers headed straight for us. As soon as everyone realized it we started heading in. Minutes later it was raining and gusting into the middle and upper 20’s. Thankfully it was a broad reach back to Annapolis.

Several Vanguard 15’s were coming out to race with us and hadn’t quite made it out to us yet. Just two minutes after we turned to head in, all of the lasers watched as one of the V15s in front of us lost its rig. Soon the rain hit and it was coming down sideways in sheets.

That ride back was the wettest, fastest, scariest and most fun ride I have ever had on a laser. Reaching in, we were flying across the harbor. Several times I could feel the boat lift off the top of one wave and come down on the next. In the peak of the rain about halfway to the dock, the visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile or less and that was one of the few times I’ve been on a laser and had to resort to navigating by compass and buoys. We were in the middle of the harbor yet couldn’t see downtown, the naval academy, or the towers behind us.

Reaching along in high winds it was imperative to keep the boom out of the water and keep the boat flat. I did great at that until I got in front of East Port Yacht Club just a few hundred yards from our own dock. At that point I just lost it and spectacularly crash jibed and came to a screeching halt. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were about 25 high school sailors sitting on the dock in the rain watching us come in and they gave me 10’s for my dismount and a standing ovation. Never before have I actually caught air as I was launched off the boat and into the water.

Once boats starting hitting the docks everyone pitched in to get everyone’s boat landed and on dollies. We all made sure to get everyone out of the water as soon as possible and we grabbed the results from last night and checked off every sailor as they came in to be sure no one was left out there. Once everyone was on shore we swapped stories of our trip in. All in all everyone made it in safely, relatively unscathed, and with a new appreciation for hard ground.

We only ended up with one race, but everyone still had a great time and probably a few good stories they’ll be telling for the rest of the season. I want to thank Dorian Haldeman, the Race Committee and all of the folks at SSA for putting on another great regatta and I look forward to coming back in the fall for the Crab Claw.

2008 Sunshine Open Awards
Kim, Karen, Kyle,