Orange Coffee Pot Regatta Group Photo

Surf City Yacht Club’s 41st Orange Coffee Pot Regatta turned out to be a great day of sailing.  We had wind that built from about 10 to the mid- to high teens by the last race.  We had a very competitive fleet of 31 boats ranging from pretty elite sailors to those sailing their first Laser regatta.  And we got off 7 races.  Clay Johnson ultimately won the event taking bullets in all but one race.  Granted, he didn’t exactly run away with it, Kyle Rogachenko and Peter Shope definitely gave him a run for it.

Rounding the top mark with the lead pack.

My own racing was a little ho-hum and I found myself getting bad starts and on the wrong side of the course more times than I care to remember.  I had the speed to stay with the lead pack and in one race I had a stellar start and sailed my way to an 8th.  All in all it was fun to make the trip and to sail in the oldest Laser regatta.  Thanks to Newt Wattis and Surf City Yacht Club for hosting the event and everything they did to put it together.

Results | Photos | Video

Arriving at Surf City Yacht Club

This afternoon I made the trip to Surf City New Jersey to sail the 41st Orange Coffee Pot Regatta.  This is the oldest Laser regatta and has been on my list to do for some time.  This year the event is also the US Sailing Singlehanded Championship Area C Elimination.  Looks like we’ve got a great forecast for wind tomorrow and up to 7 races planned.  The competition ranges from reigning North American Champion to first-time Laser regatta with a ~35 boat fleet expected.  Should be fun racing tomorrow and thanks to Newt Wattis and his wife for putting me up for the night.

Tim Zimmerman is a writer for Sailing World and was a competitor at the 2011 Laser District 11 Championship we hosted a few weeks ago at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and he’s written a nice blog article about his experience at the regatta:

Don’t get me wrong. The regatta itself, the District 11 Laser Championships, was not terrible. In fact, it was fantastic. Hosted by the smoothly-run, beautifully-situated, Fishing Bay Yacht Club down in Deltaville, Va., on the southern Chesapeake Bay, the regatta was blessed with excellent winds, a great crowd of sailors, and a Laser-loving chef, Alain Vincey, who cooked up a spectacular Saturday-evening dinner. Even the camping was nice.

Read the rest of the article on Sailing World’s blog.

This has been an awesome weekend both as a regatta organizer and as a competitor.  The regatta ran great, we had nice weather, we got in 8 races, we had competitive fleets and David Lee and the race committee did a fantastic job with the on-the-water part of the regatta.  Everyone enjoyed Alain’s dinner and we certainly couldn’t have made the regatta work with out the help of the many club members who pitched in – THANK YOU!

As a competitor I can’t say I had been thrilled with the sailing I’ve done this year.  I was sailing really well last fall and even though I was going to big time regattas this winter, I just never put together anything more than a mediocre regatta for myself.  With this regatta I was determined to put in a respectable showing and get my game back to where it was last fall.  What better a place to do it than on my home waters.

Saturday’s racing saw 12-16 knots of wind for the day.  That’s at the upper end of the range that I’m competitive in.  I set my boat up right and hiked my butt off and managed to have all top-10 finishes except 1 in 5 races putting me into 8th in the 25-boat fleet. In that kind of wind keeping up with the tail end of the lead pack was a good showing for myself.

Start of race 2 at the pin

Saturday night we had 55 people for dinner and had a great time hanging around the club.

Sunday, the wind was right in my sweet spot for speed and out of the south.  On the first race I had a great start, picked the shifts and led at the windward mark by a boatlength or two.  It was such a thrill to be out ahead of so many great sailors. But I knew they were coming for me and I did my best to stay out ahead of them. Dan Herlihy and I traded for 1st place on the next 2 legs and on the final beat, he just picked the shifts a little better than I did to take the gun leaving me 2nd.

In Sunday’s second race I had a good start, but didn’t have the boat speed to pull ahead of the fleet.  As a result I had a tough time going where I wanted, made way too many tacks and ended up really deep at the first windward mark.  Luckily about half of the top 6 sailors were back there with me.  Through the next 4 legs we picked our way back up to the front and I dug through about 10 boats to get back to 9th.

The 3rd and final race of the day was my best race.  At the start there was a big lefty enabling Rob Overton to port tack the fleet at the pin.  I had a good start in the middle and used my boat speed to get enough of a lead and clear lanes to start picking some shifts.  At the first windward mark it was me and Rob Whittimore.  I couldn’t have written it any better to battling for the lead with a good friend and fellow club member. I led Rob by about half a boat length down to the offset.  Rob had a great run and jumped ahead of me at the downwind mark.  The race committee changed the next weather leg to the left so I immediately went left on the 2nd windward leg and caught some great shifts to pull ahead of Rob and everyone else behind.  The next two legs I felt like I had good boat speed, caught the shifts well, and covered the fleet to take the gun.  That ended up being the last race of the day and it was such a thrill to sail my best and win a race against such a great group of sailors.  That really made my weekend.

Leading the fleet in the final race

After racing we handed out awards, cleaned up and got on the road.

All in all it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to do some more Laser sailing!

Read my write-up on the District 11 Website and check out the results.  I hope to have a video up later this week and I’ll link to photos when they are available.

We’re all set for the District 11 Championship this weekend at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  I got down to the club this afternoon, got everything unloaded and met some of the out-of-towners who were trickling in.  A few of us went out for some practice.  After sailing 21 of us went out to dinner and then we hung out at the club before calling it a night.

Tomorrow we’ve got overcast skies and 10-15 out of the south east.  We should have right around 40 sailors with about 12 or so in the Radial fleet.  It’ll be some fun racing tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.

View from the top of the mast of our practice


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