Laser Frostbite Series #9

Awesome day on the water! Great job to the RC for fitting in several quality races.

The wind was very up and down, and then back up and down again, and then way right, and then left, and then…. we’ll you get the point. Fluky day and very important to be on the favored side of a shift, could make or loose half of the fleet on a couple of occasions.
The downwinds were a little tricky for me, tried hard to stay in a lane with clear air and work my way to the inside. Lots of pinwheel roundings.
Tide was very high when we first started, so I can only assume it was going out as we raced – it had more effect when the wind was light. I didn’t rly pay much attention to it when the wind was up.
The starts were pretty aggressive with the boat being way favored a couple times with a lot of people pushing to win the boat.
Great day on the water, looking forward to more wind!

Laser Frostbite Series #6

When we first got out I was psyched to see the wind from the South at about 10-12 knots.  As someone on the taller/heavier side I like it when the wind is up and, in my experience on the river, Southerlies tend to be stable both in velocity and direction.  Apparently, though, that was not the Southerly we had today.  The first two races saw big shifts at the start and then the breeze died off for the second two.  The first race it went way right making a boat end start critical.  The second race it went way left.  The puffs, it seemed, were coming in predominately from the right and tended to be right shifts, so I gambled with a midline start and headed right.  Whatever I may have gained from being on the right, however, did not make up for missing the first big shift and not being at the pin.  As the wind dropped off for the last two races finding the breeze became the overriding consideration and it seemed almost as likely to be on the left as the right.  We had an ebb tide for most of the day, but the current seemed negligible.  Justin did a great job as RC finding us enough water to sail in and getting the races off.
Great to get out on Laser again and to see so many new faces.  Looking forward to next Sunday.
Jason Ipe
#175537

2014-2015 Laser Frostbite Series 6

2014-2015 Laser Frostbite Series – Cumulative (Through 1/4/15)

2015 Hangover Regatta

On January 1, 1974, about the time of one of the first Hangover Regattas, the Potomac River Laser Fleet was comprised very similarly to today’s fleet, with the British Naval Attaché as our fleet captain, Turkish diplomates, Lightning sailors, 470 sailors, Jet 14 sailors and numerous high school sailors. Mark Bear and I were two of those high school sailors. With the guidance of Peter Syverson the Potomac boasted one of the first Laser fleets. There was one important difference, however. In 1974 Northern Virginia had yet to experience its huge building boom. The Sailing Marina was uniformly 14 feet in depth across the cove to the airport rip rap. We regularly held huge events in the cove including such deep water boats as Stars.Today, much of Arlington and Falls Church have washed down Four Mile Run into our cove and center of the river. Nabeel, our RC chair, citing the extreme low tide, wisely elected to head north to avoid the shallow conditions downstream from the marina. As we headed for the race course both old timers such as Mark and Michael, and even fleet regulars such as Dan and myself( I am almost a regular), found themselves glued to the bottom just inside the last day mark. Fortunately, I was able to spring free just in time to make the two minute horn. I was able to convince Nabeel to postpone to accommodate our less fortunate fleet members.

Once we all assembled at the race course we found a surprisingly nice place to race. The tide conditions we very simple, with the flood quite pronounced on the left, channel side of the course, while quite benign on the right, landing pier side of the course. The cove gave the breeze a much better fetch than we experience either racing inside or in the more recent Marina Towers race area. The breeze seemed to fit Sail Flow’s forecast almost perfectly at 7-18 with about 60-65% of the larger shots coming with a fair amount of west and far fewer coming from 180. The line was rather long and seemed to be square to pin biased all day. My strategy for the day was simple, find a relatively clear spot on the line where I could always be in phase, and hopefully working right. In the first race that strategy seemed to pan out until one of those 35% probability lefties scrambled the weather mark rounding. I believe Mark and Len escaped most unscathed. The lesson learned for the day was, while favoring a side, given the puffy nature of the breeze, I was never going to sail to either layline again.
As the day progressed, I generally found the right and middle of the start appealing, despite the pin bias, so that I might be one of the first to take advantage of the relatively few truly lifted port tack beats. I tried to anticipate the starboard gusts, remaining content to sail around the entire”catspaw” of the right hand blast to avoid that fate of race one. In general, I found most boats playing the right sailed far too close to the pier and lost huge amounts as they sailed back to the mark in reduced pressure or a slight knock. Every so often sailing hard to one or another side paid off as Eric will attest in the last race.
Downwind, I concentrated on a technique that I have watched my son, Alex employ very effectively all fall. At all costs, I sailed to the big blasts. Once in the blast I attempted to position my boat so that I sailed as close to rhumbline as possible. In one instance I rode the blast a tad too far, crashing on my jibe just to leeward of the leeward mark.
Lessons learned:
1. In a puffy westerly/southwesterly tack early–attempting to gain too much from a shift might backfire
2. If the phases of the shifts are not lasting for an entire leg do not “own” one side or the other
3. Always seek pressure downwind.
4. Appreciate the awesome volunteers that make our sport great.
Thanks to everyone who missed sailing to run races yesterday and all year. Happy New Year!
James L. Jacob
And a special thanks to Carl Schaefer for taking photos.

Laser Frostbite Series #4

Laser Frostbite Fleet,

Today was a great day on the water. We had a very shifty North West breeze which was deceiving upon arriving to the club. I thought today would have been light but instead, we had strong breeze with significant velocity and directional shifts today allowing for lots of passing opportunities. Days like today are reminders of just how demanding the laser is. We sailed out in the river and the tide was fairly slack, I didn’t pay much attention to it today. The starting line and mark roundings were exciting and busy with 25 lasers out! Today it was important to stay in the middle of the course and tack on the headers, have all controls trimmed for the breeze that you were in and hike hard. I trimmed the vang, outhaul, and cunningham much more than i usually would given the wind velocity was constantly changing. It is exciting to have such a large group out, I look forward to the next one.
Cheers everyone.
-Jamie Moran

Laser Frostbite Series #3

First, as newcomer to the fleet – hello to everybody!  I moved to DC late last year and – after seeing the fleet out one day having too much fun while I was driving by in slow traffic — I decided to get back into Lasers.  Turns out, one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.  Actually that’s not a high bar in my case, but still….

Now, since it seems I was ‘close enough’ to third place today, I was honored with the coveted write-up spot.  Which, as I’m sitting down doing it, is actually pretty fun for what in effect sounded like a version of homework.

For me, the day was all about keeping the boat moving as consistently and roughly fast as possible – not fine-tuning – right from the start and all the way around.  There was plenty of wind (especially in the first races) that was relatively steady both in terms of gusts and shifts, along with enough chop to notice.  So not really a tactical racecourse today – I can imagine that when we sail in a north gusty-shifty breeze close to the marina in that little cove things get incredibly always-look-around-split-second-decision-type tactical.  But out where we were today, with a wide empty river and airport to windward, I think focusing on boat speed and boat handling is what paid off.

For the starts, although the c-boat seemed favored or way-favored, I really just looked to launch off the line as fast as possible, more or less from the middle or even closer to the pin – wherever I could ‘launch and breathe’.

Upwind, I’m not that heavy Laser-wise (or any-wise I guess).  Since, as Dirty Harry tells us, a man has got to know his limitations, in breeze today I start off with relatively tight outhaul and very, very tight Cunningham, and then (as soon as possible after the start-launch) nail down the vang hard as well.  The de-powered set-up means that you keep things consistent and non-overwhelmed – calmer.  But then it is absolutely, positively necessary to avoid pinching or trying to go up too high – boat speed with a depowered sail means keeping the momentum, even if the sheet is way out.  Accept your limitations. Especially with the chop.  And sand-bars (…well, maybe not the sand-bars…I obviously have no wisdom on that front).  So in a way, with the sail way-trimmed, you have to stay way-loose on the helm.

At the top mark, there is one Commandment in today’s breeze:  Thou shall get the vang eased, or thou will be cast most forcibly up or down upon the waters (I have been a sinner much in this…and have paid the price).  Easing the Cunningham or lifting the board – nice to have, but not so important with all that windpower around – you can procrastinate.  Focus on the vang. I think it is even worth aiming to hit the starboard lay-line with more runway than strictly necessary just to get it sorted more or less.

Downwind, I think the choice on offer today was often between by-the-lee and normal sailing – whichever would result in the fastest speed more/less to the mark.  For me, by-the-lee always feels so strange to begin with (such violation of a fundamental big boat instinct) but once you get going, it is of course very stable and very fast.  Leeward legs in breeze it’s pretty much a default setting.  With the triangles today, more optional.

Finally, at the bottom mark – it seemed that getting the sheet in as quickly as possible and snapping the boat ‘round seemed to pay.  Again, plenty of breeze means that you’ll be going relatively fast where you are pointed, so it is a priority to be heading the right way, as opposed to right angles to that.  Sail controls and all the rest can wait – my boat is often a flapping, sheet-trailing, tangle-line, awkward-odd-hiking position mess as I go around but that’s ok (as long as no photogs around – I’d fear Eric’s GoPro if it faced astern…) I clean it up later…

Anyway, all FWIW.  I better send this to Farley before the dog eats it in the traditional way.  Great to join the fleet – I look forward to sailing with ya’all as much as possible!!

John Ryan 205405

Must watch video from Eric Petersen – excellent capsize recoveries, starts, and speed.

Laser Frostbite Series 3

Laser Frostbite Series 2

So here is the 3rd place write up for Sundays racing, what started out as a partly overcast day with light Southerly winds soon materialized into a relay good day for sailing on the river with a steady 10 – 13 mph. The tide was fairly high but was not running much and did not factor into the racing.

We had some miner changes in wind direction and very little in the way of shifts to tack onto going upwind. As the wind freshened the line became more boat favored, this was quickly recognized by most of the fleet. I general went into the line late at 20 sec with some speed and just looked for a descent space to cut through, a coupe of times that boat favored end opened up enough space. The fleet seemed to split of early between the two sides of the course, for a time that left side was favored but going to the left became risky as it meant that you had to tack across boats to get onto that Starboard lay line. Going down wind the legs did not seem to be long enough with the triangle course to shake the fleet up, so it was just a case of protecting your inside rights for the mark rounding.
Thanks to Michel and helpers for running the races, I think his dogs were getting restless towards the end!
See you next week,
Steve

Laser Frostbite Series #1

I have won the highly coveted 3rd place write-up for the day.  Below is my summary and the scores are attached.

First off I would like to congratulate Jim Klein for tying Len for first place for the day.  I believe that this is his first time winning a day.

Today was a gorgeous day for frostbiting.  Temps were in the 50s and the wind was around in the 5 range with maybe some puffs near 8.  The RC was able to get off 4 races.  We did a little of everything starting with a triangle, 2 olympics, and a final windward leeward.  The breeze slowly died off as we stayed out on the water.

As for sailing, the races that we run for frostbiting are relatively short races so the start is important.  You can screw it up a little and make out OK but in general you need to come off the line with speed and clean air.  On a light air day like today, finding the breeze and staying in clean air are paramount.  At the starts of the first 3 races, I decided that the pin end of the line was favored and went for it.  It worked fairly well in all three races for me and with each race, more people joined me at the pin end.  The last race had a small shift  (from my view at least) and I think the line was very even.  But the shift came in the last 30 seconds of the start so everyone was stuck where they were.  Other than starts and clear air, the important thing on light air days is to be patent with your boat and not get frustrated.

I look forward to seeing all the new people out on the water the rest of the season.  And remember that we are still sailing next Sunday!

Farley

2014/2015 Laser Frostbite Series 1

PRSA Merchandise: Perfect for the Holidays!

Looking for for the perfect holiday gift for all of your sailing friends?  Look no farther than our PRSA Merchandise Page!  Just click the “PRSA Merchandise” link above to view the offerings.  We have PRSA hats, tech-tops (men’s and women’s), mugs, and tide calendars available.  We should be adding long-sleeve polo shirts soon as well.  Place your orders now!

2014 AGM Wrap-Up

It was great to see so many fleet members at the 2014 PRSA Annual General Meeting and Awards Banquet!  A very special thanks to Lee for all of the work that she did in preparing our amazing feast, and to Dave for allowing us to use the Potomac Room at Marina Towers for the event.

The Executive Board report indicated that the state of the Association is good, with membership higher in all categories than in 2013.  At the same time, we need to do more work in getting our  members out on the water (sailing participation in the fall series was down a bit, in particular) and we need to start thinking about the powerboats and engines as we approach 10 years of usage on our skiffs and outboards.  The PRSA Executive Board will consider these questions as part of their regular meetings in 2015 and report back to the Association at the 2015 AGM and Awards Banquet.

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of our PRSA Perpetual Awards as well as the volunteers who will serve on the PRSA Executive Board in 2015.  I’ve listed these individuals below, and included links farther down to the AGM agenda and the summary of race highlights for each fleet in our major sailing events.

2015 PRSA Perpetual Award Winners

  • Founder’s Trophy: Jeff Neurauter
  • Fleet Captain’s Award: Michael Heinsdorf
  • Yates Dowell III Award: Nabeel Alsalam
  • Nabeel Alsalam Award: Lee Sayasithsena

2015 PRSA Executive Board

  • Commodore: Aaron Boesenecker
  • Vice Commodore: Nabeel Alsalam
  • Rear Commodore: Farley Will
  • Treasurer: Yates Dowell
  • Secretary: Nich Allen
  • Social Activities & Outreach (co-chair): Lee Sayasithsena
  • Social Activities & Outreach (co-chair): Lisa-Marie Lane
  • Member at Large: Stew Harris

2014 PRSA AGM & Awards Banquet Agenda

2014 PRSA Racing Results

Fall Series #8

Today provided some nice weather and we were able to get in a few races.  2 Albacores, 3 multihulls and 2 Lightnings showed up.  The breeze began to build by 10:30 and stayed until about 12:30.  The last race was cut short due to lack of wind.  Many thanks go to Yates Dowell and his RC for stepping up and volunteering this week.  Scores are below.

2014 Fall Series 8 – Albacores

2014 Fall Series 8 – Catamarans

2014 Fall Series 8 – Lightnings

Final Fall Series scores are below.

Albacore

Buccaneer

Catamarans

Lightnings