Breezy Fun at PRSA Fall Series #5

We had a great day for racing this past Sunday!  Six Lightnings, two Bucs, two Albacores, and an I-20 came out to play on a sunny day that featured some great, albeit shifty, breeze.  PRO Farley Will and his crew did a great job managing a “wacky west wind” in setting a course that gave us a mix of O2, T2, T3, and O3 courses.  The wind reports from National Airport show a breeze of 12-15 throughout the afternoon with the occasional gust in the 20s.

On board Beedobeat I was shorthanded, sailing with Piercarlo but no third.  Given some of the tight reach angles (and a short-ish downwind leg due to the wind direction) we didn’t fly the spinnaker at all, but we were still right in the mix with the rest of the Lightnings, winning a few races and enjoying some great planing rides on the reach legs under jib and main alone (though we did have to work our butts off to keep the boat flat going upwind in some of te puffs!).  Some of the Lightnings and Bucs did get their spins up, which mattered more on the Olympic courses with true downwind legs, I think.  It wasn’t a guarantee, though, as I saw some boats struggle with controlling spinnakers in the puffs and shifts.   The wind was not that crazy, though, and after 5 great races we headed back to shore for a BBQ under a wonderfully sunny (and warm!) fall sky.

Scores will be posted soon, and I think we will also have some great photos taken from the RC boats to post as well.  Stay tuned!

PRSA Dinghy Open Results

We had a great turnout this past Sunday with about 20 boats in a number of classes (Albacores, Buccaneers, Force 5, Lasers, Lightnings, Multihulls, and Sunfish)  racing in the 3rd Annual PRSA Dinghy Open.  The weather conditions were fantastic with a nice southerly blowing at about 8-12 knots the whole day.  PRO Bob Bear and his crew did a great job in getting us 5 fun races (all O2 or O3 courses) and we still had enough time for a wonderful BBQ in summer-like conditions after the racing.  Full scores will be posted soon.  In the meanwhile, here are the top 4 (the teams that earned hardware this past Sunday):

  1. Nabeel Alsalam (Lightning)
  2. Aaron Boesenecker (Lightning)
  3. John VanVoorhis (Lightning)
  4. Barney Harris (Albacore)

It was great fun racing against all the classes using the Portsmouth Yardstick (time/wind condition) scoring format.  Starts were especially interesting as we ran one big start for all,  meaning that you had to negotiate the different timing and starting strategies (and different maneuvering capabilities) of a whole variety of classes.  Definitely something new and different for us, but worth doing once or twice a year to shake things up and have some fun!

PRSA Dinghy Open

On October 16 PRSA will host the 3rd Annual PRSA Dinghy Open Regatta.  This is your chance to compete against all dinghy classes in a series of “boat-on-boat” races, so don’t miss out!

Sailboats of any class 20’ and under are invited to participate. Sailboats may be organized and compete in three divisions – Spinnaker Division, Non-spinnaker Division and Multi-hull Division. Based on the number of boats present at the Skipper’s Meeting, Divisions may be combined.  All races will be scored according to the Portsmouth Yardstick system.

The NOR and Sailing Instructions are posted below.  Questions should be directed to the Aaron at

PRSA Dinghy Open NOR

PRSA Dinghy Open Sailing Instructions

PRSA Distance Regatta v.2 Results

Here is a writeup from Nabeel, on RC, about the 2nd PRSA Distance Race,  held on Sunday, August 21:

The sky was partly cloudy and the breeze was a gorgeous 13 mph or so from the south.   The weather reports predicted a storm from coming through at about 2 or 3 pm, so we started the races a bit early (11:11 am) and chose a course of a moderate length.

Four boats competed in the re-instituted distance race.   They started off of the green can (G7A) east and south of the marina and raced around red nun just north of the bridge (N2), back up to the bifurcation buoy that marks where the channel splits between the Anacostia and the Potomac and back to the start — about 9 nautical miles.     

The elapsed times were:

  1. Barney Harris and Lars Rathjen (Albacore)   1:29:44
  2. Nic Bogren and Gabriela (Buccaneer) 1:30:13
  3. Jeff Neurauter and nephew (Buccaneer) 1:32:02
  4. Geoff Fuller and … sorry, I didn’t get their names (Lightning): 1:38:05

Chris Porter was out on his Buccaneer but did not race because he did not have a crew.   John Ely was out on his Hobie-16 but did not race because his old boat has a bent mast and can’t point.   A sailor on a Laser (178xxx) was also out their having fun.  Stew Harris was on land working on yet another resurrected I-20.  Will Phillippe was also there working on both of our Skiffs.  

The RC was staffed by Frank Gallagher, John Kirchner, Chessie the sea monster (see pictures), and myself.   Thanks to John for his pics and to Barney for the pre-race pic!

Summer Update from the Commodore

Greetings PRSA Sailors!  As we head towards the fall sailing season I wanted to take a moment to share the latest news from PRSA and update you on our fall plans.

  • Membership: with 114 members this year we are at our highest membership level since 2005!  This is great news, and we are only partway through the year.  On top of this, we’ve added a number of new boat owners in the Buccaneer, Laser, and Lighting classes.
  • Upcoming Racing:
    • Back by popular demand we plan to  hold another PRSA Distance Race on the river on Sunday, August 21 if there is sufficient interest (we need at least 5 boats).  Please let Aaron know if you’d be interested in sailing in this event.  We will use the same NOR, SIs and Course Diagrams that were used on June 12.
    • The PRSA President’s Cup will be held on September 17-18.  The NOR has been posted.  Register now to receive the early registration discount and make sure to invite your friends from other clubs!  We will once again have the American Spirit as a spectator boat on Saturday as well.  Finally, check out this great piece of PRSA history: the regatta booklet from the 1955 President’s Cup Regatta (thanks to Bobby Astrove for digging this up for us!).
    • The PRSA Fall Series kicks off on September 11.  Your PRSA Executive Committee will be providing food and beverages for after the racing, so come ready to race and then bring your appetites to the post-race BBQ!
  • Regatta News: PRSA sailors have had a lot of success at regattas near and far this summer.  Congratulations all around!
    • Barney Harris and Mike Chaballa took 1st place at the Albacore Nationals and PRSA Sailors took places 1-4 in the regatta.
    • Kyra Tallon and Will Phillippe took 1st in the Buccaneer class at the VA Governor’s Cup.
    • Barney Harris and Matthew Rhodes took 1st in the Albacore class at the VA Gov Cup, winning the VA Governor’s Cup (congrats to the Albacores for having the largest fleet at the regatta!)
    • Lisa-Marie Lane, Christy Dillard, and Karen Grefe-Jones represented PRSA and Lightning Fleet 50 at the Lightning Women’s North American Championships.
    • John Van Voorhis, sailing with his daughter Rachel and  Lee Ann Zaretsky, will be representing PRSA and Lightning Fleet 50 at the Lightning North American Championships.
    • At the Buccaneer North American Championships Jeff Neurauter and Heather Howard took 3rd place, Kat Martin was the highest placing female skipper, and Connor Burke was the highest finishing youth skipper.  Great job!
    • Len Gunther took 2nd place at the Deep Creek Laser Regatta.
    • PRSA/Lightning Fleet 50 Sailors Aaron Boesenecker, Bob Gotthardt, and Guy Barkwell will be sailing as part of Team USA in the 1st Annual Old Dominion Boat Club International Regatta.  They will be competing against teams representing Australia, Canada, Great Britain in S2 7.9s right off the Alexandria waterfront.  Come on out and cheer them on!
  • Sustainability: if you haven’t already seen our sustainability page, take a look!  Thanks to the efforts of Kyra and Laura we have had our major regattas and regatta series certified by the Sailors for the Sea Program as clean regattas.  This is good news for the environment and good news for us as PRSA becomes a known name in the sustainability community.
  • Media Mentions: perhaps you saw the article on PRSA Sunday Sailing (along with a great photo from our 2016 Rookie Regatta) in the August 2016 edition of SpinSheet?  If not, check it out!  The September edition of SpinSheet will feature a note on the PRSA President’s Cup Regatta along with photos from Lindsay Bach.  In addition, WETA sailor Ben Arthur was featured in the May/June 2016 edition of Sailing World in an article entitled “An Outer Banks Experience (p. 54-58).  The article includes a photo of Ben on p. 58!

2016 President’s Cup: September 17-18!

President's Cup Logo

The 2016 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be held September 17 & 18 at Washington Sailing Marina, continuing the long tradition of competitive one-design racing started by the President’s Cup in 1934.  The regatta will be sailed on the Potomac River on two courses.  Visit the regatta website to view the NOR and register for the 2016 President’s Cup!  Registration fees increase after September 11, so make sure to register and pay online before September 11 to save yourself a bit of cash.  We will once again offer a spectator cruise aboard the historic schooner American Spirit on Saturday, so be sure to tell your friends and family!

Thanks to our regatta sponsor, Annapolis Performance Sailing, and to DC Sail for the partnership that allows us to offer a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit!

APS-Logo-OrangenoText DC Sail

Fantastic Fun at the PRSA Rookie Regatta!

We had a great turnout for the 2016 Rookie Regatta, with 15 boats on the water and new sailors or crew in new positions on almost all of them!  The wind was a bit tricky, but we still managed to run 4 races.  There was plenty of time left afterward to enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon on shore with some BBQ & beer as we all chatted about the racing and celebrated the rookies!  Thanks to all who volunteered and — especially — to all the rookies who came out to give things a try.  We hope to see you out on the water again soon!

A link full score sheet along with my observations from the signal boat are posted below.  Congratulations to the following teams for winning their respective classes in the 2016 PRSA Rookie Regatta:

  • Albacores: Michael Heinsdorf & “Rookie Pam” (who drove at least 2 of the 4 races!)
  • Buccaneers: Jeff Neurauter & “Rookie Adam”
  • I-20s: Molly Houston (Rookie Skipper!!) sailing with Rick Loheed
  • Lightnings: Brint (Rookie Skipper!!), Kendra (Rookie Crew!!), and Will, providing tutelage to two rookies on his boat and guiding them to a win in the class with two bullets in four races!

Continue reading Fantastic Fun at the PRSA Rookie Regatta!

PRSA Rookie Regatta: Rescheduled for June 26!

We have rescheduled the PRSA Rookie Regatta for June 26 after our first attempt earlier this spring was foiled by inclement weather. This is a special stand-alone one day regatta with the purpose of encouraging you all to bring new crew out to sail, to turn the helm over to your crew, or to do other creative things that might help involve new people in sailing.  The scoring system will be a bit different for this one day as there will be bonuses involved for bringing new people.  All of the relevant information, including the NOR and the Sailing Instructions, has been posted to the PRSA Rookie Regatta page:  Please note that in accordance with our PRSA Sustainability initiative we will not be providing hard copies of the SIs on Sunday.

Aaron will be PRO for the day. It would be helpful if you could you let us know whether you will be sailing on June 26 and, importantly, whether you are bringing more than a few “rookies” for the day.  We can accommodate extra folks on the RC boats to switch in and out of various boats if we know how many people to expect.  So please email Aaron ( once you’ve thought about your lineup for the Rookie Regatta.  Let’s get some new sailors on the water!

PRSA Distance Race: June 12

On June 12 we have a special event: the resurrection of the PRSA Distance Race!  This one-day, one-race regatta will pit all boats in all classes against one another in a distance race around government marks on the Potomac.  Portsmouth Yard Stick scoring will be used to determine the fastest PRSA boat on the course.  The NOR iand SIs with course options are posted below.  Organize your crew and get ready for the fun!

PRSA Distance Race NOR

PRSA Distance Race SIs and Course Diagrams