2016-2017 PRSA Laser Frostbite Series #2

Welcome back, one and all, to another season of frostbiting on the Potomac!  Congrats to Len for winning the day with another consistent performance today.  As has become our custom, the third place finisher writes up a summary of the day’s racing.  Here goes:

Winds and Course: The winds today were tricky, coming out of the northwest-ish forecast at about 10 kts, with gusts expected in the high teens.  We were racing out in the river, just north of the power plant and starting off to the east side.  We ran a total of six Windward / Leewards, two laps a piece, starting and finishing in the middle.  In total, we had 18 racers out there today—great start of the season.  The breeze was moving around quite a bit as we got closer and closer to the windward mark, which made things interesting throughout the day.

Boat Setup:  Nothing special to speak of today regarding how I set up the boat.  I didn’t use much vang at all, and for the most part my downhaul was either on too much or too little given the up-and-down velocity.

Starts:  The pin was heavily favored all day, and getting off the line in clear air was essential to a good performance.  I was surprised at how little congestion there was at the pin-end for most of the starts—often times, the breeze would lighten up and people would only get about half-way to two thirds of the way down the line by the time the gun went off.  I focused on staying outside the pin until about 45 seconds, and setting up in the last 25% of the line to get a clean, favorable start.  This worked most of the time, aside from one race where my tiller wrapped itself in my mainsheet, and the last race when I was about two seconds early and had to go back.

Upwind: The beats were pretty challenging today, given the often-changing velocity and direction, as well as the low-flying aircraft overhead.  I found that for the first four or five races, it paid off to stay a little left of center, and ride the port tack lift up most of the way.  Once I was 2/3 s of the way to the mark and things started getting shifty, I found that tacking on pretty much every shift was the way to go.  Occasionally, I stayed on the port-tack lift a little longer, and that ended up resulting in losses rather than gains.  On the rare occasion that I went out way to the left, I lost velocity to the point that it cost places; also, when I had to go back to re-start in the last race, I ended up really struggling on both beats since I had to navigate dirty air and other boats throughout.

Downwind: Can’t offer much here, as my downwind performance has really fallen off lately.  A couple of tips: make sure you keep up your speed coming around that windward mark, rather than worrying too much about having the perfect course straight away (that one was from Len); another lesson learned occurred when messing with Farley coming into the leeward mark in race 2, and I neglected to look over my transom to check the puffs coming, resulting in a brief swim.  I’m apparently a slow learner, as it happened to me twice today, both times in the same spot.

Bonus tip: when getting dressed to head out, I noticed both Len and Kevin had on wetsuit hiking pants.  Given the water temp was sub-50, I thought to myself “these guys are INSANE; I’m definitely going ‘dry suit’ today”.  Only a few minutes later did I notice they had put dry suits on over the hiking pants.  Given the way I feel below the waist right now, their approach makes a lot more sense.

Big thanks to Keith and his wife for getting six races off today under challenging conditions.  It was great being out on the water again; I look forward to seeing many of you again next time I make it out.

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2016 PRSA AGM & Awards Ceremony Wrap-Up

We had over 50 people attend the 2016 PRSA Annual General Meeting and Awards Ceremony, making it one of the best attended in recent years!  I want to extend a very special thank you to Melissa Morgan and Heather Howard for all of their work in planning the AGM, organizing the food and drink, decorating the room, and generally ensuring good cheer such that a great time was had by all.

The PRSA Executive Committee was pleased to highlight  our growth over the year, including a 5th consecutive year of membership growth and the highest total membership level (118 members) that we have seen since 2005!  We were also pleased to recognize Aaron Boesenecker, Frank Gallagher, and Will Phillippe  with PRSA perpetual awards awards.  You can keep reading for additional details and links to the relevant documents, including the AGM Agenda, the list of PRSA Spring and Fall Series winners, details on the perpetual award winners, and your 2017 PRSA Executive Committee.

At the AGM each officer from the PRSA Executive Committee provided an update on the state of the association.  The membership approved the creation of a committee to review the PRSA Constitution and bring a revised Constitution to the membership for approval at the 2017 AGM.  We also celebrated the PRSA Spring Series and Fall Series winners in each class and awarded the PRSA Perpetual Awards to members who have contributed outstanding Service over the year.  Finally, we approved a new PRSA Executive Committee  for 2016.

PRSA Perpetual Award Winners

  • Founder’s Trophy (for outstanding service to PRSA and for the general promotion of PRSA): Aaron Boesenecker
  • Fleet Captain’s Award (recognizing outstanding race committee service): Frank Gallagher, for service at the 2016 PRSA President’s Cup
  • Yates Dowell III Award (for exceptional administrative service to PRSA): Will Phillippe, for extensive and outstanding work maintaining and improving PRSA Equipment.

2017 PRSA Executive Committee

  • Commodore: Kyra Tallon (congratulations Kyra!)
  • Vice Commodore: Will Phillippe
  • Rear Commodore: Nabeel Alsalam
  • Treasurer: Yates Dowell
  • Secretary: Nich Allen
  • Also assisting the PRSA Executive Committee in 2016:
    • PRSA Scorer: Farley Will
    • Website Support: Stew Harris
    • Committee for Social Activities & Outreach: Heather Howard, Lisa-Marie Lane, Melissa Morgan
    • Committee for Sustainability: Laura Lake
    • Committee to Review Governing Documents: Jeff Neurauter (and others TBD)

Finally a big thank you to our officers who served PRSA in 2016.  Here’s looking forward to an excellent 2017!

2017 PRSA Dues Are Now Due

Now is the time to pay your PRSA dues for 2017!  The 2017 membership year starts on December 1, and you have until January 15, 2017 to pay your dues without late fee.  Members paying on or after January 15, 2017, will be assessed a late fee of $25.  After you fill out the membership form you will be offered the option of paying via PayPal or sending a check to our PRSA Treasurer.

Please remember that having our association members pay dues up front each year is of immense help to all of our PRSA volunteers.  We can better allocate expenditures over the year, organize RC requirements, set up scoring systems in advance, and more.  Your PRSA dues support boat and equipment maintenance, insurance, slip fees, and everything else that goes into allowing us to race each weekend.  Of course, skippers must be paid PRSA members in order to qualify for the Laser Frostbite Series and the Spring and Fall racing series, and to be eligible to vote at the PRSA AGM.

As you pay your dues I would also encourage you to support the PRSA Commodore’s Club (a donation can be added to your 2017 membership payment).   Whether big or small, any additional donation is a great help as we work on maintaining our equipment and conducting safe and fun racing each year.   Many thanks, as well, to all of those who contributed to the PRSA Commodore’s Club in 2016: http://www.potomacriversailing.org/applications/membership/CommodoreClub.php.

 I’m already looking forward to the 2017 sailing season, and I hope that you are as well!

2016 PRSA Fall Series #7

It was a pleasantly warm day on the Potomac with a good bit of breeze.  SailFlow shows winds in the high teens for most of our racing period with a few gusts in the high 20s.  It turned out screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-11-42-05-amto be very nice  with some good wind for planing and surfing.  3 races were held and the RC also organized a fun race back to the dock for beer!

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Breezy Fun at 2016 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!

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PRSA AGM & Awards Banquet: Saturday, November 19

The 2016 PRSA Annual General Meeting and Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday, November 19, 6-9 pm, in the community room at Marina Towers in Alexandria, VA.  Dinner & drinks will cost $25/person / $10/person for those under 21 (pay at the door with check or cash).   This is always a great chance to see everybody and reminisce about another year of great sailing, so I hope to see you there!  Please sign up here as soon as possible so that our volunteers can plan for the appropriate amount of food and drink.

Here is the basic schedule of events:

  • 6:00  Appetizers & Drinks
  • 6:30  Dinner
  • 7:30  Business Meeting & Awards
    • 7:30-8:00  Officer Reports
    • 8:00-8:30  Open discussion
    • 8:30-8:45  PRSA Spring & Fall Series Awards
    • 8:45-8:55  PRSA Perpetual Awards
    • 8:55-9:00  Discussion & approval of 2017 PRSA Executive Committee
  • 9:00  Adjourn & Cleanup

A full agenda of the evening can be viewed here.

Racing Highlights & Results

Financial Report

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!