We have posted the 2015 Racing Calendar to the PRSA Website: http://potomacriversailing.org/calendar/ It might be cold and snowy today, but it is not too soon to start making your plans for the 2015 sailing season!
- keep the boat moving – at the start and by not pinching upwind
- actively look around to figure out where the wind is
- keep my weight forward – upwind and downwind
- roll tack
Awesome day on the water! Great job to the RC for fitting in several quality races.
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.
Laser Frostbite Fleet,
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
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.
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!