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!
Great day on the water. I had a lot of fun and it seemed like most people did too. The wind was good, 8-12 by my estimate, and it was titanic status with icebergs all over the course.
Seemed like the left payed well but I was able to make gains going right too.
Tried to keep the boat as powered as I could and didn’t feel the need to depower except for at the end when I was tired. If you’re not on the heavier side, I think depowering was needed. But don’t forget to start with some power in the sail off the line and be adjusting in the lulls. I also adjusted the sail controls for the reach and downwind right before the weather mark. This helped get up to speed faster and get ahead if I was with someone at the rounding.
I tried the straight downwind strategy and bigger broad reaches. Each had its advantage. I didn’t like the reach approach when I had to sail very high to induce the plane. I think I just sailed too much extra distance and vmg went to those sailing on dead downwind heading.
See everyone next week. Let’s hope for even more wind!
- 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