PRSA Dinghy Open — All Classes, All Boats, One Winner!

We held the Fall PRSA Dinghy Open on Sunday, 15 October.  With 7 Lightnings, 2 Buccaneers, 2 Albacores, and 1 WETA we had a nice mix of classes on the course.  PRO Bob Bear and his RC Crew did a nice job in setting up 4 fantastic races (an O2 and 3 O3 races) in a steady S/SW 10-15 knot breeze.  It was a fantastic chance for all of us in various classes to square up against one another on one start line and on the same course!

Instead of presenting a writeup from just one person, I’ve asked all of the skippers and crews to send in a line or two describing what they saw on the course, what they were thinking about, or what they learned.  I’ve started the thread with the first few contributions here.  Please feel free to add your own thoughts as comments, or email them to Aaron to have them added to the main post.  Scores will be posted soon, but keep reading for some of the fun details and observations from the weekend!

From Nic and Connor on their Buc:   Connor and I, after getting in the mixing bowl with everyone else for the start of Race 1, decided, for races 2 and 3, to hang 10-20 yards below the starting line, going across on starboard from midway of the line at about the 1 minute horn. Then we slowly headed up with the goal of starting right at the pin at full speed. And it worked! We were leeward to everyone as we got to the line and so had a great position and got 2 really good, fast and clear starts (before our jib issues half way through race 3  led to us going in).  Also, at BNAC we learned how to use the spinnaker pole to wing out our jib on the downwind legs when wind speeds made us a little nervous to fly the spinnaker. Winging it out lets you sail right at the mark and to take advantage of any surfing possibilities that come up when you’re going directly with the waves . I think that we were as fast, maybe ever faster, to the mark (VMG) as most boats around us. We put the pole on the jib sheet and then lower the pole to stretch out the jib to expose as much surface area as possible.

From Aaron, sailing with Dana and Blake on Aaron’s Lightning: from the beginning we thought that the right side of the course would be favored (having observed some wind shifts at the line and the puffs along the airport shore).  Contrary to Nic’s strategy described above, we made a point of fighting for a boat-end start for each race.  It paid off for us — we were either off the line and leading early, or we had the room to tack right and then tack back to go south.  We gained each time we went right, though we had to be careful.  There was a nice righty (lift on starboard tack) as you approached the windward mark each time.  At the same time, you could make nice gains by staying middle or a bit left after rounding the leeward mark.  It was most important to get right in the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of the windward leg.  Beyond that, we focused on boat balance.  Sailing a Lightning flat (windward chine just barely out of the water) is very, very important.  When we did this well we could point 3-5 degrees higher than our competition and still keep our speed.  Doing this off of the start allowed us to hold lanes against Albacores and Bucs, and to pinch off boats to windward.  Flat is fast!!!

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