2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #14

Hi everybody,
Here’s my 3rd place writeup, starting with an overview of our skiff-maintenance lesson:
 
Skiff Stuff. Before we launched, Stew Harris gave a great lesson on proper skiff maintenance (Thanks, Stew!). For those of you unable to attend, here are some highlights:
  • FuelKeep the fuel tank above 1/2 full and ideally above 2/3 full. This prevents condensation, which prevents water in the fuel, which prevents the motor not working as what happened last week. There is no way to visually see water in the fuel; you know that watery fuel is likely the problem when the skiff won’t start. Thus, if it is your day and the fuel level is below 2/3 full (ish), go to the Shell station and fill up. There are gas tanks in the locker by the boat.
  • Cover. Be sure the cover is on tight so that water does not pool and does not end up in the boat.
  • Drain Plugs. There are three at the back of the boat. Make sure they are all in before launching.
  • Motor up! There is a switch on the throttle that raises and lowers the engine; the engine MUST be up during trailering because it might hit something, especially the parking bumper in the trailer spot.
  • Battery Switch. There is a switch in the big box at the back of the skiff that turns the battery on/off. This must be off at the end of the day.
Think that covers the main points, but if I forgot something, feel free to reply to this email so everyone knows.
Racing. HUGE kudos to Celeste and Jolie for being race committee and getting off five races on a cold and wet afternoon! Scores attached via Farley (Thanks, Farley!)
In terms of conditions, it was rather rainy with a light easterly breeze and a decent southern-flowing current. If you want to know what really worked well on Sunday, ask Steen – he won four of the five races!  Here are a few observations:
  • Head out of the boat (another reminder) – Sunday was one of those days when my position at any given point felt more tenuous than usual – if I was ahead, it could change easily, and if I was behind, especially at the first leeward rounding, there were often opportunities for catching up. Thus, it was a day that seemed to require a more than usual amount of paying attention to everything – other boats, how they were headed, the wind (which was patchy and not always easily visible on the water), and with the current, the location of the marks, especially the leeward mark. I didn’t do quite enough of this.
  • Starts. The day started with a boat-favored line, which made things a bit crowded at the starboard end. To make things even more challenging, the current kept the committee boat facing upriver and perpendicular to the direction of the wind which meant that it was easier than usual to snag the anchor line due to both the orientation of the committee boat and the direction and magnitude of the current. One race I got snagged on the anchor line (note to self!). In the later races, I had decent luck starting further down the generous line and catching what seemed to be more wind/more favorable shifts on the left side of the course.
  • Leeward Leg. Downwind legs tended to be very slow. Going high(ish) generally helped, but I had luck going a bit lower during some of the earlier races. Sometimes it was a regular downwind and sometimes it was more of a reach, even on the same leg! At one point I, like many others, had to approach close-hauled just to get to the leeward mark due to the wind mostly dying and having to battle the current. Fun times.

Additional comment. Thank you to those of you who were really good about yelling starboard and/or communicating about whether I could keep going or not. Let’s keep that communication up! Not just on windward legs, but noting overlaps (or not) at mark roundings too. It really helps.

Hope everyone has a good rest of their week! This Sunday is looking sunny, thankfully!  
Laura

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