All posts by Aaron

Sign Up For RC Duty!

We are just a few weeks away from the start of the PRSA Spring Series, so it is time to start organizing Race Committee for the season.  Please make sure to read the details below, and then sign up on our PRSA RC Duty Signup Sheet.  Here are the details and requirements for the 2108 Spring/Fall racing season:

  • Each skipper racing in the spring or fall series is required to fulfill RC service obligations in the spring/fall series.  The number of slots each skipper is responsible for filling depends upon the boat class:
    • Albacores: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
    • Buccaneers: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
    • Catamarans: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
    • I-20s: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
    • Lightnings: 6 RC slots over the spring/fall series
    • WETA/Laser (single-person boat): 2 RC slots over the spring/fall series
  • Serving as PRO or Regatta Chair (rows highlighted in orange on the spreadsheet) count as two slots given the extra organizational responsibility for these roles.
  • As we get into the season I will send out a reminder and some additional instructions to each PRO a few days prior to the weekend/event for which they are signed up.

Sign up now so that you know you have your dates reserved, and so that we don’t have to scramble week-to-week to find RC.  As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

PRSA Membership Dues are Due Now!

Just a reminder that PRSA Membership Dues are due by Jan. 15!  Please join or renew via the link on the “Dues & RC Duty” page  if you haven’t already done so in order to avoid a late fee.  Pay now and you’re all set for the season!

Race Committee Training Opportunity

West River Sailing Club in Galesville, MD, is hosting a 2-day Race Management Seminar on Feb. 17-18, 2018.  This class is for people who want to learn more about how to run sailboat races. No prerequisites are required other than a basic understanding of sail boat racing and some previous race management experience.  Follow this link for information and registration details (scroll down the page to the date of Feb. 17-18):

Attendees must be members of US Sailing. The course fee is $80 which covers the class, materials, continental breakfast & coffee, plus lunch.  The two day class will begin each day at 0830 and run through 1630. There is an on-line quiz after the course if attendees are interested in becoming certified. 

This is a great opportunity, especially according to this endorsement from Nabeel: “I endorse this class.  Bill Kleysteuber and I travelled up to Newport, RI about a decade ago to take the class.   We learned a lot.  It is primarily based on the RRS but not completely.  You get a nice certificate at the end and become certified as a club race officer.”

Order Your 2018 PRSA Calendar!

The 2018 PRSA Calendar is now available for order!  Use this link – – to preview the calendar and order your very own.  Congratulations to Lindsay Bach for snapping the winning cover photo!

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 are posted here, 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!!!

PRSA President’s Cup: Light Winds Didn’t Stop Us From Having Fun!

We didn’t have much breeze for the 2017 PRSA President’s Cup, but that didn’t stop us from having fun!  With 50 boats in 6 classes registered we were all ready to race on Saturday morning.  Mother Nature had other plans.  However, we did get to go racing on Sunday, and among other highlights we were happy to welcome a couple of new sailors — John and Amanda — first spotted sailing a Thistle on Saturday but convinced to sail an Albacore on Sunday, thanks to Barney.  As it turns out, they beat Barney at his own game! 🙂

It turned out to be a great regatta with good fun had by all.  Keep reading for some of my observations from aboard Lightning #14592 and, by all means, please add your own observations as comments on this post!  Scores are here and you can view the great photos from Lindsay Bach here.

Continue reading PRSA President’s Cup: Light Winds Didn’t Stop Us From Having Fun!

President’s Cup Regatta: September 16-17

President's Cup Logo

The 2017 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be held September 16 & 17 at Washington Sailing Marina, continuing the long tradition of competitive one-design racing started by the President’s Cup in 1934.  Once again we will feature two days of top-notch one design racing on the Potomac River on two courses.  Visit the regatta website to register for the regatta.  The NOR and additional information will be posted soon.  Register and pay by September 11 to take advantage of the early registration discount and save yourself a bit of cash!

APS-Logo-OrangenoText                          DC Sail

Special thanks to Annapolis Performance Sailing for sponsoring the regatta and providing some additional prizes.  We will also have a spectator boat once again – the historic 65′ schooner American Spirit – thanks to the generosity of DC Sail and the National Maritime Heritage Foundation!  Make sure to tell your friends and family about this fantastic opportunity to view the sailing from the water on Saturday, September 16.

PRSA Distance Race: June 18

Come one and come all — try out your speed and tactics against other boats and other classes in a distance race on the river on Sunday, June 18.   We will use government marks and the course will be determined by weather conditions on Sunday.  The NOR, Sailing Instructions, and Course Diagrams are all posted below.  Scoring will be done using the Portsmouth Yardstick system.  Questions should be directed to the PRO for the Distance Race, John Van Voorhis.

PRSA Distance Race NOR

PRSA Distance Race Sailing Instructions

PRSA Distance Race Course Diagrams

PRSA Spring Regatta: May 27-28

The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 27-28) has been posted and registration is now open.  Visit the regatta website and register by May 21 to take advantage of the early registration discount.  Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!

We have partnered with DC Sail once again to organize a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit on Saturday of the Spring Regatta.  Spectator cruise tickets are $20/person (or $25 for a combined cruise and Saturday dinner ticket).  Tickets can be purchased via the regatta website.  We have also posted complete details on the cruise in the “race documents” area on the regatta website.

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!