It’s around the corner. The daffodils are out. The cherry trees are ready to explode. Plan to sail your Laser! On Saturday after racing we’ll have a BBQ/picnic and trade stories and plans for the season which is well worth the $20 registration fee.
Below are the preliminary (in case I’ve made mistakes) cumulative results for the 2017 Fall Series scored according to the NOR. Think of each day as a race with your standing at the end of the day as your finish in the race. If you did race committee that day, your score is the average of all the days you did sail. If you neither sailed nor did RC, your score is simply a blank. To qualify you need to have sailed or done race committee 4 days (50% of days your fleet sailed). Your score is the average of your best 4 days.
A big thanks to Tom Hutton for doing the Sundays scores.
Brrr… It was a chilly day. It did not get out of the 40s. AND the sun was not out. Still, there was a nice light breeze, and it was the last chance to sail until April, so we went sailing.
The tide was coming in and that light southerly breeze was very shifty but quite sailable. By the third race, the wind almost completely shut down and the RC mercifully shortened course at the 2nd windward mark.
Doing well was all about keeping the boat in the groove, not get too excited about tacking on every shift, and making smooth transitions at the marks On Shadowfax, I helmed the first race and Lisa-Marie Lane did the next two. She did just what I mentioned above and got two bullets! Great way to end the season.
A big thanks to Jeff Whitten, Bob Harford, Geoff Fuller, and Jim Lane for running the races. Thanks to Tom Hutton for doing the scores.
Frank Gallagher and his team of multi-hull sailors — Ben Arthur, Yates Dowell, and Jim Antonovich ran the races. The tide was in. So to save the sailors from going all the way up river, the RC ran the races off of the power plant.
Does someone who was there want to add some comments?
The air was light to non-existent. John Van Voorhis, our PRO for the day, postponed on shore. After a while though the sailors got restless and with the promise that the wind would come in around 1 pm decided to make an attempt to sail up river.
I thought those sailors were far too optimistic but Jess, Tom, and I decided to go up to Gravelly Point with Shadowfax in tow and see if the wind would come in. After sitting on the shore for quite a while, with planes landing over our head, we finally saw the first boat appear around the point. Then we saw that there was indeed some wind coming up the river from the south.
We got to work setting up Shadowfax and sailed south to where John had set up the course. We arrived in the starting area just as the first race was finishing up. Better late than never.
Unfortunately, I discovered I had left our spinnaker at home. Argh. We did well upwind but then had to point straight downwind sailing wing and wing with our weight all the way forward. Meanwhile the other sailors set their spinnakers but had the problem of to trying to keep them full which was no easy task in the light air. Jeff Neurauter and Heather Howard on their Bucc figured it out and sailed past us. However, we were able to keep the others just behind us at the leeward mark.
Bottom line, the wind was sufficient and it was a fun day of sailing! Never say die.
The weather forecasts threatened rain and maybe even thunderstorms and the sky was gray. But guess what? No rain and the best breeze we’ve had all fall! It was a small group of 5 Lightning and 2 Buccs at the Albacores were at West River for their Nationals and neither the I-20s or Multi-Hulls were there. You guys missed out!
The RC gave us four W-2 courses set up on a southwesterly axis.
Jeff Neurauter, Heather Howard, Ben Arthur, and Ann Tyree ran race committee. Tom Hutton did the scores. Thanks!
The combination of low tide, hydrilla, and light air made it difficult to get to the course. Once there, is was easier but the light air and winds that came in from the east, the west, the north, and often privately provided to a small group of sailors made it particularly challenging. Here is the writeup on PRSA Fall Series #3 from John Van Voorhis in the Lightning Fleet. Scores and more info are posted below. Kudos to John and David for taking 1st on the day in the Lightnings with three well-earned 2nd place finishes!
Last Sunday, 10/1, started out a little chilly, but by the time we were done sailing we had a gorgeous fall day. The Race Committee tried starting us early due to the wind forecast, but the wind didn’t cooperate. It really didn’t cooperate all day, but the RC did a great job getting off three races for the Lightnings. The wind was shifting from back and from from the NNE enough that the favored end of the starting line would switch back and forth through the starting sequence. For races one and two, the wind tended toward the east, then in race three it was going all the way around the clock as small convection cells moved across the race course.
David and I managed to get three seconds on the day, so we felt pretty good. In the first race we had a not so great start, but managed to catch the right shift correctly and get to the first mark first. With the way the shifts came in it seems as if being rightmost boat, but near the middle of the course worked best for us in the first race. Think it was Nabeel who passed us on the second weather leg and we couldn’t pass him down wind.
In the second race, we got exactly the start we wanted at the favored end by the committee boat, and were able to hold on near the front through the whole race. I don’t remember who passed us, but again there was a lot of shifting wind and middle right with clear air worked for us. In those conditions we let the jib tell us when to tack and eased out the main a lot when we couldn’t see the wind. We blew it on the last down wind leg by setting the spinnaker, when we shouldn’t have. Don’t forget to check if you can lay the mark!
In the last race we had an ok start, but that first leg took forever as the wind was coming straight down. Again we stayed calm as we passed and were passed by other boats.
Thankfully the wind filled in enough for all of us to get back to the marina under sail.
Thanks to Jim Graham for stepping up yet again to do RC along with Barney Harris, John Hart, and Steve Young.
Thanks to Tom Hutton for doing our scores every week.
I am reposting this writeup from Geoff Bishop who finished in 3rd place in the Lightning class. Geoff was sailing with his daughter, Gigi, and son Quentin. This is only their 3rd time out on the Lightning.
Sit still and try to keep moving! It was a fun day on the river but once again not much wind. Sailing out to the course I was pleasantly surprised by a steady breeze but in the end the forecast for light and variable winds held true. The race committee did a phenomenal job setting the marks and a square start line despite early engine problems. Trying to recall the light air sailing lessons we learned last week, our strategy was simply to keep the boat moving. We did our best to start the day’s only race on starboard with speed and footed nicely up the left side of the course. When waves from boat traffic in the channel came by we footed even more in order to keep our boat moving through the chop. Taking those waves head on in this light air would have been deadly. Then the wind died and a breeze filled in on the right side of the course! The boats that went right were heroes! In retrospect the more dependable wind was probably coming down the Anacostia – on the right side of the course – and I made a point of staying right on the next upwind leg. The rest of the race seems a bit of a blur as we sat bobbing up and down, drifting under the blazing sun. Somewhere along the way I recalled the saying: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” This thought came to mind right about the time Shadowfax came scooting by us downwind with the spinnaker pulling and passing boats right and left. With patience and perseverance we coaxed our boat forward and on the last downwind leg found a little breath of wind coming off the airport side of the river that we used to generate some momentum around the pin and into the final stretch. The final leg of our race reminded me of rubber duckies floating in a bathtub. We were near a group of about four lightnings just bobbing ever closer to the finish line – and in particular the leeward pin as the current was at least as strong as any “wind.” By sheer luck we bobbed just ahead of Frank and Marianne (we had traded places back and forth with them most of the race) for a third place finish. Not exactly lightning speed, but we’ll take it. Thank you to all who participated –most of the classes had a great turnout – and thank you to the race committee who graciously let us go in early to enjoy the rest of our afternoon on shore
Great day to kick off the falls series. The sun was warm, the air was dry, the breeze was from the northeast (sort of) and varied from none at all to as much as 10 mph. The current was strong. The RC set up a triangle and signalled 3 O-2s and 1 W-3.
Shadowfax won the day in the Lightning fleet, but certainly not all the races. I took away three lessons that you might find interesting:
Judging the time to the line.
The start line was very pin favored and the current was ripping down the line against a traditional starboard tack approach. On Shadowfax, we decided to start the races on port at the pin. I knew the main threat would be from Bobby Astrove coming down the line on starboard. So we had to judge how long it would take him and us to get to the pin. Tom Hutton, in the middle, helped judge that time and called it. We crossed him once and ducked him twice but had a good start every time. In addition, it was clear that most of the other boats starting on port were getting to the line far too early and having to bear off down the line thereby losing a lot for every second early that got there. It is well worth practicing deciding how long it will take to get to the line and learning how to speed up or slow down to get there at the right time.
By the way, in the first race Bobby could not get to the pin on starboard and at the gun he was roughly midway and tacked immediately. In at least, two of the following three races, he approached the line from above the committee boat and executed a beautiful dip start near the pin. Dip starts are risky because 1) leeward boats may not let you dip and 2) because you may not get yourself all the way below the line and get called OCS. So it take good judgement of what the other boats can do in the conditions and of where you are relative to the line.
When in doubt sail the long tack to the mark.
The wind was spotty and shifty and so it was difficult to decide whether to go off to the right and try to get a puff coming down the Anacostia or go left and toward that puff coming down from the north. We found that if we simply sailed the tack that was lifting us to the mark, we did very well. So although it always pays to look for the breeze and try to get there, when in doubt simply sail the longer tack toward the mark.
Related to this lesson was a case of bad luck for us or good strategy by John Van Voorhis. John was on starboard maybe 10 boat lengths from the windward mark but not fetching by a couple of boat lengths . We were approaching him on port. Our plan was to duck him, tack onto starboard on the layline and force him to duck us as we approached and rounded the mark. Good in theory, but just after we tacked the wind shifted left. Now we were headed and not fetching the mark. He tacked to the lifted port tack and made the pin many boat lengths ahead of us. He was sailing the long tack to the mark and waited for a good shift. We sailed the short tack and had little choice of what to do when the shift came.
Where to point when the wind dies.
We were ahead of John Van Voorhis approaching the leeward mark when the wind went very soft. I kept steering at an increasingly hot angle trying to keep the spinnaker full. Not only did that not work because the wind simply wasn’t there, but I was going further away from the mark. In contrast, John Van Voorhis just pointed to the mark and the strong current I mentioned above took him past us. When there is current, consider simply using it when the wind dies.
Below are the official cumulative results for the 2017 Spring Series scored according to the NOR. Think of each day as a race with your standing at the end of the day as your finish in the race. If you did race committee that day, your score is the average of all the days you did sail. If you neither sailed nor did RC, your score is simply a blank. To qualify you need to have sailed or done race committee 4 days (50% of days your fleet sailed). Your score is the average of your best 4 days.
A big thanks to Tom Hutton for doing the Sundays scores.