All posts by Will Farley

2015 Hangover Regatta

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.

Once we all assembled at the race course we found a surprisingly nice place to race. The tide conditions we very simple, with the flood quite pronounced on the left, channel side of the course, while quite benign on the right, landing pier side of the course. The cove gave the breeze a much better fetch than we experience either racing inside or in the more recent Marina Towers race area. The breeze seemed to fit Sail Flow’s forecast almost perfectly at 7-18 with about 60-65% of the larger shots coming with a fair amount of west and far fewer coming from 180. The line was rather long and seemed to be square to pin biased all day. My strategy for the day was simple, find a relatively clear spot on the line where I could always be in phase, and hopefully working right. In the first race that strategy seemed to pan out until one of those 35% probability lefties scrambled the weather mark rounding. I believe Mark and Len escaped most unscathed. The lesson learned for the day was, while favoring a side, given the puffy nature of the breeze, I was never going to sail to either layline again.
As the day progressed, I generally found the right and middle of the start appealing, despite the pin bias, so that I might be one of the first to take advantage of the relatively few truly lifted port tack beats. I tried to anticipate the starboard gusts, remaining content to sail around the entire”catspaw” of the right hand blast to avoid that fate of race one. In general, I found most boats playing the right sailed far too close to the pier and lost huge amounts as they sailed back to the mark in reduced pressure or a slight knock. Every so often sailing hard to one or another side paid off as Eric will attest in the last race.
Downwind, I concentrated on a technique that I have watched my son, Alex employ very effectively all fall. At all costs, I sailed to the big blasts. Once in the blast I attempted to position my boat so that I sailed as close to rhumbline as possible. In one instance I rode the blast a tad too far, crashing on my jibe just to leeward of the leeward mark.
Lessons learned:
1. In a puffy westerly/southwesterly tack early–attempting to gain too much from a shift might backfire
2. If the phases of the shifts are not lasting for an entire leg do not “own” one side or the other
3. Always seek pressure downwind.
4. Appreciate the awesome volunteers that make our sport great.
Thanks to everyone who missed sailing to run races yesterday and all year. Happy New Year!
James L. Jacob
And a special thanks to Carl Schaefer for taking photos.

Laser Frostbite Series #4

Laser Frostbite Fleet,

Today was a great day on the water. We had a very shifty North West breeze which was deceiving upon arriving to the club. I thought today would have been light but instead, we had strong breeze with significant velocity and directional shifts today allowing for lots of passing opportunities. Days like today are reminders of just how demanding the laser is. We sailed out in the river and the tide was fairly slack, I didn’t pay much attention to it today. The starting line and mark roundings were exciting and busy with 25 lasers out! Today it was important to stay in the middle of the course and tack on the headers, have all controls trimmed for the breeze that you were in and hike hard. I trimmed the vang, outhaul, and cunningham much more than i usually would given the wind velocity was constantly changing. It is exciting to have such a large group out, I look forward to the next one.
Cheers everyone.
-Jamie Moran

Laser Frostbite Series #3

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….

Continue reading Laser Frostbite Series #3

Laser Frostbite Series 2

So here is the 3rd place write up for Sundays racing, what started out as a partly overcast day with light Southerly winds soon materialized into a relay good day for sailing on the river with a steady 10 – 13 mph. The tide was fairly high but was not running much and did not factor into the racing.

We had some miner changes in wind direction and very little in the way of shifts to tack onto going upwind. As the wind freshened the line became more boat favored, this was quickly recognized by most of the fleet. I general went into the line late at 20 sec with some speed and just looked for a descent space to cut through, a coupe of times that boat favored end opened up enough space. The fleet seemed to split of early between the two sides of the course, for a time that left side was favored but going to the left became risky as it meant that you had to tack across boats to get onto that Starboard lay line. Going down wind the legs did not seem to be long enough with the triangle course to shake the fleet up, so it was just a case of protecting your inside rights for the mark rounding.
Thanks to Michel and helpers for running the races, I think his dogs were getting restless towards the end!
See you next week,
Steve

Laser Frostbite Series #1

I have won the highly coveted 3rd place write-up for the day.  Below is my summary and the scores are attached.

First off I would like to congratulate Jim Klein for tying Len for first place for the day.  I believe that this is his first time winning a day.

Today was a gorgeous day for frostbiting.  Temps were in the 50s and the wind was around in the 5 range with maybe some puffs near 8.  The RC was able to get off 4 races.  We did a little of everything starting with a triangle, 2 olympics, and a final windward leeward.  The breeze slowly died off as we stayed out on the water.

As for sailing, the races that we run for frostbiting are relatively short races so the start is important.  You can screw it up a little and make out OK but in general you need to come off the line with speed and clean air.  On a light air day like today, finding the breeze and staying in clean air are paramount.  At the starts of the first 3 races, I decided that the pin end of the line was favored and went for it.  It worked fairly well in all three races for me and with each race, more people joined me at the pin end.  The last race had a small shift  (from my view at least) and I think the line was very even.  But the shift came in the last 30 seconds of the start so everyone was stuck where they were.  Other than starts and clear air, the important thing on light air days is to be patent with your boat and not get frustrated.

I look forward to seeing all the new people out on the water the rest of the season.  And remember that we are still sailing next Sunday!

Farley

2014/2015 Laser Frostbite Series 1

Fall Series #8

Today provided some nice weather and we were able to get in a few races.  2 Albacores, 3 multihulls and 2 Lightnings showed up.  The breeze began to build by 10:30 and stayed until about 12:30.  The last race was cut short due to lack of wind.  Many thanks go to Yates Dowell and his RC for stepping up and volunteering this week.  Scores are below.

2014 Fall Series 8 – Albacores

2014 Fall Series 8 – Catamarans

2014 Fall Series 8 – Lightnings

Final Fall Series scores are below.

Albacore

Buccaneer

Catamarans

Lightnings

Fall Series #7

Yet again we were given another windy day.  This time with cold temperatures.  Two brave Albacores came down to the marina but the decision was made to attempt a practice day instead of running races. Also as it turns out, the water level of the river was too shallow to launch the crash boats from the ramp.  After launching the 16 and 1 Albacore, the decision was shortly made to cancel the “practice” and call it a day.

The last series of the fall is next weekend.  In order to sail, we need to have someone sign up for RC!  Also there are several boats that need 1 more day to qualify for the fall.  Check your Series scores and make the decision to come out next week.

2014 Fall Series – Albacore

2014 Fall Series – Buccaneer

2014 Fall Series – Catamarans

2014 Fall Series – Lightnings

2014 Fall Series #5

Fall Series #5 provided us with a very windy day.  Mostly out of the northeast with some big shifts out of the east.  Mostly sustained around 18 but gusts up to 30.  However it did not seem as windy as that.  Lloyd Leonard and crew put on 4 races for the 3 of us that made it out.  Barney Harris, Jeff Neurauter, and Farley Will went out.  Jeff headed in during the second race after capsizing.  But there were only 2 capsizes for the day which was pretty good considering the conditions.  Barney took the day.

Fall Series #4

The wind was once again a bit fluky, but  5 Lightnings made their way up to the course along with Jim Antonovich on a cat and Jeff Neurauter in the Buc class.  PRO Kyra Tallon and her crew did a good job in getting us some racing in the light and variable ENE breeze.  This meant some Olympic courses again, so boathandling was at a premium (especially for those Lightnings who were doublehanding).  A good time was had by all and afterwards we all enjoyed a cookout on a beautiful afternoon.

2014 Fall Series 4 – Lightnings

Fall Series #3

The wacky west wind made its first appearance this fall for Fall Series #3.  It certainly proved challenging to the RC and all the sailors, but PRO Frank Gallagher and his crew did a great job in setting, re-setting, and re-setting the course again throughout the day (aided by some sailors moving marks as well!) to keep up with the changing wind directions.  The breeze never settled down, and it seemed like we saw wind from just about every point on the compass!  Nonetheless, we got in some great racing on O2 and courses.  The reach legs kept folks sharp (especially boats trying to fly the spinnaker) and at the end of the day we all enjoyed a great day on the river.

 

Scores are below

2014 Fall Series 3 – Albacores

2014 Fall Series 3 – Buccaneers

2014 Fall Series 3 – Catamarans

2014 Fall Series 3 – Inland 20

2014 Fall Series 3 – Lightnings