Category Archives: Frostbite

Laser Frostbite Series #10

The forecast was for 5mph wind, increasing to 7-8mph, however this did not hold as the wind died out during the second race.
During the first leg of the first race, Len was first to catch a big shift and took off on everyone.  The rest of us battled it out for 2nd.
The second race was very light wind with increasing current.  Everyone needed to be patient and those with good light wind boat speed finished well.
The third race was a windward – leward once around, with wind only on the west side of the course.  Adam had a great start at the boat end, then tacked into the wind.  However, he got stuck in a hole and others caught up.
We finished the day with a great parking lot birthday party for Kevin, who is approaching Grand Master status on the Laser Masters tour.
On days like this, I try to:
  • keep the boat moving – at the start and by not pinching upwind
  • actively look around to figure out where the wind is
  • keep my weight forward – upwind and downwind
  • roll tack
Thanks to Dan and Nich for doing RC!

Laser Frostbite Series #9

Awesome day on the water! Great job to the RC for fitting in several quality races.

The wind was very up and down, and then back up and down again, and then way right, and then left, and then…. we’ll you get the point. Fluky day and very important to be on the favored side of a shift, could make or loose half of the fleet on a couple of occasions.
The downwinds were a little tricky for me, tried hard to stay in a lane with clear air and work my way to the inside. Lots of pinwheel roundings.
Tide was very high when we first started, so I can only assume it was going out as we raced – it had more effect when the wind was light. I didn’t rly pay much attention to it when the wind was up.
The starts were pretty aggressive with the boat being way favored a couple times with a lot of people pushing to win the boat.
Great day on the water, looking forward to more wind!

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 Day #2, 11/25

Seventeen boats came out for Day #2.  The wind started out lighter than forecast and then picked up to forecast about 10-12 mph.  It started out west-southwest and shifted south-southwest half way through the day.  Len and Barb Guenther set a windward-leeward course out in the river.  The current was the opposite of last week (coming in all day) and I believe played a big factor in the racing today more on that later.  There was some big debris/speed bumps (tree trunks) out in the river causing some to fall out of their boats and other to stop for a minute.  If you have not made it out yet this season it has been near perfect sailing conditions and just in luck for you we sail again next Sunday same time same place.  Keith Barron and William Kruse will be providing the RC.
Full scores are posted on the website here:

Click here for week #2 Scores

Erich

Laser Frostbite Day #5, 12/18/2011

It was a beautiful day on the Potomac River with the wind from the northwest 7-15, which was more than the forecast that I saw. The sun was behind the clouds making it feel like a frostbite race but the wind was enough to keep you working. It was another great turnout with 23 boats making it on the last sailing day in 2011. Will Summers and Istvan Pely set up a windward leeward out in the river. The current was coming in/slack at the beginning of the day and was going out pretty aggressively by the last race keeping the fleet off the line.
Getting a good start was essential and the mark roundings were crowded which put an emphasis on making the right decision in a short amount of time. The firsts were well spread out in six races with six different people winning a race (Erich, Frank, , Len & Robert). The wind was very shifty which caused many lead changes. Results are posted here.
I have been excited by all the new faces this year and the turnouts thus far. I hope that we can keep it up in 2012.
The next Sunday is the Hangover Regatta January 1. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year and hope to see you on the water on the 1st.

-Erich