Category Archives: News

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #16

It was a beautiful day on the river.  Sunny and warm with intermittent good wind.  Although I finished in roughly the same place I do most Sundays (that is, near the back with a rare strong race), today worked in my favor as there were only 5 or 6 boats, leaving me with my first 3rd place finish. The wind was flukey, very light at times followed by a strong steady breeze.  The wind kept shifting at the beginning, making it nearly impossible to set a windward-leeward course.  In fact, the first race turned into reaches both ways.  After the first race, the wind held relatively steady – in direction if not speed, allowing us to get in lots of races.  With a small fleet, it was much easier for those of us new to Laser racing to be aggressive at the start and at the marks – instead of being out strategized by lots of boats, there was only one or two to content with at each rounding.  The shifty wind favored those with good tactics and a good sense of the river winds – boats well ahead often lost considerable ground to others on a different tact, seemingly at random but clearly not since the top two boats consistently finished 1-2.  The winds also, at times, left the fleet bobbing in the water for a few minutes before picking up again (I’m guessing the windier parts of the day were above 10 knots if not more). As a new racer, I found the smaller fleet a great opportunity to work on sail trim, starts and mark roundings.  Other than to note a number of us have been talking about finding times this spring and summer to sail, not much else to report other than to thank the race committee and to encourage people to come out for the last few weekends of the series.

Brian

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2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #15

What lovely warm day of racing we had. Today was my third day out this season and my first where I did not feel like I was in survival mode, so I really appreciated that – this is also my first third-place write-up. The course was relatively short, so even with twice around and we got in a lot of races, which was great. Overall, it was a quite puffy and shifty day that required a lot of paying attention (wow, pin favored now, OK!) and for me, a lot of shifting gears.
Especially at the start of the day, the ebbing tide made it easy to be over the line early and our first start ended in a general recall. After that, I had some decent starts and some less optimal ones, but found that it was possible to move up by focusing on keeping the boat moving and sometimes sucking it up and fighting for a tiny lane on the lifted/mark-pointing tack (especially in some of those early races) instead of bailing for clear air but a header/heading away from the mark.  Also, later in the afternoon, it seemed windier than it was due to the chop – so while I was tempted to haul in my outhaul upwind, I found that by leaving it a little loose (3/4 shaka?) it helped me keep boatspeed up and power over the waves.
Downwind, I was perpetually switiching up the vang depending on how windy it was – and how windy it might be in the next minute or so – it was a real balance between speed in the lulls (less vang) and then cranking it on (perhaps even a bit much at times) to feel solid and avoid death rolling. I can’t remember when I last played with the vang so much downwind. Another challenge downwind was to be mindful of the mark location – I found myself wanting (expecting?) it to be further east than it was and lost a few boats one race because I went too far outside the rhumb line and folks passed me inside.
Hoping for another couple of warm days like yesterday for the remainder of the season. Thank you to our race committee for helping us pack in the races and to everyone who showed up to sail!
Laura

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #14

Checking my email this morning I discovered a message from Will.  The third place writeup has befallen unto me.  I came away Sunday feeling pretty good about the racing.  I thought that I was in the top half every race, but I didn’t expect the third.  Wow.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember that much.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Usually people say that I write too much.  This is going to be short.
The first lesson learned is not to get discouraged by the weather forecast.  Sunday promised snow when I woke up.  Should I even head to the marina?  That was my big debate with myself for the day.  Turned out to be one of my most successful days in quite a while.
The second lesson is to try to relax and don’t forget the basics.  I managed to get good starts in every race.  I kept testing the middle of the line at the three minute horn with my bow upwind.  The wind kept shifting left and the port end was favored in most races.  I then reached down to the committee boat side and found my spot with about a minute to go.  The line was just long enough that I could dip down a few times and start close hauled right at the gun.  For some reason the favored end wasn’t that crowded.  When I saw another boat coming up under me I luffed my sail and let him take the pin.  I was then satisfied to get off the line second.  Usually, the line was so favored that it was difficult for more than one boat to do that.   I think I managed to find a groove where I managed to dip down just enough to maintain good rights but not so far down that I lost all speed pinching up to make the pin.
The wind was shifty, but I didn’t worry too much about always being on the favored tack.  If you get off the line fairly well, you want to avoid disasters.  Don’t sail up to the windward mark on port into a line of starboard tackers.  A couple of times I lost a few boats playing it safe that way, but with a short course and a big fleet it’s more important to avoid the big mistakes.
Once or twice I managed to round the windward mark first.  Where the hell is the leeward mark.  I wish I had checked that before the race!  I ended up taking a course too far to the left in a couple of races.  That cost me a couple of spots.
I guess I took it one race at a time, wiping my memory after each finish getting ready for the next.  It was great fun.  Thanks to everyone for coming!
Bob Bear

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #12.5

With a 2-year old now and another on the way, I haven’t been out for a Sunday frostbite in 2 winters. Sadly, this wasn’t a particular awesome day to come out. Regardless, it was good to get out, splash the boat, and see everyone. I didn’t finish in 3rd, but Farley and Len nominated me to do the write-up.
Here are some thoughts, in not much of an order:
* The wind was light, incredibly light. The river was best (maybe 6 – 8 knots) right when we launched and died throughout the afternoon to 0 (requiring some rocking & paddling to get home). It started south / southwest (power plant) and then moved to south / southwest (wastewater plant) about 1 hour into racing.
* Simply put, what becomes particularly key when conditions are this bad is that the delta between a puff and hole is huge in terms of percentage of boatspeed compared to when there’s a moderate amount of wind (i.e., compare a 7 knot puff vs 5 knot steady breeze to a 3 knot puff vs 1 knot steady breeze). On days like that in situations like ours (with such short races), it’s important to shake yourself free at the start (i.e, have lane or be able to tack), keep your head out of the boat, and to try to situate yourself to catch the next puff as it comes down the river. The boat leading at 2/3 up the windward beat will then likely win the race.
* Of course, keeping the boat moving in the light stuff is really tough. I’m honestly a bit better in breeze (who isn’t) and typically have ingrained that you always have to keep moving in the boat (shift forward, tweak sails constantly, sail the boat flatter / with more heel etc.). However, when it is really light, that strategy doesn’t work, especially downwind. Too much movement just disrupts flow on the sail and the foils. Downwind, it’s important to get situated and not move. Get the sail out past 90 degrees, get the board up, and heel the boat to windward. If nothing else, this at least keeps the main from falling back into center and keeps it ready to catch any puff. I find that leaning out a bit on the boat with both feet in the cockpit can be the most comfortable to remain perfectly still. You can then basically heel the boat over with just your shoulders or head.
* Upwind, lots of tacks (unless you’re particularly great at roll tacks), won’t really help. Frankly, sitting on a header for a short spell (just to keep the boat moving) can pay off vs. trying to catch any 10 degree shift. Today was one of those days where the best move was to pretty much keep the boat pointed upwind at the mark and adjust the sails around the direction of the breeze.
* Len assured me that he hadn’t seen any current flood this year given the high amounts of rain. The RC conveniently had noted that low tide was at 12:30. By the windward mark of the 3rd and final race, it was clear that the current was ripping upriver into DC. When current is that bad, keeping flow and the boat moving is pretty important (tacks just result in you going backwards).
* When the breeze is light and fluky, it’s important to stay awake between races and not drift off too far from the line / starting area. In either the 2nd or 3rd race, only a handful of boats were on the line.
Thanks,
Mike

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Beautiful Sailing for Fall Series #6

We had a cool, crisp morning for Fall Series #6 but the day ended up being fantastic — one of our best for sailing this year — as the sun came out and the breeze came in.  PRO Jim Antonovich and his RC crew got us a series of great O2 and O3 races, some of which involved some exciting reach legs with good breeze and some of the interesting shifts that happen with a westerly breeze.  Great fun was had by all and we enjoyed a nice sunny cookout to wrap up the day.

Albacores Fall Series 6

Buccaneers Fall Series 6

I-20 Fall Series 6

Lightnings Fall Series 6

Week 2 and Week 4 Scores Posted!

We’ve managed to get two racing days so far this fall, which nearly equals our total for all spring!  Fall Series 2 was a drizzly, grey day but the wind was good and the racers enjoyed some quality racing.  Fall Series 4 was one of the most beautiful days we’ve had all day with breeze, sunny skies, warm temps, and a good turnout.  Scores are as follows (also available on the results page):

Albacores Fall Series 2

I-20 Fall Series 2

Lightning Fall Series 2

Buccaneer Fall Series 4

I-20 Fall Series 4

Lightning Fall Series 4

Multihull Fall Series 4

Register for the 2018 President’s Cup Regatta!

President's Cup Logo

The 2018 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be held September 15 & 16 at Washington Sailing Marina, continuing the long tradition of competitive one-design racing started by the President’s Cup in 1934.  The regatta will be sailed on the Potomac River on two courses.  Visit the regatta website to view the NOR and register for the 2018 President’s Cup!  Registration fees increase after September 10, so make sure to register and pay online before September 10 to save yourself a bit of cash.  We will once again offer a spectator cruise aboard the historic schooner American Spirit on Sunday, so be sure to tell your friends and family!

Thanks to our regatta sponsor, Annapolis Performance Sailing, and to DC Sail for the partnership that allows us to offer a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit!

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PRSA Spring Regatta Results

We had two fantastic days of racing for the PRSA Spring Regatta, with PRO Nabeel Alsalam and his crew getting us 5 races on Saturday and 3 more on Sunday.   37 boats in 5 classes came out for the fun and we all enjoyed spectacular sailing conditions with sunny skies, flat water, and moderate southerly breezes.  Results are posted here and you should feel free to add your comments below!

Register now for the PRSA Spring Regatta: May 26-27

The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 26-27) has been posted and registration is now open.  Visit the regatta website and register by May 22 to take advantage of the early registration discount.  Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!

PRSA Rookie Regatta Results

We had a good turnout for the PRSA Rookie Regatta this past Sunday, with 6 I-20s, 6 Lightnings, 3 Albacores, and 2 Buccaneers coming out for the fun.  Several boats had a true rookie on board, and those that didn’t had crews driving and drivers crewing.  Results are posted below, and I’ve included a few of my observations from the course on Lightning #14592 (from the middle position while Piercarlo drove his first races in a long while!).  You should feel free to add your observations in the comments section!

The weather looked much more promising than the forecast as we arrived at the marina on Sunday.   We sailed up to the course in a nice northerly breeze…only to see it become soft and spotty as the first starts got going.  PRO Allen Griffen and his RC crew did a great job in adjusting the course but also getting us as many races as possible in a very shifty and variable N/NE/NW wind.  With short T1 courses the start was important, and we found that getting a good start and staying in the pressure (generally up the left side of the course along the airport, though this was not the case in the first race) was paramount.  Making sure to keep the boat moving forward fast, even when headed, was also important in all of the shifts and swirls.  Over the 3 races we saw conditions ranging from nearly no wind to full on hiking conditions (for a few moments at least).  Overall, though, the racing was fun and clean, and it was great to see new faces on boats and familiar people in new positions.  The sun even came out enough for us to enjoy a nice post-race BBQ and awards ceremony!

Rookie Regatta Results