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.
2017 Spring Series – Albacores
2017 Spring Series – Buccaneers
2017 Spring Series – I-20
2017 Spring Series – Lightnings
2017 Spring Series – Multi-Hulls
It was a familiar day on the river. The morning started with a nice northerly breeze, became increasingly unstable and then died, and finally picked back up again from the south. The tide was ebbing the whole time and the current got stronger and stronger.
When the wind was northerly, it was easy to see the patches of stronger wind and there were 20+ degree shifts only part of which could have been due to velocity changes. So the classic strategy of connecting the puffs or trying to sail in stronger and lifted breeze as much as possible consumed our attention and was successful in race 1 and most of race 2.
However, as the wind started to die and become unstable we made a classic mistake. We rounded the windward mark for the last downwind leg in the lead. The wind had shifted right and the wind looked better in the middle of the river so we gybed to port immediately. The fleet behind us did not gybe as quickly and so we were the furthest right (looking upwind). As the wind died we had to sail hotter to keep the boat moving, thereby moving further right. Initially, I was happy with our speed, but I ignored the fact that I was giving the fleet behind more and more leverage to catch up if the wind shifted even further right — a header (and downwind headers are good, especially for boats on the outside of the header, just the opposite from upwind). And that is exactly what happened. Despite the header, I was too far to the right of the course and had to gybe and come back on the unfavored starboard gybe while my competitors sailed deeper and directly to the mark on the favored port gybe. One boat (Aaron) passed us and another (Will Summers) arrived at the mark at the same time.
Lesson: When the wind is unpredictable and you are in the lead, cover the boats behind, i.e. stay in the middle of the course to take away their leverage and minimize any potential gains they can make from a wind shift. Plus that puts you in the position to adjust your course right or left to take advantage of a finger of wind coming down the river.
A big thank you to Yates Dowell, Ben Arthur, and Marc Carre who stepped up on Thursday to join Melissa Morgan and save us from having no one to run the races.
That is the last of the Spring Series but next Sunday there will be a fun Distance Race which is open to all.
What a beautiful day for racing!
The winds were from the south between 10 and 15 mph. They oscillated between 180 and 200. Later in the day, they’d occasionally drop down below 10 but then new breeze would roll up the river.
There were 8 Lightnings on the line. Aaron and I had very close racing with us edging him out by a point at the end of the day. On this type of day with moderate & steady breeze and flat water all the boats are very similar in speed. It is very hard to pass and so the start is more important than usual.
Our strategy was to start near the boat so that we’d have the freedom to tack away. The one time we started down the line, we had a very good start but not good enough to cross the fleet on port. Will & Aaron had us pinned. We eventually tacked and swerved hard to duck Will but Aaron had already tacked and led the pack to the windward mark. Nothing we did would reel him in.
After rounding the leeward mark, if we were leading the strategy for staying in the lead was to sail on port all the way to the airport. Simple. (The airport is generally the better side to be on, maybe because of less chop or maybe because the land funnels the wind a bit there. Don’t really know why.) If we were not the lead boat, we had to fight to keep from sailing into the bad air of the lead boat and look for a small header or better breeze on the left before tacking. Then we had to be on the lookout for another header to get back toward the airport. Not so simple but we made it work once.
Downwind we worked hard to get inside rights at the mark. Usually this meant sailing as deep as possible without sailing by the lee. If the spinnaker trimmer is curling the luff, I’m by the lee if the spinnaker clew is to windward of the forestay. For speed downwind, we tried to keep our weight forward to keep the water flowing smoothly off our transom, healed slightly to windward to give the spinnaker as much air as possible, and the board almost all the way up into the trunk to give the boat some leeward helm. But none of that beats getting a good puff!
Fun close racing!
Thanks to Jeff Neurator, Heather Howard, Chris Porter, and Yates for giving us 4 great races. Heather also took some great pics from the signal boat (thanks Heather!). And thanks to Tom Hutton for getting the scores calculated not just for today but for the whole Spring Series.
Bob Astrove came to the marina to sail but there was no RC. He and his crew stepped in and ran the races. Thank you, Bob!
The RC (Jim Antonovich, Leigh Boyle and Yates Dowell) ran three races in the cove today with winds typically about 12 out of the NNW with frequent higher gusts. The wind oscillated between W and N every few minutes all day. We got off the course early before the really hard gusts came in. A beautiful sunny day.
The Lightnings were at Leesylvania for their 33rd Doc Gilbert Potomac Cup Regatta
2017 Doc Gilbert Results – Lightnings
Aaron Boesenecker ran the RC. It started off light and then died completely. Many of us rafted up and waited for the RC to cancel racing for the day. But, no…. The wind filled in beautifully from the south.
We got more practice in light air sailing which seems to require 1) patience and 2) and zen with the wind and current. The wind was loosely speaking from the northeast and after dying it usually, but not always, came back from the east. In the Lightning class, Bob Astrove showed off how good he is in these light conditions.
Bob Astrove ran the RC. He commented: “As you can see we did not have a lot of boats, but a beautiful day. 5 to 10 from the south.”