It’s May already! Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and PRSA one design sailboats are racing. Check your calendars, call your crew, get your yard work affairs all in order, and make plans to sail in the 2011 PRSA Spring Regatta on Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29. Check out the recently posted NOR for details.
Well as usual, the forecasters got it all wrong. The forecast? Sunny skies, temps in the low to mid 70’s, and 0-5 kts of breeze. What we got? Cloudy skies with a bit of rain, temps in the 60’s and 7-9 kts of breeze. Except for the rain, it was a great day to be on the river. The other notable thing about our racing on Sunday was the CURRENT! It was really something. A definite factor around the windward mark, and also at the start line. In the second race, Ariel almost could not get behind the line before the 5 minute deadline. We just made it. You are probable thinking – Ha Jeff you should know better than to stray from the race area before a start. Well I’ll tell you that at the first signal we were only 3 boat lengths from the line!! It is spooky to be sailing in breeze and not going anywhere against the current. Anyway, we had Lightnings, Albacores, and Hobies out having fun on Sunday. The RC was ably handled by Dan Miller and the Albacores. Here are the scores:
Skipper’s meeting at 11:30. Racing in the cove. First start at 12:30. Entry fee: $0. Full details here: NOR_Penguin_Spring_2011
After a few days of heavy rains and the remnants of a front still blowing through, the conditions were tricky on the river for the third Spring Series. The gusty westerly was in the teens for most of the day, and most boats opted to run wing-and-wing downwind in the heavier stuff, waiting for the breeze to ease or for better angles away from the airport shore before popping the kite. A good start was paramount, and then keeping the boat on its feet and shifting gears became the key to success. The river level and flow were both extraordinarily high and the tide was also running out, which made for a fierce combination of current, tide flow, and near flood-stage discharge flow to combat as we sailed E-W across the river. The RC had trouble getting the windward mark to stay put, and once you did make it around, it seemed that no matter how far north you pointed the boat, you still ended up well south of the leeward mark near the channel, having to jib-reach back up to it before going upwind (and across the current once again).
The day showed the importance of having a fully staffed race committee, with 2 individuals on the mark and crash boat as well as enough hands on the Bayliner for flags, horns, writing, and scoring. Two Buccaneers did flip in the gusty conditions, and though each boat was quickly righted and continued sailing, having a crash boat at the ready to provide assistance was critical for everybody’s safety and peace of mind. As PRO Bobby Astrove noted: “I was quite nervous with today’s weather forecast. When I got to the marina at 7:45 a.m. it was hooting, high teens for wind and gusts to 30. It settled down by 9:30, we had what I think was a windy but nice day. Very strong current. Obviously had a hard time getting the windward mark to stick without a Danforth anchor. We eventually added a second anchor and that did the trick. Special thanks to all my RC helpers: Brian Bishop, Michael Brown, Rose Gentile, Catherine Calvin, Bill Buck, and Joe Warren. I thought we were going to be way short and in the end people stepped up and I thought it went well.” Great job to Bobby and the RC crew for getting us 4 races in these conditions and keeping us all safe!
In the racing, Frank (sailing with Farley and Mladin) had the hot hand, winning 3 of the 4 races (nice work Frank!). Nabeel (sailing with Craig and Stefano) followed Frank around for most of the day, but took the fourth race after a great start. Rick (sailing with Lisbet and Aaron) was also competing, as were Will, Alex, and Brian on #14395. Chris Kozell was out for the first race, but struggled with a cranky Cunningham and ended up retiring. Mark Ewing, sailing with his young son George and a friend, also joined us on the racecourse for their introduction to the Potomac’s “wacky west wind” as Jeff calls it. And speaking of Jeff, it was great to see him along with Bruce and Becky down at the Marina getting Ariel ready for future Sunday Series racing and (we hope) the Potomac Cup. Glad to see you!
After the racing we gathered in the picnic area for some food, drink and good cheer. A few folks who hadn’t made it out for the racing (as well as a few family members who had strolled down to the marina) joined us around the grill. The wind gusted up far beyond anything we had seen on the racecourse as we traded stories, but with some warm sunshine (finally!) we all enjoyed a great end to the afternoon.
There is no racing next weekend due to Easter, but we’ll look for you all in two weeks for the next Spring Series–the final chance to tune up before the Doc Gilbert Potomac Cup on May 7-8. Make sure you’ve signed up!
We had a great day sailing for our first Spring Series race. Ben Ackerman and the Catamarans did a great job on RC getting us off on 4 races with the wind shifting from the north to the west throughout the day. Six or so Lightnings, 4 Buccs, 4 Lasers and 2 Albacores came out to play. According to the wind report from DCA it started out near 20mph at 10am and by 3pm was around 5mph. It felt more like 12-15 all day with gusts here and there. After racing we grilled some dogs and drank some beer, was a good time. Hope to see you next week, there was some left over beer we’ll bring next week.
Don’t forget our next on land training event is this Wednesday at Indigo Landing. Barney Harris will be leading a discussion on local sailing knowledge. Don’t miss this one, 7pm!
Fourteen people showed up to take part in a 40 degree day on the last Sunday of January. The wind was from the east-northeast starting out light to variable in the last race. Erich Hesse and Ridley Nelson set up a windward-leeward course in the cove with the starting line within a stone’s throw of the Mount Vernon bike path. The winner of the day was Nabeel Alsalam and his winner’s write-up below. We had one new boat owner join us for the first time, Justin Pollack, who bought a boat that has been sitting at the marina. Justin had a good day after a long hiatus from Laser sailing and finished 2nd overall. We also had a friend of Alex Jacob, Shawn Golden, join us and they both showed the older/heavier people how to do it in the light air.
Here is a cool shot by Erich of Nabeel ghosting toward the finish. (Click to enlarge)
Continue reading Laser Frostbite 1/30/2011
The day after the Hangover Regatta in which 33 boats competed, only 6 boats showed up for the regular Sunday Frostbite series. We were treated to 6 races in light air.
What a day! We had our biggest Laser regatta ever today, 33 boats. Thanks to all that traveled to join us to help us push over the 30 boats mark. The weather could not have been better with temps in the 50’s and a south breeze 7-12 mph. We sailed in the river with the current coming in throughout the racing. There were 5 races.
Tim Zimmerman was untouchable with four firsts in five races and won the regatta handily.
Special thanks to our RC for the day Nabeel Alsalam, Rob Young, Collette Bolton, Mike Heinsdorf & Tom Berlin. Thanks also to Adam Dolezal who provided hot dogs for those who stuck around after racing.
— Erich (Laser Fleet Captain)