Just a reminder that PRSA Membership Dues are due by Jan. 15! Please join or renew via the link on the “Dues & RC Duty” page if you haven’t already done so in order to avoid a late fee. Pay now and you’re all set for the season!
Thanks for John Van Voorhis and Cliff Bartlett for doing the RC today and working diligently to square the line and give us a nice mix of Olympic and WL courses and they even used the flags!! 🙂 Also a big thanks to John for offering to help me launch and retrieve the 19’ boat when I had RC last week.
I hope no one reading this is hoping for a lot of technical insight as to shifts, persistent or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I would not know one from the other. Overall my mantra is to slog it out as best I can, keep the boat flat and hike as much as my body will allow me, and of course try not to make any mistakes or cut things too close.
This is the best I know:
First, I benefited greatly from having ½ the fleet coming late to the start of race 1. That gave me a big boost in the day’s score. Being on time paid off for me.
When the start line is square (as it was in most races today), I find I sometimes do better coming in on port and searching for a hole about 15-30 seconds from the start. You have to be really quick though with your tack, because there is little time and space between the starboard tackers. So it’s a little risky. In one case, however, it really paid off because I was able to stay on port by threading the needle as they say, and in that particular race ( I forget which one) a port tack was favored. In that last few seconds before the start you really do need to head down off the wind and power up, and accelerate so that you are up at full speed when the gun goes off. That seems to be the only way to have a good race. So if you are going to concentrate and be on your game, these first 10 or 20 seconds after the gun goes off are the most critical.
I had my cunningham very tight, outhaul about 2” off the boom at mid point, and the vang ¾ on. The tight cunningham helped me when the puffs came so as to not be overpowered. I pretty much tried not to sail out to the lay lines too much as a shift in wind could easily gain you several boats if you tack quick enough on the header. As it was very quirky and puffy, I did my best to ‘ease-hike-trim’ whenever I could, and a few times I could really feel it working, and I was gaining on other boats. As for when I would tack, that pretty much was determined by my looking at the luff of my sail, and when it started to collapse in (ie a header), I would throw in a tack.
On the reaches, I would pull my board up ½ and ease the cunningham off all the way and then adjust the vang to as to get the best sail shape I could get. My cunningham does not seem to come off unless I go to the mast and pull on the slack of the line, so I found myself doing that a lot today.
Cunningham all the way off, board up 1/2 , outhaul about 2” off the boom at mid point, and the vang adjusted until I saw a good sail shape, which oddly, meant putting on quite a bit of vang. I was worried about death rolling in the puffs, and managed to stay flat by looking back all the time for the darkness in the water, and then when it hit, I would use aggressive mainsheet trimming to dampen out the oscillations. But when the wind comes from the west like that, it can cause a lot of deathrolling. So on days when it’s windier, if I feel I might deathroll, I quickly sail off on a reach and pop up on a plane and do the best I can that way. Better to be up on a plane, sail a little longer, and then gybe when you feel in control (or even chicken-tack if it’s really windy). Nothing is slower than going for an unwanted swim.
One final thought, it pays to look up at your sail shape as often as you can. I am doing this now more than I used to in the past ( I think Len mentioned that once or twice to me). So in going downwind, again for some reason it seemed like I had to put on vang for a nice shape, and I know most people ease their vangs going downwind, so I don’t quite know what caused that. Maybe it’s the new sail that has not yet broken in.
This was the first racing of the 2017-2018 Laser Frostbite series. It is traditional for the sailor who finished 3rd to do a write up of the weekend. I have no intention of deviating from this tradition, however, we don’t have the contact info on the sailor that got 3rd and my 4th isn’t that far off. Next week we’ll get to the 3rd place finisher faster to let them know about their finish and duty.
The weather cooperated and was at the higher end of the fun scale, 8 to 10 with gusts at 15 to 18 blowing from the northeast. RC set a good Olympic course and got a whopping 6 races in with 20 sailors turning out. The wind slowly dwindled as the afternoon went on so the first races were all speed and hiking then the later races were searches for the big gust to keep speed up.
My first 2 starts were my best and I worked the left side of the course. Not really for any strategic reason but in higher winds I’m looking to minimize tacks as those sometimes go poorly for me. I think the left side of the course had more wind all day so this generally helped me being on that side of the course. I didn’t have any issues at the marks so these finishes were solid.
The third race saw my best and worst start. I had a great boat end start that got cancelled due to a general recall. The second attempt I botched by getting into irons on the wrong side of the committee boat. I ended up playing catchup with some pretty successful upwind legs as well as a windward mark rounding that paid off. In a big crowd I try to remember that over standing is better than getting close. Lots of boats make bad air and in the past I’ve sat barely fetching the mark with other boats sail around me. Not today! I got to be the boat sailing around others
The last 3 races saw lower wind and some second row starts. My plan with a second row start is to work to clear air then get on the right tack ASAP. Second rule with a second row start the laylines are off limits; boat ahead will tack on them and you’ll have to eat their bad air. In the last race I spent a little time on the right side of the course thinking I had the lifted tack. I got to watch the smarter folks go fast in the more regular puffs that came down the left side of the course.
Overall the day was very fun and I was only a little sore. 20 sailors turning out over thanksgiving weekend is encouraging. We had some new faces which are great to see out! I’m sure the rest of the fleet will welcome them as we see them out racing more. See everyone next week!
West River Sailing Club in Galesville, MD, is hosting a 2-day Race Management Seminar on Feb. 17-18, 2018. This class is for people who want to learn more about how to run sailboat races. No prerequisites are required other than a basic understanding of sail boat racing and some previous race management experience. Follow this link for information and registration details (scroll down the page to the date of Feb. 17-18):
Attendees must be members of US Sailing. The course fee is $80 which covers the class, materials, continental breakfast & coffee, plus lunch. The two day class will begin each day at 0830 and run through 1630. There is an on-line quiz after the course if attendees are interested in becoming certified.
This is a great opportunity, especially according to this endorsement from Nabeel: “I endorse this class. Bill Kleysteuber and I travelled up to Newport, RI about a decade ago to take the class. We learned a lot. It is primarily based on the RRS but not completely. You get a nice certificate at the end and become certified as a club race officer.”
Our Laser frostbite season has started. We race on Sundays on the Potomac River from November 19 to March 18, and we wrap up our season with the Capital City Regatta on March 24-25. Skippers meeting is at 12PM with the first start at 12:30PM. No races are started after 3:30PM. Come out and join us!
The 2018 PRSA Calendar is now available for order! Use this link – http://www.calendarlink.org/prsa/home.html – to preview the calendar and order your very own. Congratulations to Lindsay Bach for snapping the winning cover photo!
Below are the preliminary (in case I’ve made mistakes) cumulative results for the 2017 Fall 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.
Brrr… It was a chilly day. It did not get out of the 40s. AND the sun was not out. Still, there was a nice light breeze, and it was the last chance to sail until April, so we went sailing.
The tide was coming in and that light southerly breeze was very shifty but quite sailable. By the third race, the wind almost completely shut down and the RC mercifully shortened course at the 2nd windward mark.
Doing well was all about keeping the boat in the groove, not get too excited about tacking on every shift, and making smooth transitions at the marks On Shadowfax, I helmed the first race and Lisa-Marie Lane did the next two. She did just what I mentioned above and got two bullets! Great way to end the season.
A big thanks to Jeff Whitten, Bob Harford, Geoff Fuller, and Jim Lane for running the races. Thanks to Tom Hutton for doing the scores.
Frank Gallagher and his team of multi-hull sailors — Ben Arthur, Yates Dowell, and Jim Antonovich ran the races. The tide was in. So to save the sailors from going all the way up river, the RC ran the races off of the power plant.
Does someone who was there want to add some comments?