2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #4

I was afraid going into the last race yesterday that this might be my fate.

Well actually I was pretty pleased.

Arriving at the dock at 11, it looked the westerly breeze had nearly died. As we got out to the race course, the northerly shift arrived and started filling in. In the first 2 1/2 races, the right side was strongly favored. In the first three races I got out to the right early, and was at or near the front at the first mark each race.  The wind started shifting left in the middle of the third race and several boats who took the chance did well.

The wind shifted fairly strongly to the left at the end of the race, leaving the starting pin strongly favored. So I worked hard to get port tack starts for the last three races. In races 4 and 6 I missed the front hole, and had to cross some sterns. I was actually over early in race 4, and went around the pin, but was able to find a nice lane and clear air. In race 5, I was right on the line, and only “let” Tom pass me at the last leward mark. I still haven’t figured out how to do everything one needs to do down there.

Best thing on the day for me was being able to see where the wind was and get there.  Worst thing is still that leward mark rounding.

Thanks to Farley for doing RC solo.

John Van Voorhis

2020-2021 Laser Frostbit Series #4

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #3

Hello Sailors,

The sailing was very good with plenty of sunshine and strong wind. There was a bit of debate if it was truly heavy wind, but it was at least border line. We had two on RC and I’m glad we did as I wouldn’t want to have just one on a windy day like today. As the temps get colder I’m thinking that two on RC should be the rule rather than the exception. Thank you John and Kaitlyn for coming out and getting 6 races in!
We had 11 boats come out and start but with the winds getting strong in the gusts many people reasonably let up on racing. The winds were from the west so we were the short way across the river. The wind had strong gusts at 15-20 with lulls that were in the 8-10 range, with plenty of shiftiness. I typically do better in the 15-20 range so the lulls were somewhat troublesome for me.
Starts
The start line was less crowded than in weeks past so I used my typical “drift” start. I’ll drift near-ish to the committee boat until 40-30 second to go, then pick up some speed before the start and go. There has to be enough wind that sailing around boats is no issue, and there is plenty of line room for acceleration. Vang halfway on so I can have some maneuverability before the start. Once I start I two-block the main, take off, and snug the vang.
Upwind
I tend to have good speed upwind when the wind is up, and in a couple of races I used this to my advantage. The wind was shifty and I’ve been struggling to determine which is the favored tack. Sometimes speed upwind is good enough, but not today as I often went the wrong way and got punished. I also had trouble powering back up for the lulls, another thing I need to work on. Sails in hard to stay flat in the gusts turn into underpowered when the lulls strike.
Downwind
I had an okay time downwind, I tried to steer for the current that came in later in the day. I also managed to stay upright downwind. My only wind came in a race where 2 boats in front of me capsized or nearly capsized. I did have a bit of trouble heading down at the windward mark. Easing the vang is key, as is getting the sail out and the boat pointed the right direction.
It was again good to be out sailing and to see everyone. I’m already looking forward to next week!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbit Series #3

Photo Credit to Kaitlyn Lucey

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #2

Thanks to Jim Klein for providing a seamless solo RC experience.

For series #1 and #2, we’ve had a healthy turnout (22 sailors for series #2).  I want to start off with one of the reasons why I enjoy sailing so much. The sport, and especially our club, is filled with a great group of people with varied experiences. Sailor’s ages range from teenagers to grandparents, and couples or parents and children are often found on the racecourse. This past weekend really captured that for me. I loved finishing each race on Sunday and watching various clusters of boats form to congratulate one another and discuss where things went right or wrong. I never feel like I’m sailing alone and rarely harbor the types of feelings you would traditionally associate with the word “competitors.” To me, at its best, sailing feels like a team sport. The real rivalry is proving which one design fleet is best :p
It has been great seeing more and more female helms join us for the Frostbite series. We’ve had pretty strong weekends with 7 female helms this past Sunday. Congratulations to Laura for securing first place both weekends. Thanks to everyone that has come out in the past even if you lost time or interest, or simply found frostbiting not to your liking. If anyone wanted to like frostbiting, but didn’t please reach out. We’d love to have you and help you have a good time.
On to the sailing.
Starts
Since I had not been in a boat for a while, I found myself more focused on enjoying the experience. I don’t think I checked the course or the line once the entire day. Instead, I tried to find any spot on the line. While I didn’t always have speed off of the line, I at least managed to be front row which is crucial for the first upwind leg.
Upwind
There seemed to be puffs rolling down the right side of the course, but I often found myself on the left (particularly for the first leg after the start). I think that is because I often rely on boat speed (tack as little as I can) and prefer coming in from the left to avoid the dreaded layline parade. For the mk 2 sail, I find the most important sail setting to be the mainsheet. I constantly adjust it searching for where I feel the most boat speed.
Downwind
It was an interesting day downwind. With puffs generally coming down the west side of the river, the fleet really spread out across the width of the Potomac. I believe my downwind legs really helped my positioning for the day. In the light breeze, it was important to drive deep over to the western side (inside lane) to catch the puffs. Overall, it was a longer sailing distance but boat speed more than made up for it. However, the lighter the wind got it was also just as important to look upwind to see where the next puffs would come from. There were several instances where I abandoned the western side and made my way back towards the center as I saw where future puffs would likely track.
Later on in the day, there were a few downwind legs where the breeze evened out a bit. Some of the leaders were still fighting each other for an inside lane and to reach the puffs on the western shore. I was able to pick off a few places by sailing dead downwind to the mark when the puffs hit, while others sailed that longer distance. For the mk 2 sail really focus on removing any cunningham from the sail (unless you need it to depower). That means uncleat and pull the entire purchase up the mast to remove any tension.
Two last pieces of advice. Don’t ignore Jim Graham on the right side of the course upwind and protest those that foul you. Otherwise, you too will earn the coveted third place writeup!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #1

Third Place Write Up (Jim Klein)  11/22/2020

Hello Everyone,

Thank you Tom Hutton doing the RC for us on this first week of our frostbite series. Despite being alone in the RC boat you managed to give us Olympic, WL and Triangle races to keep things interesting, as well as maintaining a square start line.

My boat was set up the following way:

Vang: On fairly tight upwind, but not so tight that I had to worry about hitting my head on the boom during tacks. Offwind pretty far off, but always cleated down. You don’t want to have the vang completely loose or else the whole sail structure is loose, moves around too much, and generally sucks up energy of the boat rocking back and forth. Rather, you want that rocking energy to be translated to forward motion. Think rigidity in the whole boat/mast/sail structure.

Outhaul: About 4” off the boom at mid point.

Cunningham: Off and completely loose.

Mainsheet: Two blocked upwind during the windier times, else about 5” between the aft blocks.

Starts:  No one side was favored enough to attempt starting on that particular side.  I felt it was more important just to have good speed at the gun. I would often try to start on port and in the last 20 seconds or so, look for a hole in the fleet so I could tack and be on starboard tack at the gun. But this did not always work out so well; in one race, I could not find any hole and had to let the entire fleet cross the line before I squeezed in finally at the boat end.  Interestingly, that was the one race where I went out way to the right (on port tack) and somehow got some favorable wind so that I could pass just about the whole fleet by the windward mark. That was more luck than planning. The first 15 seconds after the gun are critical for you to get out in front as much as you can. This is no time to be playing with sail controls, but rather to be focused completely on getting ahead of those around you.

Upwind: In the first several races I had a helmet on (and covid mask), and it was preventing me from feeling the wind shifts. Then I took all those off and did better because I could feel the wind better with my head and face. I would tack pretty often when I detected a wind shift. I tried to be careful never to let the mast come beyond 90 degrees to the water. That meant moving around a lot on the boat.

Downwind: I tried to keep air flowing over my sail, even if that meant sailing in more of an “S” shape path rather than a straight line to the mark. That means, when the wind dies off, try to head up a bit from a run to a  broad reach, and focus on keeping the air attached to your sail and telltales flying back. Then if the wind would come back in strength, I would again go back to a dead run. In some cases, it was very advantageous to sail by the lee. I also tried as much as possible to get my weight all the way forward and to heel the boat so the sail sticks up in the air as much as possible.

2020-2021 Laser Frostbit Series #1

AGM Announcement

The AGM will be Saturday November 14th, 3:00 pm at the Washington Sailing Marina.
We chose to hold the event outside so we can social distance. The 3PM “happy hour” start time allows 2 hours before sunset (approximately 5 PM); we’ll have the AGM first, then a general socially-distant hang out.
There is no ticket cost for the event. We’ll provide single-serving snacks, please bring your own beverage(s). Please wear a mask when you’re within 6 feet of others and be generally respectful of distancing requirements.
Given that the event is weather-dependent, we’ve scheduled a backup date of November 21.
We’re hoping you’ll join us for some safe, socially-distant socializing.
Finally, head over to the results page to see the fall series season winners!

Fall Season Race Committee Signup Ready

The RC signup sheets have been to the new limited fall schedule. Click here to get to the signup sheet. Due to social distancing requirements we are looking to have members sign up for RC with people from their household or social bubble. The boats are too small to adequately social distance for the 3-4 hours typically spent on them. We are also not requiring members to sign up for RC like we normally would. Trying to compel people to come out during these circumstances would be ridiculous. There are quite a few folks that can’t meet the household requirement or are not comfortable traveling to the marina. Lastly members are welcome to sail even if they can’t sign up for RC. Please take a look at your schedule and see if you can sign up for RC this fall.

PRSA Fall Season Updates

PRSA has plans to sail this fall!  We are scaling back our usual fall series as we anticipate limited RC and Mark Boat crew availability. We will be looking to have RC and the Mark Boat crewed with members of the same household or social bubble. There will also be other practices we put in place due to covid-19.
Fall Series 1 – Sunday September 13th
Presidents Cup Regatta – Saturday September 19th
Fall Series 2 – Sunday September 27th
Fall Series 3 – Sunday October 4th
Fall Series 4 Distance Race – Sunday October 11th
Fall Series 5 –  Sunday October 18th
Series Dates for 6, 7, and 8 have been kept on the schedule in case we have any weather cancellations or other changes to the schedule. Lastly we are keeping in mind that things can change depending on how the pandemic changes.