Come one and come all — try out your speed and tactics against other boats and other classes in a distance race on the river on Sunday, June 18. We will use government marks and the course will be determined by weather conditions on Sunday. The NOR, Sailing Instructions, and Course Diagrams are all posted below. Scoring will be done using the Portsmouth Yardstick system. Questions should be directed to the PRO for the Distance Race, John Van Voorhis.
The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 27-28) has been posted and registration is now open. Visit the regatta website and register by May 21 to take advantage of the early registration discount. Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!
We have partnered with DC Sail once again to organize a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit on Saturday of the Spring Regatta. Spectator cruise tickets are $20/person (or $25 for a combined cruise and Saturday dinner ticket). Tickets can be purchased via the regatta website. We have also posted complete details on the cruise in the “race documents” area on the regatta website.
Sunday March 19, 2017. Good weather for the last day of frostbiting. It was sunny but cool with winds in the 10-15 mph range from the northwest. We got in 5 races, all olympic course, and I did well in all but the last one.
My general start tactic on a heavier wind day is what I think of as a drift start. I hang out past the committee boat on the right side of the course. With about 30 second to go I power up and head for somewhere on the line. When a bunch of boats bunch up at the committee boat there is enough wind to get to leeward of them and make it to the line on time. If the boat end folks are early they will head down the line and leave a nice window. This worked well today on most races and I was competitive to the windward mark.
On the course I used my normal heavy wind tactics namely, tight vang, medium outhaul and Cunningham, then lots of hiking. I ease my outhaul 100% at the windward mark to give more power downwind and I ease the vang to about 50%. The eased vang I find (and have heard) helps to bear away. The triangle legs of the olympic were great and I think I reached a plane on most downwind legs. This is super fun and I was able to make up some ground if I caught a puff.
I did have issues keeping my mainsheet running clean. I had a few issues on the course because of this. Twice I had the sheet wrapped around a foot causing me to tack rather than duck a starboard boat. I also had a serious knot at one of the windward roundings that I had to undo before I could bear away. Mainsheet discipline will be something for me to work on for windier days. Still a fun last day, I’m looking forward to Cap City next week!
Sunday turned out to be one of the first actual frostbite days this season. The breeze was predicted to be from the west at 10-16 with a high of 42. It was pretty close to that. The breeze was super shifty and puffy. Rarely do you see it on the river come from every direction. During the races the breeze was mostly swinging between the north and south. Big thanks to race committee for running the races, especially to James Jacob for bringing is own boat down and giving us a mark boat to try and fix the course each race.
The wind prediction the night before called for 0 wind gusting to 1 mph. The morning of this looked to be a very accurate prediction. We talked a bit about should we go out or shouldn’t we, who needs more races to qualify (I do), and other light wind things. We were leaning towards heading home when Will as RC says “we’ll just race in the cove!”
The first race in the cove was a bit more off the docks than in the cover proper but the course was not terrible. I got exactly the start I wanted, at the pin end trying to port tack the fleet. It was 0% successful. Not only did I not beat anyone off the line but everyone passed in front of me without my needing to duck. The once around was a bit slow and very little tacking was required but it worked. I finished like I started but all sailing is fun. Toward the end the wind looked better so we picked up and headed into the river.
In the river the wind was a flunky as you would expect for a light-wind-from-the-west kind of day. I have one rule I follow for light wind starts which is don’t get too far from the line. This worked reasonably well and I managed to stay closer to the front of the fleet. Light wind is not my favorite and I tend not to do so well. I’m attributing getting 3rd place on luck, which I will of course gladly take.
My favorite part about this cold and still day, aside from the racing, was sitting between the races. If you maneuver your boat so you are in the sun you can let the sun heat you up and get much warmer, almost toasty. It was slightly silly and pleasant. Definitely a nice day to be out on the river.
Last Sunday was a replay of the previous weekend. The parking lot banter was that I would just repost previous week’s write-up. Lots o’ sun, shifty winds, blah, blah, blah. Déjà vu all over again. But you couldn’t just sit on deck with an umbrella drink if you wanted to keep the boat moving and stay out of the water. Looking upwind to find the next line of wind and getting to it and/or being ready for it was a big part of the game.
I found myself continuously adjusting the shape and trim of the sail, both up and downwind, primarily using the vang, cunningham and sheet. I find it easier to trim the MK2 main because it simply looks more like a modern cloth sail when trimmed well. Working with the vang and the cunningham to create a nice foil shape was a constant challenge in the 1-15 knot wind we were dealing with Sunday. Downwind I relied on my masthead wind indicator to pick up the 45 degree shifts. Upwind I used the indicator in the lulls and the luff of the sail to adjust to the changing apparent wind.
Since the tide was really low we had to sail to weather with our boards up a few inches. There may have been some downwind capsizes caused by the board grounding and tripping over the centerboard. But at least it’s easy to right a boat that’s capsized in 3 feet of water.
It’s hard to believe that our Capital City regatta is only four weekends away on 3/25-26.
2/19/2017. Last Sunday’s weather was about as good as PRSA frostbiting gets, plenty of sun, warm temperatures and a tricky 02-14 knot breeze that worked its way from the NW to SW and back. We were lucky to have Jim Graham and company on RC keeping things square.
The ebb tide kept most of the fleet below the starting line and this put timing the acceleration and space needed to get rolling at a premium. The wind’s tendency to go a bit left during the start sequence made the pin an interesting location. Adam staked out a good position at the pin in one race and very cleanly port tacked the fleet. You have to love a gambler. On a (very) different start Nabeel, Farley and I decided to raft-up at the pin and then go back around to restart. Not cool.
There was a lot of action at the rounding marks and proper boat handling is important to good roundings. This is something that can be practiced. Little things like looking up course, getting the control lines set, and carving a clean tight line pay big dividends. I need to try this practice thing. Thanks to all for a great day on the river!
Based on last Saturday’s temperature I was not terribly excited about racing on Sunday, but there weather warmed up into the high 40s and it was a pleasant day on the water. Wind seemed to be predominantly coming from the SSW, but shifts were certainly evident. Since the wind was SSW I found that the right side of the course typically had more breeze and you could also play the shifts first. I often find that my best finishes come from sailing my own race (not having my course dictated by surrounding boats and not sailing slower in a pack with less wind).
Today was a really nice day to be out sailing. Temps were in the upper 30s and lower 40s, sunny, with winds in the 8-12 range getting lighter in the afternoon. You will note I checked the weather and alerts before heading to the marina. This is a critical safety step that cannot be skipped.
In the first race I was slightly late to the line and I got a B+ start with clear air but not at the line on time. The wind was patchy so I kept an eye on where the next wind gust was in the river. I rounded the last leeward mark in about 5th but got lucky with a sustained puff on the right side of the course letting me pass a few boats.
I screwed up the start in the second race and was behind both the first and second row of boats. I worked to get clear air on the right which helped for a time but I had to eat a header that kept me behind the main fleet. I tacked on what I thought was the lay line, forgetting about the current which pushed be below the mark. I lost a few more boats when I added more tacks to get around. Ideally I would stay mid-course to work shifts. Also it’s good to avoid getting to the lay line when in the middle or back of the fleet. Boats in front of you will also tack on the lay line blocking your wind. To avoid this I should have tacked inside the lay line, but I often forget this lesson.
In the third race I got a good start and had clear air near the front of the fleet. The wind was light and patchy so this race was mostly aim for wind and keep momentum. I did okay on this race but I messed up the final leeward rounding. Farley and Michael tacked immediately after the mark where as I held on to port tack for 4-5 boat lengths. The wind had clocked far enough right that no tacking was needed to get to the finish line. Holding on to port cost me exactly 4-5 boat lengths that I wasn’t able to make up.
For the fourth race the wind was mostly gone so the RC (wisely) switched to a once around course. I somehow got an A+ start, which was critical. The light wind clocked to almost west 15 seconds after the start and the race was a parade. I managed to hold my position and finished well. The weather was beautiful and thanks to the RC for running 4 very good races.