Frostbiting it was, frozen toes and all!
By Jacob Donkersloot
The day turned out great, notwithstanding yesterday’s snow. Fortunately, there was little left of the white stuff at the Marina, and the sun did its very best to balance the high-thirties temperature.
The winds were light (5-8 mph) from the NW, perfect for a long (by frostbiting standards) W/L course in the cove. Not surprisingly, the winds oscillated a bit and the RC (Len + Barbara Guenther and Jacob Donkersloot) reset the windward mark a bit further away from the shore after the first race.
Six races were completed; all were twice around with an upwind finish (five legs total) and lasted about twenty minutes. As many as sixteen boats competed. It was good to see several winners; Sam Dobbs and David Teale (good to see you back!) placed first twice. Keith Barron and Mike Renda also won a race. David Teale won the day by a slight margin.
Keith Barron won the day for the handicap scores with a first and a third. Nice job
Tim Zimmermann won the day, below is his write up.
It was a perfect day for Laser racing on the Potomac: not frosty at all (temps in the 60s) and a light sailable breeze from the SSE at 4-6, shifting to SW and increasing a bit.
The first course was set up in the channel. There were plenty of boats racing and a shortish line, so getting a good start (not usually my strong point) was key. The line seemed to be slightly pin-favored and in the first race I set up a few BLs short of the line with about a minute to go because I expected boats to be up on the line fighting for a place in the front row. The tide was coming in, and held boats off the line, so it was easy to hang loose until 10 seconds, before accelerating for the gun. And perhaps because of the current many boats were off the line as the clock counted down, so there was room to put the bow down. I got a good start, and legged out toward the left looking for a header to hitch back to the middle on. The breeze looked okay on the left, and better in the middle. It also looked okay on the right, but up against the shore line it might be unreliable. Boats started to flip over behind me onto port to go back to the middle and I hung on for just a bit longer, lucked into a header and tacked back toward the middle. That was just enough to get a little cushion on the fleet and I was free to sail the shifts up to the windward mark and held that lead twice around, finishing downwind. It was a reminder of how easy tactics and sailing the shifts can be when you are not worrying about clear lanes.
Sometimes things just go your way, and the second race was almost the same as the first. I got another good start and sailed left with Robert Bennett on my windward hip. With the tide very low, I gave him a heads up that I would call for room to tack as the water got thin, and he courteously tacked away. I sailed a few more boat lengths, and tacked into a nice little lift (I wish I could say I planned it that way, but…). So again I had just enough lead to play the shifts and the fleet up to the windward mark, and established a nice cushion that held up twice around.
A nice little Sunday was by all on the water. Sam Dobbs, Kevin, and I ran races from the 16′ skiff. 7 races were completed. As you might imagine, it was pretty warm for November. Those in drysuits were sweaty; those in shorts and lycra were comfy. The first 3 races were closer to docks, as the wind was from the east 3-8 knots. Low tide was at 11:50, leading to long beats, some WW mark hitting, and short sprints with the current downwind.
Midway through the third race (and much to the chagrin of those who went left one the second beat), the wind clocked right 90 degrees. The RC picked up the marks and moved further into the cove, setting the windward mark just off the leadmine piers. The breeze picked up as it filled in from the south (but it was still pretty spotty and shifty), and I believe the hiking straps were engaged at times. I believe the infamous R. Bennett even capsized downwind, though I’m yet to confirm this rumor. 5 different boats won races, and the fleet was as large as 19 boats. Scores are located here, and I’ll try to get my photos that I’ve taken up shortly.
Wow, we had a spectacular first frostbite day with excellent turnout!! Twenty six people participated with twenty one boats! It was a sunny day and the winds were fairly steady at 10mph all day coming out of the north east and temps were in the mid 50F’s. We set up an Olympic course in the cove that was approximately 1 mile long and proceeded to have seven races. Erich won the day and Kevin Cowley won the inaugural handicap scoring. Click here for the scores. We had a good group of new faces and a couple faces we haven’t seen in awhile. Don’t miss the fun, come on out and sail with us this Sunday and burn off some of that thanksgiving turkey! See you on the water…
This Sunday is it!! The first day of our 2009/2010 Frostbite season!! Right now the weather is looking nice, predicted to be 58F with winds at 9MPH. Hope to see a big turnout.
If you are wondering what Frostbiting on the Potomac is all about, come out and we’ll take you out on the RC boat and show you. The Laser Fleet is the largest active and most competitive class in PRSA. We regularly have 20+ boats out every week (twice as many boats that any other class puts on the water in the spring/fall). Some people think sailing in the winter is crazy, but the winter months provide the most reliable sailing conditions then any other season. We usually sail in the cove, on the river or down by the power plant depending on the weather. Our RC staff dress to sail and switch off after each race, so everyone gets to sail, even if you do not own a boat! Come on out and see what it’s all about.
We leave the docks around noon and the first race will be shortly there after, probably 12:30-12:45. See you one the water!
Today (Nov 7th) is the PRSA Fall Finale Regatta. This is the last regatta of the year for our fair weather sailing friends, and the first of our winter Laser frostbite season. Right now the weather looks perfect, A high of 59 degrees is predicted, with sunny skies and winds from the S at 8 – 9 MPH all day. We should have a big turn out for this regatta. Last year we had 3 Albacores, 2 Buccs, 3 Hobies, 3 Lasers, and 5 Lightings show on a day with questionable weather. This year we should do better than that! The Skippers Meeting is at noon and the first warning at 12:40. Frank is PRO, with Mladen, Brenna, Barney, and Jill as helpers. We’ll be sailing in the cove or down by the power plant depending on the weather and how many boats show up. Bring hot Chili and cold beer for the party after. Hope to see you on the water!
Frank Gallagher is PRO, with RC provided by the Lightnings. This is our traditional last blast, with racing in the cove or in front of the power plant. Bring hot chili to share after racing. Today’s AccuWeather long-range forecast (always subject to change) for Saturday on the Potomac calls for partly sunny skies, winds from the SSW at 8 MPH, and a high of 57 degrees. The river flow is still well above normal, at 7,370 CFS (gage height 3.7 ft) and the water temperature is 55 degrees. Come on down!
One Design Racing In The Nation's Capital Since 1935