Tag Archives: One Design Racing

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #10

Today was a really nice day of racing.  The wind was up with a constant 10 gusting to 20 out of the south and the temperatures were around 45 degrees.  Sadly the sun did not come out which would have made it nicer.  Thanks to John and Jolie for doing RC.  They were able to get off 6 Olympic races and had a pretty square course.  Each race was running about 18 minutes.  Due to all the recent rain, we had a nice high river and the current was ripping out all day with it getting worse at the end of the day.

As for the sailing today, first off, the starts were pretty important.  We had several people over early which was probably due to the current.  With the current trying to push you over early and the boat side favored, I was starting on the pin end and beginning low and coming up to the line with speed.  This seemed to work for me pretty well.  Another thing that was a bit wild with the current was that at the windward mark the lay lines were not true.  I noticed a lot of people over standing the lay lines with the current.  On the sail to the jibe mark, a lot of people were sailing quite high which added some distance to the sail.  Several times I saw Nich staying low and gaining on a bunch of boats.  For finishes, I found that the pin end was much better to pick.  All of these 3 comments are to try and sail the shortest course which should be the goal!  A final comment is that with all the breeze today, it was important to have your vang on upwind so that you could get the sail in for block to block sheeting as well as let it out to dump power without losing height on your pointing.
Hope everyone had fun!

2018-2019-Laser-Frostbite-Series-10

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #7

Great day out on the water just what we all needed sun and wind, don’t know what those gusts were getting up to but they had the potential for trouble!  Quite a bit of chop in the river today so somtimes it was hard setting up the rig, tight and point high into the chop verses, loose and go for speed, I went with the point high option. Down wind was all reaching so capsize potential, not so bad once the boat up on the plane. The windward mark seemed to still have a lot of water pushing on it or perhaps it was just a lot of leeway on the boat. Did not get the vang of in time on last race semi-capsized, not good.

Hope to see you out on the water soon, Steve

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #6

In a breach of tradition, I was asked to provide some thoughts on today’s racing.

I am not going to recount each race, but as we all know the breeze was light all day and the current was slack for the first race, but progressively got stronger heading down river (and upwind) making the beats short and the down wind legs seem much longer.  The pin end was favored to varying degrees throughout the day.

The upwind leg was short so it was imperative to get off the line quickly today as there was little opportunity to recover from a bad start (as a learned after flipping at the start…).

What worked for me today was to get a clear air start at or near the pin, get the boat moving as fast as possible and then look for an opportunity to tack to port and towards the windward mark.  Simple in concept, sometimes tougher in execution….

I think in the light conditions we had today it is critically important to constantly seek to find more power in the rig.  This means a loose outhaul (one to one and one half hands at the middle of the boom), loose Cunningham (or maybe just a tiny bit but not enough to remove wrinkles), and Vang slightly less than block to block tension (You want the mast to straighten when you ease the sheet for power).

I don’t think I ever was able to “two block” my sheet tension today, but generally had my sheet eased out between 6-18 inches depending on wind pressure.

The key to light air speed is to ease the sheet for power to get the boat moving.  As the sail powers up, you can then apply more weight on the rail, which translates force into your foils and increases boat speed.  As the speed builds, you can trim the main for greater efficiency.  The trick is not to let the boat stall after you trim in more closely.  After you trim in and you start to feel the boat lose power you have to immediately ease the sheet again to get more power.  Adjustments should be pretty subtle unless there is a big wind speed change.  I believe this cycle of easing for power, applying weight to the rail to increase speed, and then trimming as the boat accelerates is key to being fast in light conditions.

Similarly, I think the most important factor downwind was working to keep the boat powered up.  Whenever it got really light downwind I felt it was fast to either head up 15-20 degrees or sail aggressively by the Lee to increase flow across the sail.  Once the boat was moving well, then it was time to head more towards the mark.  I think I ended up gybing on every down wind leg because I sailed “hotter” angles and almost never dead down wind.

Hope a few folks find this helpful.  Thanks to all for sailing today and Happy New Year!

Keith

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2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #4

Hi all,

Sunday the wind was great and picked up throughout the day, which I really liked as I had to hike. During the races I played a lot with my controls (Vang, down haul, and out haul) to try and find my perfect set up. The pin end of the start line was very favored and it was almost not possible to sail from the committee boat to the pin, but I liked this as it was challenging to get a good spot on the line, while also being able to keep it and get off of the line with speed. During the first few races I tended to go up on the port side of the course all the way to right below the lay line and then to tack over, but as the wind increased it shifted a bit and the starboard side of the coarse was favored in the last two or three races. I am never very aware of the current  (which I should probably be) but throughout the day it was going out. I am definitely going to wear like 6 pairs of socks next Sunday, because my feet were frozen.

See you all on Sunday

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2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #3

Frostbite Series #2 and #3 have been great conditions, good turnout, and fun racing. I regret missing the first weekend. As always, a thank you to our underpaid Race Committee. I was initially skeptical of the leeward gate setup, but variety is the spice of life (it was fun)! Conditions were mostly steady from the south, but became light in race 14 (I think). The last couple races we started to see some significant starboard tack lifts with boats stacking up near the committee boat and puffs from the western shore. A flooding current wasn’t as aggressive as last week’s ebb current, but still worth accounting for during mark roundings.

Tactically, I don’t think I had a favorite side; sometimes I went left, sometimes right. I generally tried to be on the line, have clear air, and not mess with other boats. At least two starts, I severely mistimed and was deep off the line. I immediately tacked out from the fleet to get clear air and play catch up. I find that I perform my best when I sail my own race and concentrate on speed, shifts, and sailing where I want to sail. Sometimes that meant an aggressive duck rather than leebowing a starboard tack boat (to avoid boxing myself in or wasting concentration on fighting the one boat next to me versus the fleet at large). My best race, was when the wind lightened up (again, I think race 14). I eased the mainsheet, probably about 10-inches block-block and focused on weight/boat flatness, keeping the boat powered up, and tacking on shifts. Due to the leeward gate, the fleet seemed to split pretty early just after the windward mark so I found the runs a little less stressful than normal. For finishes, it seemed like boats that rounded the easternmost leeward gate and finished near the pin tended to net better and I lost several places even when I was ahead going into the gate by finishing near the boat.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my corporate sponsors, Intensity sails for their MKII practice sail (just kidding, but I will thank them nonetheless). I have only used the MKII sail these past two weekends, but I have really enjoyed it. I am not going to outright say it is a faster sail design, but I think I can make the boat sail faster because it seems to look/perform more like other sailboats I’ve sailed. Again, I’m not saying you can buy your way to speed, but I am giddy when looking up at a pretty sail while racing (maybe its all about the right emotional attitude). Anheuser-Busch, what can I say, other than Len wants everyone to drink the free Bud light he’s been offering.

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #1

Very pleasant conditions for 2018-2019 season kick-off.  Many thanks to PRO Todd Blekicki and Helper Tyler Phillips for setting a well-positioned course and efficiently rolling through 5 races.
As more-or-less promised in the forecast, winds were steady 5-9 knots velocity with direction oscillating tightly around due south.  Tide was incoming, but I didn’t see much current effect during racing – maybe post-rain/snow flow of the river cancelled that out?  Also, the course was generally between the two channels so that helped.
With a square well-sized line, steady breeze and no big current effect, neither side seemed especially favored on the upwind leg.  The slight oscillations in direction and pressure cycled fast enough to cancel out.  All of which led to close bunching at the first upwind mark and a lot of, ah, ‘intricate’ boat maneuvering.  Good way to knock off some rules and boat handling rust, no?
In these conditions for upwind, a mid-line start is ideal but clear air is absolutely critical.  If you’re not a great starter (e.g. me), the pin seemed to work out as a way to stay clear and focus on boat speed.  But the risk there is coming back in and having to face an ugly wall of starboard tackers.  So I decided in the last race to ‘practice’ a mid-line start and – predictably – it was less than ideal.  Useful lesson for this frequent occurrence is to bite the bullet and get to clear air as quickly as possible.
Downwind for all the races seemed to offer some subtle tactical gains.  You could play the slight oscillations and stay out of the wind shadows by alternating between by-the-lee on the VA side and a little hotter to the MD side depending on the puff-of-the-moment.  That worked out well for me in the first four races but in the last I took it too far to the MD side when I saw the VA side looked crushed (momentarily as it turned out) and lost several spots.  Know when to fold em’, eh?

Goofy Conditions, Good Competition for PRSA Fall Series #7

The conditions were a bit all of the place on Sunday, with an easterly breeze that swung as far south as due south and as far north as due north, with times in between when it would shut off altogether.  Depending upon the shifts, you could enter a mark rounding first and come out last (or vice-versa), or pick up (or lose) the whole fleet on one shift.  Nonetheless, PRO Farley Will and his RC crew did a good job getting us four races in some sunny conditions before we all headed back to shore to enjoy beverages and a BBQ.  It could have been far worse for a late fall afternoon of racing!  Scores are posted below, and you can see some great photos from Lindsay Bach here.

Albacore Fall 7

Buccaneer Fall 7

I-20 Fall 7

Lightning Fall 7

Multihull Fall 7

 

Beautiful Sailing for Fall Series #6

We had a cool, crisp morning for Fall Series #6 but the day ended up being fantastic — one of our best for sailing this year — as the sun came out and the breeze came in.  PRO Jim Antonovich and his RC crew got us a series of great O2 and O3 races, some of which involved some exciting reach legs with good breeze and some of the interesting shifts that happen with a westerly breeze.  Great fun was had by all and we enjoyed a nice sunny cookout to wrap up the day.

Albacores Fall Series 6

Buccaneers Fall Series 6

I-20 Fall Series 6

Lightnings Fall Series 6

Week 2 and Week 4 Scores Posted!

We’ve managed to get two racing days so far this fall, which nearly equals our total for all spring!  Fall Series 2 was a drizzly, grey day but the wind was good and the racers enjoyed some quality racing.  Fall Series 4 was one of the most beautiful days we’ve had all day with breeze, sunny skies, warm temps, and a good turnout.  Scores are as follows (also available on the results page):

Albacores Fall Series 2

I-20 Fall Series 2

Lightning Fall Series 2

Buccaneer Fall Series 4

I-20 Fall Series 4

Lightning Fall Series 4

Multihull Fall Series 4

PRSA Dinghy Open: 14 October

PRSA Sailors — this weekend we take a break from our regularly scheduled fleet racing of the fall series for our dinghy open.  The NOR and SIs are posted at  http://potomacriversailing.org/nors-sis/  The basics are the same, 10 am skipper’s meeting, 11:30 first warning, and après-sail pot-luck cook out, but this week you get to pit your skills and tactics against sailors in the other fleets!

If the forecast holds we should have another beautiful fall weekend, so come out for the sailing and stay for the cook-out! PRSA will supply soda and beer, please bring some snacks/grill treats to share.