Tag Archives: One Design Racing

PRSA President’s Cup: September 18-19

Join the Potomac River Sailing Association to race in the largest one-design regatta on the Potomac with the National Capitol and monuments as a backdrop, and to carry on the tradition of competitive one-design racing that started with the 1934 President’s Cup!  The 2021 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be held on September 18 & 19 at Washington Sailing Marina.  Please visit the Regatta Website – https://www.regattanetwork.com/event/23128 – to view the NOR and register.  All one-design classes 20 feet or under are invited.

This year we have a flat fee registration for each boat ($40 for regatta participation only).  Please note that tickets for Saturday ‘s post-race BBQ are not included in the registration fee.  BBQ tickets for Saturday evening for each person (skipper and crew, as well as any friends/family that might join you) must be purchased separately as part of your registration or via the “Online Storefront” area on the Regatta Network website.   Please make sure to purchase BBQ tickets for your entire boat — skipper and crew — as well as any family/friends/visitors in advance so we can be sure to have sufficient food on hand!
Early registration ends on September 1, so register now to take advantage of the early registration discount and to let us know that you’ll be coming!

PRSA Spring Series Racing Underway!

Our PRSA Spring Series starts on Sunday, April 11!  Please make sure you’ve read through the following information and completed the necessary steps so that you are ready to get out on the water as our PRSA Spring Series starts.

  • Sign the 2021 PRSA COVID-19 Acknowledgement of Risk & Waiverhttps://forms.gle/xKAAkXm7gh7xZanB6.  Although things are looking better, we are still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and some areas (including some places in our own area) are seeing upticks in cases and community spread.  All participance’s — competitors and RC members — are required to sign this waiver in order to participate in PRSA Activities.  You must sign the new 2021 waiver (the prior waiver for fall 2020 and 2020-2021 frostbite racing is no longer applicable).
  • Take note of a new federal requirement: effective April 1 a new federal law passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (which included a U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization) requires a vessel operator to use either a helm or outboard lanyard or wireless engine cutoff switches (ECOS) when operating power boats under 26 feet in length.  Please make sure to clip the cutoff lanyard to your life jacket when operating our skiffs.

As always, please feel free to reach out to your PRSA Executive Committee if you have any questions.

2020-2021 LASER FROSTBITE SERIES #17

It’s Groundhog Day with another 3rd place write-up from me. Surely no frostbites today – sunburns were more likely. It was like a high school dance in winter with few participants appropriately dressed for the temperature, the venue not quite fit for purpose, yet everyone seemingly having a good time. We’re used to shifting winds on the Potomac, but today took it to a new level. It reminded me of Rumsfeld when he confidently said the WMDs were, “east, west, south and north somewhat.” Dan and Mike energetically boated around trying to have the marks in the right direction only to find that between the warning sound and the start not only might it change which end of the starting line was favorable, but which was the more logical windward mark. Big thanks to Dan and Mike for adding another great sailing day, and to Farley for delivering the attached results.

So, how does one do well on a day like today? Probably three key things: find the wind, tack on the shifts, and get a good start.  Finding the wind is about keeping your head up and looking on the water and other boats.  I did a lot of tacking today, and mastering the tacking is really important in these light winds. That is probably the biggest thing I’ll practice now that the series is over – efficient roll tacks. When starting in light wind, free wind matters. Starting close to too many other boats can be risky, and I tended to do better when I just found a fairly open spot on the line where I could start with some boat speed and no one stealing my wind.
This is it for the Frostbite series – it has been great fun! Restarting sailing this past fall has really been a bright spot for me during covid.  I’ll miss the regatta next weekend but look forward to many more fun races, practices, and dock chats in the spring.
The Buccaneer Fleet at Potomac River Sailing Association (PRSA) will host the annual Easter Buccy Regatta on Saturday, April 3rd at Washington Sailing Marina, Alexandria, VA. This popular event, which features a variety of races and an on-the-water Easter egg hunt, is fun for sailors of all ages and experience levels. See attached 2021 Easter Buccy Regatta Sailing Instructions for more details.   Please note the following as well:
  • Race Committee volunteers are needed.  Go to the Race Committee page to sign up.
  • There is no entry fee, but you must send an email to Jeff Neurauter (jmnsailor@yahoo.com) by March 26 if you want to participate.  Let’s get this sailing season STARTED!!!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #15

Sunday was sunny, warmish, and probably the windiest frostbite day so far.  John and Greg laid out an Olympic triangle course, which provided for planing when the gusts coincided with the reach legs. Greg and John heroically tried to adjust the course to the changing winds and were, on average, successful. Big thanks to John and Greg for RCing and to Farley for the attached results.

The starts were exciting – it was often possible to sail the length of the line in less than 20 seconds, so it quickly got crowded.  I preferred shuttling between the pin and the boat and coming on port to find a good spot behind the RC boat about 35 seconds before the start.  That way I avoided getting stuck in a crowd … it worked sometimes. Having, for once, the current largely in the same direction as the wind also made the typical strategy of lingering on the line viable.

On the upwind leg, gusts often came along with 30-40 degree wind shifts. That meant we had to be on our toes … or more literally ready to quickly adjust the sheet, rudder, and body position. The first victim I witnessed was Jim G., who had to tack as Farley came on starboard right at the time of a big gust and wind shift, which landed Jim with a taste of the Potomac.

Downwind was fun as there was just enough wind for a bit of waves to form. That allowed for practicing both following the waves and using body movement and sheeting to control the boat with minimal rudder. Supposedly s-turns on the downwind leg are more efficient, but I still haven’t figured them out. During stronger gusts, the jibing could also get exciting.  At one point I was chasing Len for the first place he capsized right by the mark. I then managed to not only also capsize, but as I tried to climb around to the daggerboard I somehow tripped in a way that had me drop backward in the water hitting daggerboard on the way down before having my first taste of the Potomac. A far cry from the salty sea water I grew up with, but not as bad as feared. Glorious as my fail felt, had we had a weekly epic performance award, it would have probably gone to Tyler, who artfully lodged 8603 almost completely atop Celeste’s laser. Surely I missed many other exciting incidents – all in all, another beautiful Sunday on the Potomac.

Now, this is my 3rd 3rd place write-up, so I’d suggest we adjust to formula next season to include more authors.  Not just because I’m lazy, but also for literary diversity and because I’m curious about others’ experiences and ideas.

Finally, happy International Women’s Day – it is truly a joy to have you dedicated, fearless, fun, and lovely women both on the water and on the dock – you represent the best of what IWD stands for!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbit Series #15

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #13

This week Tom got 3rd place.  But since he volunteered to head in early and get the 19 to tow in the 17 (due to engine issues), I decided that I would do a 1st place write up to mix it up.

First off thanks to Bob and Mike for doing RC this past weekend.  We almost had to cancel due to not having RC!  Also thanks to Laura for helping reset marks between races.  And a bigger thanks to Jim Graham for moving the pin between races.  That is a beast of a mark to pull out and sail around with.  In total, we reset the course 3 times I think.
The Lighter Races
The day started out with some tough and frustrating light wind.  The first race was a mostly north west breeze when it was there.  The second race was very similar but with the wind mostly out of the east.  And even the third race where it looked like the breeze would end up picking up still was light but out of the south more.  The keys for me in these three races were being patient and still and not making any brash decisions.  Additionally in the light air, I was sitting pretty far forward in the boat, more or less on top of the dagger board.  This was both upwind and downwind.  The downwinds were not quite true down winds where you might try sailing be the lee.  While sailing both up and downwind, I kept a bit of leeward heel on the boat to try and keep the sail more full looking.  Other than that, it was the typical stuff.  Start on the line with some speed, look for the breeze, and stay patient.
The “Windy” Races
After the 3rd race, the wind finally filled in out of the south and we were able to get in two short races with some breeze.  These mostly continued to follow the same rules as the previous races but I kept my body in the more normal positioning on the Laser and keeping the boat flatter.  Clean starts and clear air downwind are what I found helping the most to keep the speed up.
Look forward to seeing everyone out on the water again next weekend.
Farley

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #9

So we had a forecast on sunday of 5-10 from the NW shifting to SW sometime after noon.  What with the lay of the land and the obnoxiousness of the front, we pretty much had both at the same time.  It never filled in fully from the SW, but we had consistent oscillations to the west all day, and that was also where the pressure was better. So staying west generally paid off.

For most of the starts the line was square at some point in the sequence, but we got a lot of last minute westerly shifts which favored the port end.  So I managed to get a couple really nice port tack starts.  The current was around, but it never seemed to be a big deal this weekend.

At the start and on the first beat, when I had clear air I did well, and when I did not, it was awful.  In the light conditions I found that disturbed air from boats to weather extend 6 or 8 boat lengths downwind.  I think I paid more attention to clear air than even to the shifts.  On the other hand, the shifts were big enough, and the course short enough, that tacking right away on the 10+ degree shifts made a big difference.

Finally, this was my best performance of the season, and I still placed third!  I am still figuring out the leeward legs and the last mark rounding clearly has it in for me.

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #9

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