Tag Archives: One Design Racing

2019 Spring Series #2

We had another nice day with a solid southerly breeze for our second spring series day.  Temps were in the upper 60s .  All in all it was another great day of sailing!

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2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #16

It was a beautiful day on the river.  Sunny and warm with intermittent good wind.  Although I finished in roughly the same place I do most Sundays (that is, near the back with a rare strong race), today worked in my favor as there were only 5 or 6 boats, leaving me with my first 3rd place finish. The wind was flukey, very light at times followed by a strong steady breeze.  The wind kept shifting at the beginning, making it nearly impossible to set a windward-leeward course.  In fact, the first race turned into reaches both ways.  After the first race, the wind held relatively steady – in direction if not speed, allowing us to get in lots of races.  With a small fleet, it was much easier for those of us new to Laser racing to be aggressive at the start and at the marks – instead of being out strategized by lots of boats, there was only one or two to content with at each rounding.  The shifty wind favored those with good tactics and a good sense of the river winds – boats well ahead often lost considerable ground to others on a different tact, seemingly at random but clearly not since the top two boats consistently finished 1-2.  The winds also, at times, left the fleet bobbing in the water for a few minutes before picking up again (I’m guessing the windier parts of the day were above 10 knots if not more). As a new racer, I found the smaller fleet a great opportunity to work on sail trim, starts and mark roundings.  Other than to note a number of us have been talking about finding times this spring and summer to sail, not much else to report other than to thank the race committee and to encourage people to come out for the last few weekends of the series.

Brian

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2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #15

What lovely warm day of racing we had. Today was my third day out this season and my first where I did not feel like I was in survival mode, so I really appreciated that – this is also my first third-place write-up. The course was relatively short, so even with twice around and we got in a lot of races, which was great. Overall, it was a quite puffy and shifty day that required a lot of paying attention (wow, pin favored now, OK!) and for me, a lot of shifting gears.
Especially at the start of the day, the ebbing tide made it easy to be over the line early and our first start ended in a general recall. After that, I had some decent starts and some less optimal ones, but found that it was possible to move up by focusing on keeping the boat moving and sometimes sucking it up and fighting for a tiny lane on the lifted/mark-pointing tack (especially in some of those early races) instead of bailing for clear air but a header/heading away from the mark.  Also, later in the afternoon, it seemed windier than it was due to the chop – so while I was tempted to haul in my outhaul upwind, I found that by leaving it a little loose (3/4 shaka?) it helped me keep boatspeed up and power over the waves.
Downwind, I was perpetually switiching up the vang depending on how windy it was – and how windy it might be in the next minute or so – it was a real balance between speed in the lulls (less vang) and then cranking it on (perhaps even a bit much at times) to feel solid and avoid death rolling. I can’t remember when I last played with the vang so much downwind. Another challenge downwind was to be mindful of the mark location – I found myself wanting (expecting?) it to be further east than it was and lost a few boats one race because I went too far outside the rhumb line and folks passed me inside.
Hoping for another couple of warm days like yesterday for the remainder of the season. Thank you to our race committee for helping us pack in the races and to everyone who showed up to sail!
Laura

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #14

Checking my email this morning I discovered a message from Will.  The third place writeup has befallen unto me.  I came away Sunday feeling pretty good about the racing.  I thought that I was in the top half every race, but I didn’t expect the third.  Wow.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember that much.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Usually people say that I write too much.  This is going to be short.
The first lesson learned is not to get discouraged by the weather forecast.  Sunday promised snow when I woke up.  Should I even head to the marina?  That was my big debate with myself for the day.  Turned out to be one of my most successful days in quite a while.
The second lesson is to try to relax and don’t forget the basics.  I managed to get good starts in every race.  I kept testing the middle of the line at the three minute horn with my bow upwind.  The wind kept shifting left and the port end was favored in most races.  I then reached down to the committee boat side and found my spot with about a minute to go.  The line was just long enough that I could dip down a few times and start close hauled right at the gun.  For some reason the favored end wasn’t that crowded.  When I saw another boat coming up under me I luffed my sail and let him take the pin.  I was then satisfied to get off the line second.  Usually, the line was so favored that it was difficult for more than one boat to do that.   I think I managed to find a groove where I managed to dip down just enough to maintain good rights but not so far down that I lost all speed pinching up to make the pin.
The wind was shifty, but I didn’t worry too much about always being on the favored tack.  If you get off the line fairly well, you want to avoid disasters.  Don’t sail up to the windward mark on port into a line of starboard tackers.  A couple of times I lost a few boats playing it safe that way, but with a short course and a big fleet it’s more important to avoid the big mistakes.
Once or twice I managed to round the windward mark first.  Where the hell is the leeward mark.  I wish I had checked that before the race!  I ended up taking a course too far to the left in a couple of races.  That cost me a couple of spots.
I guess I took it one race at a time, wiping my memory after each finish getting ready for the next.  It was great fun.  Thanks to everyone for coming!
Bob Bear

2018-2019 Laser Frostbite Series #13

Today was looking a little iffy when we woke up this morning.  With a pending gale warning starting at 3, we were not too sure what the weather was going to have in store for us.  Nabeel and Kevin were on race committee and were optimistic to get some races in before the gale came.  We decided that we would go out and race until the wind shifted to the west which would be when the big breeze would come in.

We ended up getting 5 races in without the wind ever getting too crazy.  With the sun out and the temperature getting close to 60 as well as breeze in the upper teens and low twenties I doubt anyone was cold today.  We did triangles for the first 4 races and finished with windward leeward for the last race.  There was lots of capsizing, I do not think anyone made it through the day without at least one.  The breeze was mostly out of the south but there were some small shifts that had to be looked for,  The first 2 races had the most breeze and then everything kind of moderated out to something in the mid teens.

With a south breeze, a flooded river, and changing high to low tide, the long upwind leg didnt take too long due to the current.  The triangle courses didn’t allow much to happen tactically outside of sailing fast, keeping the boat moving, and not capsizing (or if you did capsize have a quick recovery).  But the downwinds were pretty fun with some nice waves to surf.  But the waves were fairly choppy and I found it best to move your weight forward and backward in the boat.  This was both to keep the boat on the wave as well as not dive your bow into the wave in front of you.

All in all, it turned out to be a very nice day on the water and the high winds never really seemed to show up.  Just goes to show that the forecasts are not always right and its always worth coming down to the marina to at least see what is going on.

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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!

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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.