Just a reminder that PRSA Membership Dues are due by Jan. 15! Please join or renew via the link on the “Dues & RC Duty” page if you haven’t already done so in order to avoid a late fee. Pay now and you’re all set for the season!
Thanks for John Van Voorhis and Cliff Bartlett for doing the RC today and working diligently to square the line and give us a nice mix of Olympic and WL courses and they even used the flags!! 🙂 Also a big thanks to John for offering to help me launch and retrieve the 19’ boat when I had RC last week.
I hope no one reading this is hoping for a lot of technical insight as to shifts, persistent or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I would not know one from the other. Overall my mantra is to slog it out as best I can, keep the boat flat and hike as much as my body will allow me, and of course try not to make any mistakes or cut things too close.
This is the best I know:
First, I benefited greatly from having ½ the fleet coming late to the start of race 1. That gave me a big boost in the day’s score. Being on time paid off for me.
When the start line is square (as it was in most races today), I find I sometimes do better coming in on port and searching for a hole about 15-30 seconds from the start. You have to be really quick though with your tack, because there is little time and space between the starboard tackers. So it’s a little risky. In one case, however, it really paid off because I was able to stay on port by threading the needle as they say, and in that particular race ( I forget which one) a port tack was favored. In that last few seconds before the start you really do need to head down off the wind and power up, and accelerate so that you are up at full speed when the gun goes off. That seems to be the only way to have a good race. So if you are going to concentrate and be on your game, these first 10 or 20 seconds after the gun goes off are the most critical.
I had my cunningham very tight, outhaul about 2” off the boom at mid point, and the vang ¾ on. The tight cunningham helped me when the puffs came so as to not be overpowered. I pretty much tried not to sail out to the lay lines too much as a shift in wind could easily gain you several boats if you tack quick enough on the header. As it was very quirky and puffy, I did my best to ‘ease-hike-trim’ whenever I could, and a few times I could really feel it working, and I was gaining on other boats. As for when I would tack, that pretty much was determined by my looking at the luff of my sail, and when it started to collapse in (ie a header), I would throw in a tack.
On the reaches, I would pull my board up ½ and ease the cunningham off all the way and then adjust the vang to as to get the best sail shape I could get. My cunningham does not seem to come off unless I go to the mast and pull on the slack of the line, so I found myself doing that a lot today.
Cunningham all the way off, board up 1/2 , outhaul about 2” off the boom at mid point, and the vang adjusted until I saw a good sail shape, which oddly, meant putting on quite a bit of vang. I was worried about death rolling in the puffs, and managed to stay flat by looking back all the time for the darkness in the water, and then when it hit, I would use aggressive mainsheet trimming to dampen out the oscillations. But when the wind comes from the west like that, it can cause a lot of deathrolling. So on days when it’s windier, if I feel I might deathroll, I quickly sail off on a reach and pop up on a plane and do the best I can that way. Better to be up on a plane, sail a little longer, and then gybe when you feel in control (or even chicken-tack if it’s really windy). Nothing is slower than going for an unwanted swim.
One final thought, it pays to look up at your sail shape as often as you can. I am doing this now more than I used to in the past ( I think Len mentioned that once or twice to me). So in going downwind, again for some reason it seemed like I had to put on vang for a nice shape, and I know most people ease their vangs going downwind, so I don’t quite know what caused that. Maybe it’s the new sail that has not yet broken in.
This was the first racing of the 2017-2018 Laser Frostbite series. It is traditional for the sailor who finished 3rd to do a write up of the weekend. I have no intention of deviating from this tradition, however, we don’t have the contact info on the sailor that got 3rd and my 4th isn’t that far off. Next week we’ll get to the 3rd place finisher faster to let them know about their finish and duty.
The weather cooperated and was at the higher end of the fun scale, 8 to 10 with gusts at 15 to 18 blowing from the northeast. RC set a good Olympic course and got a whopping 6 races in with 20 sailors turning out. The wind slowly dwindled as the afternoon went on so the first races were all speed and hiking then the later races were searches for the big gust to keep speed up.
My first 2 starts were my best and I worked the left side of the course. Not really for any strategic reason but in higher winds I’m looking to minimize tacks as those sometimes go poorly for me. I think the left side of the course had more wind all day so this generally helped me being on that side of the course. I didn’t have any issues at the marks so these finishes were solid.
The third race saw my best and worst start. I had a great boat end start that got cancelled due to a general recall. The second attempt I botched by getting into irons on the wrong side of the committee boat. I ended up playing catchup with some pretty successful upwind legs as well as a windward mark rounding that paid off. In a big crowd I try to remember that over standing is better than getting close. Lots of boats make bad air and in the past I’ve sat barely fetching the mark with other boats sail around me. Not today! I got to be the boat sailing around others
The last 3 races saw lower wind and some second row starts. My plan with a second row start is to work to clear air then get on the right tack ASAP. Second rule with a second row start the laylines are off limits; boat ahead will tack on them and you’ll have to eat their bad air. In the last race I spent a little time on the right side of the course thinking I had the lifted tack. I got to watch the smarter folks go fast in the more regular puffs that came down the left side of the course.
Overall the day was very fun and I was only a little sore. 20 sailors turning out over thanksgiving weekend is encouraging. We had some new faces which are great to see out! I’m sure the rest of the fleet will welcome them as we see them out racing more. See everyone next week!
West River Sailing Club in Galesville, MD, is hosting a 2-day Race Management Seminar on Feb. 17-18, 2018. This class is for people who want to learn more about how to run sailboat races. No prerequisites are required other than a basic understanding of sail boat racing and some previous race management experience. Follow this link for information and registration details (scroll down the page to the date of Feb. 17-18):
Attendees must be members of US Sailing. The course fee is $80 which covers the class, materials, continental breakfast & coffee, plus lunch. The two day class will begin each day at 0830 and run through 1630. There is an on-line quiz after the course if attendees are interested in becoming certified.
This is a great opportunity, especially according to this endorsement from Nabeel: “I endorse this class. Bill Kleysteuber and I travelled up to Newport, RI about a decade ago to take the class. We learned a lot. It is primarily based on the RRS but not completely. You get a nice certificate at the end and become certified as a club race officer.”
Our Laser frostbite season has started. We race on Sundays on the Potomac River from November 19 to March 18, and we wrap up our season with the Capital City Regatta on March 24-25. Skippers meeting is at 12PM with the first start at 12:30PM. No races are started after 3:30PM. Come out and join us!
The 2018 PRSA Calendar is now available for order! Use this link – http://www.calendarlink.org/prsa/home.html – to preview the calendar and order your very own. Congratulations to Lindsay Bach for snapping the winning cover photo!
Our annual general meeting is coming up in a few short weeks, Saturday November 18th. This year we will be holding our meeting in a new location, we have reserved the tasting room at New District Brewing Company, 2709 S Oakland St, Arlington, VA 22206. As usual, happy hour begins at 6:00.* Please RSVP here no later than COB on Thursday, 16 November, to ensure that we have the proper amount of food for the AGM!
At the 2016 PRSA Annual Meeting, the membership adopted a motion which directed a team of members to revise the PRSA Constitution and Bylaws and present revised governing documents to the membership at the 2017 PRSA Annual Meeting. As a result of the revision committee’s work the PRSA Constitution and PRSA Bylaws have been consolidated into one document. The proposed PRSA Bylaws revision will be presented for consideration and voted on at the PRSA Annual Banquet and Meeting on Saturday, November 18, 2017. The Proposed Bylaws can be reviewed here.
We held the Fall PRSA Dinghy Open on Sunday, 15 October. With 7 Lightnings, 2 Buccaneers, 2 Albacores, and 1 WETA we had a nice mix of classes on the course. PRO Bob Bear and his RC Crew did a nice job in setting up 4 fantastic races (an O2 and 3 O3 races) in a steady S/SW 10-15 knot breeze. It was a fantastic chance for all of us in various classes to square up against one another on one start line and on the same course!
Instead of presenting a writeup from just one person, I’ve asked all of the skippers and crews to send in a line or two describing what they saw on the course, what they were thinking about, or what they learned. I’ve started the thread with the first few contributions here. Please feel free to add your own thoughts as comments, or email them to Aaron to have them added to the main post. Scores are posted here, but keep reading for some of the fun details and observations from the weekend!
From Nic and Connor on their Buc: Connor and I, after getting in the mixing bowl with everyone else for the start of Race 1, decided, for races 2 and 3, to hang 10-20 yards below the starting line, going across on starboard from midway of the line at about the 1 minute horn. Then we slowly headed up with the goal of starting right at the pin at full speed. And it worked! We were leeward to everyone as we got to the line and so had a great position and got 2 really good, fast and clear starts (before our jib issues half way through race 3 led to us going in). Also, at BNAC we learned how to use the spinnaker pole to wing out our jib on the downwind legs when wind speeds made us a little nervous to fly the spinnaker. Winging it out lets you sail right at the mark and to take advantage of any surfing possibilities that come up when you’re going directly with the waves . I think that we were as fast, maybe ever faster, to the mark (VMG) as most boats around us. We put the pole on the jib sheet and then lower the pole to stretch out the jib to expose as much surface area as possible.
From Aaron, sailing with Dana and Blake on Aaron’s Lightning: from the beginning we thought that the right side of the course would be favored (having observed some wind shifts at the line and the puffs along the airport shore). Contrary to Nic’s strategy described above, we made a point of fighting for a boat-end start for each race. It paid off for us — we were either off the line and leading early, or we had the room to tack right and then tack back to go south. We gained each time we went right, though we had to be careful. There was a nice righty (lift on starboard tack) as you approached the windward mark each time. At the same time, you could make nice gains by staying middle or a bit left after rounding the leeward mark. It was most important to get right in the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of the windward leg. Beyond that, we focused on boat balance. Sailing a Lightning flat (windward chine just barely out of the water) is very, very important. When we did this well we could point 3-5 degrees higher than our competition and still keep our speed. Doing this off of the start allowed us to hold lanes against Albacores and Bucs, and to pinch off boats to windward. Flat is fast!!!
The combination of low tide, hydrilla, and light air made it difficult to get to the course. Once there, is was easier but the light air and winds that came in from the east, the west, the north, and often privately provided to a small group of sailors made it particularly challenging. Here is the writeup on PRSA Fall Series #3 from John Van Voorhis in the Lightning Fleet. Scores and more info are posted below. Kudos to John and David for taking 1st on the day in the Lightnings with three well-earned 2nd place finishes!
Last Sunday, 10/1, started out a little chilly, but by the time we were done sailing we had a gorgeous fall day. The Race Committee tried starting us early due to the wind forecast, but the wind didn’t cooperate. It really didn’t cooperate all day, but the RC did a great job getting off three races for the Lightnings. The wind was shifting from back and from from the NNE enough that the favored end of the starting line would switch back and forth through the starting sequence. For races one and two, the wind tended toward the east, then in race three it was going all the way around the clock as small convection cells moved across the race course.
David and I managed to get three seconds on the day, so we felt pretty good. In the first race we had a not so great start, but managed to catch the right shift correctly and get to the first mark first. With the way the shifts came in it seems as if being rightmost boat, but near the middle of the course worked best for us in the first race. Think it was Nabeel who passed us on the second weather leg and we couldn’t pass him down wind.
In the second race, we got exactly the start we wanted at the favored end by the committee boat, and were able to hold on near the front through the whole race. I don’t remember who passed us, but again there was a lot of shifting wind and middle right with clear air worked for us. In those conditions we let the jib tell us when to tack and eased out the main a lot when we couldn’t see the wind. We blew it on the last down wind leg by setting the spinnaker, when we shouldn’t have. Don’t forget to check if you can lay the mark!
In the last race we had an ok start, but that first leg took forever as the wind was coming straight down. Again we stayed calm as we passed and were passed by other boats.
Thankfully the wind filled in enough for all of us to get back to the marina under sail.
Thanks to Jim Graham for stepping up yet again to do RC along with Barney Harris, John Hart, and Steve Young.
Thanks to Tom Hutton for doing our scores every week.
We didn’t have much breeze for the 2017 PRSA President’s Cup, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! With 50 boats in 6 classes registered we were all ready to race on Saturday morning. Mother Nature had other plans. However, we did get to go racing on Sunday, and among other highlights we were happy to welcome a couple of new sailors — John and Amanda — first spotted sailing a Thistle on Saturday but convinced to sail an Albacore on Sunday, thanks to Barney. As it turns out, they beat Barney at his own game! 🙂
It turned out to be a great regatta with good fun had by all. Keep reading for some of my observations from aboard Lightning #14592 and, by all means, please add your own observations as comments on this post! Scores are here and you can view the great photos from Lindsay Bach here.