Here’s the recap of Spring Series #5 racing, written by PRO Jeff Neurauter:
Despite the rain, we saw wonderful breeze on the river today and 4 Albacores and 1 Buccaneer showed up to play. Based on the size of the fleet and types of boats involved, the group decided to race in the river straight out from Washington Sailing Marina. This worked perfectly as it allowed us to get to and back from the race course quickly. The RC set up a W-2 and waited for competitors to arrive.
The first race started with one of the Albacores trying to execute a dip start – unfortunately they remained a boat length above the line and were called over early. The lead Albacore managed to accumulate a sizable lead by the 3rd leg of the course and casually sailed through the finish line on their way to the windward mark. The rest of the Albacores and the Bucc must have noticed this and must not have checked the course flags, because they all sailed through the finish line and then stopped racing! They each peeled off and started pacing back and forth below the start line. Meanwhile the lead Albacore was rounding the windward mark. After a few minutes, some of the Albacores had realized their mistake but none of them continued racing. Instead, the RC and everyone else waited patiently for one Albacore to sail the rest of the racecourse. It took the lone Albacore just over 20 minutes to finish the race and everyone else who started the race was scored DNF.
The second race started with the Albacores aggressively pushing the starting line and once again an Albacore or two were called over early. As this race progressed the wind steadily clocked to the left and by the time boats were on the 3rd leg, it was almost a reach to the windward mark. So we moved the windward mark from the Maryland side of the river to the Virginia side, squared the starting line, and prepared for the 3rd race.
The third race started with the Albacores again fighting for space on the line and again the RC called boats over early. As this race progressed, the wind clocked back to the right so we had to move the windward mark back to toward the Maryland side of the river for the next race.
By the fourth start, the Albacores had figured things out and made it off the line cleanly. This race brought the most exciting competition as the there were several very close roundings and position changes throughout the race by the top 3 boats.
Spring Series #4 was a drizzly day, but we did have enough wind to race. The RC set up a course just outside the airport pier and we were able to get 3 races in while the water levels were high enough and the rain light enough. Once boats started bumping bottom and the rain really came in we headed to shore, dried off, and then headed over to Rustico for a beverage and a bite in a spot a bit drier (and warmer) than the grove.
Spring Series #4 Albacores
Spring Series #4 Buccaneers
Spring Series #4 Laser
Spring Series #4 Lightnings
Our regular PRSA Spring Series is underway and the PRSA Spring Regatta will be held on May 25-26. Join us for great fun on and off the water!
It took a bit for the wind to fill in for Spring Series #3. The RC postponed ashore on the advice of the folks out on the river running the I-20 Cherry Blossom Regatta since there was no wind between 1000 and 1130 or so. A light southerly began to fill around 1130 and those boats who still wanted to sail — 4 Lightnings and 2 Bucs — made their way up to the course. We were able to get off one W2 race and then a shortened second race in the light breeze. With no wind on the river at all as the second, shortened, race concluded and with some storm clouds brewing to the west we contemplated towing boats back to the marina area. The breeze filled in again though to help folks get home in time, and just ahead of the really gusty bands that came through later in the afternoon. As they say, a day sailing on the water is still better than a day at work!
Spring Series #3 Buccaneers
Spring Series #3 Lightnings
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!