We had a nice day on the river to round out the spring season. 3 Albacores and 2 Lightnings came out to sail.
Sunday was a gorgeous day for racing on the river! Although the winds were light as we rigged and sailed to the course, a nice southerly filled in for the first few races. 10 Lightnings, 2 Bucs, 3 Multihulls, 2 I-20s, and 2 Lasers came out to sail. PRO Stew Harris and his crew did a nice job organizing the racing, sending the boats off on a W2 and then an O2 in the 10-12 kt southerly. The wind shifted west and then oscillated all over the place after the first two races, making things challenging for the RC and sailors alike. The RC gamely reset the line and then adjusted to hold 2 more races in a very variable westerly. Four races making the best of conditions in sunny (but not too hot) conditions with some breeze is a pretty good way to spend a Sunday!
Here’s the recap of Spring Series #5 racing, written by PRO Jeff Neurauter:
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.
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!
After a couple of weeks of frustrating weather we finally got the chance to go racing this past Sunday! We had a great turnout this past Sunday with 3 Multi-Hulls, 6 Albacores, 2 Bucaneers, and 9 Lightnings (with 3 more represented on the RC for a total of 12!). I was PRO for the day (with Bob Gotthardt and Lisa-Marie Lane rounding out the RC). All I can say is that it was a very goofy day, with “east” winds varying wildly in velocity and direction all day long. We saw the breeze swing from 35 degrees to 115 degrees and back in just a minute or two. There was more than one instance of a breeze directly out of the south settling over the course for a few minutes, before reverting back to an easterly. Given the wind direction the O2 courses were short, but they were surely challenging for the sailors given the shifty and puffy conditions. We were able to get 5 (!) races in before sending the boats back to shore to enjoy the PRSA season-opening BBQ. Here are the results!
We are just a few weeks away from the start of the PRSA Spring Series! Make sure that you have reviewed the NOR and SIs for our Spring Series. Now is also the time to sign up for Race Committee for the season. Please make sure to read the details below, and then sign up on our PRSA RC Duty Signup Sheet. Here are the details and requirements for the 2108 Spring/Fall racing season:
- Each skipper racing in the spring or fall series is required to fulfill RC service obligations in the spring/fall series. The number of slots each skipper is responsible for filling depends upon the boat class:
- Albacores: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- Buccaneers: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- Catamarans: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- I-20s: 4 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- Lightnings: 6 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- WETA/Laser (single-person boat): 2 RC slots over the spring/fall series
- Serving as PRO or Regatta Chair (rows highlighted in orange on the spreadsheet) count as two slots given the extra organizational responsibility for these roles.
- Detailed RC & boat instructions are posted to our PRSA website: http://potomacriversailing.org/dues-rc-duty/
- As we get into the season I will send out a reminder and some additional instructions to each PRO a few days prior to the weekend/event for which they are signed up.
Sign up now so that you know you have your dates reserved, and so that we don’t have to scramble week-to-week to find RC. As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.
What a beautiful day for racing!
The winds were from the south between 10 and 15 mph. They oscillated between 180 and 200. Later in the day, they’d occasionally drop down below 10 but then new breeze would roll up the river.
There were 8 Lightnings on the line. Aaron and I had very close racing with us edging him out by a point at the end of the day. On this type of day with moderate & steady breeze and flat water all the boats are very similar in speed. It is very hard to pass and so the start is more important than usual.
Our strategy was to start near the boat so that we’d have the freedom to tack away. The one time we started down the line, we had a very good start but not good enough to cross the fleet on port. Will & Aaron had us pinned. We eventually tacked and swerved hard to duck Will but Aaron had already tacked and led the pack to the windward mark. Nothing we did would reel him in.
After rounding the leeward mark, if we were leading the strategy for staying in the lead was to sail on port all the way to the airport. Simple. (The airport is generally the better side to be on, maybe because of less chop or maybe because the land funnels the wind a bit there. Don’t really know why.) If we were not the lead boat, we had to fight to keep from sailing into the bad air of the lead boat and look for a small header or better breeze on the left before tacking. Then we had to be on the lookout for another header to get back toward the airport. Not so simple but we made it work once.
Downwind we worked hard to get inside rights at the mark. Usually this meant sailing as deep as possible without sailing by the lee. If the spinnaker trimmer is curling the luff, I’m by the lee if the spinnaker clew is to windward of the forestay. For speed downwind, we tried to keep our weight forward to keep the water flowing smoothly off our transom, healed slightly to windward to give the spinnaker as much air as possible, and the board almost all the way up into the trunk to give the boat some leeward helm. But none of that beats getting a good puff!
Fun close racing!
Thanks to Jeff Neurator, Heather Howard, Chris Porter, and Yates for giving us 4 great races. Heather also took some great pics from the signal boat (thanks Heather!). And thanks to Tom Hutton for getting the scores calculated not just for today but for the whole Spring Series.