The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 26-27) has been posted and registration is now open. Visit the regatta website and register by May 22 to take advantage of the early registration discount. Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!
Back by popular demand, this Sunday’s PRSA Rookie Regatta is a chance to introduce new people to sailing, switch up skipper/crew positions, and just have some fun sailing in different combinations than normal for a 1-day regatta (not scored as part of the PRSA Spring Series). Please make sure to review the Sailing Instructions and the Bonus Categories (below). We will have Bonus Sheets for each boat to fill out on Sunday. If you want a hard copy of the SIs, please print them for yourself in advance.
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.
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.”
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!
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!!!