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!!!
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.
The 2017 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be held September 16 & 17 at Washington Sailing Marina, continuing the long tradition of competitive one-design racing started by the President’s Cup in 1934. Once again we will feature two days of top-notch one design racing on the Potomac River on two courses. Visit the regatta website to register for the regatta. The NOR and additional information will be posted soon. Register and pay by September 11 to take advantage of the early registration discount and save yourself a bit of cash!
Special thanks to Annapolis Performance Sailing for sponsoring the regatta and providing some additional prizes. We will also have a spectator boat once again – the historic 65′ schooner American Spirit – thanks to the generosity of DC Sail and the National Maritime Heritage Foundation! Make sure to tell your friends and family about this fantastic opportunity to view the sailing from the water on Saturday, September 16.
Come one and come all — try out your speed and tactics against other boats and other classes in a distance race on the river on Sunday, June 18. We will use government marks and the course will be determined by weather conditions on Sunday. The NOR, Sailing Instructions, and Course Diagrams are all posted below. Scoring will be done using the Portsmouth Yardstick system. Questions should be directed to the PRO for the Distance Race, John Van Voorhis.
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.
The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 27-28) has been posted and registration is now open. Visit the regatta website and register by May 21 to take advantage of the early registration discount. Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!
We have partnered with DC Sail once again to organize a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit on Saturday of the Spring Regatta. Spectator cruise tickets are $20/person (or $25 for a combined cruise and Saturday dinner ticket). Tickets can be purchased via the regatta website. We have also posted complete details on the cruise in the “race documents” area on the regatta website.
Sunday turned out to be one of the first actual frostbite days this season. The breeze was predicted to be from the west at 10-16 with a high of 42. It was pretty close to that. The breeze was super shifty and puffy. Rarely do you see it on the river come from every direction. During the races the breeze was mostly swinging between the north and south. Big thanks to race committee for running the races, especially to James Jacob for bringing is own boat down and giving us a mark boat to try and fix the course each race.
The wind prediction the night before called for 0 wind gusting to 1 mph. The morning of this looked to be a very accurate prediction. We talked a bit about should we go out or shouldn’t we, who needs more races to qualify (I do), and other light wind things. We were leaning towards heading home when Will as RC says “we’ll just race in the cove!”
The first race in the cove was a bit more off the docks than in the cover proper but the course was not terrible. I got exactly the start I wanted, at the pin end trying to port tack the fleet. It was 0% successful. Not only did I not beat anyone off the line but everyone passed in front of me without my needing to duck. The once around was a bit slow and very little tacking was required but it worked. I finished like I started but all sailing is fun. Toward the end the wind looked better so we picked up and headed into the river.
In the river the wind was a flunky as you would expect for a light-wind-from-the-west kind of day. I have one rule I follow for light wind starts which is don’t get too far from the line. This worked reasonably well and I managed to stay closer to the front of the fleet. Light wind is not my favorite and I tend not to do so well. I’m attributing getting 3rd place on luck, which I will of course gladly take.
My favorite part about this cold and still day, aside from the racing, was sitting between the races. If you maneuver your boat so you are in the sun you can let the sun heat you up and get much warmer, almost toasty. It was slightly silly and pleasant. Definitely a nice day to be out on the river.