The water was looking pretty glassy when we got to the marina on Sunday. “Oh say it isn’t so” I thought to myself, the weather was beautiful, but there was not a breath of air to be found. Ever the optimists we all got our boats ready and splashed in anticipation of a little breeze. Yates, our intrepid PRO, decided to postpone on land and see what developed. 8 Lightnings and 1 Albacore sat bobbing around tied up to the dock while we waited. Around 11:15 or so we noticed a little southerly coming up. The RC (Ably manned by the Hobie fleet) went out to the river to investigate. Yes, a southerly was indeed making its way up the river, so in high hopes we set off for the race course. Most of the boats took the tow that the RC was offering. Team Ariel and a couple other boats, however, decided to sail up. Interestingly we all got to the race course at about the same time. RC wasted no time setting up a nice WL course and got us going. The breeze steadily built, and by the time we were finished for the day got up to 13kts or so. Wow, what a great day. We ended up getting 4 races in, with some of the best conditions of the year. Just proves the old adage: Good things come to those that wait. Special kudos go to Yates and the Hobie fleet for a job well done. Scores after the break:
Any sailor will tell you, that sailing single handed is a particular skill, sailing single handed while flying the Spinnaker is really something, but RACING single handed is the thing that separates the men from the boys. On May 2, 2010 a Russ Roberts did just that. In a fleet of 25 Lightnings, he took them all on by himself. You go dude!
Wow, this is intense. Watch this “boat” set the land speed record under sail as he tops out over 126mph. Incredible.
Updated June 7 —
Albacores did RC. The AccuWeather forecast called for mostly cloudy skies, a high of 91 degrees, and westerly winds at 19 – 22 MPH. A few thunderstorms were possible, some severe. The river flow was below normal for this time of year, at 6.310 CFS (gage height 3.5 ft) and the water had warmed to 82 degrees. Low tide was at 10:34 AM and high tide at 4:21 PM. Actual winds were from the SSW at 13 MPH up until 2:30 PM when a front came through, kicking up 29 MPH winds with gusts to 45. PRO Nathan Marsh and his crack Albacore RC set up an Olympic course with the leeward mark close to (but outside) the channel near the green channel mark off East Potomac Park, and got off four races in quick succession, for the 7 Lightings, 2 Buccs, one Albacore and one Hobie that sailed. All but 4 Lightnings had retired by the end of race 3 and were back at the docks before the front came through. For the four (Nabeel; Rick; Pat; and Peter Lallas) there was a wild ride home after race 4, but they all made it back without capsizing. Results to be posted soon.
Updated 5/31/10 — The PRSA Spring regatta, our Memorial Day Weekend major event, has come and gone! Saturday brought us an overcast morning that slowly cleared, temperatures in the mid 70s, and calm winds until Noon. PRO Nabeel Alsalam wisely postponed, from the docks, the departure until 11:45, and by the time we got to the race course we had a very nice southerly, blowing 7 – 10 MPH. Nabeel got off 3 great Olympic course races for the 7 Lightings, 4 Buccs, 17 Albacores, 4 Hobies and a Thistle who came out. On the Lower Course we had 3 Optis and 2 Penguins. Sunday brought us a promising start with sunny skies, northerly winds at 5 – 10 MPH that unfortunately went light and variable as the day went on, and we gave up on the day at 3 PM at the end of the second race (which not everybody finished, due to a time limit expiration). Upper Course Results here. Lower Course Results here.
Our sincere thanks to the regatta organizing committee and to the PRSA members who worked this regatta. They include: PROs Nabeel Alsalam (upper course) and Jennifer Parrow (lower course); Race Committee drivers and helpers Ryan Vear, Stefano de Leo, Red Fehrle, Craig Huzway, Anna Lindel, Elaine Duffe, Inga Barkane, Linda Pacelli, John Hart, Annie Cross, Bill Swanson, Kate Dixon, Steve Parsons, and Thomas Jagodits; Registration workers Will Phillippe, Jeff Neurauter, Happy Olmstead, Wilda Heiss, Steve Parsons, and Barb Thompson; Planning the post-race barbeque and bringing food and beer: Pat McGee and Scott Snyder; producing the NOR and SIs, and acquiring trophies, scorekeeping, recruiting RC, and Boat Duty, Nabeel Alsalam. Well done!
Per PRSA Commodore Pat McGee: Starting Saturday morning many members just kicked in. I was really pleased by the amount of general pitching in. I could not move more than a few steps without someone offering to help. It made me very pleased with our membership. Maybe this is explained by our having shrunk into a core group (family). I owe all of you all a big thank you. I can’t thank you guys enough for just picking things up and making it all happen. Get’er done mentality. Nabeel – RC — great decisions – sitting on the docks for 90 minutes Sat., I know you were getting some pressured commentary – Great work!
UPDATED May 24 – As Becky Mach described the day, if May 9 was Papa Bear (too strong); and May 16 was Mama Bear (too weak); then today was Baby Bear (just right)! The AccuWeather forecast had called for rain for most of the day with ENE winds at 8 – 10 MPH, and we were delighted to see that the rain held off while the wind forecast held up. PRO Frank Gallagher and his Lightning-provided RC, with help from Steve Parsons and Ryan Vear, set up an Olympic course with the windward mark near the navigable channel, the leeward mark near the airport shore, and the reach mark far enough north to require a close reach on both the approaching and the departing legs, and ran 4 races in quick succession — an O-2 and three O-3s. The four Lightnings were joined by 3 Hobies, 3 Albacores, and a Bucc and had a most enjoyable day on the water.
Check out real-time (and historical) conditions at the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System – click on the buoy labeled Upper Potomac to see conditions just south of the Wilson Bridge.
Results after the break:
Updated 5/19/10 – Sunday was a day when the weatherman promised much and delivered so little. The forecast was for partly sunny and pleasant conditions, a high of 76 degrees, and winds from the northeast at 8 – 10 MPH. Seven Lightnings, six Albacores, and three Hobies splashed and made their way up to the race course, while PRO Bob Astrove and RC crew set a windward-leeward course along an ENE axis, with the windward mark close to the deepwater channel and the leeward mark close to the airport shore. But they only got off one race before the wind died. At 2 PM the N flag went up and boats were towed back to the dock. Results after the break:
UPDATED May 10! Two days of strong northerly winds had pushed a lot of the tidal Potomac River water south, and that, coupled low tide around noon, made for the lowest water level we have ever seen on the river at the marina. The mud flats adjacent to the airport pier were actually above water; a windsurfer was seen walking his rig upstream in chest-high water in the middle of the channel; the ribs of the sunken wreck were two feet above the water surface. The AccuWeather forecast had called for sunny skies, with winds from the NW at 15 – 20 MPH, and gusts to 25, and they got the sunny skies part right, but the wind turned out to be stronger and gustier than predicted. Three Lightnings, four Albacores, and two Cats splashed, and RC did set out for Haines point to try to set up a long windward-leeward course as far upriver as they could, but the strong gusty winds and low water made them change their mind, and racing was canceled at 11:30 AM.
Good wind, good temperatures, good waves and good race committee work made for great sailing this Sunday. We had 4 or 5 Bucs, 2 hobies, and 5 albs out on the race course sailing 4 windward leeward twice around races and 1 Triangle. 5 races total. With the wind picking up later in the day only Heinsdorf, Harris and Hesse stayed for the final race. Must be something about ‘Hs” The albs brought a ringer skipper from Toronto and a ringer crew from California. Harris, in his new state of age, showed a little mind slipping as he overstood the finish in race 2 and wanted to go around again. Don’t know what that was all about. Heinsdorf once again demonstrated his quick reactions as he dunked his brother crew while he scrambled to the rail for safety during a leeward mark rounding capsize.
Thanks to the race committee: Bill Buck; Susan Graham, Nathan Marsh, and mystery girl (Heinsdorf’s brother’s friend). And to the use of a GW crash boat. After racing, Lee pulled out the leftovers including BEER from the monster party on Friday for everyone to feast on. Thanks to everyone for the good time. Results after the break:
Updated 4/26/10 — Seven Lightnings came out along with 4 Hobies, 3 Albacores, and a Laser on a day with a NOAA forecast of heavy weather arriving sometime after 2 PM (which it did, but north and west of DC). Before 2 PM, the winds were predicted to be from the south at 8 – 9 MPH under cloudy skies, with a high temperature of 75 degrees, and that’s exactly what we got, except that the clouds dissipated by the end of the first race. PRO David Thompson and RC set up a windward-leeward course and got off three races in quick succession, finishing the 3rd race at exactly 2:00 PM, then sending boats home to ensure a safe ride and retrieval at the cranes before the heavy weather hit (which never did here, except that winds increased to 20 MPH after 3 PM). Results to be posted soon.