All posts by Nabeel

Lightning & Laser sailor/racer.

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 6

Gray day with a soft rain and a southwest wind in the 10-15 mph  range.    Air and water temperature both around 41.

John Van Voorhis and Jim Graham ran the races.

Day’s Results

LaserFrostbite2122_6  (races 26-28, January 9)

Thoughts from Farley —

Sunday was an interesting day on the river.  The front mostly came in as expected and the wind built throughout the 3 races.  It was a little different though because while the wind built, it continued to be mostly a southerly.  The wind did generate some waves that were definitely surfable and it was still kind of puffy.  Each race the wind built and started around 10 and was definitely gusting above 20 by the last race.  Oh and it was raining the whole time.  A huge thanks to Jim and John for doing race committee on a nasty day and putting a triangle mark to give us olympic courses!

For myself, I was struggling a bit with my first day out on the laser with high wind in basically 2 years (last year was decidedly not windy for the days I sailed).  The first race I started near the pin and that did not work too well for me since the course was starboard tack and boat favored (I was running late and did not check anything).  I did have some fun downwind tactics in the first race with Ethan where I was able to use the waves and wind to pass him on the inside right before rounding the leeward mark.  The second race the wind had picked up a little more and I was starting to get overpowered.  I snugged up my vang, outhaul, and cunningham to depower and stopped sheeting in quite as much.  I got a little lucky and passed some people that capsized in that race.  Some people went in for the last race.  In the last race, it was getting windy.  This was my “bad” race.  I got stuck in irons 2 times during tacks and capsized 3 times during the race and was generally exhausted by the end (and glad it was the last race).  For the stuck in irons, I did not think my vang was on too hard but I let it off and got the boat moving again before resetting.

All in all it was still a fun day but definitely harder than I was ready for!

So far this season, 30 boats have sailed and 15 have sailed half or more.  Farley is learding the qualifiers, but Steen is way out front among the non-qualifiers and is likely to reach the quali fying threshold.

Cumulative Results Through #6

LaserFrostbite2122_thru6

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 5

Jim Klein and Kevin Cowley ran RC. They and the sailors had a long discussion about whether it was safe to go out. In the end they and 11 sailors did go out.

The winds where in the high teens (white caps were not constant) and gusts were up in the 20s. The air and water temperatures were similar — mid 40s. Colds hands were an issue for several sailors — we need to compare our methods of keeping hands warm. Capsizing and hard hiking was tiring.

Conditions at Reagan National Airport:

Results:

LaserFrostbite2122_5

Thoughts from Mike Renda

Well, the wife took the kids and went to NY this morning, and the weather forecast was for 45F and gusts in the low 20s. Seemed like a good day to get out and go sailing. Anyways, some thoughts.

On the water, my mantra is this on days like this: 90% fast, 100% of the time. In general, this focuses on minimizing mistakes, avoiding problematic situations and risk, thinking ahead, and keeping good boat speed.

Racecourse: My general observation is that I think there were better puffs out left. Current didn’t really seem to be a factor, or at least I didn’t really think about it. There were small gains on shifts to be had, but tacking on them required a bit of calculation to determine if the shift was big enough to warrant the extra tack (tacking too much on a breezy day can be slow, and the course wasn’t really long). I believe most of my first beats were: start at boat, go left until near port layline, tack on port, tack back on starboard when on layline with about 2-4 boatlengths to the mark.

Pre-start: I believe the boat was increasingly favored throughout the day (though never that much). My general approach on days like this is to err on being near the boat, with a focus on getting off without a hitch (low risk). Vang should be loose in case you need to duck / maneuver, though drastic moves should be avoided — no gybing. Also, I try to keep my head out of the boat a bit and avoid starting near crowds of boats (again, trying to avoid big problems). Outhaul & cunningham should be set for upwind mode (in lighter breeze I’ll start with them looser). Finally, on these breezy days, when the fleet sits and waits for the last 30 seconds, nobody ends up quite on the line, as everyone drifts downwind and gets going too late. Trim up a touch early and take advantage.

Upwind: In general, vang was at least two-blocked, outhaul near the end of the boom, and cunningham pretty much as tight as you can get it. Once going, I try to keep the main two-blocked as much as possible, easing in the puffs when needed. Body position, I’m focusing on getting my weight outboard and forward to keep the bow down. The laser does really poorly when healed up, and you should really do whatever you can to avoid the big heels in the puffs. I also focus on trying to keep the bow knuckle touching the water. Every time the bow gets picked up by a wave, you’re getting tossed off the wind, losing forward progress. I also think it’s important to find a body position that you can hold for most of the leg rather than be consistently resetting. Once you’re set, your head can focus on the sail, boats around you, and the puffs. When the sail gets really flat on days like this, the groove gets really narrow, so I find that getting set bodywise can help eliminate a variable and allows me to more easily find the groove via the rudder and mainsheet.

Windward mark: It’s really important to be able to ease and turn the boat downwind at the windward mark. Get your vang off early (do what you can to make this happen). Having the vang line tied to the centerboard is a really good idea, as you can more easily reach it when hiked (and the end never ends up to leeward). As I approach the windward mark, I reach down at the mainsheet block and make sure I can let the mainsheet slide through my hand as I raise it up above my head. This ensures I can ease the mainsheet a good 6 feet as I turn downwind without hitting any knots. Once turned downwind, I always tighten the hiking strap — this is extremely important. Once tight, wrap your aft leg around it (when on starboard, this is your left leg). This will help you physically control the boat through the waves with your bodyweight, as you are effectively tying yourself to the boat.

Downwind runs: With your aft leg wrapped around the hiking strap, your front leg / knee can be used to help get the boat up on waves. Lean forward, put your knee on the diagonal part next to the centerboard slot, and lean back once your boat hops up on the wave. I thought the runs were particularly well aligned to the waves for small periods of surfing. I did a bit of the “wave carving” business, but I’m not very good at it, and again, safety / stability is a paramount concern. It’s important to be looking backwards every 15 seconds or so to look for puffs.

Leeward mark: Get your boat setup for the upwind leg. Board down, cunningham tight, vang tight, outhaul tight, hiking strap back to loose. Turn the boat upwind (even if you don’t have the main trimmed) right at the mark so that you’re in as high of a lane as possible (“wide, then tight”).

Final leg strategy: If you round right behind someone, tack off and make them cover. Stress them out and make them make mistakes in the breeze. If they’re responding to your move, they’ll never tack as well as they can. This applies on light air days as well.

Between races, I’m always thinking about how I get the blood flowing again. Hiking contorts your body up and limits blood flow to the legs. I think it’s important to stand up between races and get the blood moving around. Pro tip: Leave a thermos of hot chicken noodle soup on the committee boat for between races. Be sure to provide RC with beer afterwards.

Nice racing Steen, and thanks to Jim & Kevin for RCing. Good seeing everyone, and happy holidays to all.

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 4

Greetings from 3rd place. Sunday was a bit of an odd wind day – it was from the northwest and the difference between the puffs and lulls was more than usual. Many folks flipped at one point or another (myself included), but we all thankfully ended the day back on shore mosty in one piece. Many thanks to Farley and Celeste for running the races!

It was nice to switch things up and have a jibe mark for a few races. I found generally staying high-ish on the reaches to be pretty fast – and a few times, I was able to pass a boat or two to windward at the leeward mark by being a little patient and making sure that my rounding was tight.

In terms of upwind strategy – there were fewer opportunities for tacking with shifts than expected in part because the mark was pretty far right and in part because often a seeming shift was just a lull, not an actual shift. As the afternoon wore on, I found myself waiting a few seconds to see whether it was worth tacking instead of continuing on my current course.

In terms of controls, I had my cunningham and outhaul pretty much max strapped for the first few races and then eased them just a tad in the later ones and during the less windy periods, especially downwind. Vang was 2-blocked or 2-blocked plus pretty much the entire day going upwind – and then loosened just before the windward mark in preparation for going downwind (and then adjusted tighter or even a bit looser depending on the puff situation). If you weigh more than I do, you probably didn’t need to tighten everything quite so much.

Overall, it was fun day and really great to have so many folks out there!

— Laura Windecker 167248

(Actually Laura was 2nd because she won the tiebreaker with Ethan  — she had a 1st in race 2)

Results:
LaserFrostbite2122_4
(Races 16-21)

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 3

Another pleasant day, probably the lightest of the three we have had so far.  Laura Windecker and Steen Byskoff ran the races and had to reset the marks a couple of times.

The light breeze was from the ESE with occasional puffs that could make you look like a genius or destroy you if is missed you.  The current was going out strong and pushing us over the line.  We had a general recall and some OCS boats who did go back.

21 boats came out.  Nice!

Ethan was third.  Ethan, do you want to write something up about what you did?

Results:

LaserFrostbite2122_3

 

 

2021-2022 Frostbite 1

It was a great start to the season with temperatures in the high 40s and a SW breeze that started off frisky but got lighter and lighter.   The tide was going out and a current shear was visible near the channel.  Tyler and Eva ran RC.

Laura Windecker won the day with Farley Will and Tom Hutton tying for 2nd and 3rd.

LaserFrostbite2122_1

(races 1-5)

Third place observations from Tom Hutton:

It was good to be back out with so many other lasers! The weather was cool but not cold, and the wind was up and down but overall a good day to be on the water. It was one of the rare days when the wind was from the south but also a bit shifty. It was either shifty or my steering needs work, the latter being more likely. I’d say this day had 3 major lessons for me.
  • Lesson #1 Know the Course. In the first race I forgot (or didn’t find out) how many laps were required. I’d got out to the left for more wind when I heard a horn, turning to see Laura crossing the finish line. I’m not sure I lost any boats with this mistake but this kind of mistake is easy to fix.
  • Lesson #2 Pointing and Locking In Up Wind. I had good speed going upwind which for me is about getting the sail into “pointing mode” as soon as possible. I sheet the sail to what I want for the wind speed, two-blocked for medium to heavy, 3 inch gap for medium to light, and 6-12 inch gap for light. Any looser than that and I won’t be pointing anymore, but reaching. After trimming the main I set the vang, then adjust my cunningham as necessary to get the big wrinkles out of the sail. After that is spending 75% of my focus on keeping the tell tales flowing and the boat flat. If I get my head too far out of the boat I start to pinch, or miss the lift and give up precious ground. So get the sail set, get the tell tales flowing, then focus on going fast.
  • Lesson #3 Clear Air Down Wind. I’m almost always trying for clear wind, and I’ll get pretty far sideways to get it. Mostly I don’t want to be near anyone else, especially in a group of people. I’m not sure about this lesson as downwind I’m not as fast as quite a few others. I think Farley passed me 2 or 3 times downwind so maybe I don’t have any lessons here. Some days I do better than others downwind, Series #1 was not so great. Turning around to look for wind I think is going to be my new technique that I’ll try out.

2021 Annual Meeting – November 20th at 12:30 in the WSM Grove

Friends,
It’s that time of year, one last chance to get together and share a meal with friends while we celebrate victories on the water and show our appreciation for our fellow club members’ service over the past year. Please join us Saturday, November 20th in the grove at Washington Sailing Marina. We’ll be firing up the grill around 12:30. As is custom with our Sunday cookouts, please bring something for the grill and whatever you wish to drink. A few folks have suggested they would like to do a bit more and bring something to share, so if that’s you, or that inspires you, please let us know what you will be bringing and sign up here
The business part of the meeting will begin at 2:00 or 2:30.
In addition to awards, this year we will also be holding elections for the Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each of these positions is open for a two year term, responsibilities are outlined in the bylaws. If you’ve been thinking about getting more involved, volunteering for one of these offices is a great way to do that.
At this point, the long range forecast is calling for sun and crispy fall temperatures. If that changes, please monitor the google group for any updates.
Thanks, hope to see you next weekend!
Tom Hutton

2021-2021 Laser Frostbite Series

The new member year and frostbite series is approaching! The first racing day will be November 21st, the day after the Annual General Meeting. With the new season we have added a position to the RC duty list, the Equipment Check helper. This will be someone who will help the RC put the boat away and make sure everything is ready for the next Sunday. The snow of the winter, and the freezing temperatures mean we need to make sure we’ve got the boats put away right. The person doing this would be free to sail that day, they just help the RC after sailing is over. The link for the RC signup is below, please take a look and sign up. Given last year I’m expecting each sailor to need to do 2 RC slots and 1 Equipment Check helper slot.
For any sailors new to the frostbite season, there is no need to sign up for sailing. We meet at the cranes at noon, the first warning signal is at 12:30.
Lastly, for the upcoming season I’m looking to pass the torch of Laser Fleet Captain, if anyone is interested please let me know.
– Tom Hutton
Click here for RC signup.