Today was quite a nice day on the Potomac River Gorge. Temps were in the upper 70s and the wind was mostly out of the North averaging around 10 with a range of 5 to the upper teens. We were able to get off 4 races. Scores are below.
Spring Series #5 brought us a tricky day on the river, but PRO Jeff Neurater and his crew still managed to get us 4 races in a spotty, shifty, WNW breeze. The day looked very promising at the outset. We had a nice northerly breeze of about 10 knots blowing as nine Lightnings, six Albacores, and a Hobie Cat headed out of the cove and up to the race course.
The RC started the first sequence right on time, only to have the wind cut out altogether with about 2 minutes to go in the sequence. The river was high and the tide was flowing out, so most boats drifted away from the starting line even as they tried to sail upwind. Another breeze line was visible up at the windward mark, though, and soon enough it filled in and we were off racing. The boats that were close to the line got the breeze first, go a big jump, and ended up with a huge lead for the entirety of the Olympic course.
That same pattern pretty much repeated over the next three races — another Olympic course, and then two shorter Triangle courses. Finding breeze was of the utmost importance, and this meant looking up towards the bridge to see where the next line was forming even as you were hunting for the patches of breeze that had made it to the racecourse. In general, the breeze would fill from the left side of the course…but that wasn’t a guarantee, and there were times when boats that went out to the right going upwind came out ahead, despite battling the current in the channel.
It was great to get out on the water, even if the conditions were tricky. After the racing we all gathered in the grill area to enjoy some great food, beverages, and the last bit of a fine sunny afternoon.
With the Lightnings out for Doc Gilbert, we had a lighter than normal turnout. But the weather still provided us with a very fun day of sailing. Temps were in the low 70s and winds out of the west ranging from 10 mph to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. PRO Jim Graham was able to get in 5 races using a new “Figure Four” course that Barney Harris came up with. We did 1, 2 and 3 lap races. The course is a modified triangle that provides long hot angle reaching legs, one of which rounds the start pin to starboard and provides a downwind leg. We ended up with 3 Albacores, 1 Bucc, and 1 Laser making it out for the races. The course provided some awesome reaching legs with lots of planing.
Sunday (April 27th) was a beautiful spring day. The breeze was from the northwest. It was patchy and would turn off and then on to as much as 15 mph, but, hey, that’s the river. I often saw good breeze in the middle and so tried to work it but when the breeze died it always came in first from the left so people who set themselves up near the airport always gained.
Jim Antonovich, Marc Carre, and Bob Etheridge ran the races. The first race was a long W3 and gave us all ample opportunity to look very smart and then very dumb as we tried to figure out the patchy wind.
The first two links below are to Sunday’s race results. The other two, I believe, are the cumulative results for the series where each day counts as one “race”. We didn’t have any races on Spring Series #1 but everyone present will get their average position in the other days they sail as redress and that should help them get the required days sailed to qualify.