Category Archives: Lasers

2022-2023 Laser Frostbite #7

Today was a good case of “look at the forecast and show up anyways”.  The forecast this morning was rough.  Zero at noon and building to 4 at 1.  When I showed up at the marina I had little intention of racing.  John, Lou, and Lars decided to postpone at 12 for 30 minutes before making a call and John went out on the river to see what was happening.  At 12:30 the wind had filled in a little and we decided to try and race.

The RC was able to get 5 races in.  With light wind and an outgoing current, I expected more general recalls but we only had one.  The first two races were very short (12 minutes) with a short line.  The current was strongest for those two so I think starting at the pin and getting out into the current for the upwinds was important.  I did not do this the first race and my scores show it haha.    After the second race, RC lengthened the course and the start line.  The longer line was a little boat favored and starting at the boat gave a little advantage as the current slacked.

All in all it was a really nice day on the water for the river being glassy at noon today.

2023 Hangover Regatta

Sunday was a refreshing day after such a chilly Christmas weekend The sun was shining, the temperatures were hovering on either side of 60 degrees, and the A-team was running races. The only problem was the wind never freshened beyond 4 or 5 mph.Nonetheless, we had four fun races.

Thinking about the race course a couple of variables came to mind. First, the wind was oscillating about 15 degrees either side of 180( 30 degrees total).Second, the flood was hard, so that meant that the middle and right had far less current.Third, the course seemed port biased. Finally, the line varied between pin favored to extremely pin favored. When weighing these variables I felt that a pin vicinity start( not necessarily winning the pin) was critical. Every race there seemed to be a left hand shift reasonably soon after the start. This allowed a quick tack to port with an easy long tack to the top of the course. I pretty much dismissed the stronger current given the combination of pin end bias and weather mark bias. Downwind, I felt that looking for wind lines was paramount. For the most part I stayed to the right( looking downwind) of the rhumbline given the current as long as wind was present. I made my mark-room moves only at the bottom of the course. The second weather leg offered a bit more to think about. In race one for instance there was an extreme left hand phase until we passed the airport landing pier. At that point Alex and I traded tacks along the jet blasts all the way to the weather mark. In races two through four the breeze seemed best in the middle of the course on that leg.On those legs I just attempted to stay in phase with the shift pattern noted above.
Boat speed, boat handling, set up, etc: There are countless pieces written on this website, SSA Fleet 10s’ Cedar Point’s, Newport’s and many others, some even written by me. Therefore I won’t bore you with detail. Here are some observations of some mistakes I saw: 1.Boats were too heeled. Heeling the boat creates rudder drag.  2. If your vang was loose upwind you were slow. The draft needs to be between 1/3-1/2 way back. The vang achieves this. 3. If you trimmed your cunningham one time Sunday, you lost boats. The leech is too loose and the sail entry too fine with a tight cunningham in a drifter. 4. Outhauls were almost all too tight.
In sum, I thought the key on Sunday was to prioritize the variables based upon each one’s risk and reward and to make sure that the boat had as much power as possible to keep moving in the light conditions. We all owe huge thanks to Len, Barbara, Tom, and Kevin, the RC team, who sacrificed their sailing day to make the racing possible. I also want to thank Alex and Jake for driving from NYCC to spice things up, and for Mike for coming from SSA.
Happy New Year!
James Jacob
Additionally: Thanks to everyone that brought delicious food to potluck.  Particularly the sailor’s wives that cooked while we were out sailing!

2022-2023 Laser Frostbite #6

I have the honor to be writing as your third place finisher, a result of nothing but fortitude.  Seriously.  So, here’s my take on the race.  First, a thank you to Laura and Jim for setting a perfect course.  It had a windward mark, a reaching mark and a downwind mark.  Right distance and geometry.  It started windy, out of the West, and continued to build, which favored those who stayed upright and made fewer mistakes.  For example, I dropped multiple places by capsizing, hitting a starboard boat, undershooting the windward mark, and almost rear-ending Farley going close to 30 knots.  I sailed the last race with Farley, netting both a second place and a DFL.  Overall, great wind and weather and nice to be on the water, although we missed one of the great World Cup Finals of all time.

2022 Frostbite Series #6

2022-2023 Laser Frostbite #4

After 3  weeks of no sailing for various weather states, we finally got a nice Sunday to sail.  It was sunny with temps in the mid 40s.  And the weather brought a great showing of sailors with 21 boats coming to sail.

Sadly the wind did not get the memo for the day.  It was very challenging for both Race Committee and the racers.  Nabeel and Kevin did an excellent job trying to keep up with the wind.  We were able to get 5 races in.  We had 2 races with shortened courses and 3 course adjustments.  The wind was quite shifty with a lot of velocity changes.  We had a few points where there was full hiking conditions and several where we were drifting.  But all in all it was nice to be out on the water.

As far as sailing, I think we all need to ask Laura for the tips as she was the post consistent sailor out there.  But I found that moving forward of the cockpit in the light wind and then moving back as it came back up I moved back to a normal position.  With all the velocity shifts, I found that I was playing the cunningham more than usual to try and keep the sail looking full and not overly tight at the luff.  Other than that it was mostly just the usual things, get a good start, find clear air on the downwinds, and stay patient in the lulls.

It was great to see the turnout and I look forward to seeing everyone out next weekend!

2022 Frostbite Series #4 Results

2022 Laser Frostbite First Weeks Update

Well Sailors, after 3 weekends in a row of cancelling, we hope to finally get out and race this coming weekend.

Frostbite Series 1 (Nov 13) was too windy.  Two souls made it to the race course with several capsizing on the way and others waiting on shore.

Frostbite Series 2 (Nov 20) was also windy.  And the high of 38 gave us January Frostbiting weather in November.  And with a lot of wind for the weekend and low tide, there was not much water in the river. Three brave souls showed up to try and race but ultimately pulled the plug.

Frostbite Series 3 (Nov 27) was rainy and a strange forecast of 9 gusting to 33 with a small craft advisory.  6 sailors showed up but only two were gung ho to go out and ultimately we decided that it was not worth punishing the race committee for two of us to go sailing.

Next weekend is a new day and hopefully we will get out and finally do a few races!

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite Final Cumulative Results

The middle part of the season was cold and on several Sundays there were no races due to ice.   The end of the season was breezy!

59 races in all, so it took 30 races to qualify (half of 59 rounded up) and your best 30 were averaged to calculate your score.

The top three were very tightly packed.  Laura Windecker passed Tom on the last day of racing to win the series.   And Farley tied Tom but won the tie breaker.   Poor Tom doing RC fell from 1st to 3rd.    The top five were rounded out with Brian Joseph in 4th and Jim Klein in 5th.   Congratulations all.


Race 1-59, best 30 averaged

(I say “final” but if you see what might be a mistake let me know.)

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 16 (March 20)

Tom Hutton and Michael Liss ran RC.  It was the last day of the frostbite season.

We had strong winds and six intrepid sailors willing to come out in the small craft warning. The air temp was in the upper 50s as was the water temp making for a warmer day than normal. 4 Radial and 2 full rigs launched and even then we had plenty of capsizes. There were 4 races total, one olympic then the more heavy wind friendly T-1. Short which helps sailors from getting tired during a long race.

— Tom


(Races 56-59, March 20)

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 15

Steen Byskov and Laura Windecker ran five races!   Olympic courses that took about 30 minutes.

The winds direction was fairly stable from the SW and the strength in the 10 to 20 range.

From the marina, the water appeared to be very very low because  for the previous 24 hours gale force winds were blowing from the northwest AND it was low tide around noon.  Georgetown was hosting a regatta and decided to stay in the cove and run it there. However, once the sailors left the marina it did not appear to be an issue.

Air temps were between 30 and 40 and the water temp had risen to near 50.

Eight sailors went out and had a challenging time.

Yeah, fair bit of capsizing. The attrition we had during the day was typically after capsizes.  Jim (Graham) had two before he quit.  It was already hard work sailing in those conditions, and capsizes really wear you out – we didn’t count how many there were. Tom went to Jim during his second capsize – good to see sailors looking out for each other.
We also had a couple of equipment failures – Tom’s tiller extension broke, and Brian’s mainsheet broke.
— Steen

Steen took pictures! See them here.


(Races 51-55, March 13)

2021-2022 Laser Frostbite 14

The SW breeze was sporty and gusty — very high risk of capsize — the water temperature chilly (47F) but the air was warm (70F).   The current was strong going out.   Most sailors broke out their radial rigs.

More pictures

LaserFrostbite2122_14  (races 47-50)

Nabeel Alsalam and Lloyd Leonard ran the races.

Some tips on how to avoid capsizing downwind:

When approach the windward mark, first release the cunningham to  close the top of the sail and then release the vang most but not all the way so that the leech is closed a bit.   Then raise your arm with the mainsheet high and above you to make sure it is at least not completely knotted at your feet.

At the windward mark, gain speed first and then smoothly bear off and then raise the daggerboard 8″ or so.   Don’t let the sail out past 90 degrees.   It is a good idea to have a knot in the mainsheet to prevent the sail going out too far.   Letting the sail out beyond 90 degrees whether on purpose or not is a sure way to capsize when it is breezy.

NEVER sail dead downwind.  Preferably sail by the lee and if that doesn’t work, reach.  You want pressure against the daggerboard for stability.

Gybing seems scary but it doesn’t have to be.  Trim in the sail some so it will gybe sooner, bear off to get the sail to gybe and as it is going over bear back off.   Also, keep the tiller extension low during the gybe so it doesn’t hook the mainsheet during the gybe.

Have fun surfing the waves!  Steer toward the low spots.