It was a nice, breezy day to go Laser sailing. The air was warm and the water wasn’t. I found that there were some oscillating righties coming through, so I decided to start generally next to the boat. The upwind was very short, so it was a matter of hiking hard and usually tacking twice to get some space to the windward mark. For the reach leg, I had a hard time because some of the boats behind wanted to attack high and I felt that I had no choice but to defend. The problem is that then boats can take you on the inside and pass low. I’ve found when racing in college and elsewhere that the few boats ahead generally work to gain distance from the pack, rather than ruining each other’s races. In this way, they gain such that they are more assured of a better finish instead of the pack ending up on top of them and making everyone’s life, and finishing place, more difficult and worse. On the upwinds, the right paid if one wasn’t too close to the really shallow stuff. I tended to use more downhaul upwind than I thought I’d need–the eye was at the level of the boom, which let me keep the boat pretty flat. I want to thank the race committee and everyone who raced for a great day!
2022 Frostbite Series #11 Results
2022 Frostbite Series Results as of 02/05/23
2022 Frostbite Series Results Totals only as of 02/05/23
Somehow an out-of-practice clown show landed 3rd place on Sunday’s score sheet. My day was more about recalling than performing. Here are some recollections. The current was flooding, the wind was southerly, and the starting line was a comfortable length, so getting off the line with a good lane was relatively easy. I typically found myself below the boat at 1 minute, danced a bit up to the line with others, then cranked on the vang at ~10 seconds and bore off into my hole for speed. I likely started too far off the line because I never remembered getting a good line sight. There were gains to be made by being in phase with the wind, in retrospect. Clearing the mainsheet so it will run out at the windward mark; yeah, do that. Getting into proper position in the boat and looking over your shoulder for wind on the downwind leg, probably ought to do that too. Ensuring clear overlap communications and being practiced at pulling in the mainsheet with both hands at the leeward mark jibe, ditto. Overall, well-run races on a nice windy day, thank you Tyler and Jim. It was fun cranking the vang and working that ease, hike, sheet cycle to keep the boat flat. Now, where did I put the ibuprofen?
2022/2023 Frostbite Series #10
2022 Frostbite Series all as of 01/29/23
2022 Frostbite Series all as of 01/29/23 totals only
It was another light and variable day on the Potomac, but with enough wind to get in 6 races I have no complaints. Wind was 2-6 out of the south, then southeast, with strong current flowing out at the start of racing, then trailing off. I tried to start towards the pin end of the line (and on time, a personal challenge) I think most of the earlier starts in particular had a pin favor, and going left tended to pay off as the wind shifted to the east throughout the day. It was a challenging day as no one could quite predict where the next puff would be on the course which definitely helped me claw back to the pack after some less than ideal starts. The puffs were shifty as well; staying laser focused on my telltales on the upwind really helped.
The course had a leeward gate which made things interesting, but is always a challenge to keep straight. The [course starboard] side mark was favored for most of the early races and I definitely lost boats by trying to avoid the mess over there and going to the clean, but further gate. I’ve been using far more vang than I used to in light air and it seems to be helping. I also played with my outhaul in the puffs and lulls on the upwind (it was so light I often had time to fiddle), letting it off downwind. Kudos to Dave and Morgan on the race committee for keeping things straight as they could and banging out 6 races in some tricky conditions.
You should have been there. It was a beautiful winter day for frostbite sailing. The temperature was in the low 40s. The sun was out. According to sailflow the winds were in the 15 to 20 range with higher gusts but it did not feel that high to me. There were waves that were not aligned with the wind when we first went out but they flattened out.
My goal was to sail conservatively and stay upright. I succeeded! One time I “tea-bagged” but I I kept my cool and my feet in the hiking straps trimmed in and bore off some and the wind pulled me back up. I did lose a boat but it could have been worse!
Jim Klein and Michael Liss ran the races for us and they set an olympic for the first race and two-triangles for the next four probably because they wanted to keep us from sailing dead downwind, rocking and rolling (and capsizing).
The course was skewed left, so that starboard was the long tack upwind. I started every race at the boat end with speed and was able to use starboard rights to keep people to leeward of me from crossing me. My vang was pulled to the block-to-block mark and I kept the mainsheet eased a bit so that I could sail relaxed, flat, and fast. This worked as I was first to the windward mark four of five times. Plus, I noticed a left shift as I got closer to the Virginia side which was perfect for tacking and getting up to the layline.
Downwind, I was conservative. At the windward mark, I was careful to bear off and gain speed before bearing off more. I did not completely ease the vang. I did not bother easing the outhaul or raising the board. I wanted to feel and respond to the gusts instead of messing around fine tuning. At the gybe mark I experimented staying on port and extremely by the lee. It felt fine and stable but probably a bit slow.
The weakest part of my sailing was rounding the leeward mark. With the extra pressure from the wind, I pulled in the mainsheet with my left hand only instead of using both my left and right arms, so it took what seemed like an eternity to get up to close hauled. Something to work on.
2022 Frostbite Series #8
2022 Frostbite Series all as of 01/15/23
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.
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!
Additionally: Thanks to everyone that brought delicious food to potluck. Particularly the sailor’s wives that cooked while we were out sailing!
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
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
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!
It’s Groundhog Day with another 3rd place write-up from me. Surely no frostbites today – sunburns were more likely. It was like a high school dance in winter with few participants appropriately dressed for the temperature, the venue not quite fit for purpose, yet everyone seemingly having a good time. We’re used to shifting winds on the Potomac, but today took it to a new level. It reminded me of Rumsfeld when he confidently said the WMDs were, “east, west, south and north somewhat.” Dan and Mike energetically boated around trying to have the marks in the right direction only to find that between the warning sound and the start not only might it change which end of the starting line was favorable, but which was the more logical windward mark. Big thanks to Dan and Mike for adding another great sailing day, and to Farley for delivering the attached results.
So, how does one do well on a day like today? Probably three key things: find the wind, tack on the shifts, and get a good start. Finding the wind is about keeping your head up and looking on the water and other boats. I did a lot of tacking today, and mastering the tacking is really important in these light winds. That is probably the biggest thing I’ll practice now that the series is over – efficient roll tacks. When starting in light wind, free wind matters. Starting close to too many other boats can be risky, and I tended to do better when I just found a fairly open spot on the line where I could start with some boat speed and no one stealing my wind.
This is it for the Frostbite series – it has been great fun! Restarting sailing this past fall has really been a bright spot for me during covid. I’ll miss the regatta next weekend but look forward to many more fun races, practices, and dock chats in the spring.