Nominate Sailors for Fleet 50 Awards!

Before the 2017 sailing season fades from memory altogether, take a moment to nominate skippers and crews for our Fleet 50 Awards.  These awards are a great way to recognize our own sailors, and this is always a fun part of the Fleet 50 Annual General Meeting & Awards Banquet (Spring 2018, date TBA).  Use this link to access the nomination form: https://goo.gl/forms/RSkJkqJeToYcPBQD2

The criteria for each award are spelled out on the nomination form.  You may submit as many nominations as you would like — the more the better!

Race Committee Training Opportunity

West River Sailing Club in Galesville, MD, is hosting a 2-day Race Management Seminar on Feb. 17-18, 2018.  This class is for people who want to learn more about how to run sailboat races. No prerequisites are required other than a basic understanding of sail boat racing and some previous race management experience.  Follow this link for information and registration details (scroll down the page to the date of Feb. 17-18): 

http://www.ussailing.org/race-officials/find-a-seminar/race-officer-seminar-calendar/

Attendees must be members of US Sailing. The course fee is $80 which covers the class, materials, continental breakfast & coffee, plus lunch.  The two day class will begin each day at 0830 and run through 1630. There is an on-line quiz after the course if attendees are interested in becoming certified. 

This is a great opportunity, especially according to this endorsement from Nabeel: “I endorse this class.  Bill Kleysteuber and I travelled up to Newport, RI about a decade ago to take the class.   We learned a lot.  It is primarily based on the RRS but not completely.  You get a nice certificate at the end and become certified as a club race officer.”

Fall Series #8 and PRSA Annual General Meeting

Greetings Sailors,

Mark your calendars! 

This coming Sunday is the last day of racing for the fall series.  The forecast is for partly cloudy skies with a high of 52 and moderate winds from the south.  It it holds true, this should be a great day to end the season!  Then next Saturday is the PRSA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.  Visit the PRSA website for details and to sign up!

Racing Highlights…

Last weekend, team As You Wish…was in Hampton VA for the Fall Fling.  It was a great event with 2 days of racing and one of the highest turnouts in many years.  There were 7 Lightnings, and would have been 8, except 2 boats needed crew and had to combine boats.  Sat we had 5 hard races, the wind was predominately steady from the north winds from 15-20.  The steady breeze made the 5 races races very lively and tiring but never out of control or too much to handle.  Saturday night the Hampton Yacht Club members hosted an awesome Pot Luck/Oyster Roast at one of the member’s homes a few blocks away from the club.  By Sunday, the breeze was predicted to die all day following the front that came thru but it stayed in the 5-6 range and the RC was able to get in 2 additional races.  This was the prefect way to end the regatta, the temps were in the 70’s, most of us were wearing shorts and although the winds were light, no paddling was required!  Congrats again to the winners, Trevor Prior, Hans & Gary sailed well and placed 1st; Joe Bukowski, Ed Lane & Zack Bukowski came in 2nd and Team Hurban, Joan, Gary and Paulie Kaiser were a very close 3rd. (See the pics below).

Some winter thoughts…If you have not considered traveling to away regattas, please reconsider.  When Jim and I first joined Fleet 50 and were trying to “get the basics” of this incredibly humbling boat down, the number one recommendation to getting more experience by traveling to away regattas.  Although when we first considered traveling it was quite overwhelming, it has been the best thing we have done to gain experience.  If you have questions, just ask! There are many folks who will help with recommendations and procedures on traveling, stepping your mast, setting up your boat and all around cheerleads for new teams.  And most importantly, the host clubs are so excited to get more boats on the line!  You will find new friendships, lots of great sailing stories and invaluable knowledge.  Lightning sailors are a tight knit group that will go out of their way to support each other! 

Hope to see everyone Sunday!

Fall Series #4

The weather forecasts threatened rain and maybe even thunderstorms and the sky was gray.  But guess what?  No rain and the best breeze we’ve had all fall!   It was a small group of 5 Lightning and 2 Buccs at the Albacores were at West River for their Nationals and neither the I-20s or Multi-Hulls were there.   You guys missed out!

The RC gave us four W-2 courses set up on a southwesterly axis.  Jeff Neurauter, Heather Howard, Ben Arthur, and Ann Tyree ran race committee.  Tom Hutton did the scores (posted to the PRSA Website).  Thanks!

PRSA Fall Series #3: More Tricky Potomac Sailing!

Here is the writeup on PRSA Fall Series #3 from John Van Voorhis.  Kudos to John and David for taking 1st on the day with three well-earned 2nd place finishes!

Last Sunday, 10/1,  started out a little chilly, but by the time we were done sailing we had a gorgeous fall day.  The Race Committee tried starting us early due to the wind forecast, but the wind didn’t cooperate.  It really didn’t cooperate all day, but the RC did a great job getting off three races for the Lightnings. The wind was shifting from back and from from the NNE enough that the favored end of the starting line would switch back and forth through the starting sequence.  For races one and two, the wind tended toward the east, then in race three it was going all the way around the clock as small convection cells moved across the race course.

David and I managed to get three seconds on the day, so we felt pretty good.  In the first race we had a not so great start, but managed to catch the right shift correctly and get to the first mark first.  With the way the shifts came in it seems as if being rightmost boat, but near the middle of the course worked best for us in the first race.  Think it was Nabeel who passed us on the second weather leg and we couldn’t pass him down wind.

In the second race, we got exactly the start we wanted at the favored end by the committee boat, and were able to hold on near the front through the whole race.  I don’t remember who passed us, but again there was a lot of shifting wind and middle right with clear air worked for us.  In those conditions we let the jib tell us when to tack and eased out the main a lot when we couldn’t see the wind.  We blew it on the last down wind leg by setting the spinnaker, when we shouldn’t have.  Don’t forget to check if you can lay the mark!

In the last race we had an ok start, but that first leg took forever as the wind was coming straight down.  Again we stayed calm as we passed and were passed by other boats.

Thankfully the wind filled in enough for all of us to get back to the marina under sail.

PRSA Fall Series #2: Challenging Conditions in Light Wind!

Here is the writeup from Geoff Bishop, 3rd place Lightning in Sunday’s Fall Series #3.  Geoff was sailing with his daughter, Gigi, and son Quentin.  Thank you, Geoff, for the writeup and great job to you and your crew for a 3rd on a very tough day! Please feel free to add your own comments and observations here as well.

Sit still and try to keep moving!  It was a fun day on the river but once again not much wind.  Sailing out to the course I was pleasantly surprised by a steady breeze but in the end the forecast for light and variable winds held true.  The race committee did a phenomenal job setting the marks and a square start line despite early engine problems.  Trying to recall the light air sailing lessons we learned last week, our strategy was simply to keep the boat moving.  We did our best to start the day’s only race on starboard with speed and footed nicely up the left side of the course.  When waves from boat traffic in the channel came by we footed even more in order to keep our boat moving through the chop.  Taking those waves head on in this light air would have been deadly.  Then the wind died and a breeze filled in on the right side of the course!  The boats that went right were heroes!  In retrospect the more dependable wind was probably coming down the Anacostia – on the right side of the course –  and I made a point of staying right on the next upwind leg.  The rest of the race seems a bit of a blur as we sat bobbing up and down, drifting under the blazing sun.  Somewhere along the way I recalled the saying: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.”  This thought came to mind right about the time Shadowfax came scooting by us downwind with the spinnaker pulling and passing boats right and left.  With patience and perseverance we coaxed our boat forward and on the last downwind leg found a little breath of wind coming off the airport side of the river that we used to generate some momentum around the pin and into the final stretch.  The final leg of our race reminded me of rubber duckies floating in a bathtub.  We were near a group of about four lightnings just bobbing ever closer to the finish line – and in particular the leeward pin as the current was at least as strong as any “wind.”  By sheer luck we bobbed just ahead of Frank and Marianne (we had traded places back and forth with them most of the race) for a third place finish.  Not exactly lightning speed, but we’ll take it.  Thank you to all who participated –most of the classes had a great turnout – and thank you to the race committee who graciously let us go in early to enjoy the rest of our afternoon on shore.

PRSA President’s Cup: Little Wind, but Lots of Fun!

We didn’t have much breeze for the 2017 PRSA President’s Cup, but that didn’t stop us from having fun!  With 9 Lightnings registered we were anxious to get racing.  It was fantastic to see Geoff Bishop (sailing with his daughter Gigi and with Molly Doyle) at his first regatta in his new boat on Sunday!  It was also great to welcome Bill Mauk back to sail with us.  Despite our enthusiasm, Mother Nature had other ideas, at least for Saturday.  The river was so calm that you could see a picture-perfect reflection of the buildings on MD shore from the WSM docks.  PRO Jim Graham postponed from ashore twice before (wisely) cancelling racing for the day.  There were no complaints from the sailors as we all cracked cold beverages, engaged in some bocce ball competitions, tossed a frisbee or two, and enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon that was rounded out by a tasty regatta dinner from Lebanese Taverna.

There was not much wind on Sunday morning, but we were determined to go racing.  The RC towed boats up to the course in a gentle northerly breeze.  The wind held long enough for the Lightnings to get two races — far better than none! — as we tested our light-air sailing skills against each other.  The competition on Sunday was tight, with lots of position changes in the tricky conditions.  Congratulations to Bill Mauk (sailing with Kevin and Ricardo) for showing us how it is done!  You can keep reading for some of my observations from aboard Lightning #14592 and, by all means, please add your own observations as comments on this post!  Scores are posted here and you can view the photos from Lindsay Bach here.  A link to final scores will be posted soon.

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Poquoson Challenge & Crab Kill: Rescheduled for August 19!

Fleet 518 will be holding the Poquosen Challenge & Crabkill, sponsored by Yuengling, on August 19 if there is enough interest.  Please let Jim Dillard know if you can attend, along with the following information:

  1. I’ll be there with ____ others
  2.  Would you like a bed? (bring sheets and towels, 1st come…)
  3. How many w/ eat crab? Need to know as they are the big cost

Registration is $5, dinner is $20/ person.  Remember we usually sail w/ 2 but more are OK too.. So if you wo/ like to join us please let Jim know. We need at least 7 boats.

Notice of Regatta

The Poquoson Challenge is a one-day event sponsored by Fleet 518 and will be held on the beautiful Poquoson River just south of the York River on Saturday, July 29, 2017.  This is strictly a fun regatta. You can sail with one person or as many as you like. There will be no on shore skippers meeting. Check in at 38 foot white sailboat. The first race will start at 1:00. There will be 4 or 5 short windward /leeward races finishing to windward. One line at committee boat for start and finish. These races will be governed by the “Racing Rules of Sailing.”  No protests, please.

Racing will be followed by a crab and beer feast (barbecue will be available) at Jack  & Lynn Shepherd’s  — 218 Kings Grant Dr.. PLEASE LET JIM KNOW HOW MANY IN YOUR GROUP WOULD LIKE CRAB OR BARBQUE!  Yuengling will be the beer!

The after race party will be   Entrance fee: $5.00. Dinner $20.00/ person.  Public launching is available on the Poquoson with a tow available if needed. Please see the NOR for directions and additional details.

Sign Up For The New Fleet 50 Email List (Fleet 50 Google Group)!

Over the summer of 2017 we will be transitioning from our old Yahoo! Group to a new Google Group for our email listserv.  Our new Fleet 50 Google Group will be at this web address: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/fleet50.  Follow these instructions for joining and posting our new email list:

Dixie District Championships: June 24-25

The Dixie District Championship Regatta, hosted by Fleet 329 at SSA, is just around the corner.  Let’s aim for a great Fleet 50 turnout!  The NOR and registration links are posted to our Dixie District website.  Make sure to sign up on the ILCA Who’s Coming List and then register by June 15 to receive the early registration discount!