2015 Fall Series #1 was a great way to start the fall racing season. The early morning light rain was carried off with the wind and left us with mostly cloudy skies. Temperatures were in the mid 60s when we met at 10 AM for the skipper’s meeting and ultimately made it to the mid 70s while out racing. The water was still warm in the low 80s from the summer heat so it was comfortable to sail in shorts with a tshirt and a life jacket. We had a nice turnout of the classes with the Weta and a Hobie in the multihulls, 6 lightings (+ Bob as PRO), 2 Buccanners, and several Albacores.
It was great to see so many familiar faces after taking off from regular racing during the summer and I saw some new faces that I didn’t have a chance to meet at the post racing cookout.
Lightings on the water included:
The wind forecast for the day was to be out of the West North West and the forecasts were a little different for how much wind to expect. We ended up having a low of 8 knots (9 mph) sustained up to 16 knots (18.4 mph) sustained with gusts up to 21 knots (24.2 mph). We ended up being fortunate that the wind was more to the North North West which gave us more river to race than if we had to race back and forth with winds more out of the west.
We left the dock and taking advantage of the high tide had an easy time to cut across to make our way up to the upper course for a day of racing. Bob Gotthardt as PRO and his RC set the first race as an Olympic Course and ultimately all of the races were run as Olympics but did require some shifting of marks between races as the wind shifted from NNW to NW to WNW over the course of the day. In total we had 4 Olympic races and by the end of the fourth race I was definitely ready to call it a day.
It was a bit a switch for me to skipper so my observations are a little limited this week since I was trying to focus on my boat handling. To me overall it was fairly consistent and even across the course. The tidal flow was about the same with the tide going out all day and the wind pushing the water down the river. The airport shore was a little lighter at times but there were still some good strong puffs at times that made me leery of flying the spinnaker. Frank Gallagher, Maladin Karcic, and Will Summers on Frank’s new boat had no such issues and carried the day using the spinnaker to their advantage on the reach and the downwind legs. Bob Astrove was behind them in second. After that there was a bit a split between Will Phillippe and Red Ferhle for third.
Many of the people in the fleet enjoyed sailing Olympics instead of our typical windward leeward courses which gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our sailing prowess in upwind, reaches, and downwind.
The downwind sail home was plenty fast but then proved to be a challenge. Due to the low tide and the wind blowing the water down the river I was forced to beat up the channel back to the marina next to the trees which makes for some shifty conditions.
The other excitement for the day was the presence of all of the emergency response personnel between the DC Police and Fire Departments, the US Coast Guard searching for a potential man over board. Apparently, someone had abandoned their boat in the breeze and so the emergency personnel had responded. I had no idea they had that many boats between them. The search also included a helicopter. It is unfortunate that they had to be called out like that but good to know how they respond.
Keep in mind that this coming weekend has two full days of racing at the President’s Cup. Register now for the 2015 President’s Cup and view the NOR and other race information