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!

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!

Spring Series #7: Absolutely Fantastic Racing on the Potomac!

We had an amazing day for Spring Series #7!  Steady breeze at 10-15 from the South, four great races, and 8 Lightnings on the line!  Read Nabeel’s great summary of the day’s racing on the PRSA website and add your own comments.  Heather on the RC also took some great photos, including the ones below!

Team As You Wish Win Their First Regatta!

Congratulations to Team As You Wish for their fantastic win at the PRSA Spring Regatta!  Lisa-Marie sailed with Jim Lane and Christy Chen, and I have to say that they did an extraordinary day in some challenging conditions to beat out 6 other Lightnings and earn their first regatta win.  Great job all around — I know that the entire Fleet is thrilled for you!

As I mentioned, the conditions on Sunday were very challenging (after no racing on Saturday due to a total lack of wind).  The breeze was generally easterly in direction (!) and ranged from 5-10 knots, with some pretty big swings to the south with puffs and then lots of soft spots, and dead spots, throughout the course.  The RC sent us off on 4 O2 races (the only real choice given wind direction and river constraints), which put a premium on boathandling around the relatively short course as well as attention to finding clear air as one navigated around and through 4 other classes on the course.

Watching As You Wish throughout the day (from behind them for most of it!) I noticed how well they did in doing a couple of things: (a) not pinching, and (b) keeping their air clear, especially on the reach legs where boats tended to cluster a bit and it was very easy to get rolled.  It was a day that demanded persistence and patience, for sure.  On Beedobeat (sailing with Geoff and Quentin Bishop) we found ourselves able to get off the start line and up to the windward mark ahead in several races, especially once we figured out the advantage that came with going left early to get up current and get into better pressure.  But As You Wish and the rest of the pack were tenacious, and we did get rolled on a couple of the reach/run legs.

Overall the results were very tight, with As You Wish beating out Alex, Will, and Ed Lane on No Call, No Show in a tiebreaker for 1st, followed in 3rd by John Van Voorhis and David Keto on Shamrock just one point behind!  Congratulations once again to Lisa-Marie, Jim, and Christy for a great job and for a well-earned 1st regatta win!

SSA No Gas Regatta: Two Days of Great Annapolis Sailing

Sixteen boats turned out for the SSA No Gas Regatta in Annapolis for two days of great racing in Annapolis.  We had great Fleet 50 participation, with Nabeel (sailing with Chandler Owen, Russ Roberts, and Jeff Witten), Lisa-Marie Lane (sailing with Jim and Molly-Lynn Westrate), Aaron crewing for Rick Welch (along with Kin Ellot), and Bruce Heida (crewing for Greg Kelly)

The breeze was up a bit early on Saturday morning as we all rigged, but things settled down to a pretty steady 12-14 by the time we were racing.  We had some good runs in the first race with plenty of hiking and then things stabilized out a bit for 3 more great races, with the breeze tailing off towards the end of the 4th race such that we were stripping off foul weather gear as we headed back to the marina (see the fantastic photo from Ted Morgan, below, and more regatta photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm18qtfY).

Sailing with Rick and Kin we made a concerted effort to have a plan for the first leg off the start (direction to go, when/whether to tack) and we did a fairly good job of executing that plan in most races.  Competition was tight in a very talented fleet, though, and an OCS in race 1 didn’t help our overall position after day 1.  Nonetheless, we had a blast, went fast, and enjoyed some great bbq & beer at SSA after the racing.

The breeze was forecast to be lighter on Sunday and that forecast held true, with winds in the 8-10 range for most of the day.  We again really focused on a plan, and on looking up the course for shifts and pressure.  We managed to get a few things right for some decent finishes (a 4 and a 6 among them) on Day 2.  After three races we were back on shore toasting the leaders and celebrating another No Gas (one with 7 races and very little power boat chop!) in the books.  Full results are posted here: http://www.lightningclass.org/racing/results/2017/noGas.asp.  A great regatta all around, and great to have good Fleet 50 participation!