PRSA Spring Regatta: Two Days of Great Racing!

We certainly had more than enough breeze for the 2013 PRSA Spring Regatta!  Despite some blustery conditions on Saturday (peak gusts of 35 mph were recorded at National Airport!) we had great racing on both days and a good overall turnout.  Keep reading for the details from each day and for links to photos and video (scores coming soon!).

Day 1

The forecast for big breeze today certainly was accurate!  Winds were blowing 15-20 out of the NW all day, with gusts of up to 35 recorded at Washington National Airport.  Chris Kozel, sailing with Steve & Palmer on String Theory were the only Lightning to brave the conditions.  Two Bucs and about 8 Albacores (for whom the regatta was also the Mid-Atlantic Championship) joined in the fun.

The steady direction of the breeze made it pretty straightforward for the RC to set a course and send the boats off racing on an Olympic course, which made for some nice speed reaching on the Albacores.  Watching from the RC, I was impressed with how well folks were able to handle their boats in these conditions.  Yes, some Albacores went over here and there, but most recovered from the capsize without any difficulty.  Although we stood by on RC, we were never required to provide any active assistance in rescuing boats.  Perhaps more importantly, skippers and crews made good decisions to retire once they were tired or cold after a few dunks in the Potomac.

The wind shifted left by about 20 degrees mid-way through the third race, but given that it was already well into the afternoon and the crews on the water were tired and wet, the RC made the decision to call it a day after three very physical races and we all retired to the picnic area for some awesome BBQ and beverages.  Kudos to all the sailors who went out, as well as to our RC — Jeff Storck (PRO), Rose Gentile, Wilde Heiss, Bruce Heida, Steve Parsons, Aaron Boesenecker, and Theodora Campbell-Orde.

Photos from day 1: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ngwj63jgbakfff0/xmKuoZtSBb

Day 2

Although we didn’t have the steady 15-20 that we saw on Saturday, there was still plenty of breeze for some great racing.  Five Lightnings (Frank, Bob, & Mladin on Resistance is Futile; Chris, Palmer, and Nicole on String Theory; John Kircher, Tom Apker, and a third on Chessie; Lindsay Bach, Tree Martschink, and Andrew Rybczynski on Lightnin’ Bug; and Bob,  Jonathan, and a third on Pandora) joined nearly 20 Albacores, 3 Bucs, and 2 in the open cat class for the racing The NW wind allowed the RC to set another long Olympic course and get right into the first starting sequence at 11:30.

The left (airport shore) side definitely paid in the first race, especially as a few westerly shifts came down the course.  In fact, the Lightnings didn’t even have to jibe at the jibe mark in order to make the leeward mark on the triangle portion of their race.  The RC reset the course to account for the left phases in the breeze and sent the fleets off on the second race.  The wind built a bit in this race, and there were some shifts back to the right (north) as well.  On the 19′ skiff we watched a great duel between Frank and Chris on the second reach leg, with Chris reaching up and over Frank to pass him…only to catch a breeze in tight reach mode that dragged them over on their side.  We’ve got some great GoPro footage of the spill and the subsequent textbook recovery (link coming soon!).  It was great to see the folks on String Theory do a great job with a quick recovery and continue racing, even though they lost a few boats in the process.

The third race saw some more good puffs come down the course, though the wind was finally starting to abate a bit.  Nonetheless, we were treated to some great mark roundings on the skiff as we watched big packs of Albacores surf into the reach and leeward marks and round to fight things out upwind.  In this race it was John Kircher & crew that got caught by a gust and dragged over.  The spinnaker fouled around the spreaders, so Tom had to swim around and untie/untangle the spinnaker before they could bring the boat back upright.  The crew did a good job in taking their time and making an orderly recovery as the RC stood by, though, and everybody was safe and sound (if a bit wet and chilly) in the end.

Overall it was a weekend of great racing.  We enjoyed some fantastic BBQ and sides after the racing each day thanks to Lee & Michelle.  Thanks, as well, to the day 2 Race Committee: Jeff Storck (PRO), Rose Gentile, Wilda Heiss, Bruce Heida, Grant, Aaron Boesenecker, Katrina, and Tom Capehart.

Photos from day 2: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xliy69wadrn3bud/0XQ3SArvpr

GoPro footage from day 2: http://lightningfleet50.org/?page_id=1657

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