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

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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!  Links to scores and photos will be posted soon.

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PRSA Spring Regatta: May 27-28

The NOR for the PRSA Spring Regatta (May 27-28) has been posted and registration is open.  Visit the regatta website and register by May 21 to take advantage of the early registration discount!  Once you’ve registered, help us spread the word about the regatta!

We have partnered with DC Sail once again to organize a spectator cruise aboard the American Spirit on Saturday of the Spring Regatta.  Spectator cruise tickets are $20/person (or $25 for a combined cruise and Saturday dinner ticket).  Tickets can be purchased via the regatta website.  We have also posted complete details on the cruise in the “race documents” area on the regatta website.

Fleet 50 Tuning Day: A Great Success!

Greetings Sailors!

We had a stellar turn-out for out Lightning Fleet 50 Tuning day. There were 9 Lightnings at the marina and we were able to raise masts, tune rigging, assist with repairs and help each other prepare for the Spring Season Racing!
I would like to especially thank Aaron & Nabeel who were able to share their experience with getting boats measured & tuned.  But overall, thanks to everyone who participated.  This tuning day was a success due to all of the folks who made time out of their weekend to participate, share tools, experience & lend a helping hand.  I believe the this is one of the many reasons that Fleet 50 is so great!
Members included: Aaron, Nabeel, Lisa-Marie & Jim, Geoff, Jeff, John, Bob, Bobby, Will, Dereck, Laura and our newest Fleet 50 Members Joe & Macos (in the Red Boat)!

Happy Sailing!
Lisa-Marie Lane
Fleet 50 Fleet Captain

Fall Series #7: Wet, Wild, and Windy! (in which Aaron goes for a swim)

Fall Series #7 was another windy and wild affair, with sustained winds in the high teensscreen-shot-2016-11-07-at-11-42-05-am and low twenties and then gusts into the high twenties.  Four Lightnings (Aaron, Bobby, Geoff, and John) braved the conditions along with a couple of Albacores and a Buc.  The RC set a nice long O course and sent us off on a series of O2 races.  Keeping the boat flat was paramount and this was no easy task in the puffy and very shifty conditions.

I was sailing with Piercarlo and Sara on Beedobeat and they both did a fantastic job of hiking like crazy and keeping the boat balanced upwind and downwind.  There seemed to be a favorable shift on the left side of the course as one headed towards the airport shore, so it often became a battle to get over there, tack, and then fight up to the windward mark.  We traded places with Bobby (sailing with Brian and Kirsten) all day, and it really was a blast.  The puffs and shifts never settled down enough for us to fly the spinnaker (though we contemplated it) so it was lots of jib reaching and wing-on-wing sailing when we were off the wind.  Even so, some of the puffs were enough to get us near to planing speeds going wing-and-wing!

We ended up coming in a bit early after, in the third race, I kicked the mainsheet out of the cleat to ease in a massive puff and then missed the hiking strap as I went to hook my foot back under the strap.  My other foot wasn’t all that secure under the strap, so my kick move resulted in me doing a complete backflip right off the boat!  I went over and in so fast that I never lost my hat (I was wearing a life jacket), and I still had the mainsheet in my hand as I popped back up to see my boat heeled over and sailing away from me!  Piercarlo sprang to action and grabbed the helm, and I gave up on the mainsheet since dragging me was also sheeting in the main and heeling the boat (you never want to see your bailer and centerboard from the outside of the boat when you’re in the water!!!).  Sara and Piercarlo did a great job saving the boat and preventing a capsize, but by the time they got the sheets eased and the boat level they were a ways away, and drifting away just as fast as I could swim.  The RC sprang to action right away and the 16′ skiff was alongside me nearly instantaneously.  They hauled me aboard the 16 and then drove me over to my boat where I hopped back aboard.  Sara had already pulled out a beer for me as we retired from that race and headed towards the marina, and Piercarlo drove us home as I drip-dried a bit (thankfully it was nice and warm out, and the water wasn’t all that cold just yet).  It turns out that the 3rd race was also the last of the day so it wasn’t long before I was dried off and we were all gathered around the grill telling stories and enjoying a sunny afternoon.  Once again, though, a huge thanks to Piercarlo and Sara for their quick reactions once I, quite literally, departed the ship!

Fall Series #6: Beautiful Fall Sailing!

We had absolutely fantastic weather for Fall Series #6: light to moderate southerly breezes, temps in the 70s, and a nice clear sky.  This all worked out well for me on Beedobeat as I ended up sailing with Bill Parker, a college sailing friend of Connor Burke’s, who had plenty of sailing experience but was on a Lightning for the 1st time.  Bill was up front, and then we had in the middle another new sailor, Debra, sailing for first time ever on a sailboat!  The RC did a great job of getting us a number of races including some O2 courses that were quite nice given the wind velocity and angles.  We generally found that the left (channel) side of the course was favorable given wind and current, and that getting out there meant a bit of an advantage and fewer tacks to get to the windward mark.  Downwind a quick jibe towards the airport (on the run) was also favorable as it got you out of the current.  I just have to say that Debra did a stellar job flying the spinnaker all day (again, first time on a sailboat ever!!!) and Bill was a rockstar up front — we were able to do all of this in our first time ever sailing together, and I thought that this was amazing!  Scores are posted on the PRSA website.

PRSA AGM & Awards Banquet: November 19

The 2016 PRSA Annual General Meeting and Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday, November 19, 6-9 pm, in the community room at Marina Towers in Alexandria, VA.  Dinner & drinks will cost $25/person / $10/person for those under 21 (pay at the door with check or cash).   This is always a great chance to see everybody and reminisce about another year of great sailing, so I hope to see you there!  Please sign up here as soon as possible so that our volunteers can plan for the appropriate amount of food and drink.

A full agenda and details on the PRSA business meeting will be posted soon.  In the meanwhile, here is the basic schedule of events:

  • 6:00  Appetizers & Drinks
  • 6:30  Dinner
  • 7:30  Business Meeting & Awards
    • 7:30-8:00  Officer Reports
    • 8:00-8:30  Open discussion
    • 8:30-8:45  PRSA Spring & Fall Series Awards
    • 8:45-8:55  PRSA Perpetual Awards
    • 8:55-9:00  Discussion & approval of 2017 PRSA Executive Committee
  • 9:00  Adjourn & Cleanup

Breezy Fun at PRSA Fall Series #5

We had a great day for racing this past Sunday!  Six Lightnings, two Bucs, two Albacores, and an I-20 came out to play on a sunny day that featured some great, albeit shifty, breeze.  PRO Farley Will and his crew did a great job managing a “wacky west wind” in setting a course that gave us a mix of O2, T2, T3, and O3 courses.  The wind reports from National Airport show a breeze of 12-15 throughout the afternoon with the occasional gust in the 20s.

Scores will be posted soon, and I think we will also have some great photos taken from the RC boats to post as well.  Stay tuned for that information, and keep reading for some of my observations from aboard Beedobeat with Piercarlo.  In many ways, it was a great day to be double-handing!

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2016 President’s Cup Regatta: Sept. 17-18!

President's Cup Logo

The 2016 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta will be heldSeptember 17 & 18 at Washington Sailing Marina, continuing the long tradition of competitive one-design racing started by the President’s Cup in 1934.  The regatta will be sailed on the Potomac River on two courses.  Visit the regatta website to view the NOR and register for the 2016 President’s Cup!  Registration fees increase after September 11, so make sure to register and pay online before September 11 to save yourself a bit of cash.

Fantastic Fun at the PRSA Rookie Regatta!

We had a great turnout for the 2016 Rookie Regatta, with 15 boats on the water and new sailors or crew in new positions on almost all of them!  The wind was a bit tricky, but we still managed to run 4 races.  There was plenty of time left afterward to enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon on shore with some BBQ & beer as we all chatted about the racing and celebrated the rookies!  In the Lightning class it was great to see Ed Lane driving for his first time (sailing with Karen & Lisa-Marie).  Geoff Fuller took out a brand new sailor and also had Leigh drive one race (her first time driving a Lightning).  Will stole the show, though, taking out two rookies — Brint and Kendra — and turning the helm over to Brint, who in turn scored two bullets and led team No Call, No Show to victory on the day!

Thanks to all who volunteered and — especially — to all the rookies who came out to give things a try.  We hope to see you out on the water again soon!  A link full score sheet along with my observations from the signal boat are posted below, and photos have been posted to the “Photos” area of the Fleet 50 website and to the PRSA Facebook Page.

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