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.

Continue reading

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