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.
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.
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.
Our signature spring regatta is coming up! Head over to the Regatta Website for information and links to the registration website. Sign up now so that we know you’re coming and tell all of your friends!
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)!
Fleet 50 Fleet Captain
Fall Series #7 was another windy and wild affair, with sustained winds in the high teens 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!
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.
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
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!
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.