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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PRSA Rookie Regatta: Rescheduled for June 26

We have rescheduled the PRSA Rookie Regatta for June 26 after our first attempt earlier this spring was foiled by inclement weather.This is a special stand-alone one day regatta with the purpose of encouraging you all to bring new crew out to sail, to turn the helm over to your crew, or to do other creative things that might help involve new people in sailing.  The scoring system will be a bit different for this one day as there will be bonuses involved for bringing new people.  All of the relevant information is posted to the PRSA Rookie Regatta page: http://potomacriversailing.org/nors-sis/prsa-rookie-regatta/

Aaron will be PRO for the day. It would be helpful if you could you let us know whether you will be sailing on June 26 and, importantly, whether you are bringing more than a few “rookies” for the day.  We can accommodate extra folks on the RC boats to switch in and out of various boats if we know how many people to expect.  So please email Aaron (apb99@mac.com) once you’ve thought about your lineup for the Rookie Regatta.  Let’s get some new sailors on the water!

PRSA Distance Race: June 12

On June 12 we have a special event: the resurrection of the PRSA Distance Race!  This one-day, one-race regatta will pit all boats in all classes against one another in a distance race around government marks on the Potomac.  Portsmouth Yard Stick scoring will be used to determine the fastest PRSA boat on the course.  The NOR and SIs with course options are posted below.  Organize your crew and get ready for the fun!

PRSA Distance Race NOR

PRSA Distance Race SIs and Course Diagrams

Spring Series #8 Wrap-Up

A handful of Lightnings and one hearty Buccaneer came out Sunday for what turned out to be a beautiful day of sailing.  The forecast was for high winds and possible thunderstorms, but despite a few gusts early in the and some grey clouds it ended up being a wonderful day on the water.  PRO Kyra Tallon and her crew got us 4 beautiful races in a steady southerly breeze.  The wind filled in over the course of the day such that the gusts diminished and the overall velocity became more consistent in the 12-15 range.  There were a few shifts on the day, notably a big lefty in race 3 that ran counter to the overall advantage one gained by sailing right (west) to find breeze and some shifts.  It was a great day to work on boat balance, trim, and downwind angles in a bit of breeze (but not too much).  Fun was had by all and we were back to the dock by 2:30 thanks to a high tide that allowed us to sail just outside the airport pier (though I did dig my centerboard into the mud a few times later in the day).  Overall it was a great way to round out the Spring Series racing!

Related Links:

PRSA Spring Regatta Results

Congratulations to Nabeel, Jess, and Scott on Team Shadowfax for taking 1st place in the Lightning class at the 2016 Spring Regatta! Aaron (sailing with Lisbet and Evan) took second in the first full regatta he’d sailed in his new boat. Bobby Astrove (sailing with Sara, Brian, and John in various combinations over the weekend) took 3rd.  Overall, we had 6 Lightnings on the course (and a few more represented on RC over the weekend).  Aboard #14592 we did a good job with boatspeed and tactics on day 1 such that we led Nabeel by a point.  Nabeel, Jess, and Scott really brought their game on day 2, though, such that we couldn’t stay ahead of them.  A well earned victory for them!

We had 47 boats, nearly 100 sailors, and 2 days of great racing for the 2016 PRSA Spring Regatta! A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the regatta a success — especially our RC volunteers on both courses and Heather and Melissa for fantastic food and beverages. A lot of people pitched in to help, though, and we’re thankful for everybody’s efforts. Links to results and other information are posted to the PRSA website.