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!
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!
The weather forecasts threatened rain and maybe even thunderstorms and the sky was gray. But guess what? No rain and the best breeze we’ve had all fall! It was a small group of 5 Lightning and 2 Buccs at the Albacores were at West River for their Nationals and neither the I-20s or Multi-Hulls were there. You guys missed out!
The RC gave us four W-2 courses set up on a southwesterly axis. Jeff Neurauter, Heather Howard, Ben Arthur, and Ann Tyree ran race committee. Tom Hutton did the scores (posted to the PRSA Website). Thanks!
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.
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.
It is hard to believe that our 2016 season has concluded already! It was good to see a number of you at the 2016 PRSA Annual General Meeting and Awards Ceremony a few weekends ago. The scores for the 2016 Spring Series and Fall Series have been posted and we are working on scoring the 2016 Fleet 50 Championship Series. Pease join me in congratulating the winners of the 2016 PRSA Spring Series and Fall Series in the Lightning Class as well as the Fleet 50 members that were honored with PRSA Perpetual Awards: Aaron Boesenecker was awarded the PRSA Founder’s Trophy (for exceptional service to PRSA); Frank Gallagher was recognized by the PRSA Fleet Captains with the Fleet Captain’s Trophy (for outstanding Race Committee service, in this case for his work at the 2016 PRSA President’s Cup Regatta), and Will Phillippe was awarded the Yates Dowell III Award (for outstanding administrative service to PRSA). Congratulations all around!
While the 2016 racing season is still fresh on your mind, I would invite Fleet 50 skippers and crews to send in nominations for our annual Fleet 50 Awards. The awards themselves are described on the nomination ballot. This is always a fun part of our annual meeting, so give some thought now to the past year and send in your nominations! I will also send along information on our own Fleet 50 AGM & Awards Banquet in the near future.
Finally, a reminder that PRSA Dues are now due for 2017. You have until January 15, 2017 to pay your PRSA Dues. Please use the online form on the PRSA Website to complete/update your membership information and submit payment (via PayPal or by mailing a check as per the instructions on the application form). Pay now and you’re all set for 2017!
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.
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!
Congratulations to Bobby Astrove for winning the PRSA Spring Series and to Nabeel Alsalam for winning the PRSA Fall Series. Within the fleet, Team No Call, No Show (co-skippered by Alex Thomson and Will Phillippe over the year) made a strong showing in both the spring and the fall. John Van Voorhis also earned his first PRSA trophy with a strong showing in the fall. Congratulations all around! You can view all of the scores on the PRSA Results Page.
PRSA also recognize Lisa-Marie Lane with the Nabeel Alsalam Award (for exceptional service coordinating the many activities of PRSA) for all of her work in managing and promoting PRSA merchandise as well as her roles in regatta organization over the year. Lindsay Bach‘s outstanding photography skills were recognized as he won the 2015 PRSA Photo Contest, earning him a free PRSA Calendar and the cover shot for the calendar. Congratulations all around!
What a fantastic day for some fall sailing! It was a bit blustery when we headed out, but weird westerly that dominated the first race faded and the breeze then settled in for another couple of races in a 8-10 kt southerly. PRO Jim Antonivich and his crew did a good job in getting us some nice long races on the south course near the power plant (something new!) and we were back on shore in time to enjoy a nice BBQ after the racing as the sunlight faded. We even had a number of people dressed to celebrate Halloween! Congrats to Will Summers for winning our impromptu costume contest. Keep reading for some more details from the racing.
Michael Heinsdorf, Heather Howard, Will Phillippe, Will Summers, and Anouk Farmer in Halloween costumes for PRSA Fall Series #6!
We had 6 Lightnings on the water:
15142: Nabeel, Tom, and Jess
15384: Frank, Will S, and Aiden
14627: Bob G, Lisa-Marie, and Ryan
14592: Aaron and John Van Voorhis double-handing (and performing some great double-handed jibes!)
14376: Will, Laura, and Heather (coming over from the Buc class!)
14221: Lindsay, Anouk, and Chris
Since I was double-handing with John I didn’t have a ton of time to look around. The first race was a bit funky, with all sorts of shifts and swirls as the W/SW breeze that was there in the morning tried to figure out what it was going to do. The RC sent us on an O3 (!) and we managed to lead two of those three laps, only to be passed by Nabeel on the last full upwind leg. Once we got ourselves sorted out, though, we were able to hold with the rest of the pack, even downwind (John did a great job flying the spinnaker and working us through some perfect jibes as I drove). The 2nd and 3rd races – both O2 courses – saw some ups and downs in pressure but not too many shifts. The line was a bit boat favored in both of those races, and I managed to put us over early in each one of them so we were playing catch up quite a bit. The left (east) side of the course seemed to have more pressure as it was away from the shadow of the Alexandria shoreline, and that generally paid even as the current and tidal outflow became more of a factor later in the day. Nabeel won two races, Frank won the last one, and on 14592 we were consistently in 2nd all day long. I’d welcome any additional thoughts and observations from other boats!