This past Sunday turned out to be a great day for some fall sailing. It took a bit for the breeze to settle in, but once it did we got in 3 great races (for a total of 4 given the RC’s valiant efforts to get us one race in fluky breeze early in the day). A huge thanks to PRO John VanVoorhis and his crew (Frank, Laura, Alex, David) on RC for doing a great job of adjusting courses and getting the boats the most racing that we could have. We also had a great showing among the Lightning fleet, with 6 boats on the water and 3 more represented on the RC:
- 14592: Aaron sailed his new boat for the first time (yay!) along with Lisbet and new crew Aiden — a high school sailor who did an awesome job (no surprise…he sailed in the most recent WJM Nationals!)
- 14395: Chris and Liz double-handed all day long and were fast, even as the breeze built!
- 15142: Nabeel, sailing with Jess and Tom
- 14221: Lindsay was also double-handing, sailing with Chris Moore
- 15126: Lisa-Marie, sailing with Jim and Karen
- 14627: Bob Gotthardt, sailing with Guy and Ryan
After a fluky first race in a weird westerly wind the breeze settled in at about 8-12 from the north (with some higher gusts later in the day). The consensus in the post-race discussion was that the left generally paid upwind, which is rather typical for these types of days on the Potomac. I know that I lost out the one time that I tried the right, despite seeing what I thought was better pressure there. Downwind the key seemed to be finding the left shifts as those moments allowed you to sail deep towards the leeward mark without having to jibe out into the river.
The races were definitely competitive, and it was great to see Chris & Liz going fast with just two on board (spinnaker and all) even in the gustier moments. Chris did a great job of playing the left to win the 3rd race in spectacular come-from behind after a very crowded leeward mark rounding. From my perspective on my new boat (how cool!) it seemed that Nabeel had the best speed upwind. He also had great starts and did a good job of playing the left for upwind advantage. On 14592 we were able to gain ground on most of the downwind legs to keep things close. It paid off in the last race in particular as we were able to make a pass on the 2nd downwind and hold that lead to the finish. Overall it was a great day on the water and, as always, we had a good time discussing the racing around the grill after we came off the water.