Spring Series #6: Southerly Winds

This past weekend was absolutely spectacular for sailing on both Saturday and Sunday and if you didn’t make it out you missed out. Both days it was clear and sunny with temperatures in the low 70s and a nice southerly breeze for racing…

Saturday afternoon was perfect for a day sail and with a several sailor friends in town it was too hard to resist. Red Ferhle was kind enough to let me borrow his boat for the day so that I could sail it with two of my friends and Brian could sailĀ Questionable with two more friends. The gentle 5 to 10 out of the south let us sail out of the marina towards Alexandria and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Of course two boats sailing in the same direction turned into some racing. We also spotted new fleet member Lindsay Bach out on the river enjoying the day.

The nice weather on Sunday prompted a nice turnout of the catamarans, the Buccaneers, and nine Lightnings. Several new crew Cassie Conley and Jess Harrington joined us for the day. The Albacores missed out on the day’s racing because they were taking their turn as RC. The Albacores gave us 3 good W2s and a W1 to end the day as the winds built and had a few good puffs throughout the day. Keep checking back because Aaron shot some video of the day with a stern cam mounted on Sinistra.

The 10 out of the south made it easy to get out of the marina and sail down the channel since the tide was out which would make it hard than normal to cut across the river from the marina. It also allowed a spinnaker run up to the race course set off of Hains Point. Unfortunately, for Chris Kozel he had some excitement on the way to the course and had a shroud fail before the start of the first race forcing him to retire and be towed home. We expect to see him back in action this week.

I encourage everyone to add their thoughts on the day’s racing in the comments. I ended up sailing lite with only one crew so a little more concentration went to hiking, keeping the boat flat and watching for puffs than seeing what strategies were successful for others. We didn’t have any problem with proper boat heel to keep the windward chine out of the water on the upwind and reduce drag. :-0

Race one was Bobby in Pandora II, Aaron sailing Sinistra with new crew Jess Harrington and Nabeel (??), Mark Ewing in Shamrock, Bruce Heida skippering Ariel sailing with Ann Tyree and Mack Gentile, Peter Lallas, and myself. I opted to tack shortly after the start and head up by the airport to stay out of the current generated by the incoming tide and to be in slightly less breeze. This didn’t place me at too great of a disadvantage to the boats that stayed out on the river for the upwind legs. The first downwind we used the spinnaker but didn’t for the rest of the day opting to wing on wing with the jib and sail shorter distances.

Race two Joe Warren sailing Bony Buns with Lindsay Bach and new crew Cassie Conley and Red and Sue sailing lite on 3 Little Birds joined us add two more boats on the line. Once, again I opted to tack and keep clear on the start working up the airport shore while others went out.

Race three Aaron was kind enough to tell me that I wasn’t going to have space at the committee boat at the start which forced me to find a hole and head out on the river for the first upwind which was fine for the first upwind. Sticking with the jib for the downwind runs was a good decision for me as the winds built from 10 to be closer to 15 with some stronger puff

Race four the RC gave us a W1 to end the day as the winds built to closer to 15 sustained. On the rounding of the leeward mark I found myself chasing several other boats. They headed to up the airport shore towards the finish. Not wanting to be covered we opted to head back out into the river which allowed us to beat Mark. After the race we all headed for home in the stronger breeze. At one point we all experienced a gust in the lower 20s.

Post racing we all had a chance to gather by the PRSA grill and talk to the other fleets once the Buccaneers had finished helping their fleetmate put her boat away after an exciting day on the water.

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