Race reports
2022 - 2023

January 22, 2023
Race report by Scott Guerin

Steely skies greeted the 26-odd racers waiting to be guided by RC Chair Allan Freedman around the

marks. Melissa Bontemps captained Lucky and we give thanks to her skills and great radio voice!


Given a building Southerly wind in the 15kt range, predicted to gust past 20kts and delivering choppy

water around race time, pre-race discussion centered on the large or small-sail decision. Tough call but

large sails it was with the knowledge we might heave-to if it got too hairy. A new moon put the high tide

such that it would have been a great last day to pull the boats out as the angled dock was level with the

shore!


As we got off the docks it should be noted that two racers pulled out given the heavy chop and

predicted wind. No loss of honor there, racers must weigh the risk with care and MFA fully supports

those decisions, rare as they are.


The first few races were non-gybe courses. In A-Fleet, Gregg Takata (196), Fred Trefeissen (1), and

Scott Guerin (666) managed to make the podium in all three. Then, in race 4, the wind began to fade

and gears had to change. Some managed that well, others, like this reporter, could not get his groove

back. Gregg and Fred continued trading gold and silver with only a minor stumble along the way while

Kara Licata picked up the slack in the lighter air. In the end, Gregg, with 12 points (1, 1, 1, 5, 1, 1, 2)

took gold by a point over Fred (2, 2, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1), and Bahar got in front of Guerin 35 to 38.


We did see Piotr take an uncharacteristic bath at a windward mark when he got tangled up on the wrong

side of the boat. He got his boat re-rigged but missed a few races.


In B- Fleet, I sense a fierce battle for the yo-yo trophy given to the sailor who moved between fleets most

often. I won’t name names as I’ll surely jinx them in their quest to walk the dog to A-Fleet stability. David

Israel had solid third (4, 2, 3, 3, 4, 3), then John Schneider (2, 5, 1 ,4, 1, 2), and on top, Mr. Berkowitz

with a stellar (1, 1 ,2 ,1, 3, 1) to win the day. John and Marc go up to A.


Kevin Sailor, on crash boat duty, when asked after the race what he saw said, in so many words “there

weren’t enough roll tacks. In this kind of chop you need to accelerate out of the tack or you stop dead

when the next wave hits.”

January 7, 2023
Coaching report by Erica Conway

I arrived in Mamaroneck on Saturday morning at 10, ready to lend a hand as a crash boat operator for the coaching session. I loved working on the crash boat last week with Henry. It was my first week back this season and it was a great way to ease back into it while mustering up some courage (I got overwhelmed last year and didn't make it through the whole season, though I eventually returned for the last two weeks in April.)  I felt proud of myself yesterday for finding such an amazing excuse to procrastinate getting on a Dyer again. I mean, who is going to judge me for VOLUNTEERING, right?


I bounced around, feeling super important, with my VHF antenna sticking out of my life jacket, helping Tim to get the CBs in the water, starting up the outboard engines, and chatting with Bill and Catherine. I may have bragged too loudly about my iron-clad method of procrastination, because all of a sudden, my VHF was taken away and Colley was offering to let me use his boat so that I could be a coach-ee. 


“Like, right now?” I asked. I asked three times if they had enough people to run the crash boats, but they were all set. They asked if I had my drysuit with me and, damn, I had to admit that it was in my sail bag… I mustered up some “gratitude,” decided it might be better to just rip this Band-Aid off quickly, and went off to get ready.


Colley was amazing and helped me rig his boat, since I haven’t done it since last April. I felt true gratitude, because his boat looked really great and I felt lucky to start the season on it. He asked me about my trepidation. I told him about how overwhelmed I got last year. I wasn’t doing well in the races, I was worried about capsizing, and I found it too much to concentrate on what was going on INSIDE the boat as well as what was happening OUTSIDE the boat. I remember standing around at the debriefs feeling like I hadn’t been out there with the rest of the fleet. They would go on and on about shifts and favored ends and what had happened in the 5th race, while all I remembered was getting tangled in the main sheet, stalling out twelve times, and being pretty sure that there were only 4 races. But maybe, more than anything, I felt ashamed that after 50 years on the water as crew on everything from 65’ powerboats to 420’s to a Tripp 40, and after living on and operating my 47’ Beneteau, I found it really challenging to drive a single-person dinghy. I “should” be better.


Colley assured me that I was going about it all wrong. (You don’t say.) He suggested letting go of the outcome of the races, coming to grips with capsizing, and taking my time learning the boat handling before I worried about what was going on outside the boat. He also pointed out that crewing on big boats, and even operating my own boat was not the same as a Dyer Dhow. They are just a whole different animal and I shouldn’t be embarrassed. It was great advice, much like all the support I’ve gotten from the seasoned sailors at MFA. As a results-oriented person who has generally succeeded at the things I’ve set my mind to, I know this will be more than just a sailing lesson. It will be a shift in my life philosophy that will free me up to try new things and keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.


Catherine saw my panicked look in the parking lot and gave me some encouragement. I started to feel like I could do this. It’s just like riding a bike, I convinced myself. Then they decided to switch to small sails. If there’s one thing I learned last year, these people don’t like using small sails. So if we were switching, it must be pretty damned windy out there. I decided I needed to just forget all about that and figured it was a decision made because it wasn’t a race day and most of us were pretty new.


We had our safety meeting and Carla went over the plan for the day. We would practice sailing from windward to leeward, do some practice starts, and maybe even have a practice race. Off we went. Colley’s boat was launched on the jetty side of the dock and he casually assured me that I’d be fine sailing the boat out between the dock and the rocks. I looked at him like he had three heads and asked him if he liked his boat or not. No. I would not be sailing his boat out of this narrow passage. I couldn’t even promise to bring it back in one piece. So I got in and walked myself down the dock until I felt like I had enough room to fill the sails.


Out on the water, I felt a thrill when the boat took off and heeled a little. With the wind in my face, I felt more confident than I had anticipated and tacked a few times to remember how to move from side to side on a boat that has you sitting backwards (I’ll never understand this). As soon as I realized it was time to go downwind, I felt nervous. But rather than putting off the inevitable, I jibed.  Huh. Not as bad as I remembered. (Yes, I know. We were still just off the docks, and I was protected from the full wind. But still. I felt a moment of accomplishment and let it fuel me.) My hat kept popping off my head with the boom constantly swishing past it. I finally stuffed it down my life jacket. It took me an hour to get all the knots out of my hair last night! I saw one woman with a fleece headband. I’ll try that next week.


We headed out to the harbor and started practicing sailing from windward to leeward. I remembered how many things there are to think about and tried to incorporate all the suggestions I heard from the coaches, assuming they were all for me:

“Are you reading the tell-tales?”

“You are really pinched! Come down a bit! See? Now you're moving!”

“Don’t hike by just leaning your shoulders back! Move your butt to the edge!”

“What is that weird way you are holding the tiller about?”

“You look tense! Relax a little!”


It was ALL helpful, and I appreciated every single piece of advice that the coaches gave. It was a lot of work, following us all around and figuring out how to best help each of us to move the pin forward on our progress as sailors. I can’t wait to be good enough to give back.


By the time we got to the practice starts and races, I was feeling excited. Last season, I felt like my biggest improvement was in the starts. I had been really timid in the beginning, starting last and stalling out in practically every race. By the 4th or 5th time out, I was getting more aggressive, shoving myself into the pack, and trusting my ability to move out of the way if I got too close to another boat while on port tack. I decided to pick up where I left off last year and got a lot of advice from Bahar, who made sure I had a strategy and knew which side I wanted to start on. I practiced timing how long it would take to get to the boat end of the line so that I could start right at the boat, my favorite place to start when the line is even or favored. I got it right on one of the practice races and found myself towards the front of the fleet, with Bahar screaming encouragement at me like I was qualifying for the Olympics.


In another practice race, I got it wrong and I was facing the wrong way in the middle of the line when the gun went off. “Let it go! Let it go!” I sang to myself, even though, ironically, I wasn’t Frozen. I got right back in there and actually recognized a lift when it smacked me in the face, and rode it all the way to the layline. Thank you, Greg, for reminding me to actually LOOK at the tell tales. With Behar’s help, I approached the windward mark on port (which I don’t like doing), threaded the needle between two starboard-tack boats without fouling anyone, and nearly caught Bill on the downwind run to the finish.


It was an amazing day on the water. Here’s what I learned:



January 1, 2023 - New Year's Regatta
Race report by Allan Freedman

Saturday was all fog and no breeze (and canceled). Sunday was all breeze, and all smiles.

 

Sure there was the slight transition to manage – big sails, small sails. What a drama: Lots of huffing, and puffing and sail changing and the usual small sail/big sail grousing and kvetching. We’re sailors – well I won’t speak for myself as apparently I am the only one not doing dry January, cause I have a few New Year’s bottles to hum through, but I digress, a lot – so you expect the kvetching no matter what the call. But once the call was made, then changed, and we sailed back in, and changed, and then went out again, there were 6 races awaitin’ for A and 5 for B. Turned out the whole big/small drama was only the opening act. Can we talk about those shifts. Let’s. They were the product of a Westerly with one wicked sense of humor. The breeze plopped, and fanned and then disappeared, velocity up, velocity down, the bow spinning, right then left, then right again.

 

I am getting the spins just writing about it.

 

The RC clocked top 20 knots right before race time – thus prompting the sail change – and a couple of no jibe courses for the appetizer, but then the entrée was more in the 6-12 knot range, with mostly course 4s and an up and down drag race for the last race in A. (Editorial comment here: Yo, we killed that course for a reason! It’s the Living Dead of courses. It has more sequels than the Marvel franchise.) Here is where I am supposed to offer lots of sage advice about how to sail in that kind of breeze. I am still too traumatized by losing the three way tie for 3rd to the obviously superior sailors Bahar Gidwani (3rd) and Fred Treffeisen (4th), so Kara Licata with 4 bullets (1st) and Greg Takata (2nd) are better narrators. Or go ask Aaron Wheeler in first in B, followed closely by Marc Berkowtiz. See all the scores here.

 

But will try anyway. The boat is so brutally underpowered with the small sail that keeping it powered in the lulls is as important as tacking on every shift. The key was more about sailing to the breeze and keeping it going through the lulls. Sure line position mattered and there was some serious right skews on the upwind mark. But those first ten meters, and speed off the line is what gets you popped into sequence. The faster you could make it off the line and to the first wind fan was usually the make or break up the first beat. Note to self: If you’re not getting powered up 10 seconds to the gun, you’ve lost the race before it began.

 

Sunday was the opening of the annual New Year’s Regatta, which will continue next Sunday. It was hard not to start the New Year with a big grin, given the warm, sunny temps and enough breeze to make things loads of fun. Big thanks to RC Carla Murphy who negotiated a very difficult call that had us all sailing and having a great start to the year including the afternoon aerobics (see huffing and puffing above).

 

Shout outs to Melissa (as always) and Tim B for running those crashies like our besties.

 

Thanks Team for an awesome day on the water!

December 4, 2022


Race report by Bahar Gidwani

A westerly wind left over from the storm shifted and puffed enough that RC put both fleets into the small sail.  It was a good choice.  We had a couple capsizes, but most of the 20+ boats managed to stay upright through eight races.


We sailed course 4, windward-leeward twice and got in 8 races.  Those who got a clean start had freedom to tack on the shifts.  Those who didn’t start clean could try to go to a corner (both left and right worked at times) and look for a pressure line to ride back in.  Working up the middle should have been good, but wasn’t—the pressure was coming in from the edges.


A short first leg led to crowds coming in from all sides at the windward mark.  Sometimes both fleets arrived at the same time.  The result was jostling, shouting, and a fair number of penalty turns.  There wasn’t much current for the first six races, so most people made the mark, turned through traffic, and dodged their way downwind through the boats that were still coming upwind.

A short downwind resulted in more interactions at the leeward mark.  RC put in a gate around race four and that sorted things a bit, but there was always someone threatening from behind—even on the run to the finish.


Helen (who won the day in A) pointed out that she couldn’t just sit on the line at the start and wait to accelerate.  Thanks to the chop she had to be moving and driving forward if she wanted to separate from the pack after the start.  Carla started several times on the right (taking advantage of a skew to the right side of the course for the mark) and danced up the right side by herself.  She seemed to enjoy tacking as needed, in clear air.


First places in A were scattered among five sailors.  Two other sailors in A had seconds.  Everyone (including the leaders) had at least one seventh place.


A couple more notes for the day.  Keith Bell made his debut in A and did not finish last!  Catherine notched her first bullet ever in MFA.  There were no intra-boat protests to mediate after racing.  I can’t see the results yet for B, but I am sure there were other interesting events.


Two tips for sailing the downwind legs of course 4.  The first downwind tends to be pretty short.  It is easy to run out of time to get ready to round the leeward mark.  Start drifting early off the rhumb line in a direction opposite to the way you plan to round.  (E.g., if you are rounding to port, drift to the right.)  Jibe if you will need to do it when you round, put your board down a little, and cheat in on your sheet.  You can then put board the rest of the way down and come into the mark from the side (you won’t need to jibe as you round).  You’ll get a faster exit and a higher line out of the mark.


On the second downwind, you should head to the left (looking downwind) after the windward mark, as the finish is on the starboard side of the RC.  Stay on starboard after the rounding for a few boat lengths (so you have rights over the port boats that are still coming to the mark).  But, keep your board down and steer as far left as you can before you jibe.  If you can get to the left edge and reach a bit towards the pin, you’ll keep clear air (it will be coming over your left shoulder and boats behind won’t bother you).  If you can’t do this, bear back down and separate from the folks who are heading to the pin.  The RC boat is sometimes favored and you may have a nice run with clear air if you go towards it.  Plus, dead down can be a tiny bit shorter distance to sail.


No sailing on Christmas Eve.  Regatta the weekend after!  Hope to see 30+ boats for the Regatta days.

December 4, 2022

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT

● 30 boats on the line!

● New members and guests invigorate competition!

● Mike D’Agostino has his first bullet after trying for 4 years!

● This week’s Mark Spitz medal honorees named


Former MFA racer Brad Seiler was in a small aircraft Sunday and took this photo as he flew over the

fleet heading in.

What a day. Sunny, mid 40s, with shifty winds from the NW in the 3 knots to get-up-on-the-rail range

that drove a staggering 30 boats split 14/16 between A & B Fleets respectively. Kudos to Mighty Miss

Bontemps, Steve Wade, and WIll Sheck who ran the committee boat and wrangled the cats. A big

shout out to our crash boat pros and volunteers, endless gratitude to Tim Barron, and boat owners, if

you are not racing, think about lending your craft to others in need as several did this Sunday.


So many boats on the line meant the competition was fierce in both fleets, so let’s go to the imaginary

videotape and see what happened. (Deep Boomer Cut).


In B Fleet’s 5 races, there was a big group of new or newish members on the line and I hope they feel the

“old timers” are making them welcome with help on the docks, rigging, racing tips, and general

merriment as they settle in. It’s such a simple looking little boat but there is a lot going on with all those

lines and settings. If Charter boats are not available, there may be non-racing members’ boats available

for use so don’t hesitate to reach out. Just ask.


I’m going to ignore Fleet Captain John Field who raced in B for an ego boost and go to Zack Winniger

who was just 4 points behind with a 2,3,2,2,3 combo. What consistency, and Zack will go up to A Fleet

for his spanking. In second place was Keith Bell in his legendary plaid Jameson’s boat with a nice

4,5,4,3,5. His smooth starts and consistent sailing put him in the lead at one point, but for that darn last

leg! The story from Anna Dyer was that she spent weeks finding a close-enough to Jameson’s tartan that

she could embed in the gel coat so it could sit on one of the family’s yacht’s. And then there is Mike

D’Agostino who finally put a bullet in his shopping cart and overcame his Chicago Cubs Billy Goat curse

with a win that helped him get past his 3,10,8,5,1 series on his way to third base. Hmmm, excuse the

metaphor but way to hang in there and congratulations Mike.


Many of A Fleet’s finest were on the course for 6-races with the addition of a guest, Paul Clifford, who

worked the boat like his bassinet was a Dyer Dhow. Paul took third place behind Kevin Sailor who won

by a tie breaker at 17 points, 2 wins to 1. The other Paul, Paul Beaudin, was frighteningly perfect in a

day when any error was costly. His 1,1,3,3,1,8 demonstrated his mastery of the wind, the current,the

boat, his kinetics, and, most importantly, his mind. (Disclaimer: he sells us our sails!).


Kevin told me afterward that he was trimmed in with a flat sail reasoning that the flat water didn’t require

power to overcome but helped his upwind angle even though it was a disadvantage at the start when

power was needed to get going. Watch Kevin, he is one with his boat.


The starts were almost the whole race in A. With a pin end that was favored in almost every race, I saw

John Schneider port-tack the fleet which took guts given all the sharks at his heels. But I usually saw

Paul, Gregg Takata, and Kevin, squirt out through impossibly tight gaps, get clear air, and head to

the mark from the left and middle sides of the leg.


The reaches were uneventful but the last leg shuffled the middle of the fleet. If you follow the rule of

thumb to sail the long tack first, the shifting winds caused some to go left at the leeward mark while

others hoped the phase would shift and stayed on port tack, then, taking the knock, be lifted to the pin.


There was an interesting protest at a windward mark rounding between Piotr Broszkowski and John

Schneider which resulted in a DSQ for John but there may be an appeal so standby. If you protest

someone, be sure you state the rule you are protesting under. And if you witness an incident, you will be

asked to state just the facts of what you saw.


This week’s Mark Spitz Medal honorees include Jacques Cousteau Society founding member Bill

Zobrist, along with Samantha, Dino, and Jurgen.


Lastly, while this reporter, having had to skip a season, came back ready to be a contender, his mind

and body would not cooperate. He had lost his kinetic touch, he was out of phase, was slow at the

starts, he fidgeted about, and he committed penalty-bound and tactical errors. Sound familiar? These

are abilities learned through literally years of racing in Dyers (and,of course, in other boats too). But fear

not those starting out; there are MFA racers with 30+ seasons on the water with you. We still love the

challenge, want to help you learn, and we remember fondly our early seasons, as you will.

November 27, 2022

Canceled due to high, gusty winds

November 20, 2022

Canceled due to high, gusty winds

November 13, 2022

Race report by John Field

We made it off the float to a brisk westerly at the top of our wind range. It turned into a beautiful day with a more normal November frostbite feel.  Although 24 boats made it off the dock and sailed in the channel, the RC made difficult calls with gusts to 24 by Hen Island, and then tried to get a no gybe course in the harbor set but the build and shifts were excessive so racing was cancelled for the day. 


On the positive side, no one capsized and no boats are broken! We had at least 8 more new sailors who learned about the quirkiness of the Dyer in heavy air and the debrief with Bahar Greg and Rob was super helpful for small sail trim and position technique. Plenty of warm soup and beer from Rick K was enjoyed by everyone. 

November 6, 2022

Race report by John Field

An awesome first day to start off the 2022-23 season! 25 sailors were on the water with warm weather and overcast skies. Of the 25, we had 8 new charter members from the group of 25 who have joined us this season. Everyone get to know these awesome newcomers as the season gets underway! 


A stiff breeze was in the forecast with a coastal front sliding north but stayed inshore giving us variable mild conditions throughout the day.  The RC set a course close to the harbor, and raced the group as one fleet with seven races. The lumpy sea state, light southerly and patches of pressure made the race challenging. Getting off the line and keeping a clear lane mindful of the ebb from the harbor was a key to success, and our lone capsize (in shorts) reported the water was quite warm, promptly rigging and rejoining the racing!


Consistency was the key to success. In A fleet Helen took the day a few points ahead of Bahar and Kara, and in B fleet we had Jed followed by newcomers Simon and David. Scores of course are all provisional and will be up on the website links as they are tabulated. Great pictures from the day are also on various instagram feeds - follow us and others in the fleet! 

 

The post race party did not disappoint, with Bill's Mac and Cheese and Bahar's careful discussion of rules based on two protests. With a large fleet the refresher on applications of 18.2 room at marks and Rules 12 and 13 for tacking too close  was very helpful. Many guides are online and should be reviewed for these and other fundamental right of way topics by all of us.