Race reports 2020 - 2021
April 11, 2021 - End of season report
Race report by Allan Freedman
Years ago, being new to regatta running, I queried Neil Fowler on how to run a decent one. He had lots of good advice, as you would expect. The one piece I remember, in addition to all the others, “Every sailor appreciates a good hamburger and a cold beer after racing, especially after packing up.” It was a bit too cold for beer today, but that rum sure was nice, not to mention those sandwiches. Made pretty much the worst pack out weather possible feel like a nice sunny day. Not sure who brought rum, but thanks Holly Cullen for the sandwiches. In a time this weird, and awful, and filled with covid, covid, covid, it was pretty sublime to just stand out of the rain and act like the world was the same old, same old.
Sunday, in case you missed it, was a wash out, with low visibility making it perilous to venture out. Saturday was a classic. The breeze was nowhere to be seen at race time, but after a few postponements, the southerly started to fill, building to about 6-8 knots, and allowing 5 races in a 19 boat A/B division. It was t-shirts and shorts weather, with many of us doffing our dry suits for summer apparel. Thanks to Flip Meyerson and Mary Margaret Clawson for putting the pro in PRO. Among the highlights was John Field coming off his rumored 2024 America’s Cup campaign that has kept him away much of the season (see the Sailing Anarchy story about foiling Rhodes 18s) to chuck in two bullets, and a 2nd overall, followed by Eva Burpee in third. Tracy K took the win in B, and a well-earned bullet, followed in 2nd by Larry Decker.
When we launched the season, we thought we’d be lucky to get through it without being locked up or locked down. What’s pretty stunning is the worst you can say about 2020-21 is just how normal it all was. We all missed the after race parties, I am sure, but the sailing was as a good as ever, and after it all we were still standing, going out the door dripping wet, grinning ear to ear, knowing we had shared one of the cooler experiences in life, sailboat racing in the winter, and, well maybe not a hamburger or a beer, but a sandwich or two.
April 10, 2021
Video by Piotr Broszkowski
April 4th, 2021
Race report by Scott Guerin
“You should have been here yesterday” was the typical remark. Holly Cullen, Bill Zobrist and Jed, who had raced Saturday, may have said as much. We faced zephyrs as we pushed off and were teased with variable puffs as we headed to Lucky. The wind built, died, shifted, and did it again as if in a looping algorithm waiting for the STOP command. But it was not quite a crap shoot as those that usually do well, did well.
Racing under one gun, B Fleet’s 8 and A Fleet’s 9 racers duked it out on an often pin-favored line set by RC Jeff Sorensen, with Mighty Miss providing color commentary: “General Recall” “666 over early” “Abandon that start, we’re resetting the course.”etc. In B, Sam Lawrence’s sea green Whisper made it to the podium as did Dino Ness, and Roy Israel who led.
In A Fleet, below the winner who seemed to squeeze out of almost any situation for the better and avoided some Keystone Cop fleet roundings in dead and shifting wind, were the “junkyard dogs” who shared scraps of points and finishes. One bone went to Bloodhound Bahar in 6th, and two went to Kromfohrlander Licata but she ended up the 5th place puppy with 29 points and a bit behind Schipperke Guerin’s 28. Finnish Spitz “Good Boy” Myerson came off a wild and wet Cedar Point Saturday to take third with 25. In second, Eurasier Burpee gnawed on no bones but still got her fill with 24 points leaving top dog Kai Ken Sailor 3 bones and a medal for best groomed look. See AKC for the relevant breeds.
By the way, that white knuckle reference happened on the last windward leg of the last race. The flucky southerly finally made up its mind. As the leaders rounded the leeward mark a strong northerly almost knocked us down as the beat turned into a very broad reach in 15kt. Cane Corso Murphy (Affectionate, Intelligent, Majestic) nearly transitioned to a Water Spaniel but her boat stayed afloat as she leapt to the stern to get her bow back out of the water and only her paws got wet.
I can’t offer too solid an analysis as wins and leads came from going left or right. But would those who sailed Sunday agree that when it seemed appealing to go left off the line, those who went right seemed better off at the first windward mark? (or am I just a sore loser.) Of course the starts were crucial as usual, but Bahar got his win by keeping his head out of the boat and seeing wind right going up, and correspondingly to the left going down against the prevailing pack. The rising tide’s current played a big role at the windward mark, where if you tacked in wind at the right vector to the pin only to have it die, you got swept away into other oncoming traffic.
The Season ends next Sunday. Do remember to come an hour early as we leave the docks at 11:30AM!!!
April 3rd, 2021
Race report by Scott Guerin, video by Piotr Broszkowski
This reporter cannot speak directly to Saturday’s combined fleet of 17 across 6 races, but the small-sail scores have a tale to tell on their own. B Fleet podium includes Larry Decker in third, and going up to A Fleet are Zack Wininger and Marc Berkowitz who “walked the dog” to the top spot. (get the reference Marc?)
The top four of A Fleet’s seven boats finished within three points of each other and despite Jed Kwartler’s two bullets he was left off the podium with 24 points; a 9th place in one race wrecking an otherwise steady performance. Mr. Steady as She Goes Tracy Kingsley had no bullets but his 23 points were bronzed. Bahar Gidwani had two bullets and 22 points but it was Piotr Broznoski, with a bullet and no bad stumbles who won the day with 21 points. His remarkable 360° videos have everyone spinning and I can not more strongly recommend than to study them closely, you may even see yourself although on Sunday, you’d mostly be looking aft.
March 27th, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
If sailboat racing is about adjusting to an endless set of problems, then Saturday racing was about seeing a multiple set of problems in seemingly random and unpredictable order and somehow responding accordingly. One would think that with randomness would come an equally random set of outcomes, but there were a select few in the 18 boat A/B fleet who proved the adage wrong that in a day such as that it was less about skill than luck. We have, in previous outings, seen a competition of breezes and mega shifts from north to south and back again. This was kind of like that –but not really. You know that image of looking up at the masthead fly and seeing it spinning, and then everyone just remarking this is crazy. It was more like that. Puffs, shifts, ups, down, the wind from here, the wind from there, we are headed downwind, no upwind, it’s a bloody drifter, “shorten course”, sit on the rail, sit in the boat, wait, it’s southeast, no, no, no, it’s swung back northeast, wait a minute we are sailing upwind, no I mean downwind, so why is the boat 10 yards to leeward, sailing on a northerly and me on a southerly.
My favorite line of the day, “Just think, I gave up gardening for this.”
You had to have been there to truly understand the crazy, crazy, crazy. There were definitely some random outcomes, the kind of up and down finishes you would expect from that kind of day. But there was perhaps no better key to understanding why the tops stayed the tops than patience and acceptance. Kara Licata managed 3 bullets across 5 races to win the day in A. That is surely not random, but a sign that she was reading all that blurry data with something approaching Zen like insight. Eva Burpee looked so calm and cool, you had to wonder if NASA was secretly feeding her satellite data in real time. She had an easy second, and a bullet to help along the way. Larry Decker looks to have taken the win in B. I won’t say the rest of us, cause that might be a bit too sweeping, but let’s just say some of us were trying to just get around the course, and those bunchy mark roundings with our sanity still in one piece. I think I lost mine around the first beat of race 1! Oddly, for such a bizzarro day on the water, it was too much fun, in that given the warm temps, the bright sunshine, and the true test of sailing ability, that if I were gardening I might have exclaimed:
“Oh to be out on the water again, looking up at my masthead fly, wondering which way the wind blows.”
March 21st, 2021
Race report by Scott Guerin
In miniature, we sailed in an ocean worth of air Sunday. Scaled down one hundred times, there were
gentle hurricanes with becalmed eyes, there were trade winds to the left, doldrums sprinkled throughout,
and a Gulf Stream current steadily pushing us north. Mirages shimmered across the sound and the
waves were like those found in a swimming pool, albeit for polar bears at 36 degrees!
But no brave frostbiters were the 13 sailors in A and 10 in B for it was sunny spring sailing at its finest for
Day One of the Handicap regatta which endows the right for the two fleet winners to distribute funds
collected for the Phil Joseph Givers trophy, to a worthy sailing cause.
Allan Freedman and the Mighty Miss dished up windward/leewards managing the courses in a light
1-6kt shifty breeze out of the SE to SSW at an air temperature or 50 degrees or so.
B-Fleet saw podium finishes all the way down to 9th place, including two bullets for Tom Speyer but
they were not enough to offset his other more challenging endings. Larry Decker (I see he is ranked 3rd
in the B Fleet so far this season) had a bullet for the bronze. For the gold, Tim Barron’s double bullets
could not beat Peter Winder’s consistency, the result being 20 for Tim and 19 for Peter on top.
In A Fleet, the subtleties of starting and how one moved up or down the course were made well apparent
as bullets were almost always gained at the start for those with clear air and a lane wide enough to tack
in the shifts. Yet at times, the wind gods toyed with us like we were motes of dust.
In one race, Fred Treffiessen and Scott Guerin (the reporter full disclosure) were on the downwind leg
and agreed not to follow leader Paul Beaudin left, we went right and caught up but did not beat Paul in
the end. In another race, same lineup, we decided to follow Paul right as the left looked becalmed. Low
and behold, Bahar, Eva and Roy, going left, caught a private jet stream and zoomed past us all leaving
us in that dust.
Notice I wrote “follow Paul” as that was typically the rule of the day. His 3 wins out of seven put him on
top with a measly 14 points, to Fred’s 20, and Guerin’s 24. Further down the line, Bahar got a bullet and
would have been grumpy without that bling.
It was a good day to roll tack as was mentioned in the post-race discussion and speaking for A fleet, the
wins were found on the mid to left side of the course on the first leg. A pin-end start on starboard carried
you quickly to the port layline and this reporter felt fast sailing a bit overstood given the current. No one
tried a port tack start as far as I recall because the pin was too jammed up as the current made it hard to
lay the pin; I did see a few peel offs there. Downwind, the choice to go left or right around the line was
tricky, there was maybe better wind to the right but maybe better current to the left.
The fateful last leg. Rounding the leeward mark on Sunday it seemed to the reporter a 50/50 choice to
go right or left. Others may disagree but I found it took a few tacks up that leg to get to the finish line. My
thoughts are as follows: as you head to the leeward mark, you should be thinking through any wind
shifts that would favor the port or starboard tack, estimate the favored end of the finish line in light of the
tack, and try to go onto the tack that will move you toward that end (generally the longer tack and the
pin end Sunday). Try to come in at speed on starboard to cut off any port tack boats on collision
courses. I lost a boat or two near the line when I once had to duck those on starboard.
On the first windward leg I don’t think about covering too often, it’s about speed and getting to the mark,
keeping your head out of your boat, and looking for wind and boat position at crowded roundings. The
last windward leg requires thinking through who to cover, how tightly, and why. If you are behind, you
might split from the bunch ahead; this is the “can’t beat them by following them” rule. If you are happy
with your spot, you cover those behind you. If you are in the lead, by definition you have made the first
move, but you need to cover your opponents. If you are well ahead, a light blanket will do, if neck and
neck, it’s a tacking duel with the last cross usually winning. Ref KS and WSG last week.
I hope the analysis is of use, it’s my personal POV and others may differ.
The scores are provisional but the beers after racing Sunday were providential!
March 20th, 2021
videos by Piotr Broszkowski
March 13th, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
Ali v. Frazier. Mets v. Yankees, or Yankees v Red Sox. Martha v. George. (That last reference is for all you theatre goers our there.) Saturday was about two opposing forces, broadly the North v. the South. You can fill in the historical reference. Anyone who sails round these parts is familiar with the dying Northerly and afternoon fill from the Southwest. The frontal breeze loses its steam, giving way to a steady, summer onshore. The breeze dies, it backs, and then the Sound twinkles in the Sun as the force ripples across, coaxing the sea state into a gentle short chop. The Southerly is predictable, steady, with little relative variation in direction, like emerging above the clouds on your flight to some far flung destination. At race time, the sail out was in your typical harbor Northerly, you know the look, best summed up as cold, winter, the familiar “Frostbite breeze.”
Then the fun began, or more accurately the chaos ensued.
The breeze dropped, then backed, then filled from the South, which must have been dead on 210 degrees, straight from Execution Rocks. I recall, with wistful remembrance, looking right, to see if the Northerly was dead or just waiting in the wings to punch the Southerly right in the face. All seemed flat calm, placid, until it wasn’t. Let’s just say that is when the punches started flying. The shots came North and West with such variation in velocity and direction, mainly clocking back West from that brief moment of settled calm, that it put new meaning in shifting gears. And it wasn’t just about playing epic shifts. It was equally a velocity game and looking up the course to see when the next punch would land. We sailed a number W/L 2x, which for A sailors meant a lot of sailing through B, making it even harder to see up the course. You could look pretty poorly eating a port tack knock heading into the mark, only to tack on a shift so severe that suddenly you were laying and the poor suckers to windward were bruised and black eyed.
Equally, a move too far left or right into the corners could prove the coffin move. Then again, catching that right shift could put a nice smirk on your face, leaving your competitors on the mat. As the day wore on, the breeze did seem to favor the original NW plot line, with the RC shifting to no-gybe courses, as the wind piped and a few sailors swamped and swam. There were definitely a few standouts. In addition to a win for Kevin Sailor in A, Scott Guerin put a 1-2 in races 4 and 5 to place second, with Kara Licata one point behind in 3rd. There was less of a jumble in B, with Zach Wininger with 4 bullets in first, followed by the returning Aaron Wheeler in second.
All scores preliminary….
A special thanks in a very challenging day to Suzanne Hulme on RC and Melissa for, as they say, keeping calm and carrying on. It may have been our own version of Rumble in the Jungle (that was Foreman v. Ali), but it was a solid day of racing with 8 boats in B and 12 boats in A.
March 7th, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
Today, was not a day for nappers. If you were to Google nappers, you would find this reference: “Sleep lightly or briefly, especially during the day.” "She took to napping on the beach in the afternoons." Today, felt more like the Battle for Normandy. There was a blast, followed by a drop, and then a pick your way through the traffic to the next shift, and then if by chance you were napping, well you missed it. Well, sure a good start helped. But given say the half dozen changes in direction and velocity a good start was not going to get you round the weather mark in poll position. A northwester is always volatile, but this brought new meaning. The official score sheet listed the breeze as 3-15kts. That’s more than a range, it is a reason to freak out.
The top finishers did a few things right, besides keeping calm and carrying on, and then letting fate carry them the rest of the way. Fred Treffeisen won the day by doing two things exceedingly well, maintaining speed through the lulls and puffs, and (here is the key) tacking consistently on the shifts. There is tendency in a cramped fleet to play the boats rather than the shifts. You have to be particularly switched on to stay in phase, and that was a big reason that across 7 races in a 15 boat A fleet he took two bullets and had a string of top three finishes. Paul Beaudin had an impressive 4 bullets, but had to labor with a 5th and an 8th, which helped put him 2 points out of first. All the more impressive was Samantha Lawrence who over six races in the 10 boat B fleet took 5 bullets, besting Suzanne Hulme in 2nd and Keith Bell in 3rd.
(All scores are preliminary!)
Thanks to Kevin Sailor on RC, Melissa as always, Tim Baron for getting the CBs in shape, and a shout out to a really spectacular bright blue day, that made for one of those classics that make a long post-race nap well deserved.
February 28th, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
Hey Alexa, play songs about Sailing in the Rain. I found Singin’ in the Rain on Amazon prime video would you like me to play that for you now? You know the rest. Apparently there are no good songs about sailing in the rain. I am not sure why that matters, but sometimes you just want to hum an appropriate tune to ward off the bone chill of a cold soaking.
So OK this is a bit of a head fake, cause I figured lots of folks hid under their metaphoric covers when they saw the drizzly forecast. In reality, we pretty much had an entirely rain free day of sailing, yes a bit light, a 5-8 knot easterly with 18 boats sailing in one division. I felt, thematically at least, the day was divided into two Acts. Act 1 took place on an a very short line, just think 18 car pileup on the interstate, which made it really challenging to find and hold a lane. There were some epic general recalls. One had nearly the entire fleet OCS. The combination of pretty short windward legs, not amazing pressure, pretty much put us all in a cocktail shaker.
Act II had a lengthier – or lengthened lines – which suddenly upped the ante of available spots and put slightly more order to the chaos. (Emphasis on slightly) For my money, it was a go left sort of day, so a pin end drive and then a flip to port on the long tack, paid dividends. But there were exceptions. Driving out of traffic –wherever you could find a lane – and playing left of center also seemed to play pretty well at times. The second beat in Act 1 definitely saw a right favor, but those who hung out too far on the lay line paid the price on the approach. In an easterly, that right corner often pays, so this was one of those days to say only to a point. I also witnessed some wind ups on the left, which further defied the righty rule.
So getting back to tunes, I’d say just think electric Miles, as in you just really couldn’t tell what was coming next, and with those very crowded lanes off the start, most folks probably spent the day just gettin’ through the traffic. There were a lot jumbled finishes. John Field showed he had the stuff with 2 bullets, but mixed in with some other less savory treats. Marc Berkowitz punched impressively out of the box in Race 1, with a second to Kevin Sailor’s bullet. And on it went, with the chug-a-chug-a cocktail shaker. I had to check my eye sight on this one, but somehow your reporter eked a win for, with A division Kevin Sailor and his (count ‘em) three bullets comfortably in second ahead of Kara Licata in third.
In B Division, Larry Decker won it convincingly, managing to beat some A listers. He was followed in 2nd by John Schneider and Shig Odani in 3rd.
Thanks to Bill Zobrist for doing RC and the ongoing kudos to race runner Melissa Bontemps, whose calm admonitions on the general recalls could give the soothing tones of Amazon Alexa a run for her money.
Have a wonderful week. Sailing Saturday and Sunday through the rest of the season.
February 21st, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
Here’s why sailboat racing will make you play the fool – just about every time. Or more likely, just reveal the fool that you already are, but we won’t get too deep into that one. The forecast was northwest, with a late backing trend to southwest late in the day. Anyone who had their head buried in their Sailflow app – read me – would just kind of assume protect the left, go left, and just stay the off the right side of the course on beat 1, at all costs. Except, well, the breeze never really played the forecast, with high volatility in shifts and puffs, so much so that if you started DFL with an OCS (see the fool reference above), one could play the shifts on the right side of the course, and magically round the mark in the top pack. This was one of those days when I can explain exactly what you needed to do to win, but can’t explain the deficiencies of the human brain to explain all the things you were actually doing to lose.
If you followed that analogy, I’m not sure I did, then here are the three things you needed to win the third and final day of the Founder’s Regatta, tack on every shift, maintain boat speed through both the puffs and the lulls and avoid the corners at all costs. This is a lot like saying if you are Tom Brady or Megan Rapinoe, you too can win the Super Bowl or the World Cup. The day was really a supreme test of focus, tactics and boat speed. The real trend in the shifts was volatility, meaning that if you dialed it in hoping for a long tack, well chances are you just missed two (or three) shifts in the process. The sailor who both read the defense (using the football(s) analogy here) and executed consistently was Kevin Sailor, straight bullets save one race and A win for the day. He excelled at the short tack, meaning he would look for ways to ferret out the header, tack on it, consolidate his position, tack back on the next shift, and stay away from the corners. Sounds easy, all you need are great tacks, good boat speed and the discipline to play the shifts. And an arm like Tom Brady, or a passing shot like Megan Rapinoe.
There were others who read the defense pretty well as well. The one non-Kevin Sailor bullet was won by Bahar Gidwani. He rounded the top mark, in the top five, but saw the leaders heading off into oblivion on the right, and sailed by everyone on an obvious left bias, obvious to him that is. In B division, Will Scheck grabbed two bullets and an otherwise consistent day for the win, followed by Tom Speyer (also with two wins) in 2nd and Larry Decker in 3rd. It has to be mentioned that was the classic of classic frostbite days, from chipping the boats off the docks packed with snow and ice, to the 8-14 northerly, to the bright blue sky. It was tough out there, but it was a great day to play the fool, and seem wise in the process.
Kudos: Shig Odani and Melissa Bontemps deserve kudos on the RC. The big sail call looked prescient, even with some whistling in the rigging at race time, and nothing that a no jibe course transitioning to windward-leeward(s) during the moderation could not solve. In all, 24 (12 in each division, sailing 6 races in B and 7 in A) sailors made it out, another very strong showing. Thanks, as always, to Tim Baron for doing the very hard work of keeping the crash boaters organized, with our own person behind the CB curtain Rob Simonfy.
February 14 - 15, 2021 - Founder's Regatta
Race report by Bahar Gidwani
Two days of lighter breeze gave our action-starved sailors a chance to get out on the water. Sunday was light and shifty from the northeast. Monday was a little stronger but still patchy and shifty and from the southeast. Both directions are unusual for us and so created a nice test of our sailors' adaptability.
RC Piotr B set first a triangle and then a windward leeward on Sunday. Our ~18 sailors raced in one fleet. Piotr and Melissa changed windward marks and moved things around. But there was still chaos at the line at each start as different camps of sailors had different views on where to go.
Puffs were coming in from the edges, so when the wind was left it helped to go left. When the wind was right, there was pressure and shifts to play on the right. "Visitor" Eric Letellier showed how this worked by popping out of the pack to the right, digging into the right corner and then screaming around the mark. (Then his centerboard bolt fell out and he had to retire. An odd fate for someone who had just crossed and recrossed the Atlantic without incident!)
Your author doesn't have the scores, but it was clear that Kevin Sailor was faster than everyone else. He took almost all the bullets. Bahar and Eva struggled to keep up. Keith Bell emerged as a contender (until the last bit of the last leg) and various other sailors had moments of glory. The results will likely show a bunch in the middle of people who had good scores, bad scores, and middle scores.
On Monday, another 15 sailors showed up including Juan in his “new” boat (he bought Dakers “Honey Badger”). The weather was foreboding--at the end, the wind picked up and we started to see a storm coming across the Sound. But most of the day was 3-8 mph with annoying holes, odd shifts, and hard-to-read variations. Roy Israel stepped in to lead RC, with Melissa again driving the boat (and keeping everything orderly). Somehow, Roy and Melissa managed to set a course that didn't change. A windward leeward with looooong legs.
The boat end seemed a bit favored but the pin end promised a faster path to the shore (where there is normally better wind on this type of course). It seemed at each start that a different set of people were interested in a different strategy. Within a few minutes, there were boats spread all over the course.
Kevin Sailor was dominant again. In one race, he rounded fifth at the leeward mark and finished first. He snatched a certain bullet from Piotr, Dan Marques, and John Tremblay. The Fleet scrambled each time on the first leg, so everyone got a nice chance on the long downwind leg to say hi and chat with each other. There were many very close finishes as sailors tried the right (maybe a bit more wind), the left (maybe a bit more wind), and the middle (maybe some shifts?) on the last leg.
On both days, it was important to have good speed when the wind lightened. It was also crucial to look ahead for puffs and to tack efficiently on shifts. 15-18 boats is a large fleet. You can't count on getting a good start every race. You needed to look for opportunities to split with boats, pass boats, and put bad air onto the people behind you (upwind) or ahead of you (downwind).
We had four MFA members in crashboats on Sunday: Allan, Dino, Roy, and Alex. We had Alex and Tim helping us on Monday. Dino has apparently done enough rehab on his various aching body parts that he can sail—he joined us on the water on Monday. Thanks from all of us to those who stepped in this weekend. You gave us two much-needed days of competition.
January 1, 2021
Race report by Allan Freedman
This being the New Year, maybe the breeze could not decide what year it was. Hangover? Or maybe just a dose of ennui from watching bands it never heard of – and will probably never be heard from again – playing in the tepid chimes of 2021. There was a definite breeze, NNE, maybe around 5. And a few rail sitters were spotted on a few occasions. But those holes. And those velocity pings. They were more phantoms than puffs. The light state was opaque, diffuse, filtered through cheese cloth, making everything appear flat and the same, less vanilla than the color of ice, which of course has no color at all. There were a few reliable predictors of outcome. The shifts were there, unseen maybe, but there and fewer than say a northerly funneling through the harbor. So it was true, as it always seems to be, that a good start meant a good race. It was also equally true that if you went left, chances are you arrived at mark 1 in the alpha pack. So start plus lane equals success. A sailing truism.
But how much left did you need to go, on this second day of the New Year Regatta, with 27 boats A+B? Boats than hung a hard right on the first half of the upwind beat, missed out on the lefty in the corner pocket. But on occasion the right came in the closer you got to the mark, and on occasion vanished just as fast. There is nothing less disheartening to bank on the left, just like you always play the same number in your Vegas game, and then see those boats at speed riding in from the right. Sweet chariot how did my number not come up? It is like being on the wrong side of a presidential election, and that sinking feeling when you realize just how brutally out of touch you have been all along. This is the second day we have done course 2s, or W-L, and there were the occasional iconoclasts who tried the left downwind. My recollection is it paid once, for Bahar Gidwani, but despite the excellent course adjustments from RC Eva Burpee, who always puts the pro in PRO, those right hand runs seemed the path of least resistance.
On the final beats, deception seemed best avoided, that being the tantalizing idea that the left would provide a pay day, when the right play was always right. Just ask Jeff Sorenson who in race 5 calmly stuck it out there, and cruised to a 3 spot. My theory as to why Paul Beaudin won the day in A is that he did not so much pick the side, but play the lane. He was always left, but not crushingly left, and that allowed him to capitalize on clearer lanes and arriving at the new breeze first. He took 5 bullets for the day, world domination style, sailing bow down and cruising through the uncertainty. Kara Licata did a horizon job for an easy bullet in R6, playing a similar strategy and helping her to a second overall for the day.
In B division, Shig Odani did not have to win a single race to take first for the day, nor did Zach Wininger to take second. The bullets were shared by Sam Lawrence x 2, Peter Winder, Carey James x 2, and Holly Cullen. Like I said, that breeze was not easy to decipher.
[Mindful that these reports are A-centric, we are looking for authors from the b division, and so advertising for the post. Please put your hand up!]
The last day of the NY Regatta wraps Sunday.
November 29, 2020
Race report by Scott Guerin
Shimmering sun, and light southwesterly airs greeted the 30 or so socially distanced and masked racers, RC, and crash boat crews. A full-moon high tide lifted the docks skyward but we knew that many of those billions of gallons they floated on would rush out of Mamaroneck Harbor over the day, and cut across the course, influencing, a bit, the layline calls on the windward legs.
The safety circle foreshadowed cold doom to one racer as his arm was raised when Tim Baron asked who was not in a dry suit. And as a new procedure, we were encouraged to remove the gravel ballast bits from the Beach Point driveway, which we did so willingly…
RC Melissa Bontemps and Alexe Taylor held court over 24 racers, evenly split ‘tween heaven and hell fleets (I’ll leave the reader to decide which fleet was which) and reeled off a bunch of triangles in varying conditions. This reporter’s personal hell, A-Fleet, included several general recalls saving him from the “over early” ignominy he frequently suffers.
B-Fleet has a raft of talent and a good day was had by newcomers and old hands. But the Cousteau Club was joined by Peter Winder, who, not to be too harsh, was dressed for the weather in khakis and a light top, and he raced well and looked spectacular, until the 5th race, when the boom knocked his glasses off at the gybe mark. As he lunged for them, he tripped up and capsized. Luckily it was in the 5th of 6 races but if it had been earlier in the day and colder...well, wear a dry-suit people!
In B-Fleet over 6 races, a bullet found Larry Decker down in 5th, they skipped Sam Lawrence, but in 3rd, with 2 bullets but a 8th in the 3rd race was Zach Wininger losing by a point to John (sometimes a racer) Tremblay who came back from his Rumspringa and took second place with 21 points, leaving Shig (“I did OK”) Odani very cooly pleased to be on top with just 14 points comprised of 2,4,1,4,1,2, placements. John and Shig move up to A-Fleet and I predict Shig wins the yoyo this year!
I apologize for a light recap of B, we need reporters there!
In A Fleet, I won’t bury the lead: Sunday was very competitive (not to imply B Fleet wasn’t) with splits left and right from the start, tricky layline calls, reaches that went from by-the-lee to fat beats, close encounters and yelling of the Dyer kind, and a last leg that either paid off, or cut off, ones hope of a good finish. There must be a statistical way to analyse this but my intuition is that the more bullets are spread out amongst the racers, the more the day was competitive. On the other hand, it can indicate a crap-shoot of a day with light shifty winds, but Sunday’s 7 A-Fleet races were held in a reliable, slightly oscillating breeze which, late in the day, shifted from SSW to SW and freshened from fluky to fun.
Let’s go to the videotape: Jed Kwartler had an unusually off day but started strong with a deuce and an ace but totalled 44 pts; Bahar, with his Cheshire Cat smile, resorted in the first race to protesting yours truly on the finish line in a port-starboard situation I should have avoided thus costing me a 2nd but I kept him in check with my “no mercy for Bahar” rule the rest of the day. Next up was Eva Burpee who had her bullet in a nice wire-to-wire race. Allan Freedman, who I hear has re-named his boat “Couch” (inside joke) had two hollowpoints, but fell two shy of the podium. 666 managed to stay behind the line and mostly out of trouble, started weak but finished with a 1,2,2 in that freshening breeze more to his liking, with 28 points. Kara (check her weights) Licata found the day very much to her liking and included a win amongst her 25 points in a steady performance for the Silver. Lasty, Kevin (professor longhair) Sailor seemed to always figure a way back from adversity and ended up in his usual spot with a 3,6,3,4,2,4,1 series totalling 23 points. He is beatable but consistency wins out, kudos.
Some observations. The tide was ebbing and the wind blew in from the SW across the water’s top which often generates a significant chop on the right side. But Sunday’s chop was minimal so depending on the start and clear air, my tracks tended to head left toward Hen Island, then to tack over mid-course to cover people who started out to the right. Fewer tacks is always better so no more than 2-3 should be needed to get to the mark. I approached on both lay lines but in a tight fleet, when coming in on the starboard line, especially if you are on it, you risk a port tacker crossing just ahead, tacking to windward thus fouling your air, and likely lessening your chance to make the mark. My sail trim was fairly loose to keep me from pinching and provided power whereas Kevin experimented with a clew tie-down.
The last leg is where I lose races and places, anyone else have that problem? Frankly, I choke. I pinch, get out of phase, don’t cover well, and move around in the boat too much. In one race, within the last few feet to the line, pinched up to cross and with Kara and Kevin suddenly close on my hip, it was so tortuous that I called out “c’mon Alexe, call it!”, she replied “not my call.” Well, at least I won that one!
November 28, 2020
Race report by Bill Zobrist
What a day ... good cheer began with the spirit of MFA on full display with boats being worked on all over the place. Shig, Piotr and Bahar directed a shaggy bunch, although I thought donuts were going to be involved???
The racing day started light but with a steady build out of the West as 11 B Fleeters made their way out to Lucky. Joining us for a guest appearance were Eva, Mark and Carla ... giving the young pup, Zach stiff competition to realize his A Fleet dreams... alas, only 2 can move up and Eva nor Carla decided to hang around B Fleet long with 4 and 3 bullets respectively. Maybe next time Zach!
Ms. Bontemps and Mr. Wheeler had the races running like a Ford assembly line giving the fleets 8 races! Course #1 proved a good choice and B Fleet avoided a repeat of the previous week's Black Friday-esque free-for-all at the marks.
As the day grew longer, the puffs got puffier with the upwind sailing at times feeling like dental work without anesthesia. Both Holly and Steve experienced technical difficulties with dismasting ... but no one frolicked in Mamaroneck Harbor for a change of pace ... though Ian was inexplicably wading around at the end of the day by the docks. Those English!
B Fleet welcomes Tim and Carey back with open arms...
November 22, 2020
Race report by Scott Guerin
Sullen skies and a strong, almost too strong, easterly with choppy rollers greeted 20 racers on their arrival Sunday morning. The skippers stood in the safety briefing circle as Tim Baron introduced the crash boat operators and we all huddled against the gusts. But as we set off under small sails, the breeze lightened a bit, we all got our adrenaline going and warmed up.
Staffing Lucky, RC Mighty Miss Bontemps and Dino (your kids like that beard?) Ness set up a narrow no gybe course with a nice long line. On the course, the wind oscillated +- 15° and got you up on the rail then back in the boat fast; a long line meant you could gain leverage right, left or middle depending on the phase.
B-Fleet held their own in tricky conditions and 5 races. Ed Claflin tested the chilly waters in the last race but his dry suit held and he seemed pretty happy on the dock. Tom Speyer reeled in a third with 17 points including a bullet, newcomer Carey James had a bullet and 14 points, but it was Piotr Broszkowski, who wrapped up his day with three consecutive wins, taking the gold with 12 points.
A-Fleet: 6 races. This reporter quipped that if the finish line had been the last leeward mark, even the second windward mark, I’d have nearly won the day but the decisions about what phase of wind I was in (which had you head toward shore or stay out,) which shifts to ignore or tack on, and how to attach an anchor to Kevin Sailor’s boat eluded me! Those errors left me in fourth place with a steady 2,3,4,3,4,2 in a narrowly fought series as finish-line callouts were like machine gun fire for most races. So to recap: Guerin 18 points, Fred Treffeisen with 17 and a third, Rob Simonfy with 16, and Kevin, with particularly good downwind speed on the last leg, had a stellar 1,1,3,2,3,1, and 11 points, but I happen to know he was under pressure at least some of the time!
I want to conclude by saying you can really learn a lot by watching our top racers: their subtle kinetics (sometimes not so subtle) the sail trim, mast position, their focus, the way they keep their heads out of the boat looking at competitor’s positions and next puff, how they handle congested roundings, and their ease with this silly little tub of a boat means it is learnable. Ideally do this by racing against them but another way to get close up is to volunteer as a crash boat operator, and bring a camera!
Cheers, Happy Thanksgiving, and if anyone else wants to write race reports, chime on in!!!
November 21, 2020
Race report by Scott Guerin
I can’t speak directly to Saturday’s race except Allan’s text to me said that “everyone blew one race... it was a challenging day...fun and competitive.” Nonetheless, 26 racers (wow) competed in two fleets with the B-Fleet podium standing at Larry Decker w/ 12 points; Roy Israel w/ 9 points and Jeff Sorensen on top with 8 points across three races.
A-Fleet was led by Kara Licata who across 5 races garnered a measly 12 points (2,1,7,1,1,) then Paul Beaudin and Allan Freedman tied at 20 but Paul’s bullet beat the tie. Barely a half step behind was Bahar Gidwani with 21 points - his 9th place in the 3rd race was the blooper on an otherwise steady day and a probable second place for the day.
November 7, 2020
Race report by Scott Guerin
I have the distinct honor of inaugurating Mamaroneck Frostbite Association’s 63rd season with this report . WE SURVIVED. And in the face of COVID headwinds it would seem we are as strong as ever judging from the new blood joining the club and ongoing vigour from everyone else especially those who painstakingly planned our return to water.
And what a day it was: sunny with an oscillating southerly of 3-6kt. Given the previous weekend was cancelled, many boats were already on the dock and they trickled in during the day including Fred Treffeisen’s boat on its decomposing trailer. RC John Field and Melissa Bontemps called the shots from a crash boat and a shout out is needed for the crash boat crews who attended to numerous breakdowns, one capsize, and a wallow.
17 boats started the day in a combined AB fleet and using last season’s Division Assignment there were 5 in A and 12 in B across 8 windward-leeward races. Sadly, a charter boat steered by newcomer Joel Chovet suffered an unusual breakdown just before racing started: his boom snapped in half and he couldn’t race. Hang in there Joel, hope to see you again soon.
Starting with B-Fleet, we are all thrilled to have Captain “Go Sammy Go” Lawrence back on the water and she, in her Sea-green speedster, got a podium position with 63 points. Zach (sail #70) beat Sam by a point to take first place. MFA veteran Shig Odani rounded out the podium with a solid 3rd place finish with 70 points.
In A fleet, steady performance paid off as usual. Jed Kwartler, with two bullets counter-balanced by two toe-stubbers grabbed third with 32 points (3,2,3,1,9,5,1,8). Scott Guerin started off the season off with an over early call then reeled off two of his three bullets before “aggression” got the better of him and was over early again - leaving him in second place with 23 points (6,1,1,2,6,4,2,1). And so it was Bahar Gidwani’s day to be on top with 19 points (2,4,2,3,1,2,3,2).
Scores and placings above are unofficial BTW.
A reminder from the measurer - we’ll start checking weights this coming weekend (assuming we race) and the rule is as follows: WEIGHT: Sailor will be required to meet a minimum weight requirement of 190 pounds. This weight requirement will include the sailor’s body weight, all normal clothing and safety gear, and any optional equipment actually used by the sailor such as his/her boat’s paddle, bailer, tiller extender, filled drink bottle, and bow dodger. Notwithstanding this requirement, no sailor will be required to add more than 30 pounds of weight to her/his boat. Of this amount, no more than 20 pounds may be non-floating weight unless sailor also adds at least 10 pounds of positive floatation.