2018-2019 race reports

April 13, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman

The key when traveling across borders is to navigate to the right queue; who among us has not chosen the wrong passport line, only to see the travelers seated in 36C speed through with annoying speed. I find this experience often. For example, seated in the front of economy, my advantage gets jumbled when I board a bus to the terminal, and try to figure out if the door is opening on the right or left.

So too is it when the breeze comes in from the Southwest. The key is to not just get off the line as cleanly as possible, but to find the right, clear lane to ride up the course. Today, a T-shirt, shorts and UV 40 kind of day, and with the breeze blowing summer like  at 3-6 knots from the Southwest, it was Greg Takata. who found his way first to passport control, stringing together 4 bullets over 6 races to win A by 3 points. I do think there were advantages on the left, but really it was about getting launched into a lane and then driving through the light chop. There were variations in velocity and slight shifts, but not the sort you might see in a northerly.

Tim Baron ends the year in A, having bested the B fleet with both A and B sailing together For those who missed the day, you definitely missed a spectacular, not a day for dry suits, sunny warm and balmy. It didn’t blow, but the breeze was steady and the sun warm. Thanks to Kevin Sailor and the RC crew for a lovely day on the water. See you tomorrow for the finale!

April 7, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Despite another glorious day that greeted us in MaMaland, you gotta admit that when the best part of the day is the sail in, it’s been a tough day at the office. If Saturday was full of surprises, Sunday was the rack. Even Kevin Sailor said not too jokingly that he’d lost 10 pounds and I think most of the fleet was on a nerve induced weight loss program at one time or another during the afternoon.

The wind was fickle as can be seen in the image below shifting from the SSW to more a more solid SW over the afternoon. A bit of time was spent on the rail but mostly, racers hunched down, still, laying back, footing off, trying keeping tacks to a minimum. 

A note about RaceQs: it's designed for races of larger size so the boutique course we sail on gets a bit sketchy at times. GPS signals vary, current pushes marks around, and boats seem to be transported across the course as the modems try to keep up. So few racers have used it that comparing your track directly with another is rare to date. But it shows well wind trends like the consistent rightward wind shift that suggests that those who headed right, generally benefited from a knock on Port and the lift to the mark on Starboard, if the wind held up that is! It is also pretty shocking to see how many times a tack (at least mine) are a super liability: I oversteer, I go slow after, and frequently a shift is ephemeral so you go from one knock to another.

B-Fleet saw John Schneider step up to the plate with a fine looking 2, 2, 1, 5, 5 totaling 15 points, while Eric Letellier kept him honest with 3, 3, 4, 1, 2 and 13 points. But it was Mr. Last-off-the-docks and go rightRoy Israel who took command with a 1, 1, 2, 3, 1 and 8 points. Roy and Eric move to the A-Fleet whipping post.

A-Fleet races were marked by a clear-cut leading-group and trailing-group almost from the start to finish. But it was no fixed clique as the wind gods played dice with that membership depending on that racer’s start and first 30 yards of the leg. Several races were general recalls, much to the relief of this reporter and many others, but with the 1-minute rule in effect, it was a fairly civilized party. Jed Kwartler honored Neptune with a demonstration of the "over-roll" and we also saw demonstrations of the "Takata Twist*" and the "Wilcox Slam**."

The tide was said to have been high at 1:17pm but seemed to continue to fill the basin to the end of the day. I say this because of the Kingsley Phenomenon: the closer you are to the finish line, the slower you go and the stupider you behave (pinch, tack, go to wrong end of skewed line etc.). True, right? There were so many close finishes that RC sometimes hesitated for a moment before announcing their bada bing bada boom result.

By 2:55pm, B-Fleet was headed back and A-Fleet had basically packed it in toward the dock. But RC said not so fast, one more up and back you dogs. Leaving aside Fred Trefiessen, who won the day with just one win in his 2, 2, 1, 5, 7 19 point tally, the next 5 racers were separated by just 5 points. Sailor had a 1, 1, 5, 7, 6, 5 (25) for second place while Paul Beaudin took third with a 5, 4, 7, 1, 12, 1 (30). Bahar lost the tiebreaker to Paul for fourth and Kara beat Colley in yet another tie breaker at 31 points each.

Looking forward to one more weekend on the water and I think we’ll see rare bird Allan Freedman come back to roost next weekend!


*Takata Twist: when a leeward boat on a downwind leg and outside the circle takes someone "up, up, up" to gain the inside room at the mark

**WIlcox Slam: when a group of boats has collected at the leeward mark, the Slam is to hold back and follow the most inside boat around the mark as they are blocking outside boats from closing you off.

Wade, Guerin, and Macies sailing out in light breeze

April 6, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

By Saturday’s race time, a nice looking sea breeze had set itself up from the SE and we got in a good race or two. Then the wind dropped, we flopped around a bit, the breeze shifted 180, and finally filled in from the predicted NW. The RC did a very good job keeping things moving while the crash boats were busy with course changes. The image below is oriented due north and the tracks of Guerin, Wheeler, and Vogt are visible.

The podium’s triumvirate was led by the unassailable Aaron Wheeler with 4 bullets, Rebecca Macies was  right behind with 4 deuces, and Shig Odani with a 4, 3, 4, 4, was third. It was Suzanne Hulme's turn to test the water temperature and it was reported that a crash boat operator, when asked what happened, said "it looked like she jumped in...". But Billy Z, despite wanting to equal Mark Spitz's 1972 Olympic Gold Medal total of 7, stayed out of the water!

Two of A-Fleets’ voodoo savants – Kara Licata and Paul Beaudin  – kept the bullets to themselves except the one they slipped to Colley Wheeler in race 2 of 6 to keep him happy, Thor that he is. Paul won the day with 13, Kara came in second at 17, and Colley beat Guerin in a tie breaker at 24 points with Greg Takata right behind at 25.

Big shifts in the breeze kept RC busy and the racers on their toes

March 31, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Despite weather reports suggesting big wind from the WNW around 1pm, RC Guerin & Flores (ably assisted by Melissa and JDV), hoisted the green flag for large sails as 21 racers again suited up at the docks and drifted out with the ebb. Knowing the southerly would shift, RC used every buoy their holster and set up courses for no-jibe, triangle, and windward-leeward with wind-shift options. Still, we were accused of setting the starting pin “in another state.”

A and B started together in very very little wind on a simple up and back towards the south. The ebb swept many boats away from both the starting and rhumb-line but the leading pack at the windward mark were roughly Sailor, Taylor, Field, Marques, Kwartler.  The current meant laying the mark on port took several tacks while in a crowd and, well, Marques hit the mark, so bye-bye Dan. Then, those that did manage to round found themselves on port tack facing starboard-tack boats now in the rounding queue. Kevin Sailor, stretching out the last of the southerly, came around in first but as the wind shifted hard right, the leg went from being a run to being a long beat into the nose of current. Those that started very late, including Bahar, Burpee and Goode, benefitted from the shift and could now lay the mark from their foxholes and pretty soon the tuba players became the majorettes.

Strategically, from the RC’s POV, we speculated that the play after rounding was to head right to stay out of the current. It seemed to pay off as Kevin did that and won handily, and Bahar – having now laid the mark on starboard tack in building breeze, came from way back and picked off Eva Burpee near the skewed line. Kudos to new member Steve “Johnny B” Goode who took fourth after playing his cards perfectly! There were tight finishing packs and lots of WTFs right at the committee boat as tide and wind battled boats to a draw.

Then, at 1:30, the clouds darkened, rain spattered, the temperature dropped 10 degrees, and the northwesterly filled in. RC hailed the fleet that a blast was coming out of the channel. It did, and the fleet hunkered down together and flogged their sails. RC now stood for “Really Conflicted” as the squall blew through, then seemed to stabilize for a moment at sailable, then thrashed us with a solid 20 -25+ – beyond the reach of large sails for sure. We canvassed nearby racers and they gave mostly thumbs down and we abandoned the day with regrets.

The crash boats shepherded the fleet in safely with wingman Tracey Kingsley hanging back with stragglers until the crash boats got back out to tow them in, and later, pull the marks.

As always lessons were learned: in heavy wind, get the centerboard up 45 degrees so you can slide off the wind but maneuver, keep some vang on so the boom doesn’t get out of control and power you up when that’s the last thing needed. And Dino Ness (whom we all should trust as he’s a Canadian curler) correctly pointed out that a boat that starts more that 5 minutes after the starting gun is DNS with no recourse…next time.

While the day didn’t count, a bubbling vegetarian chili paired with a sausage loaded stew assuaged our chill while good banter recounted the near misses.

Better luck next week.

March 30, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

It was reported that Saturday’s racing was highly variable with wind starting from the East with chop, shifting South with lumps, then to the Southwest with tacos. The 100 degree shift kept RC chair Barhar Gidwani and team busy, nonetheless they got 5 A-Fleet and 3 B-Fleet races onto the tally board. The turnout continued to be superb with 21 racers: 13 in B and 8 in A and while Steve Goode took the cold tub treatment, all in all…a good day!

In B-Fleet, Steve Wade stepped onto the podium with a 3, 2, 6; Tim Baron weighed in at second, with a 2,3,2; but it was a hat-trick for Dino Ness with a triple bullets. All three go to the A-Fleet woodshed.

A-Fleet saw consistent finishes by the top three with John Field’s 2,3,2,3,4; Kara Licata’s 4,2,1,2,2; and Paul Beaudin’s 1,1,3,1,1 for the win – whatz he eat for breakfast?

March 17, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Saturday the 16th was a blow out and racing was cancelled. But for the start of the Handicap Regatta, and in recognition of the Phil Joseph Givers Award, Sunday the 17th saw over 30 sailors at the dock and a couple of Benjamins were contributed to the pot as a result by Allan Freedman and John Field. There were a few breakdowns on the dock (of both bodies and boats) and we ended up with 28 racers on the course. A perfect, sunny day, 45°, heavy ebb tide, with a breeze generally from the west but oscillating in direction and speed during the afternoon. Given the gusts were at the upper limit of the large-sail call, a no jibe course was set by RC Roy Smith and the Mighty Miss. Pretty sure I saw Rick Kaskel and John De Vincenzo helping out on deck too.

In B-Fleet, amongst the 13 racers, Odani and Zobrist took the spa treatment and a number of others had breakdowns or retired over the course of a tough day. Peter Winder had a first race bullet but in the end it was Tracy Williamson just off the pace with 25 points, rare podium bird Tom Speyer perched at 3rd with 20 points, Samantha Lawrence in 2nd with 12 points (4,3,3,2) and befitting her hard core performance at YRALIS Saturday, Alex Taylor hauled in the gold with 6 points (3,1,1,1).

A-Fleet’s 15 racers saw a couple of our usual suspects out of the picture (Beaudin and Sailor) providing those in need of improving their handicap a much needed chance. Bullets were sprinkled down to eighth place (Takata) and given the heavy shifty air, it was not an ideal day for all-star Kara Licatta who ended up in 4th. But in an almost unheard of result, everyone on the stand had the same 21 points – a three-way tie-breaking heartbreaker. Bahar Gidwani scored 3,3,3,8,4 while Jed Kwartler had a 1,7,10,1,2 but it was Scott Guerin who popped the champagne cork despite his uneven 2,1,1,5,12.

I had three great starts, two mediocre, and one disaster having to do a 360 after the gun and below the line due to an encounter of the close kind with Dan Marques. Way behind, I headed right while the fleet went left and I clawed past a boat or two. Up the last leg, I was waltzing with Tracy Kingsley and at the final windward mark, which we rounded to starboard, he overstood and I snuck by him. That point made the difference in my day.

Lesson learned: Every boat counts!

March 16, 2019 - YRALIS

Race report by Scott Guerin

Saturday, Eva, Paul, Alexe, and this reporter went to Riverside YC for the YRALIS (Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound) frostbiting champs and got totally trashed and unfortunately, I don't mean in the St. Paddy's Day sense. Thanks to Melissa, and Robert who came by to cheer us on. The Dyer 10, into which we were strapped, is a real sailboat as compared to, as one wag put it, the Dyer 9, which is a rowboat with a sailing kit. True enough, but the MFA team, with over 120 years racing experience between them, managed, at best, to barely sweep up the elephant doo doo and that was from an often underwater location.

In an average breeze of 23 kts with air cannons well into the 30's, the racers who ended up on the podium were like the Starman sitting in the Tesla launched by the Falcon Heavy. Solid, stable, in control, and with a gorgeous view. Even Mike Calman, former MFA champ, sat it out. I was truly humbled as the physicality it took to stay alive on the course was well over my ability...or should I say, twenty years past that point of Minkowski space-time. The not tongue in cheek "Mermaid Trophy" went to fantastic sailor Ellen Quinn from Riverside YC who placed 9th overall while the winner, Barry Parkin, also of Riverside, amassed a measly 13 points (3,11*,5,3,1,1) *his throwout.

But lessons were learned: next year, wherever the champs will be, have a couple of guest races under one's belt. Know how the boats are rigged and be prepared with blocks and lines to modify your assigned boat to your preference. Race in foamy whitecaps sure, but have a damn good dry suit!  See the video I made, which does little justice to the actual conditions, here: YRALIS 2019 or do the 800MB download here (it’s good for a week or so only) https://we.tl/t-Ge8T1AaJcf

March 9, 2019 - YRALIS

Race report by Allan Freedman

Well you have to give credit where credit is due, when you are able to race 6 races when (really) it was the kind of day that the wind was so still you could see your reflection on the water and sound travelled effortlessly without the hint of disturbance. That credit goes to RC Paul Beaudin and Alexe Taylor who managed to shift marks, and courses with every subtle shift in what could more aptly called a whisper than a breeze. Ostensibly, the whisper oscillated from Southeast to Southwest, with maybe a 30 degree range.  My favorite line of the day came from Mr. Beaudin, who as we started the first race, promised not to torture us, if things got truly painful.

A day like Saturday could have indeed made for some tortuous sailing, but the combination of very short courses (course 3, up and back) and keeping the course relatively square made for both fun and competitive sailboat racing. In A division, Gregg Takata proved the true wind whisperer keeping it consistent across six, with two bullets. You might have guessed that Kara Licata, who always manages to put it in gear, particularly in the lighter stuff, had two bullets to take home, along with a second for the day. Peter Winder dominated in B (also with two bullets) along with Brad Seiler in second. 

Picking sides made a difference, particularly given the shifts, but keeping it zen probably mattered more. Kara came back from an OCS, by popping out to the right, and then just driving her line. Gregg floated into 2nd from what must have been 4th at the mark rounding, in the last race, by catching some mo after the rounding and then letting the boat run with it. The day was glorious, with bright blue sky and plenty of sunshine. It was probably a better day for fishing than sailboat racing. But who could have figured: It was a pretty good day for sailboat racing as well.

February 24, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman

The wind howled all night in my neck of the woods, but it could not bring itself to speak – at race time Sunday. Beach Point looked more like the Maine Coast when the soup rolls in, with a dense fog accompanied by zero velocity. The RC set up in mid-channel, and about all that moved was the outgoing tide pointed straight across the Sound. There was no logic to any of it. Storm warnings were a tease, and even the promise of a modest build ended in betrayal. Heading out under small sails must have provoked chuckles among the weather gods, and our floating, bobbing  and sculling did not resemble anything approaching sailing. After an hour of zero, everyone floated back to the dock. By 3 PM, the fog may have lifted somewhat, but the breeze was still and silent.

February 17, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Today, sunny, 40F, a nice light air day; a bit of breeze out of the south, shifty to the east with spectacular Kelvin Helmholzt clouds foreshadowing the “winter storm” coming our way; a red and yellow windward pin tossup off a sometimes skewed line; then the wind died, then it filled in SSE at 4-6kt at the end of the day, leaving a lot of us wanting another one a bit after 3pm. The debate post-race was to trim to chop or no chop, go left or right, and on which leg? 

On this, the first day of the Founder’s Regatta, let us remember Bus Mosbacher, Warner Willcox, and Howard McMichael, who, in the post-Korean War baby-boom era founded the Mamaroneck Frostbite Association in 1958. Several of the early members are still with us… Sandy Waters, Rocco Campanelli, Marv Kapilow, Merril Roth, and many others out there, some now in their 80’s who still watch over us, checking the scores, or seeing what they can see of our racing from the shore, from the RC, or on the Beach Point webcam. But enough nostalgia!

Perhaps the “national emergency” cut into the number of racers on the course (oh yeah, it’s President’s Day weekend too – how ironic) leaving eight B-Fleeters and thirteen A-Fleeters caravanning out to Lucky and the RC of Berkowitz and Winder.

Over 5 races, the B-Fleet podium found Tony Ramos in third with 15pts, Tim Baron, in second, with a super-consistent 2,2,2,2,3 totaling 11 pts, but it was Alexe Taylor, giving the masters class to the fleet, who unloaded 5 bullets and ruled the day. At one point, A-Fleeters watched her moving fast in pressure on the second reach whilst her unfortunate comrades had yet to lay the windward mark.

A-Fleet welcomes the return of Fred Trefeissen and his carbon-fiber black hull! Given the level of the group, it is no surprise that there were contentious starts, contentious windward marks, contentious jibe marks, and contentious leeward marks! I probably speak for many mid-pack racers in either fleet: how do the leaders know which way to head off the start in the first race or two? How do they manage to watermelon-seed out from weak starts? How is, it 3 meters from the finish line, they have the speed and you don’t?

In the end, Fred stepped right back into things placing third with 22 points, while Paul Beaudin and Kevin Sailor duked it out more or less alternating first place finishes. In the end, Kevin prevailed by a point with three bullets and 14 points to Paul’s three bullets and 15 points due to a slip-up in the 5th race. Down the ladder, Bahar beat Kara in a tiebreaker leaving guy-in-a-new drysuit Guerin holding the flowers.

Post-race F&B was voluminous with a very hearty beef and mushroom stew over farro, Sundry craft brews etc.

February 10, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Finally, a Goldilocks kind of day greeted the cadre of racers on Sunday – not too little wind and not too much – it was a variable 5-10kt out of the WNW to W with boat speed on the beats of 2.5-3kt max and on the reach up to 4.5kt according to RaceQs. After Saturday’s blowout of the Larry Goodwin regatta, with 30kt+ gusts and upper 20s temps, it was a relief to experience frostbiting at its finest. 

The fleet of 12 sailors in B, and 17 in A got off the docks under large sails and made their way to Lucky. Onboard, the RC of Tim “the whip” Baron and Bill Zobrist were kept very busy given it was just the two of them who handled 6 starts for B and 7 for A, finishing and starting simultaneously more often than not. They set a nice long triangle course and kept the line fairly square by shifting the pin to match the oscillating breeze. 

In B fleet, Shig Odani, normally a star, had a tough day with a frozen centerboard keeping him on the dock late and then, when on the course, with other issues: sometimes that bathtub just don’t wanna go where you point it. Dino Ness and Eric Letellier each DSQ’d (with no recourse) when they crossed the finish line on their way to the jibe mark, but despite that, Eric came in third with 28 points, Marc Berkowitz with a 5, 1, 3, 2, 4, 5 totaled 20 points, and “Mr. Steady” Will Sheck with a 1, 8, 1, 1, 2, 1,  led the fleet. He and Marc move to A fleet as punishment. 

The long windward leg, requiring 3-5 tacks to stay with the shifts, seemed to penalize the corners. And with what should have been a rising tide lifting boats toward the windward mark, it seemingly was not, and a lot of racers in both fleets misjudged that lay line causing pileups and shouting.

In the Opti-Worlds-scaled A fleet, it was the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as 3rd place was sprinkled down to the 12thrung on the ladder. 

Let’s start with the Ugly: In the second race,  Scott Guerin and Greg Takata had game winning positions to the left, catching a lift and laying the mark half-way up the leg. A puff came down the course and they should have got out of their rail-hiking mode and tucked in as it was 80-degree hard knock. Guerin auto-tacked and went under with the boat rolling over him, Greg told me he got tangled trying to tack out of it. This reporter gives a huge shout-out to Obi who hauled a water-logged 200-pound “dog” out of the water with one big pull. See the gory details by clicking here. ß movie link, click it!! 

The Bad: Fascinating bumper cars at the pin end of a highly leveraged line; a race leader, smelling blood, taking three boats “up, up, up” at the leeward mark; and photo finishes at the skewed finish line. David Bessey, Aaron Wheeler, and Peter Winder go back to B to teach those kids a thing or two. 

The Good: the top of the pack included the usual suspects, but John Field got his foot onto to podium and kept Kara Licata in 4th. Paul “win the battle lose the war” Beaudin with a 1, 2, 1, 1, 4, 9, 11, totaling 29 points, lost to Mr. Kevin Sailor’s absolutely rock solid 3, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1 summing a paltry 11 points. I’ve hardly ever heard Kevin say a loud word on the course, only kind ones, such as once telling this reporter after a race to “take a chill pill” and, on Sunday, I actually did!

February 3, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

In light southerly airs of 3 to 5kts with no time spent on the rails, a starting-line breeze vacillated between red and yellow windward marks set short by the veteran RC Sandy and Sam (Waters and Lawrence that is). Twelve racers in B fleet and Sixteen in A tested their ability-to-chill-under-pressure given the warm sunny skies more redolent of spring skiing in Sun Valley or the Dolomites that the Polar Vortex. Look at the webcam shot, it looks like a nice day in Santa Barbara! 

None the less, competition was fierce across both classes. Pre-race prep found. Kara Licata massaging her hull with some rejuvenating concoction, while others were just scraping sea gull doo doo off their hulls. The crash boat crews broke the ice for the shaken, not stirred, ride off the docks to Lucky. Is an ice flow an obstruction? Yes, but that most exciting hail in saildom was not heard on Sunday to this reporter’s knowledge; too bad, next time the chainsaws please.

In B Fleet Todd Cook notched a bullet beating Tom Speyer but Suzanne Hulme was more consistent in her finishes to edge him in her new boat for a fourth-place finish. On the podium was our Holly Golightly racer Siofra Potash  (first race this year?) who lost to John Schneider in a tie breaker, and at the top of the pile was veteran Perter Winder with a stellar 2,2,3,2,1 combo.

In a light air crap shoot, consistency pays off. The big A fleet saw David Bessey do a controlled slip-off-his-banana-peel heading out to the left from the pin with initial success in a few races… gotta love his wood mast! Guerin, dip starting as usual, was over early once along with many other aggressive A-fleeters who heard their numbers called out by Mighty Miss. They may have cleared the line some moments later but in a crowded fleet, it was a suffocating eternity.

In A-Fleet, two points of view drove the short leg to the windward mark, go left or bang it right. Paul Beaudin, with his self-admitted not great starts, usually recovered by heading right and kept surprising the seemingly solid positions of Kara Licata and others on the left by careening in with great speed. Still, in the duel,  Kara held him off by a point with a record of 1,2,1,1,2,6 versus Paul’s 3,1,3,2,1,4. Sailor was in third, with Guerin the also ran by a measly point. 

Post-race libations and food exceeded our standard fare and a hearty-shout-out to our Crash Boat Crews of Roger, Obi, Matt, David, and newcomer Jerold!

Cheers to all, apologies to the unmentioned,

January 27, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Given the wind forecast this morning, frostbite clubs fell like dominoes across the Sound today, cancelling their races.

But a redoubtable gang of Mamaroneck Frostbiters asked metaphorically: “Are we not men?”

“Yes” was the resounding answer as 18 men and women, Devo-ted to the challenges of wind and tide, tested the course with big rolls of the die cast toward go-left or go-right strategies, with tactics on the approach to the windward mark that rivaled crowds trying to get in the 96th street subway during a morning rush hour.

Six races were held in the narrow confines of the channel off the Beach Point docks. The course could have been considered a stadium racing venue given Samantha Lawrence (the sole spectator who would have sailed except she left her dry suit at home given the prognostication) who cheered us on from the docks while under her blanket. She also proved to be the deciding witness in a protest hailed by none other than Tim Baron against protagonist Todd Cook. Tim won the decision against Todd’s tacking too close inside the circle. Bahar Gidwani provided detailed commentary during the hearing and post-race libations.

Here’s the scoop: RC Kara Licata and Rebecca Macies kicked off six races for the combined fleet with the help of John Field, Robert DiVincezo, and Roy Israel who photographed the day with a bazooka-scaled lens. A variety of courses were sailed, starting conservatively with a no-jibe course and extending to the “Dino” course: a triangle windward-leeward. By 2pm the wind died a bit and had shifted right as SailFlow predicted. Those that had showed up in the parking lot pre-race – or from their pajamas at home – and had looked out at the whitecaps coming across the fetch in the 20kt+ southerly, either stayed in bed or left too early, dismissing a “channel course” missed out on a terrific day of racing under scuttling clouds and sun in 8-10kt and with short gusts that put one out on the rail; the dock bustled with small-sail fervor and we headed out.

As usual, the starts were decisive given the short courses; the rising tide pushed the fleet back and away from the line leaving space for the canny few to dip-and-go in a clear lane. The pack at the start often included Burpee, GIdwani, Schneider, Letellier, Flores, Marques, Wheeler, Guerin, Baron, and Ness, who, having gained the edge, often headed to the left where greater pressure seemed to be. The windward and leeward mark rounding’s were dense given the short courses with tight, nose-to-stern or rail-to-rail separations. Some bumper cars and port/starboard intersections were the norm. This reporter, having been around the block in the Lower Hudson’s currents, has never been more delighted to overstand the windward mark by 15 degrees and follow the shifty port vector down to the layline and hit the mark dead on – others did as well.

Bullets were spread across a narrow range with Gidwani and Marques at 1 each, and Burpee and Guerin at two each, but Guerin’s DNF in the second race (he rounded the leeward mark to starboard, not to port as required) put her in first place for the day with 17 points, Bahar Gidwani, in second with 23 points was followed by Juan Flores with 26. In B fleet, Marques andBaron move to A. Finally, a shout out to Robert Leviton who, to my knowledge, joined us on the course today for the first time!

Lessons for a dicey day? Get a good start.  Believe in your tell tales but don’t tack on every shift. Tack when you have wind and flat water but tack as little as possible. Find a clear lane. And if you are in the hunt, know who you need to beat.

Cheers, and so happy to be out there with all of you today!

January 13, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman

Perhaps Scott Guerin should rename his new ship Magic Carpet Ride. That might be more apt than say El Diablo, the current moniker. The story in A saw repeat offender Kevin Sailor post yet another first for the day. But it was Scott Guerin who showed some break-away speed in his new Dyer, which just happens to be a former fleet champion boat. A lovely, building northeasterly – with one brief drop to 0-3 – saw one of the best sailing days of the year, with 14 boats in A and 12 boats in B. Tim Baron showed a bit of magic of his own in B, winning the New Year’s Regatta, despite spending the day in a crash boat. He took his first place finish in Day one, and got an automatic repeat with crash boat duty. (This was Day 2 of the NY regatta, and back to regular order next week.) The “real” winner for the day in B was Carla Murphy with a 3-1-3-2.   

Interestingly, no one dominated with say straight bullets in A, but stringing relatively consistent finishes proved the formula. Scott posted a 12th in race one, but then a 5-1-2-1 to take second overall. Kevin had just one bullet and carried a 7th and still won the day. Starts always matter, but the shifty NE made getting off the line and into a clear lane particularly critical. Those of us who lost the start, ended up being lost down the stretch, with the occasional breeze die and leeward mark bunch up to suggest a road to salvation. A few toplines on rescue and safety. A few boats hit the drink. If a crash boat is not nearby, go for an immediate rescue by pulling a sailor over the transom. Your swimming compadre will thank you later. Make sure to get into the crash boat ASAP, and don’t try to do the breast stroke or adjust your rig while upside down.

Winter is coming! Followed (as always) by Spring.

New Year Regatta: Day 1 - Dec. 30, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

Today was the kind of day, that if you listened carefully, you just might hear more than a few sailors exclaim: I was robbed! It was the wind that was doing the robbing, or at least the toying, bobbing, weaving, veering, clocking and (ultimately) just dying.

Thanks to RC Eva Burpee and the entire RC Team for salvaging Day 1 of the New Year’s Regatta, putting in the minimum two races in extremely light, extremely flat and extremely patience-inducing conditions. Paul Beaudin did manage to pick more than a few pockets with a 2-1 for the win in the 12-boat A division. Tim Baron showed equal consistency with a 1-2 for the 13 boat B division win.

Paul had more than a few tricks up his sleeve, sailing with a relatively tight outhaul, weight centered over the CB trunk and forward and his main sheet trimmed forward (and cleated, to keep the boat in the groove and avoid over trimming.) Picking the correct side did pay, for example, the left punch out in Race 2, but it hardly mattered given the beat that turned into a run in the last race – and a bunch up, pile up at the leeward mark and a fleet scramble at the end. Great for those who rode the outside of the lift and velocity like a merry go round, but not so good for those sitting closer to the center of the spinning wheel and lower velocity. Like I said, crazy stuff!

There was some extraordinary light that broke through the clouds, and despite the trying conditions, pretty cool to be out on the water. Day 2 of the NY Regatta is Tuesday. And breeze is in the forecast!

Tim Baron with his clear view of the rest of B Fleet

Race Committee looking for wind from the top of Lucky

Race report: Dec. 23, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

Sometimes the breeze just comes in waves, touching down in no particular pattern like pockets or ponds rewarding patience and ferreting out the velocity and shifts, with an emphasis on velocity. It was a spectacular warm later fall/winter day – and for those of you who missed it, you indeed missed the classic frostbite, warm (by December standards) and fading winter light.

The breeze was light, prevailing in the 5 knot range with big sails and the occasional puff that put you out on the rail, but that was more the exception. The winners either shot the medium corners, or found a way to stay in phase and keep the boat moving through the lulls and finding the velocity. Given the prevailing Northerly, it seemed logical that breeze would occur from the left, or down the harbor side where it might naturally pipe on course, The right, however, paid as much on the first beat, with some clear winners.

That was certainly the case for the A winner Roy Israel , who commanded speed off the line and a right fetch on races one and two for a quick out of the box successive bullets. By race 3, Jed Kwartler settled in for a third, posting a bullet and two seconds for a second place across 6 races.

The 9 boat A division sailed in companion with 14 boats in B, posting another stellar turnout, even if it were not a holiday weekend.Rebecca Macies was consistent for the win, with two bullets and nothing less than a second across four races. Carla Murphy took second and Will Scheck  in third.

Next week is the kick off of the New Year’s regatta on Sunday. Looking forward to another spectacular day of winter sailing. Many thanks to RC work from Scott Guerin and Dino Ness, Tim Baron who hopped in a crash boat and a very robust crowd on the RC who helped make things happen.

Race report: Dec. 9, 2018

Race report by Scott Guerin

This past Sunday, 15 A-Fleeters and 14 in B-Fleet sallied out under large sails into a bewitching Sou’easterly of 4 – 6kts with light chop rolling in. Race Committee Dakers Gowans and Jed Kwartler were kept busy setting things up and busier still when halfway into the first start of the day, the wind shifted to the nor’west and died. In the somewhat chilly air of 35 degrees the sailors flopped around and chatted about the Star Sailors League Championships, and other matters no doubt, till the wind settled back in at 3 – 4kts in a hefty ebb.

Many of us were excited by the presence of a photo drone, launched from Lucky, buzzing overhead. New member Alex Vogt and his pal Tom Vigilanti (what an aptonym for a drone operator!) managed to get a few shots in before a hard landing busted one of the drone’s propellers. They’ll try again soon weather permitting. There were a couple of GoPro users and John Cutsumpas sent over the attached images… looks light and it was! As usual in light air, the goal was to keep a look out for pressure as winners went left, right, and center tacking as sparsely as possible. In the shifty air, keep track of the favored end of the line. Take a shore transit of the pin end so you can avoid being OCE (On Course Early) or worse, NFN.

The B fleet saw 3 starts with Peter Winder sailing a 4, 1, 4, Aaron Wheeler with a 1, 6, 1, and Mr. Consistency Jeff Sorensen nailing a 2, 2, 2 to the wall! All move up to A fleet. In A-fleet, across 4 races, second and third place finishes were scattered all the way down the line to 11th place overall. That scattershot series of finishes ended with Greg Takata’s solid 5, 4, 5, 6, a mere point behind Paul Beaudin’s 6, 5, 1, 7. Kara Licatta is back in the cockpit with a 2, 2, 4, 4, but took backseat to Kevin Sailor’s sterling 1, 1, 7, 1.

Race report: Dec. 2, 2018

Race report by Scott Guerin

Grey dank spittle blown by a fading, shifty easterly greeted a large group of racers this morning. Fifteen A-Fleeters and eight in B wallowed through 4 and 3 races respectively in chop and little wind, then glass and no wind at the finale. The strong ebb was a factor across the course and especially at the leeward mark where both fleets saw pileups making big changes in position possible.

Today marked the return of Kara Licatta to the course but it was Paul Beaudin giving the masters class in A fleet yet again garnering three bullets, while Kevin Sailor, with one bullet, was 2nd, and Jed Kwertler rounded out the podium with Bahar Gidwani a scant point behind. Three tie-breakers in A fleet are notable with Tracy Kingsley edging Eva Burpee, Colley Wheeler edging yours truly, and David Bessy beating Marc Berkowitz.

Tim Baron led B fleet with two bullets, and along with new member Alexe Taylor who lost a tie-breaker to him for second place, go up to A fleet.  Aaron Wheeler got a win and took third.

Kudos to the patient RC Sandy Waters and Steven Wade with help from Robert DeVincenzo, and to Jeff Sorenson and Todd Cook who put together much needed hot soup pots  – vegetarian and pulled pork – along with a fine selection of beer, wine, and something called “alcoholic seltzer.”

Having been towed back in, the annual meeting was held. Racer emeritus Rocco Campanelli graced us with his presence, and after a fair amount of very collegial discussion, we officially ratified a 190lb weight target with 30lbs max ballast starting in the New Year. More on that later.

The slow tow in!

Race report: Dec. 1, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

Eighteen boats sailing in two divisions (7A + 11B)  defied a light-air forecast today in a steady 4-6 knot Southeasterly, with big sails (of course) and Paul Beaudin dominating (again) in A with nearly straight bullets and Will Scheck taking B, also with nearly straight bullets.

The technical description for the day could be summed up by light, lumpy but steady. The breeze started almost from the classic sea breeze direction, with a tilt to the east, and then gradually backing as the day progressed. Paul dominated – in part – by shifting his weight forward of the middle thwart, keeping his sail well powered and keeping the bow down in the chop. Oscillations, particularly up the course, paid, but finding a lane on the first beat and avoiding the stall paid even more. Boat speed usually trumps, but there were no significant game changers on the shifts (as in a home run corner fetch) with a day dominated by center left or center right plays.

Tom Speyer had another consistent day in B for the move up to A, edging out Tim Baron by 3 points. Eva Burpee was consistent for a 3rd finish in A, narrowly edging out Gregg Takata by single point. Sunday is the annual meeting, and at this writing the forecast looks good, with a gusty start and moderating by sail time. Thanks to Colley Wheeler and Carla Murphy for excellent RC work.

Colley’s new go fast bottom treatment

Race report: Nov 24 & 25, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

Hope it is OK that I start this week’s Thanksgiving Weekend race report by talking about all the things that contribute – and this particular weekend contributed – to an outstanding two days of racing. First, it was great to see some old hands back on the track and the energy of the fleet on such a high point. Colley Wheeler volunteered to both drive Lucky and direct race committee across 17 races (when you add all the A and B races together) across two days, joined by Kevin Sailor  on Sunday and a big thank you and assist from Bill Zobrist on Saturday. Second, the big news on the race course was the return of Gregg Takata, who is distinguished by having  a race course move or two named in his honor, back on the grid, and posting two bullets Sunday for a 4th A division finish. Aaron Wheeler, working with Brad Seiler, just in case you had not noticed, is posting scores in almost real time, bringing a true A game to keeping the numbers in real time. Finally, I am just not going to tire of mentioning the MFA freshmen, led this week by Alexe Taylor with a B division 4th  on Sunday, narrowly missing third to veteran John Schneider in 3rd,  Carla Murphy in 2nd and Jeff Sorenson with nearly straight bullets in first.  The true magic of frostbiting, besides the heady competition and post-race debriefs, of course, is experiencing the Sound all to ourselves, sans the summer boat traffic and appreciating the muted winter light. The dark cloud cover punctuated by the red glow of winter afternoon sun Sunday was a reminder that sailing in winter is stark, beautiful and inspiring.

As for the racing, well that was pretty cool, too. Saturday saw a piping easterly, with short sails, 13 boats, and both A and B sailing together. The breeze had quick oscillations and velocity variations favoring center plays and  eschewing corner moves. The key was ferreting out the lanes and driving through the short chop, one of the more challenging drives in the Dyer, thus footing through the lumps and driving  through the flats. Marc Berkowitz prevailed in B, and finished 4th overall for the day. The competition in A saw Bahar Gidwani edge out Dan Marques by a point for second. Eva Burpee pulled a shroud holder Saturday, but after putting her boat back together, posted consistent finishes to take a second for the day on Sunday, 3 points back from Paul Beaudin with the win. Sunday was indeed challenging, with big sails and a lightening, and shifty northerly, that saw everything from light hiking to rail sitting. One would have thought it was a go left day, but a clear left phase at the start turned into a right phase on more than one instance up the course, rewarding occasionally those brave enough to climb out on the limb, both on the first and second beats. If Saturday was defined by shifty but consistent breeze, gear shifting on Sunday with 20 boats across A and B  demanded more patience, concentration and focus. The after race sail in had its challenges given the dying breeze, and a note to sailors that the tow in should not be optional.

 The afternoon tow-in after the consistent 6kts (gusts to 15kts) died with the magnificent sunset.

Race report: Nov 18, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

Well, that was an interesting Sunday. There could be a number of apt metaphors, skating rink (used that one  last season), floater, glimmer glass, flat calm, drifter, dead calm….You get the idea. The actual wind reading at Execution Rocks, unless I totally need new glasses, was close to 5 knots, but not sure we saw anything above 2-3. At the appointed time, we pushed off the dock and drifted with the outgoing tide to the race course. A good day for fishing, or motorboating. Patience, though, did pay off, both in racing and race management, with our focused RC of Roy Smith and Ellen Murphy ferreting out what little wind to be had, to salvage the day with two races for A  and B. The turnout was (again) strong with 10 boats in A and 10 in B. In the opening weekends of the season, 39 sailors across A and B have been on the course, with the enthusiasm meter for the freshman class continuing to inspire. The energy level is beginning to test my own collection of bright metaphors.

With just two races on the board, consistency paid, and in A John Field made it work for him with a 4-1 (edging out Jed Kwertler and Bahar Gidwani in the tie) and the win for the day and in B David Bessy winning the day, dominating with two bullets. Tim Baron was not far behind in second, with a 2-5.The RC ran windward leewards, with twice arounds for A and then a drag race up and back for the second B race. In race one , the right paid but it was also not a straight game of one side over the other with hitting the corners and keeping the boat moving between ponds of puffs just as important. In race 2, the right saw the advantage but also boats that went left managed to hang in on the first beat and stay in the hunt on the first downwind and beyond. The truism that starts are everything was also tested in the drifter, with Bahar Gidwani making an over early dip start approach work for him (he had speed but not position, and speed trumped) and Eva Burpee  was in the mezzanine in the race 2 start, but crawled back for a very impressive deuce, proving the point that keeping the boat moving in those conditions, committing to a side (she went left of center on the first beat) and being patient for the breeze --  paid.

 Dave Bessy swept B fleet with two bullets, but Jeff Sorensen kept him honest together with Tim Baron!

Race report: Nov 17, 2018

Race report by John Field

The day started with a coaching session and fantastic turnout. 10 sailors including new enthusiastic tryout Amy were on the water, albeit briefly as the blustery northerly kicked up and combined with the current made drills difficult to run. A few of our new sailors tested the water, and the crashboat and coach team was there to assist. We look forward to more and have one day a month scheduled on the calendar with the next coaching session December 16th. 

Racing for the afternoon again saw great turnout, with 11 boats and a tightly contested top of the fleet with Bahar leading the day. No gybe courses started the afternoon, but the brisk breeze settled in and allowed the diabolic RC duo of Dino and John to run windward leward and invent a longer course. Carla earned the bullet with masterful sailing in an exciting '1-2 olympic' which combined the triangle with the windward leward.  Ok, perhaps it was more exciting for the RC...?

Newcomer John Cutsumpas was on the water sailing #25 and shared images from a dyer-eye view. Note Bahar in the background. He was foreground most of the day with 3 bullets.

Race report: Nov 11, 2018

Race report by Allan Freedman

In this edition of MFA race report, Paul Beaudin returns, Kevin Sailor prevails and rookie Kerry Gendron is a breakaway in B.

Sunday being Veteran’s Day, past fleet champion Paul Beaudin returned from his one year sabbatical to challenge current fleet champ Kevin Sailor, on a crisp fall day with temps in the mid-40s, bright sunshine and a fading 5-12 knot westerly funneling out of the harbor. The duo traded bullets, throughout 7 races with Paul scoring four to Kevin’s three. Proving that races days and regattas are won on consistency, Paul had to swallow a pair of sixes in races two and three before recovering  with a 1-2-1-1 in the latter four races. Kevin’s worst race was a third, in race one and a repeat of the same in the last race. He netted the win for the day besting Paul by 5 points. The competition for third proved equally to be won on consistency with Jed Kwertler narrowly missing 3rd by a point, despite three seconds but having to carry the weight of an 8 and three fives. The shifty westerly had some stories to tell. In the post-race debrief, Kevin noted that Sunday was more a velocity game, than being in phase, the latter important the former more so. With breeze piping down from the left, the side proved favored on beat one, with the advantage lessening the further up the course. Paul noted the key being to keep the boat moving up the course, meaning stay in the breeze and keep your bow pointed to the mark. On the second beat, the rule proved with a hard left or right stance in the first half of the beat providing more liabilities than sticking to a more center course.

The turnout and new fleet energy was again on the rise, with 11 boats in B and the 9-boat A fleet. Kerry Gendron jumped fresh out of the box in B with four bullets and nothing less than a second, to prove speed and consistency, a win for B and a move up to A.  Carla Murphy started the day with two bullets, and kept it consistent from there to take second. The B-fleet sailed with small sails with A larger sails. A few flips and breakdowns but otherwise the fleet stayed upright and headed in the right direction. With the fleet looking at a 50 strong membership, the season is on pace to one of its strongest in recent years, and the engagement from an extraordinary number of recruits a real sign of the dedication of the strength of the fleet and broader MFA community. Sandy Waters did a great job running 7 races in A and 6 in B, with an assist from Melissa Bontemps and a strongly staffed RC including Steve Wade and further support from Samantha Lawrence andRick Kaskel, among many others. Further inspiration from Rocco whose pre-race grin never failed to inspire and the winter frostbiting apparel of our Canadian in residence Dino Ness (See attached). Next week Saturday is coaching and racing with a 10 AM ready to sail start for coaching, and Bahar leading the event. Happy Veterans Day! Next week, sailing Saturday and Sunday per the calendar.

Race report: First race weekend! Nov 4, 2018

Race report by Scott Guerin

Mamaroneck Frostbite Association’s 61st season shifted into race gear this weekend and frostbiting it was not! An 11 on a 10 scale of fall days, it was sunny, 53°, with 3 to 9kts of southerly wind against a backdrop of colorful trees on the horizon. The cacophony of those bringing their boats down and setting them up crowded the dock with old and new hands remembering names, cursing lost dodgers, bailers, paddles, and gear; borrowing tools, life jackets, and advice. A shout-out to racers Siofra, Eva, and Samantha who took in the dues, organized the waivers, directed traffic, and answered a myriad of questions.

A flock of twenty Dyers headed out in ebbing tide to “Lucky” – anchored across Mamaroneck Harbor while the duck hunter’s guns, pop, pop, popped away on Rye Point. A-fleet got the first start: Scott Guerin took the pin-end and port-tacked the fleet. But the author’s pleasure was short lived as Fleet Champion Kevin Sailor took the left side of the course and rounded first at the windward mark as he did in almost every race. Jed Kwertler, taking a second for the day, had an off race or two but ended strong, Guerin took the third spot while newcomer Rebecca Macies and returnee Tracy Williamson, are destined for trophies.

Thirteen B-fleet sailors were on the line including prodigal racers Peter Winder and Steve Wade: welcome back from your travails! Newcomers included John Talbot, Matt Rosenthal, Todd Cook, Scott Bell, Shig Odani, and Alex Vogt. Yet it was Aaron Wheeler who led the pack at the end of the day with Talbot and Carla Murphy rounding out the podium.

The wind was shifty and died during the day but interestingly, the Race Committee duo Dino Ness and John Field, reported that A-fleet approached the starting line with more caution than did to B-fleet. Kevin headed left all day and despite this reporter’s impression that pressure was stronger to the right, the waves there were bigger and the current, seemingly rising at the windward mark, required a significant over-stand and made judging the starboard lay-line difficult from anything over 5 boat lengths.

As usual, at the end of Sunday races, a spread was laid: the soup and chili cookbooks were well represented by a kielbasa/kale concoction and a delicious vegetarian squash and bean chili. The beer was Yuengling and Saranac, the wine was whatever.