Race reports 2019

End of the season

Thanks to all of the sailors who made the 2019 - 2020 winter season a pleasure!

For the health and safety of our members and the community, MFA is canceling the remainder of the current season.

We hope to see all of you happy, healthy, and ready to sail come this November!

January 19, 2020

Sunday was what we all do this for: sunny, low 40’s, a shifty WNW breeze at 6 to 14kt with a couple of big blasts that had us thankful for no-jibe courses and small sails. RC Dakers and Hulme reeled off eight races for the combined fleet of 15 with 12 in A and 3 in B.

Suffice it to say there was A LOT of action so I’m not going to bury the lead that the day ended with 4 A-Fleet racers within 6 points of each other. Kevin Sailor (1, 2, 3, 5 ,2, 4 ,1, 3)  with 21 points beat John Field ( 4, 4, 2 ,3 , 1, 1, 4, 2 ) in a tie breaker, Scott Guerin ( 2, 1, 1, 6, 4, 2, 2, 5 ) with 23 lost the day in a heartbreaker, and Gregg Takata ( 3, 4, 7, 1, 5, 3, 3, 1 ) in an off day for him, had 27. 

Anyone of them would have taken the day but as we all know, close only counts in horseshoes, handgrenades, and nuclear weapons.

For example: I know Takata did a 360 in front of me after a leeward mark rounding and it was bye bye birdie, Field had Guerin duck in a port/starboard crossing then sailed onward to overstand the mark letting ol’ 666 get ahead. Mr. Guerin, whose speed and stupidity were both on full display, really let the day slip from his grasp with two over-early starts and one “he stepped in his own sheet” lapse when, being in a solid second place in the 4th race, hit the first windward mark because it was like that tree in the Sahara a car hits, and watched as the pack rolled him during his 360 spin. Everyone has that kind of tale to tell, right, please?

In the B-Fleet, Shig Odani, Simon Mahler, and Zack Wininger — finishing in that order — more than held their own with Simon taking a hard earned 3rd place in race 5.

No apologies for the long report due to the complex weekend of racing. There’s lots of sailing ahead with many opportunities to help run regattas and learn, participate in the clinics and coaching sessions, and even go to our sister club’s events, which I highly recommend!

PS: a thanks to Allan Freedman for his interview with Flip Myerson, and a shout out to racers not on the course with us this year, you are missed and not forgotten!

January 18, 2020

Eric Letellier’s great video of the snow moving in during Saturday’s races speaks volumes for the 15 hardy sailors who, together, made it through a southerly chop driven by an ebb tide and an 8 -12kt breeze in chilly, 24°F air. It was snowing harder and was colder than it looks! As usual, kudos to our crash boat crews led by Tim Baron, and to Billy Z and Ricky K on the RC megaphone.

This report is a bit delayed by a scoring discussion regarding the first race when it was unclear on which side of Lucky to finish. There was a little white buoy exactly where a finishing pin would have been and it drew race leaders Kevin Sailor and Gregg Takata to it like a moth to the flame. But Canny Kingsley suspected the RC wanted us to finish by going through the starting line —he was right — so the official score sheet read Kingsley, Takata, then Sailor. After three days of friendly, SI quoting, smoke-filled room discussions, the gentlemen agreed to a solution that recognized how it would have gone down if the line had been clear. This preserved the race day (we need two races to count) with Takata, Kingsley, & Sailor finishing in that order.

The second race was led wire to wire by Bahar, with Taylor and Guerin in pursuit. But the above tempest in a teapot didn’t distract Alexe Taylor (5, 2), whose terrific boat handling and good starts led to a win for the day with Tracy (2, 5) losing a tie-breaker and Gregg (1,7) a point behind. 

Not to short shrift the B-Fleeters, Bananas Bessey, who sails competitively with the only 2-part wooden Dyer mast left in the world, led the charge with Simon Mahler and Shig Odani close behind.

All of us were thrilled to get out on the water again after seeming weeks of stasis due to cancellations. The snow was beautiful but made the seats and hull interiors super slick. Check out the MFA instagram for a few photos.

December 29, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Day One New Years Regatta: 19 races. Short, sweet, definitive.

Brilliant RC by Freedman, Letellier, Colley Wheeler, and Kaskel who served up square lines and a prix fixe menu of courses 2 and 4, windward - leewards.

6 to 10kt winds oscillating from the north-east were at a very nice lay-back-in-the-boat to occasionally on-the-rail level. No sunblock was needed but the damp air meant layers were needed and it started to spit as we finished. Even then, late in the day, a few hunters took pot shots from their camouflaged boats surrounded by decoys…poor ducks.

B Fleet saw bullets spread across the top three places with Tom Speyer in third place despite two, Shig Odani rocked it with 4 bullets however they were counter-balanced by a few 5ths leaving newcomer Zack Winiger on top. His consistency proved again the basic rule in fleet racing: every point counts and his 3, 4, 1, 4, 2, 2, 3, 1, 1 (yes, THAT many races) took him to the top and an A-fleet test in the near future.

A-fleet was pretty drama-free but a rare protest was carried to conclusion in the post-race hubbub. Flip “Mango Tango” Myerson tried a little tango of his own with Kara Licata but stepped on her starboard foot with his port so his “Dancing with the Stars” run was shorted in that race by the Judges. Overall Flip is a force to be reckoned with as he learns the boat. 

Kara Licata had a non-podium day despite a shooting a bullet but she lost to Bahar Gidwani, who, taking third with 40 points, traded psych-out barbs and lee-bows with Guerin all day but lost to him by just a point.

In the end, and speaking of No-Drama, Gregg  Takata was clearly dialed-in to the matrix. Get his lineup: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1.  I saw him buried on a number of starts but he always watermelon-seeded out with great kinetics and tactical savvy. He told me after the race that he tacked on every shift because in the flat water and steady air across the course, it was less a penalty than normal. But I’d like to see his RaceQ track as I saw him head for pressure right, left, and center every time. Sailing alongside him, he’d bear off a bit, put the afterburner on, and scoot away from us mere Drama-Queens!

Kudos to our crashboat crews headed by the overly generous Tim Baron who was again, not in his ol’ 55.

Apologies to the unmentioned, add your stories to the thread as there was lots to think about today’s outcomes as we were in sailing mode, rather than staying alive/survival mode.

Happy 2020 New Year all, be safe.

December 22, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman and Bill Zobrist

When is a classic southwesterly not a southwesterly?

The day had that summer look, some haze on the far shore, high pressure having slid gently into its seatback. Seemed like we’d roll with about 8-10, some slight oscillations and then it was all about punching through the chop. The great thing about sailboat racing is that assumptions are dangerous, and can see you headed for the back of the pack, and it is important to shift mindset as well as gears. In Act 1, the story line appeared entirely predictable, with the openers pretty much following script. That favored a bit of left, spotting the pressure, and keeping things moving. But Act 2, proved a slightly  different story line. The breeze swung to the right, and brought more isolations, and more diversity in velocity. Throwing it into a lane and driving fast got you only so far, and not understanding that a day of slight moderation had turned into one of more significant variations, meant not taking advantage when advantage was to be had. There were no surprises in A with Paul Beaudin consistent with the win, Greg Takata in follow up and Flip Meyerson in third. Here is a note for the file, just three points separated position 3-4-5, so play every shift, cause every point counts.

No swimmers in B, but, BZ's Peanut, popped a pin and was de-masted while in the start sequence for Race 1. Eric Letelier orange-blood Dyer returned to action and exacted his vengeance on the B Fleet. If all you did was stay close to Eric, you'd be assured a decent finish. Shig Odani and freshman Amy Ludwig showed consistently high placing for their efforts. Before becoming demasted, John Sassone seemed like he was in for a good day, but spent a good bit of the afternoon staying warm on Lucky. (Waiting on official results from B!). RC's Wil Scheck and Tom Speyer kept things moving allowing for maximum races. "Why are they over there..." Always look at the flags on RC! Many in the B Fleet neglected to notice the course had been shifted from Red to Yellow on the first leg making for a ton of boats arriving at the windward mark on port tack. Many of the B-Fleeters were stymied by the shifting winds closer to shore at the leeward mark. Some of us seemingly going back and forth without progress.

If you missed it, you missed a truly spectacular day for sailing, warm, just enough breeze to keep it interesting and great competition.

December 8, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

If last weeks’ Cat's Paws required patience and agility to tame, Sunday's southerly blast was a Tiger that grew according to Windy's weather prediction on cue and put our rails in the water and tails 'tween our legs by the end of the third race. Muscling through big rollers, enhanced by the ebb tide, were 27 A & B racers with one thing on their mind: stay upright! 

Alexe Taylor and Shig Odani made a large sail call on the dock and set us off in separate fleets on triangles for the first two races. The choice seemed reasonable till mid-second race when the breeze freshened and a bunch of us had a surfin' safari while reaching to the leeward mark. RC then set up a no jibe course and we punched around it one more time.

In a B-Fleet of thirteen racers, I am totally amazed at how cool the newcomers were in the face of such artillery coming at them. A shout out to:

In the end, as usual, consistency paid off with Suzanne Hulme, who, despite a dunking stood in forth with a (3, 4, DNF); in third was Roy Israel (2,3,4), then Marc Bercowitz (4, 1, 1), and on top was Carla Murphy who nailed a (1, 2, 2) with the three going up to A-Fleet.

A-Fleet saw the return of Kevin Sailor and John Field to the mix and they wasted no time pulling a bullet each out of their belts, but John  (7, 5, 1) was left off the podium. Scott Guerin (3, 1, 7) who “stubbed his toe” in the last race  with a couple of stalled out tacks, ended up just behind Gregg Takata (2, 4, 3), while Kevin Sailor (1, 3, 2) topped the stand.

Fate was not kind to 5 underwater explorers and I'm looking forward to the underwater reel from John Cutsumpas who was doubly unfortunate as the zipper to his dry suit was not fully engaged and he had a LBWE (Lower Body Wetness Episode.) Tactically, it seemed to pay off to go left on the first leg then from the leeward mark, head right toward the favored finish-pin end. However boat handling, a bit of power in the sails, a little less centerboard, steering the waves, picking a good place to tack, weight position, and a little ooch through the waves, was what it took. Bahar did the post-race analysis and also included a little mast forward to balance the helm.

Keepin’ it short, see you next week!

November 30, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman

Well, we have hit the cancellation trifecta today (3 Sundays down for the count), but with the bad comes the spectacular. And that would be race conditions Saturday, which could hardly have been more perfect, even transcending a potentially day-ending gear failure on Lucky. RC Dino Ness (with Dan Leinweber), showing that trademark Canadian calm, did not miss a beat, adjusting to the gear failure – a steerage fail – by moving to harbor stadium sailing. The wind piped straight down the channel and the tide was high. So conditions aligned. Remarkably, by my watch, Race 1 kicked off at exactly 1 PM, so not a moment of sailing lost. Given the harbor wind direction, you can probably guess at the conditions, flat and shifty, with probably 12kts at the high, and 5 kts at the low. Sailing as one fleet, close to 20 boats over 7 races,  the line set up off the dock area between MFA marks.  Windward, leeward the whole day, with 2x in the finale.

It was probably a Pete Buttigieg kind of day, so center left up the first beat, with doing a Bernie Sander/Elizabeth Warren (left, left) or a Mitch McConnell (right,right) probably out of favor. The key was adjusting to the crazy (and here I will refrain from any further political reference for fear of violating our non-partisan fleet policy, but feel free to fill in the blank from any party depending on your persuasion). The crazy being multiple shots, from multiple direction at multiple wind speeds. It was all about “climbing the ladder,’ which meant spotting the ripples, heading for them, and then tacking in the right direction. That and constantly shifting gears to keep the boat from stalling in the highs, keeping it moving in the lows and not cursing in between.  Easy right? There were a few bonkers shifts, particular in Race 6 that had Kara Licata and myself dueling it out in the right corner while Greg Takata picked up a lefty that he rode like a wild bronco to a bullet, but mostly it was quick shots calling for quick moves.

I know scores will be up shortly, but it looks like Greg Takata sustained consistency with a 2nd overall for the day with 3 bullets, a win for your race reporter, with 4 bullets, and Scott Guerin in third. I can’t add so don’t quote me. Thanks as well to Tim Baron for hopping in a crash boat, Dino and Dan, and Steve Wade, our Lucky whisperer, who whisked Lucky off to Orienta for repair.

November 23, 2019

Race report by Allan Freedman

It was Greg Takata’s world, on a lumpy, breezy-ish, 7 race day, and we were all living it, at least from the A-fleet perspective. It is hard to quibble with 5 bullets, and conclude anything other than the dude had it dialed it in. For those of you (like me) sipping your morning coffee and hankering just a bit for that cold, wet northerly beckoning outside your Sunday morning window, it is safe to say that Saturday sailing may be in the rear view, but what a spectacular view it was. The opener was crisp blue, sunny and light, and the sail out was more a drift out. I was thinking I would have to resurrect the tired-out flotsam metaphor for the race report.  You know, like, groan, groan, another drifter? But suffice to say, it was ain’t no drifter. The wind piped up from the southwest, maybe 12 or so, maybe a dollop more, and as is the way, light chop ensued. Starts were tight and competitive, with in one heat a round of generals. The key to putting it together was a clean launch, a leftish, traffic free lane, and then punching it through the chop. Easy to summarize, harder to do. 

The courses were traditional 1 triangles, with a few no jibes thrown in for fun and a response to the higher wind speeds. The wind started out light from the harbor direction, quickly shifted – blowing down from Execution Rocks – and then (late-ish) moved slightly right again, with a bit diminished velocity. By three, the spigot had just about shut, but there was plenty of pressure before end of day. So back to Takata, I am not sure there was anything complicated that explained his world domination, other than the right combination of simple ingredients, nice clean starts, popping into a lane, and then head down. There were also the occasional shifts, but really just a lesson in error-free sailing. I suspect that Aaron Wheeler had a similar formula in the 8-boat B division, netting an elegant 5 bullets and a move up to A.  There was so much new blood out there, that it was tough to limit the honorable mentions, but clearly Flip Meyerson in A (5th) out of a 12 boat division and Mary Margaret Clawson (2nd) in B had it in gear, and ready to shift up the standings down season.

A special mention to Eva Burpee, Piotr and Melissa for excellent RC work and hammering out 7 races on a spectacular day.

November 10, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

A nice day on the water was had with 18 hearty souls racing in one big fleet being swept out of the Harbor by a strong ebb tide. 

The 5 to 10kts of fickle breeze from the SSW had the effect of wafting the smell of Beach Point’s canapes across the course, as well as creating big pileups at the windward mark.  Because of the unlucky Lucky, out with a bad fuel pump I was told, the RC of Paul  “99 ways to win a race” Beaudin  and Dave “Bananas” Bessey entertained the seagulls with a round of stadium racing. The channel and the wind were not terribly well aligned geometrically but 4 races were recorded, each packed with thrills and some spills. 

Gung ho newcomers included Jonathan (who had a 5th in one race), Pete, Dan, and Ed as well as many sou vide returnees: Jed (protest 666), Rebecca (protest 666), Lexi, Tracy Williams, Shig, The Berk, and Roy Israel plus many other of the usual suspects Bahar, Juan, Tim,  Carla, Tom Speyer, Keith “Have another shot” Bell, and Alex Vogt.

The races were characterized by winning the start and heading up the starboard rhumb line to see if you could put it in the bank well enough to lay the windward mark. Easy to say, but as usual, hard to do. The big fleet separated quickly between the front and back packs but surprises often came in from the left side where the breeze may have been less blocked by the shoreline. Depending on how well  a racer judged the  lay-line, big gains were made or lost. Some excitement occurred in what would have been the 4th race as the leeward mark was set on a rock shoal that hung up many racers; that race was abandoned and everyone updated their metal harbor chart.

The problem this reporter faces in writing this doggerel is that I can mostly only report in any detail what happened from my narrowish perspective. For example, “Putting it in the bank” is a pretty apt anti-metaphor for my racing  as I squandered literal fortunes of advantage on 720 degrees of tactical blunder. The Berk and I were in a leading position (ok, probably behind Alex but close) on starboard near the windward mark in little breeze and a current that had our hulls and that mark on a blind date. I was inside and knew I was not going to make it to third base much less first.  Jed and others were on the starboard layline and I said to Mark, “we’re fucked”  and  he said, “no, you’re fucked” as he sculled hard and rounded clean. Righto. I bailed on the attempt, jibed, and then tagged Jed when I tacked too close leading to my first of two round the world trips. The second is too embarrassing to mention…

It was really great to race as one fleet, we should do it more. The B Fleet podium included Shig in third, then Tim Baron who heads to A fleet along with Marc Berkowitz with his (5, 4, 9, 7) fleet finish.

In A Fleet, Bahar had a bullet, but had bad luck in a couple races; Guerin had great starts and a new sail but was inept around the course; while it was Alex Taylor, in her first day of the season with a (1, 5, 1, 1) who gave us a master’s class in mistake-free racing and out maneuvered everyone with speed, smarts, and skill. Carla Murphy had a great day as did Rebecca Macie, and with Alex, finished  3, 2 , 1  in the third race.

I would be remiss not mentioning the stellar post-race goulash Alex V shared with hungry racers, a beef and mushroom version full of umami satisfaction and warmth.

See you in a couple weeks!

November 9, 2019

Race report by Bill Zobrist

Unbelievably, the docks at Beach Point weren't overrun with throngs of eager sailors who had eyed the forecast for sunny skies, temps in the high 30's and a nice steady southerly .... well, tomorrow, you may hear some folks say, "You should have been here yesterday..."

Without any data from the RC, this reporter can only speak generally to the size of the fleet and the number of races - but, hey, that's what you get when you pressed into service by El Presidente Field at a last minute.

The day began with RC getting in the loud speaker .... "Ahem.... attention...this is my first time being RC, so, be kind and be patient..." It's about that time that Dino had that quizzical look on his face that you know means he wants to say something but actually held back. Well, Mr. New RC guy heads out well ahead of the fleet and appears to be anchored nearly at American Yacht Club. As the fleet approaches, we spy someone hanging off the stern futzing with a buoy.  Buoy? Stern?...that can't be good.... it appears quite a wrestling match is occurring on the stern with a fouled prop... eventually, Lucky is released from bondage and they motor well away from death's grip.

Somewhere 10 boats made it to the line for single fleet racing. That was an awesome idea since we got about 5-6 races in.... no swimmers, no breakdowns.... I'm relatively certain the indomitable Kara Licata took multiple bullets...maybe the whole lot except one which I know Tom Speyer grabbed the bullet on the final race. The newbie Charters all seemed to do well ....but it's hard to see from the back of the pack quite honestly.

The fleet headed in around 3:30 happy with our fill of racing .... "Uh, where's Lucky?....uh-oh." SHe was not so Lucky today ... SeaTow brought her home.

November 3, 2019

Race report by Scott Guerin

Mamaroneck Frostbite Association's 62nd season got underway with 22 racers on the water:12 in B leaving 10 in A to duke it out. The docks were jammed with hulls as newcomers (more on those later) learned to rig their boats with help from all the "old timers." 

Peter WInder,  what a champ, was on crutches as he got his boat rigged, however, I measured them, they met class rules, (no carbon fiber anything) so we let him go out. Of course the talk on the dock was centered on "ja do anything to your boat this summer?"  Keith Bell's plaid Jameson boat drew a lot of attention: I guess the windows in the hull will let him see the crash boat approach from any direction should he need rescue. Bill Zobrist had a new British racing green hull to go with his boat's name: the unpronounceable Korean word for "Peanut" (his daughter designed the tag). The name is so decoratively large on the stern we thought he was pulling our legume. 

Shout out's required to many including veteran Sandy Waters heading the RC (he told us he was 22 years old when he joined MFA in 1957) ably assisted by Melissa Bontemps ("Scott I can't see the pin and that means you're over"), and I saw Dino Ness and Robert Leviton on Lucky as well. Creepy foreshadowing voice: "...and the boat was about to get a lot more crowded as the afternoon wore on..."

Moving right along, the day was a blue sky wonder that left few thinking they should be home or on the street watching the Marathon. The call was for large sails which seemed sensible given the 8 to 12kt westerly at the time, and the fleet got off the docks without mishaps. Newcomer roll call: Peter Broszkowski, Zach Wininger (nice last name dude), and Harriet Taylor stepped up to the plate and into boats which they had never raced in before. We have a bumper crop of new fodder (I mean talent) thanks to Carla  and others who have proselytized successfully. Welcome to all.

In A Fleet's first race, a triangle as they were for both fleets all day, Guerin led from wire to wire with a "perfect" start (where is everyone?) that took him left into a big knock. He tacked onto the corresponding lift that took him straight to the windward mark. The second race was a much closer lead-changing duel between Takata, Licatta, and Scottata, with Kara taking Guerin up and nearly past the leeward mark, letting Greg get away. The three boats, still just a boat length or two apart, headed up toward the favored pin end but Kara and Greg tacked back to the center of the course while Guerin stayed right and caught them both at the finish line in a thrilla from Mamanilla. The wind built in that second race to a solid 15 with gusts and by the third race, Chicken Gybes were under consideration. Takata took that race with Juan Rodriguez in second and Kara Licatta in third. At day's end, the podium held Eva Burpee (2,4,5) then Kara (3,2,4) and lastly, every dog has his day Guerin (1,1,6).

A big B Fleet saw two races and a lot of underwater action from 4 or 5 boats who have asked for anonymity. It was exciting to see so many Dyers on the water and to our new racers, do not be discouraged, today was a wickedly tricky day with steady but very shifty and puffy wind coming from the shoreline. Hang in there as it gets easier! Podium finishes were closely held by just three sailors over two races: in third, losing a tiebreaker was Laser racer and newcomer Peter B (2,3) to Will Scheck (3,2) and leading the pack and heading to his A Fleet spanking with Will is Tom Speyer (1,1 and done).