2018 race reports

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.