Race reports 2020

January 1, 2021

Race report by Allan Freedman


This being the New Year, maybe the breeze could not decide what year it was. Hangover? Or maybe just a dose of ennui from watching bands it never heard of – and will probably never be heard from again – playing in the tepid chimes of 2021. There was a definite breeze, NNE, maybe around 5. And a few rail sitters were spotted on a few occasions. But those holes. And those velocity pings. They were more phantoms than puffs. The light state was opaque, diffuse, filtered through cheese cloth, making everything appear flat and the same, less vanilla than the color of ice, which of course has no color at all. There were a few reliable predictors of outcome. The shifts were there, unseen maybe, but there and fewer than say a northerly funneling through the harbor. So it was true, as it always seems to be, that a good start meant a good race. It was also equally true that if you went left, chances are you arrived at mark 1 in the alpha pack. So start plus lane equals success. A sailing truism.

But how much left did you need to go, on this second day of the New Year Regatta, with 27 boats A+B? Boats than hung a hard right on the first half of the upwind beat, missed out on the lefty in the corner pocket. But on occasion the right came in the closer you got to the mark, and on occasion vanished just as fast. There is nothing less disheartening to bank on the left, just like you always play the same number in your Vegas game, and then see those boats at speed riding in from the right. Sweet chariot how did my number not come up? It is like being on the wrong side of a presidential election, and that sinking feeling when you realize just how brutally out of touch you have been all along. This is the second day we have done course 2s, or W-L, and there were the occasional iconoclasts who tried the left downwind. My recollection is it paid once, for Bahar Gidwani, but despite the excellent course adjustments from RC Eva Burpee, who always puts the pro in PRO, those right hand runs seemed the path of least resistance.

On the final beats, deception seemed best avoided, that being the tantalizing idea that the left would provide a pay day, when the right play was always right. Just ask Jeff Sorenson who in race 5 calmly stuck it out there, and cruised to a 3 spot. My theory as to why Paul Beaudin won the day in A is that he did not so much pick the side, but play the lane. He was always left, but not crushingly left, and that allowed him to capitalize on clearer lanes and arriving at the new breeze first. He took 5 bullets for the day, world domination style, sailing bow down and cruising through the uncertainty. Kara Licata did a horizon job for an easy bullet in R6, playing a similar strategy and helping her to a second overall for the day.

In B division, Shig Odani did not have to win a single race to take first for the day, nor did Zach Wininger to take second. The bullets were shared by Sam Lawrence x 2, Peter Winder, Carey James x 2, and Holly Cullen. Like I said, that breeze was not easy to decipher.

[Mindful that these reports are A-centric, we are looking for authors from the b division, and so advertising for the post. Please put your hand up!]

The last day of the NY Regatta wraps Sunday.

November 29, 2020

Race report by Scott Guerin

Shimmering sun, and light southwesterly airs greeted the 30 or so socially distanced and masked racers, RC, and crash boat crews. A full-moon high tide lifted the docks skyward but we knew that many of those billions of gallons they floated on would rush out of Mamaroneck Harbor over the day, and cut across the course, influencing, a bit, the layline calls on the windward legs.

The safety circle foreshadowed cold doom to one racer as his arm was raised when Tim Baron asked who was not in a dry suit. And as a new procedure, we were encouraged to remove the gravel ballast bits from the Beach Point driveway, which we did so willingly…

RC Melissa Bontemps and Alexe Taylor held court over 24 racers, evenly split ‘tween heaven and hell fleets (I’ll leave the reader to decide which fleet was which) and reeled off a bunch of triangles in varying conditions. This reporter’s personal hell, A-Fleet, included several general recalls saving him from the “over early” ignominy he frequently suffers.

B-Fleet has a raft of talent and a good day was had by newcomers and old hands. But the Cousteau Club was joined by Peter Winder, who, not to be too harsh, was dressed for the weather in khakis and a light top, and he raced well and looked spectacular, until the 5th race, when the boom knocked his glasses off at the gybe mark. As he lunged for them, he tripped up and capsized. Luckily it was in the 5th of 6 races but if it had been earlier in the day and colder...well, wear a dry-suit people!

In B-Fleet over 6 races, a bullet found Larry Decker down in 5th, they skipped Sam Lawrence, but in 3rd, with 2 bullets but a 8th in the 3rd race was Zach Wininger losing by a point to John (sometimes a racer) Tremblay who came back from his Rumspringa and took second place with 21 points, leaving Shig (“I did OK”) Odani very cooly pleased to be on top with just 14 points comprised of 2,4,1,4,1,2, placements. John and Shig move up to A-Fleet and I predict Shig wins the yoyo this year!

I apologize for a light recap of B, we need reporters there!

In A Fleet, I won’t bury the lead: Sunday was very competitive (not to imply B Fleet wasn’t) with splits left and right from the start, tricky layline calls, reaches that went from by-the-lee to fat beats, close encounters and yelling of the Dyer kind, and a last leg that either paid off, or cut off, ones hope of a good finish. There must be a statistical way to analyse this but my intuition is that the more bullets are spread out amongst the racers, the more the day was competitive. On the other hand, it can indicate a crap-shoot of a day with light shifty winds, but Sunday’s 7 A-Fleet races were held in a reliable, slightly oscillating breeze which, late in the day, shifted from SSW to SW and freshened from fluky to fun.

Let’s go to the videotape: Jed Kwartler had an unusually off day but started strong with a deuce and an ace but totalled 44 pts; Bahar, with his Cheshire Cat smile, resorted in the first race to protesting yours truly on the finish line in a port-starboard situation I should have avoided thus costing me a 2nd but I kept him in check with my “no mercy for Bahar” rule the rest of the day. Next up was Eva Burpee who had her bullet in a nice wire-to-wire race. Allan Freedman, who I hear has re-named his boat “Couch” (inside joke) had two hollowpoints, but fell two shy of the podium. 666 managed to stay behind the line and mostly out of trouble, started weak but finished with a 1,2,2 in that freshening breeze more to his liking, with 28 points. Kara (check her weights) Licata found the day very much to her liking and included a win amongst her 25 points in a steady performance for the Silver. Lasty, Kevin (professor longhair) Sailor seemed to always figure a way back from adversity and ended up in his usual spot with a 3,6,3,4,2,4,1 series totalling 23 points. He is beatable but consistency wins out, kudos.

Some observations. The tide was ebbing and the wind blew in from the SW across the water’s top which often generates a significant chop on the right side. But Sunday’s chop was minimal so depending on the start and clear air, my tracks tended to head left toward Hen Island, then to tack over mid-course to cover people who started out to the right. Fewer tacks is always better so no more than 2-3 should be needed to get to the mark. I approached on both lay lines but in a tight fleet, when coming in on the starboard line, especially if you are on it, you risk a port tacker crossing just ahead, tacking to windward thus fouling your air, and likely lessening your chance to make the mark. My sail trim was fairly loose to keep me from pinching and provided power whereas Kevin experimented with a clew tie-down.

The last leg is where I lose races and places, anyone else have that problem? Frankly, I choke. I pinch, get out of phase, don’t cover well, and move around in the boat too much. In one race, within the last few feet to the line, pinched up to cross and with Kara and Kevin suddenly close on my hip, it was so tortuous that I called out “c’mon Alexe, call it!”, she replied “not my call.” Well, at least I won that one!

November 28, 2020

Race report by Bill Zobrist

What a day ... good cheer began with the spirit of MFA on full display with boats being worked on all over the place. Shig, Piotr and Bahar directed a shaggy bunch, although I thought donuts were going to be involved???

The racing day started light but with a steady build out of the West as 11 B Fleeters made their way out to Lucky. Joining us for a guest appearance were Eva, Mark and Carla ... giving the young pup, Zach stiff competition to realize his A Fleet dreams... alas, only 2 can move up and Eva nor Carla decided to hang around B Fleet long with 4 and 3 bullets respectively. Maybe next time Zach!

Ms. Bontemps and Mr. Wheeler had the races running like a Ford assembly line giving the fleets 8 races! Course #1 proved a good choice and B Fleet avoided a repeat of the previous week's Black Friday-esque free-for-all at the marks.

As the day grew longer, the puffs got puffier with the upwind sailing at times feeling like dental work without anesthesia. Both Holly and Steve experienced technical difficulties with dismasting ... but no one frolicked in Mamaroneck Harbor for a change of pace ... though Ian was inexplicably wading around at the end of the day by the docks. Those English!

B Fleet welcomes Tim and Carey back with open arms...

November 22, 2020

Race report by Scott Guerin

Sullen skies and a strong, almost too strong, easterly with choppy rollers greeted 20 racers on their arrival Sunday morning. The skippers stood in the safety briefing circle as Tim Baron introduced the crash boat operators and we all huddled against the gusts. But as we set off under small sails, the breeze lightened a bit, we all got our adrenaline going and warmed up.

Staffing Lucky, RC Mighty Miss Bontemps and Dino (your kids like that beard?) Ness set up a narrow no gybe course with a nice long line. On the course, the wind oscillated +- 15° and got you up on the rail then back in the boat fast; a long line meant you could gain leverage right, left or middle depending on the phase.

B-Fleet held their own in tricky conditions and 5 races. Ed Claflin tested the chilly waters in the last race but his dry suit held and he seemed pretty happy on the dock. Tom Speyer reeled in a third with 17 points including a bullet, newcomer Carey James had a bullet and 14 points, but it was Piotr Broszkowski, who wrapped up his day with three consecutive wins, taking the gold with 12 points.

A-Fleet: 6 races. This reporter quipped that if the finish line had been the last leeward mark, even the second windward mark, I’d have nearly won the day but the decisions about what phase of wind I was in (which had you head toward shore or stay out,) which shifts to ignore or tack on, and how to attach an anchor to Kevin Sailor’s boat eluded me! Those errors left me in fourth place with a steady 2,3,4,3,4,2 in a narrowly fought series as finish-line callouts were like machine gun fire for most races. So to recap: Guerin 18 points, Fred Treffeisen with 17 and a third, Rob Simonfy with 16, and Kevin, with particularly good downwind speed on the last leg, had a stellar 1,1,3,2,3,1, and 11 points, but I happen to know he was under pressure at least some of the time!

I want to conclude by saying you can really learn a lot by watching our top racers: their subtle kinetics (sometimes not so subtle) the sail trim, mast position, their focus, the way they keep their heads out of the boat looking at competitor’s positions and next puff, how they handle congested roundings, and their ease with this silly little tub of a boat means it is learnable. Ideally do this by racing against them but another way to get close up is to volunteer as a crash boat operator, and bring a camera!

Cheers, Happy Thanksgiving, and if anyone else wants to write race reports, chime on in!!!

November 21, 2020

Race report by Scott Guerin

I can’t speak directly to Saturday’s race except Allan’s text to me said that “everyone blew one race... it was a challenging day...fun and competitive.” Nonetheless, 26 racers (wow) competed in two fleets with the B-Fleet podium standing at Larry Decker w/ 12 points; Roy Israel w/ 9 points and Jeff Sorensen on top with 8 points across three races.

A-Fleet was led by Kara Licata who across 5 races garnered a measly 12 points (2,1,7,1,1,) then Paul Beaudin and Allan Freedman tied at 20 but Paul’s bullet beat the tie. Barely a half step behind was Bahar Gidwani with 21 points - his 9th place in the 3rd race was the blooper on an otherwise steady day and a probable second place for the day.

November 7, 2020

Race report by Scott Guerin

I have the distinct honor of inaugurating Mamaroneck Frostbite Association’s 63rd season with this report . WE SURVIVED. And in the face of COVID headwinds it would seem we are as strong as ever judging from the new blood joining the club and ongoing vigour from everyone else especially those who painstakingly planned our return to water.

And what a day it was: sunny with an oscillating southerly of 3-6kt. Given the previous weekend was cancelled, many boats were already on the dock and they trickled in during the day including Fred Treffeisen’s boat on its decomposing trailer. RC John Field and Melissa Bontemps called the shots from a crash boat and a shout out is needed for the crash boat crews who attended to numerous breakdowns, one capsize, and a wallow.

17 boats started the day in a combined AB fleet and using last season’s Division Assignment there were 5 in A and 12 in B across 8 windward-leeward races. Sadly, a charter boat steered by newcomer Joel Chovet suffered an unusual breakdown just before racing started: his boom snapped in half and he couldn’t race. Hang in there Joel, hope to see you again soon.

Starting with B-Fleet, we are all thrilled to have Captain “Go Sammy Go” Lawrence back on the water and she, in her Sea-green speedster, got a podium position with 63 points. Zach (sail #70) beat Sam by a point to take first place. MFA veteran Shig Odani rounded out the podium with a solid 3rd place finish with 70 points.

In A fleet, steady performance paid off as usual. Jed Kwartler, with two bullets counter-balanced by two toe-stubbers grabbed third with 32 points (3,2,3,1,9,5,1,8). Scott Guerin started off the season off with an over early call then reeled off two of his three bullets before “aggression” got the better of him and was over early again - leaving him in second place with 23 points (6,1,1,2,6,4,2,1). And so it was Bahar Gidwani’s day to be on top with 19 points (2,4,2,3,1,2,3,2).

Scores and placings above are unofficial BTW.

A reminder from the measurer - we’ll start checking weights this coming weekend (assuming we race) and the rule is as follows: WEIGHT: Sailor will be required to meet a minimum weight requirement of 190 pounds. This weight requirement will include the sailor’s body weight, all normal clothing and safety gear, and any optional equipment actually used by the sailor such as his/her boat’s paddle, bailer, tiller extender, filled drink bottle, and bow dodger. Notwithstanding this requirement, no sailor will be required to add more than 30 pounds of weight to her/his boat. Of this amount, no more than 20 pounds may be non-floating weight unless sailor also adds at least 10 pounds of positive floatation.