May 252013

Race notes: 5-22-13

The operative word of the night was:   CURRENT!

To elaborate:

Started at pin end.

Boat end favored by 10-12 degrees, but lots of adverse current. Pin end had half the current and was closer to even more current relief on the left.

Windward mark jibe set spinnaker.

Big positive current deep left (facing downwind) sail high angle to bottom mark.  Jibe 5 or so lengths after layline and sail high angle to jibe around leeward mark in first place.

Repeat first windward leg strategy.

Jibe set at 2nd windward mark.

Repeat first downwind leg strategy.

…and on to the finish.

We were not the fastest boat that evening but we had the best current advantage.

Great to get a race in considering the foggy conditions, especially after missing the previous week with too much breeze. Thanks to the RC.

Team 74

Sep 062012

Race 08/29/12

We were a little later than normal sailing out to the north course, luckily a southerly was filling in and The R/C had to postpone a bit to let it settle and figure out a course.  When they chose the yellow Buoy up at JBY, we were thinking that is a fun course but long…

Our plan was simple: start at the boat end and tack to the already changing Ebb on the edge (the boats by CYC)  Had turned, etc… Sure enough we were the first boat to flip and lead to the right, over by Potter’s Cove we hit the Ebb and got headed, tacked to starboard and laid the western most span.

On the south side of the bridge our plan was to head back to the west but stay on the east side of the mooring field, as you can experience a poor angle coming back onto starboard  when heading to far in toward the CYC area.  There was a very defined Ebb Line to be “hugging” before going back in west.  We began to see the normal righties as the sun began to fade over Jamestown, making for a simple decision to go about 100 yards after setting the spinnaker and gybe onto port.  We noticed one boat had it made across from The Goat Island side, they were quite far away to see the numbers.  Deep down I knew it had to Captain Andy “Admiral” Burton and Team-low and behold-it was him, only six lengths behind us rounding in second: great job getting out of there.

Downwind was simple: stay out in the middle, where the current was still running in (flooding).  There was about 90% sailing on port and 10% sailing on starboard.  We pretty much saw the same boats the rest of the race: 201, 226, 107 and 36-great job to these teams, especially 107 (I believe they were OCS and restarted).

We found out later after talking to some disgruntled sailors that the time limit had expired and we had only made it by three minutes or something like that.  Only a couple of more weeks-so good luck out there and remember: don’t give up sailor!

-Chuck Allen, Team Envy-138

Sep 052012

Race Report 8-8-2012


Wind: South-southwest at 10kts (decreasing to 6kts)

Current: Ebb tide


Another great night for Shields racing. The wind was just a touch to the left of the sea breeze direction, and there was a full ebbing tide. Two current lines were in the Tp Vp course, one marking the deeper channel and the other marking the change in current velocity behind Rose Island.

Our plan was to start near the boat and get into the more favorable current on the right side of the course. Although the start line was mostly square, the pin was about a half a boat length favored. We decided that it was better to give up the small start-line advantage in order to be able to tack immediately to the right. So we started about three down from the boat with our bow out, and in about 10 boat lengths we were clear to tack and execute our plan.

As we crossed into the middle, it was clear that this was the place to be. Not only did we have more current, we also had a touch more breeze. But as we crossed the middle of the channel, the breeze started to lighten, and it shifted left. In an effort to stay in the max pressure and current, we tacked into the slight header, which diminished whatever advantage we had from the current. So when the two sides converged, we were crossed by two boats from the left that had stayed more in the pressure. Still, by battling forward, we were able to round the top mark in first.

On the downwind leg, the fleet once again split. One side was going for the greater pressure in the middle of the channel despite the more adverse current there, while the other side saw an advantage in using the more favorable current on the War College side despite having less pressure. We opted for the more favorable current, and at first things were looking good. All of this changed, however, about halfway down the very light-air run. We had ignored the fact that when dealing with a near 2.5 ton boat the difference in pressure is far more important than a slight current advantage. As a result, the channel side made out, and at the bottom mark two boats passed us, leaving only the short beat back to the finish to remedy things.

The final beat looked as if it was going to be a parade out to the right, with the leader tacking on the starboard layline to the finish. To our advantage, when the second-place boat (254) tacked to port to clear their air, it freed up our lane to sail a little more to the right of them before we tacked, forcing the leader (107) to follow and cover. As we got closer to the finish, all three boats tightened up, and we were able to tack back to port to get clear, with no one covering us. Fortunately for us, 107 and 254 then became very interested in each with 107 forcing 254 over the port layline for the finish pin. Our clear lane, coupled with a small right shift, allowed us to get close enough to shoot the line for a three-boat-length, head-to-wind coast across the line in 1st place.

Thanks to the race committee for a great night, and thanks to the crew for a great race.

Envy (138)

Aug 122012

Shields Fleet 9 Race Report for Gosling #17

August 1, 2012

Wind: South 12 knts

Flood Tide (Full Moon)

Head stay set ½” shy of full rake (good for the start, a little slow on the last beat in dying breeze. I wish we could adjust during race)

We had a photo-journalist, Abbie Pope, on board subbing for Sharon, so we had to do our best for posterity’s sake. Prescott was in top counter-culture mode.

Early Recon at the Bridge made it look like the left was favored with pressure and theoretical tide relief; so we had this great game plan- go left, tack up the Navy shore, avoid crossing the Bay in the face of a flood tide, go through the east span around the mark off Rose, and stay in the middle for max current assist on the run.

5 min before the start we tossed the original plan based on a keen observation: Line favored on right, Pressure on right, moon tide relief on right; so go right!

Note: Swimming across the Bay last Saturday I found a tide swirl in Potter’s Cove (which of course accounted for my slow time). If you hit Potter’s on an Ebb  tide close to the point, it pushes NE. If it’s a Flood tide, you get a counter-current SE boost. If you hit it wrong in light air and go too close, you can get sucked in!

We had a full moon flood, so Potter’s looked good.

We had a good start 2 boats down from committee boat, and tacked on to port right away, right behind Jay on 232 and Dirk on 181. We tacked up the tide lines toward Potter’s cove: out for pressure, in for tide relief (and resulting induced lift). We avoided going too far into Potter’s or too far out into the middle (adverse current). We tacked on the stbd lay line through center span; avoiding the tide rip and lousy air through the west span and were able to sneak ahead of 181 and 232. Pinching into the current south of the bridge we just made the weather mark ahead of 108 coming in from left.

Downwind Leg:

Crew had a perfect set and we jibed right away onto port, and went through the east span, and stayed east of the Gould tide cone for more current boost.  232 and 108 were coming on strong, but Susan trimming and Prescott calling pressure extended our lead. We were forced east of lay line for pressure and to cover 232. We were so intent on covering that we went a little too far east at the bottom of the run, and had the pole on the headstay approaching the leeward mark on port. Rockstar crew performance got the chute down perfectly we and tacked on to stbd as soon as possible.

Finish Leg:

Went left covering 232, tacked a little too early for the finish (and to cover 108 coming in fast from right). Had to make an extra tack, but were able to stay just ahead of 232 and 108 for the bullet.

Great night on the water, and excellent job by the Race Committee.

Team: Tom Derecktor

Prescott Cronin

Susan Mortgu

Abbie Pope

Jul 152012

Firstly, I feel a bit of a sham, writing the bullet blog, when clearly Tim and the guys on 254 laid the smack down on the evening. Nice work!

Back to when we were heroes… Our game plan for the race was to start towards boat and stay until we wanted to tack to then approach the top mark from the right with the tide going out.

Luckily we managed to basically do that. With good speed we lead back the bunch from the left and then hipped up on 36, who clearly nailed the beat from the right and also the starboard lay line from a mile out. Impressive!

Trailing down the run we hedged out of current, right side when looking down wind. We kept the bus trucking on the long port gybe, soaking low when loaded. This helped us over take and then extend a little. Left turn at the gate for current.

On the second beat we loosely covered to the left part way up the beat, but tacked to leeward of the two chasing boats when they came back on port. This gave them a little too much leverage to the left – not so smart in the left trend. So the game was back to being tight at the top for the second time aided by our way too aggressive starboard lay line call, making it by a hair.

None of us had great spinnaker sets, but an early gybe to aim for the finish and the same game plan as the first run helped us stretch again. Staying between the boats and the finish we left 254 and 108 to duke it out for second, which they did. This made it interesting for them and a little easier for us, thanks Tim and Jeff!

Big sigh of the relief on the 224 that the roulette ball fell into our pocket again. It is always an accomplishment to do well in this talented fleet and we certainly thank the whole fleet for the challenge every time we step on the Shields.

The lessons relearnt from this race were in this fleet the importance of a clean start, and a little room to go fast, along with the goal of leading back the pack on your chosen side. Good friends, a relaxed coed crew, and a few refreshments certainly helped too. But not enough to be zero again in the second race for the evening… refer to the beginning of the blog!.

Final thank you to our ever passionate owner, Walter Bundy, and our illustrious fleet captain and 224 skippah, Peter Clark.

Steve, Megs, John, Mark and Joey

Jul 132012

Shields Fleet 9 Race Report 7/11/12

Summer Series Races #1 & #2

Conditions: SSW 10-12, Ebb

What a great night for the 254!  A 2,1 night would be great for any boat out there, but it’s really sweet for some relative newcomers like us. Great job by the race committee to get the two races in to make up for a couple of weeks ago (feels like we haven’t raced in forever).  The announcement on the radio did cause a “do we have enough beer for 2 races?” panic on board as we cut from the mooring in Jamestown thinking, “who do we know who has a powerboat and is sitting around doing nothing?”

We were out early (for once) which was nice because we were still fiddling around with the tack set up and lead positions on our new jib.  Nice consistent breeze for the night for the most part, our thoughts were that there was nice pressure out of the left and it might get you into stronger current sooner. But at worst it would be even current advantage as the right.

We didn’t think it was a GET LEFT situation, so with the weather end favored we decided to start 1/3 of the way down from the boat.  This turned out to be a great place to start as it was a nice jump on the boats to leeward and we were able to lead the group to weather into the better pressure to the left. The new jib is definitely fast, the boat has a whole other gear than with the 2 year old one we’ve been using.  Lesson #1: We definitely waited too long to pull out the new one!

Once we were on to port we had nice gains to the boats on the right and were probably leading until up near mark 13 where the toll booth righty started to have an effect.  224 and 36 crossed and we fell in line to round T in 3rd.  Lesson #2: Know the sailing instructions!  Most of the racing Scotty, Nate, Ian and I do is in big boats where you always have to go through the center span. So we thought we were pretty smart jibe setting to head back towards the center span, we’d beat the two ahead to the jibe, and roll them putting us in the lead. It was going to be awesome. After wallowing in bad air and bad chop from the whole fleet, all the while heading out into stronger current, we weren’t feeling so smart watching boats sail toward the other span in clear air in less current. Center 3 spans, copy. Think we’ll remember that now.  Now what’s that list of marks we have to honor?  We always seem to argue about that too . . .

It worked out OK though as the toll booth righty helped us get back down in front of the group into the gates still 3rd behind 224 and 36. They both took the left gate looking downwind, which we were happy about as we liked the right gate heading left and didn’t think the toll booth righty would be in play on the leg to 13.  The left paid again getting us to second still behind 224, sailing a great race, with 108 in 3rd.  The run stayed in order and we were psyched to finish second, our best finish of the year. Having a second race after a good 1st one is always a little scary.  You just hate to have a shocker and ruin the good feeling you’ve got at the moment!  But on the other hand you’ve got good mojo going so bring it on.  How many beers are left?

Race 2, the one I’m probably supposed to be writing about was a quintessential “I love it when a plan comes together” race on the 254 for all you A-Team fans.  Sorry, the movie is on HBO right now and that BA is no Mr. T.  Square to pin favored line so we wanted to be as close to the pin as we dared and lead to the left that got us around the course in Race 1.  With a little luck, we were the first off the pin with 108 and 253 I think stuck or slow at the pin boat. Our trusty lefty got us around in the lead. Dirk and 181 challenged on the run, but trouble with the douse put them to leeward after rounding the right gate with us. We were able to extend to the left and our lead with 181 hanging on for 2nd.

An awesome 2,1 night! A lot has to go right for you, nights like that don’t come often even for the good guys. This same boat posted a DFL in the spring series, so who knows next week!

Remember the 2 lessons – don’t let your jib get too old and know what the hell you’re doing out there.  It’s tough enough without making stupid mistakes.

Great job and thanks again to the race committee for getting two in.  For those worried, we did have enough beer, just . . .

Tim Dawson for Tom Hirsch’s Aeolus #254


Jun 262012


Finally a Sunny Wednesday

Wind direction: 240 – 260

Wind Velocity: 5 – 10 knots

Current: Ebb

The race committee was set and ready ontime and decided to stretch the course out directing the fleet out to Green Gong 7 (O).  The line at times had a slight boat advantage due to the oscillating wind trying to turn more westerly.  With the gradient wind out of the west and our on course wind more South West the discussion started with, “do we start at the boat and head right”.  The ebb current was really strong around G11 and the breeze seemed to be weakest to the far right on the course.  The top mark was to the right side of the course so we talked about going far right to get the current relief before reaching G11 were we could then work our way further right to the weather mark but, the breeze on the right side of the course seemed light.  Next discussion was, “with less current and less breeze would it be enough to counter more current and more breeze?” So we decided to start to the right of middle on the line in what we felt was the most pressure on the course on the edge of the max current trying to stay out of the max current until we had to cross if to get to G7.  As the race progressed the boats to the far right fell out of the pressure and then had to hit the max current head on when coming back onto starboard tack to get to the weather mark.  The boats that went left ended up having a long port tack perpendicular to the current but maintained stronger pressure.  The group of boats that stayed in the middle right seemed to have a good balance of pressure and current to work around the boats to the far right and keep ahead of the boats that went left.  At G11, shields 74, us (Coffee Grinder), and I think 127 were laying the weather mark and at times reaching to the weather mark.  At the weather mark we rounded in 2nd behind 74 and our plan was to try and get inside and get in the max current as soon as possible.  After skimming by G11 we worked low and eventually jibed to get inside of 74.  We maintained inside overlap down to the leeward mark G3 (6).  After round the leeward mark it was a one tack beat to the finish.

Jun 172012

Race 4, June 13th Conditions:

Wind direction: 150 – 175

Wind Velocity: 5 – 8 knots

Current: Ebb

The race committee as usual was ready to go on time and even provided a word of caution to the racers that the ebb was full on and to be mindful not to be over.  Our first try at the start found us 10 boats away from the favored pin end but without a good lane and over early.  Fortunately 90 percent of the fleet was over early so we would get another chance.  The second start the pin end was still favored with the 1 min rule in effect.  Again we started up from the pin but, this time we had a nice gap to leeward and we started clean.  About 2 minutes into the race the boats directly at the pin seemed to be fading into some lighter breeze and the boats that went to the right side of the course seemed to have good angle and pressure.  So we decided to tack onto port and work our way toward the pressure.  After about 2 minutes on port we were forced to tack back to the left.  At the time it still seemed like the right had better pressure and angle but we also now noticed that the left most boat was gaining ground.  To limit tacking too much we continued left and noticed a significant change in the current.  We crossed a current line, got headed and tacked back onto port short of the port tack layline.  We continued to be lifted with pressure toward the mark.  As we approached the mark the three boats that went hard right after the start crossed and were 1,2,3 at the weather mark.  A few boats that ducked us and went further left also got around us at the weather mark and we rounded in 6th.  With the ebb we instantly wanted to get into the greatest flow so we jibed and headed off on port.  Our next thought was to not jibe back until we get between rose and the fort to hopefully have some current relief as we head toward the leeward mark.  We stuck with this plan into the leeward mark and rounded second.  The final leg we wanted to sail up into the right pressure and ride that back to the header we experienced on the left side of the course from the first leg.  The course was behaving the way it did on the first leg and as we sailed left we started to get headed.  The header was just enough to allow us to squeak by into first place at the finish.

The  diagram (click)  is what we thought the current was doing.



Jun 072012

Race 3 Bullet Blog: June 6, 2012

The 107 crew appeared to be on a harbor tour to nowhere for the second week in a row, drifting out of Brenton Code against a surprising current as most competitors waited on their moorings. We’d done the same a week ago and received a bit of kidding for our enthusiasm; this time we were well positioned, along with 74, Bill Shore, as a light southwesterly filtered down the East Passage. Both of us were able to sail upwind near to Fort Wetherill and have a look at the wind and flood current.

We learned that the wind seemed stronger and more westerly on the right, toward Jamestown, and there was less current. We also discovered that as a crew, we were a bit rusty (or distracted, which produces similar results), so we ran off a series of light-air jibes to get ourselves in as smooth a groove as possible while maneuvering.

With a cruise ship anchored by Goat Island, Dr. Wallace’s race committee set a starting line a bit closer to Fort Adams than usual, and signaled a course to Hammersmith Farm and back to the green bell by Rose Island, twice around if the wind held. We decided we didn’t like the look of the light winds by the Fort and aimed for a windward end start, even though the breeze turned left 10 degrees more than we’d yet seen, to 210, not long before the start.

We had a good start and had soon tacked to port, with Stubby, 59, on our lee bow, and Tom Derecktor, 17, down to leeward, both leading us toward Clingstone. It soon appeared that there was a nice breeze by the Fort and it looked as if those on the left were crushing us, but we were patient and kept going. I can’t say it felt very good, compounded by the fact that we always like to foot and go fast, while Stubby prefers to point, so we had to adjust to his style to keep our air clear and he gradually pulled ahead.

Eventually we reached the right corner, once owned by Bryce Muir and more recently favored by Andy Burton, and by then were pulling forward nicely on the rest of the fleet. At the house on the rocks, Stubby and Tom tacked toward Hammersmith; we made a big duck under Tom and kept going past the house before we tacked. Bill Shore came across next and ducked us, digging in farther, followed by Andy Segal, 101, who went the farthest, which turned out to the best place to tack, benefitting from the least amount of negative current. Although we all had cases of the slows crossing the channel at some point, Andy’s westerly position allowed him to sail around all of us to round comfortably ahead.

The wind had gotten really spotty against the Newport shoreline at this point; despite being becalmed for a while Peter Denton’s 226 (I didn’t see if he was aboard or not) and Tom in 17 caught a little breeze on the port layline to round behind Bill and Andy. We were fifth, with Wendy Lotz, 138, just behind us.

We rounded with speed, and after a nice quiet spinnaker set by Pete, Rachel, and Matt , we reached down the shore softly, considering our options. The four boats ahead had all jibed out into deeper water but didn’t have much pressure. So we carried on, trying to sail as smooth and fast as we could, making the most out of the breeze we had. A small puff filled behind us, encouraging us to jibe, and we jibed out as the leaders reached the channel and jibed in, still in light air.

Soon the wind began to fill in earnest back near the weather mark, and we watched Stubby in 59 and Jeff Gladchun in 108 who had both jibed early, start to storm down towards the leading group. Eventually we picked up some of that breeze and sailed it down the middle of the channel before jibing on what seemed like a reasonable angle for the green bell off Rose.

Three of the leaders were on the Newport side of us, in lighter air, while Tom in 17 had held out farther toward Jamestown. Our streak of the breeze allowed us to sail in between them and into the lead, with 108 close on our tail.

In the interests of full disclosure, we weren’t unhappy to hear two guns and Robin’s voice on the VHF with the shorten-course announcement. For a while, it looked as if 17 would have the angle to run us down before we got there, but a timely heading puff helped us down to the finish in front of Tom, who just nipped Jeff on 108 for second. Wendy in 138 and Stubby in 59 rounded out the top five.

Excellent mainsail trim by Reed Baer, spinnaker trim by Matt Buechner, and wind calling by Rachel Balaban all contributed to our success last night, but the key difference just might have been the smooth moves on the bow by Peter Schott whose off-season work at the gym has moved the center of gravity much farther aft aboard 107 this season.

John Burnham