Frostbite Racing Earns It's Name in Week 8


Hello Frostbiters!

The moniker is especially fitting give our conditions this past weekend! In light of the fact that one of us has clearly done something to piss off Mother Nature, I would like to begin this recap with a quote that came to mind watching everyone sail through piles of snow.

"Adversity is the state in which a man becomes most easily acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then." -John Wooden

This weeks racing was challenging, but I for one am glad that we were able to get out on the water and go sailing. We had current, shifting winds (we saw 180 degrees while we were on the water), rain, then snow, then fog AND snow, and plummeting temperatures, all with the threat of incoming ship traffic! However, I saw laughter and smiles out there on the water, and am pleased we were able to put together two races for everyone.

Once again we started the day we a terrific rules follow up by Carl Zimba, hosted over at the Seaport School. The subject of Saturday's talk was Rule 18, and I believe we covered about a third of what people would have liked over the course of an hour. It is a big rule with a lot of applications! We hope to be able to continue to do these little rules classes, as they seem to benefit everyone and are getting great turnout. Be sure to thank Carl- he is doing a fantastic job!

Race 1 today was square when we set it, after five minutes was enough skewed to make the pin considerably favored, and after twenty was discouragingly "reachy" on the downwind leg. This is what happens in a persistent shift. There is no setting the course in the middle of the shifts- you simply have to set and hope for the best. There was significant foul current and not a huge amount of wind. Those that played the current well seemed to make out the best.

Since I have written a blog on sailing in oscillating wind, I will address sailing in a persistent shift today. In a persistant shift, you want to sail on the headed tack first. This allows you to tack once and sail less distance over the majority of the course. For example, if the wind is shifting to the north from the southeast, sail on starboard tack and take the increasing header. Go until you are below layline, but out enough from the middle of the course. This is your short tack. (Normally you want to start your race on your long tack, but not in a persistent shift). Now when you tack to port, you will be lifted more and more as you sail, but you will have avoided sailing what is known as the "great circle course."

Think of starting out on port tack in the same wind. As you continue on, you get more and more lifted. So why would you tack? You are lifted. You keep getting lifted all the way until layline, except now your layline is further away from the starting line than the windward mark. You tack, and are continuously headed on your approach to the mark. If you draw it out, this path around the course looks like a big semi-circle that is open on the left side. In contrast, the manner of sailing described in the previous paragraph is more similar to a cursive "L" shape.

In Race 2, the rain had turned to snow. We reset the course due North, in the direction the wind had now settled, but visibility had dropped significantly and there was still considerable current. Noticing that competitors seemed to be headed too far to the right of the course, we sent our blue safety boat to hold position at the windward mark, providing a larger target for people to find. As the wind had settled, this race seemed to be more about playing the current, which had increased since the first race.
Although it was early and another race was planned, the decision was made to call racing for the day after the second race. The number of boats retiring for the day provided strong evidence people were not dressed appropriately for the colder-than-forecasted conditions, and the incoming ship traffic was nerve-wrecking given the poor visibility.

Once again, Pier 6 was a delight and provided some much needed warmth for everyone following racing. I look forward to seeing you all next week! The pictures below are courtesy of Mark Lindsay. If you have some great shots, we would love to see them!