A Quick Valentine's Day Regatta Recap

Hello Frostbiters!

My weekend forecast email will be coming out on Friday, this is just a friendly recap of our Valentine's Regatta (it was last week, I know, we are a little ahead of ourselves) and some important notes as we continue to smooth out bumps moving towards the end of the Frostbiting season.

The day started with chipping a "healthy" amount of ice out of the bilges of our Rhodes fleet. As race committee set the course and the fleet made their way out, we watched two large ships, the New Englander and Great Eastern, pass through the channel in opposite directions. The timing was perfect, as this would be the only major ship traffic for the day.

Westerly winds in Boston mean our fleet is racing in some very shifty and puffy conditions. The wind tends to bend around the large buildings of the financial district, creating some very interesting conditions. Although we saw 70 degree shifts to either side of nominal, for the most part we were able to set the course to the middle of the shifts and run the races. In total we had five races in just under three hours. The varying conditions made for great spectating from the RC boat, with huge disparities in angle towards the mark from the different sides of the course, as boats sailed in almost unrelated wind conditions.

The problem of the day, and there is always one, was barging at the start. This is therefore the target of my weekly micro-lesson. "Barging" means sailing in at the boat end, overlapped with boats to leeward, and forcing your way into the starting line by refusing to respond to the rights of the leeward boat to sail all the way head-to-wind.

There is plenty of information out there on this common problem, so I have pasted an excerpt from mysailing.com.au here:

Windward keeps clear

There are only two real points to remember in this situation. The main one is Rule 11 (on the same tack, overlapped). If you are a windward boat you must keep clear of a boat to leeward.

The leeward boat has the right to sail her proper course to the next mark, but has an obligation to sail no higher than close-hauled and cannot luff above this course. However, the other point which is very pertinent is that before the starting gun is fired, there is no proper course to the next mark as the race has not yet commenced.

As there are no constraints on the leeward boat to sail his proper course, he can luff as high as head-to-wind. A yacht that is to leeward and establishes an overlap may luff you above close-hauled prior to the start of the race. So keep clear.

All in all it is quite simple: If you are barging in at the windward end of the line, any boat may push you up head-to-wind before the start or to a close-hauled course after the gun has gone. So it would be foolhardy to sail in there without a sizable gap to accommodate you.

Leeward responsibilities

Whilst the leeward yacht has right of way, she does have some limitations. Under rule 16 she must give the windward boat room to avoid her whilst changing course. The windward boat must have the ability to fulfill her obligations. The right-of-way leeward boat can't just turn abruptly, not giving the opportunity to keep clear.

Be aware that the windward yacht may have other boats above her which she must also hail to keep clear so she can react to the presence of the leeward boat calling her.

The full article is certainly worth the read if you have any questions, and can be found here: http://www.mysailing.com.au/news/rules-barging-in-at-the-boat-end

If this seems like beginner stuff, Good!! Then you know your stuff, but we all have gaps in our sailing knowledge here and there and refreshers can be helpful for everyone.

We are sailing next weekend, it will be the first day of the Spring Series! This series will end in an extra day of non-counting racing, which has been added on March 22.

For this week, and for all weeks, please remember to email me if you know your boat is available. It is very unlikely I can find a substitute for the boat if I don't receive an email until Saturday morning or after I leave work on Friday. We all want a full line out there, so please notify in advance if you need crew or will not be needing your boat.

See you all next week!