Racing

Subcategories from this category: Frostbite

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Hello Frostbiters,

I trust that everyone had a great weekend and Nate ran things well in my absence. Before this week's guest blog by Mark, I have two announcements to share.

We have two special events this upcoming Saturday, Rules Clinic, at Seaport School, this Saturday, December 20, 9:30-11am. This will be something of a directed Q&A, so if you have questions, please come to this event.

Holiday Party, at Pier 6, after racing on Saturday. Free sliders, apps, beer specials, etc. We will also be giving out the series 1 awards this Saturday. We will also be presenting the Elvstrom trophy to last year's winners of our annual sportsmanship award.

Now for the guest blog from Mark!

There's always a lot to learn.

First is when the tide is coming into Boston Harbor, the current is often going out. That was true all day on Saturday. There had been enough rain earlier in the week that they were dumping the Charles River. As Jim Watson, my very observant crew points out, fresh water is lighter than salt and the Charles runs out like a stream on top of the heavier incoming salt tide. It hits the East Boston shore above the piers and then angles back across the middle of the harbor. On an incoming tide the stream can be fairly narrow.

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 I hope you are all staying warm and dry today. It is one of those days that you don't have to walk far before you look like you've fallen off the dock or been swept overboard. The good news is that this weekend should be warm (high of 45) and dry, with NW winds around 10 knots. I am taking a short vacation next week, but will leave you in the trusty hands of Nate and the rest of our regular staff.

I would like to quickly address the finishing situation in race 5 last week. When running an odd-numbered course, where we will be finishing upwind, our finish line is normally between an anchored RC boat (where the windward mark was) and the offset mark, now the finish pin. Due to the current and the wind conditions, our fleet became very spread after only one lap of race 5. The last boats to round the windward mark were only 10 boat lengths or so in front of the leaders approaching the finish. As RC, I could not anchor in the way of the boats yet to get to lay line, and did not have enough time to set anchor once they had cleared the line, as the boats coming to the finish were already nearing the end of their beat Our solution was to motor just to starboard of the windward mark, and sight down the marks, between which would be the finish line. I think this worked as well as anything I could have done in that situation, and apologize to any boats we failed to hail on approach. It did not seem to me that anyone lost a finish place because of this action, which is a rel

Today I was forwarded an email thread addressing mark roundings from our fleet captains Cole, Pat, and Mark. The discussion is straightforward, and me, being ever the opportunist, decided to rip it off for this week's blog. As I understand it, this situation was not unique given the foul current and light wind we experienced last week.

The problem relates to those situations where starboard boats shoot the windward mark.

Here is a description of a situation involving two boats (named A and B). There is also an animation attached:

Initial Position

Boat A, on starboard, outside the zone, approaches the windward mark, slightly under the layline, clear ahead of boat B by at least two boat lengths.
Boat B, also on starboard, approaches the windward mark, above the layline, not overlapped with boat A.

Development

Boat A is ahead, but she is slow because she is pinching, trying to fetch the windward mark. On the other hand, Boat B overstood the layline, and is sailing faster than Boat A.

Entering the Zone

Boat A enters the zone, still under the layline, still pinching, still clear ahead of boat B.
Boat B, sailing faster, reaches the zone and prepare to round the mark.
Boat A shoots the mark, luffing the jib, but not tacking... Just shooting the mark.
Boat B approaches Boat A, but has to avoid Boat A and heads up. Then Boat B protests Boat A, under the grounds "she had to go above closed hauled course, to avoid Boat A."

So, What's the answer?

From Cole:

Provided boat A is clear ahead at the zone, they need mark room, which potentially includes room to shoot the mark. Boat B needs to give them mark room, even if it involves going above close hauled (or even tacking away). That said, boat A needs to be VERY careful not to cross head to wind, because if they do, they no longer have any rights, and they are now the keep clear boat. Also, like you said, they do need to give boat B room to keep clear. Often times if I'm boat A, entering the zone first, barely fetching the mark, I'll tell boat B that I'm going to need room and that I'm planning on shooting the mark--this way things usually go cleaner for me (and for them)...

From Pat:

I can think of a few situations where Boat A would be wrong:
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Barge- Move forcefully or roughly. Push, Shove, Force. "We can't just barge into a private garden party." or "Barging in at the start line causes havoc and makes Courageous staff anxious and competitors angry."

Yes, this week's recap is about starts, and in particular, barging. Which there was a lot of this past Saturday. Now, I readily admit that there were starts where the wind clocked well right and the boat was very favored. However, I will tell you what I tell the college sailors I coach: "If it's not gonna work, bail early." That way, you have time to find another starting spot and don't end up doing penalty turns after the signal.

This topic has been covered at length by much better writers and more knowledgeable sailors than myself. I urge everyone to read this excellent article by Dick Rose in the January 2012 issue of Sailing World. I would like to emphasize one thing: there is no rule saying you are entitled to not cross the starting line early. Unless there is an obstruction, such as an RC boat, immediately to windward of you, if a leeward boat heads you up, you have to keep clear, even if that means it will ruin your start and you will be early. The only rule there is windward-leeward. Failure to do this causes accidents, and is the root of the problem that is barging. This is why starting is hard and good starts require practice and planning.

So, please read the article. It is better with a rule book in hand to look at the definitions and rules being cited.

In other news, we have fleet captains! Congratulations to Mark, Pat, and Cole, who were unanimously elected during last week's skippers meeting. Everyone make sure to buy these guys a beer next time at Pier 6. The fleet captain system keeps things running smoothly and has been a great aid to this fleet, but it requires some time of its volunteers, so be sure to say thank you next time you have their ear at the bar, explaining how you were completely screwed at that start.

Updated results are attached here. I made an error when entering the results into the scoring program, giving two boats OCS scores in the first race, when they should have received them in race two. This has been brought to my atention and corrected. My apologies for the mistake. 

We will be giving ourselves a chance to digest the turkey and stuffing this Saturday, but will be returning for week three on December 6. I look forward to seeing everyone then, and wish you all a happy holiday.

 

 

 On November 15 we officially kicked off the 2014-2015 Frostbiting Season with 23 of our 25 boats on the line. Following a skippers meeting at 11:30, the first gun was at 12:20, and the course, which had been set before the skippers meeting, required remarkably little fiddling. Shifts were large but the median direction of NNW held true throughout racing. The forecast was for 8-12, with gusts to 15, but what we actually saw was more variable; winds were 5-15, with gusts to 18. Temps in the mid 30s held true, but the sunshine kept things pleasant enough. 

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Hello Frostbiters! I hope you are staying warm in this early freeze!
 
First off, thanks to everyone for their prompt responses and registrations. For those few stragglers, who I know are coming but haven't finished their registration form or submitted payment, shake a leg! The registration form is here. (We have one spot left, so invite your friends to sign up!)
 
This year's NOR and SIs are attached in the Frostbiting Public Folder, which is an excellent source of must-know information, and is also where results get published. There are no major changes to the SIs, although some wording has been added and section 17 streamlined. A few items were added prior to the winter series last year, so please take a look. Racing will be the same time and place as always. 
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