It's time to think about summer!

Winter is officially over, and only a few weeks remain until we open our doors for the 2015 season on May 1st! We have been working hard to increase programming this winter and build our fleet. Read on to catch up on the latest the Courageous adult program has to offer!

Jake Denney, Adult Program Director

Volunteer Day and April Open Houses 
As a community organization, Courageous cannot operate without the support of our members, neighbors, and friends. Volunteer Day and our April Open Houses are a great way to get involved and meet some new people if you are new to Courageous, and for long-time supporters to help spread us the word.

Volunteer Day will take place on Saturday, April 11, from 10am-4pm. Please join us for a day of getting the boats and boathouse ready for the season--no experience necessary, and lunch will be served! Sign up and get more information here.

April Open Houses are 12-3pm on April 18, 25, and 26. During Open Houses we offer discounts on memberships and lessons, free half hour sails, and a BBQ. If you'd like to take people out sailing (Green Flag and experienced Yellow Flag members only), man the grill, or help with sign-ins, please sign up here. This is a great time to renew your membership and purchase lessons, and the last chance to get discounted prices before the season starts! To take advantage of the Open House discounts without attending in person, you can purchase memberships and lessons online or by phone (617-242-3821).

New Courses, New Boats
This summer Courageous is excited to announce two new adult program courses--Safe Powerboating and Sportboat Sailing.

In Safe Powerboating, students learn the basic of powerboat operation through both hands-on and classroom work. The first course of the year is offered on April 25th and 26th from 9am-5pm each day. Graduates earn a certificate endorsed by NASBLA, the USCG, and US Powerboating. To sign up or ask a question about this course, please call 617-242-3821, email Jake Denney, or visit our website. We are currently offering this class at a 10% Open House discount.

In the 12 hour Sportboat Sailing class, students will learn advanced sail trim techniques and how to use an asymmetrical spinnaker. This class will be taught on one of our J/80s and is highly encouraged for those interested in Sportboat Memberships. A Green Flag on the water rating is required to take this course. We'll also be offering shorter instruction sessions on the J/80s for Yellow Flag sailors who want a taste of what it's like to sail a sportboat. The Sportboat Sailing schedule will be posted online by May 1st. For questions on course content or about our growing fleet of J/80s, call 617-242-3821 or email Jake Denney.

Additions to the Courageous fleet this year include a Canadian Sailcraft 30, a Pearson 34, two J/80s, a Rhodes 19, and a new safety boat for the Youth Program. We are proud to be making such strides in improving the quality of our fleet and offering expanded programming. Feel free to contact Courageous with any questions about our new Cruising and Sportboat Memberships.

Summer Racing Series 

Advanced Rhodes 19 Racing: Last year we heard that racers wanted this long summer series broken up into shorter series, similar to how we run Frostbite racing. So this year, Tuesday night racing will be broken into spring, summer, and fall series, each lasting 6 weeks. Racing starts at 6PM each night, and registration fees have been lowered and broken up by series to encourage more participation. Check out the full NOR for pricing and more information.
* Series 1: May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9
* Series 2: June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21
*

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Thanks to everyone coming out this past Saturday, and helping us get 23 boats on the line in some very chilly conditions! Throughout the day, we had steady wind around 8-10 knots. Current was sweeping across the course, going out of the harbor, and seeming to slack through the afternoon. In the first few races, you simply had to sail course left to take advantage of a mixture of current relief and geographic shifts. The course become more even, as we brought the pin down, the right gate up, and the current slacked. During race four, the wind came down as the snow fall increased, leading to slower races and reduced visibility. Fortunately, we were able to get 6 races and finish around 3pm!

Overall, starts were very good. We had a general recall in which nearly everyone in the front row was over, which is a sign of a quality fleet. Watching races, I was impressed by how much better starts and mark roundings looked throughout the fleet, compared to the first weeks of the series. The fleet tends to stay close together, racing is tight, and boats are often switching places through the last moments of the finish! We had 6 races, and 5 different boats get a 1st place finish. Pretty exciting for Rhodes 19s!

This Saturday is the Valentine's Day Regatta, which I hope you will all join us for. Results don't count for the regular series, and I know we will have lot's of extra boats, so let me know if you wan't a boat and don't normally sail, or if you do normally sail but won't be joining in the fun this Saturday. Prizes will be chocolate hearts. The Winter Series awards will be given out after racing the following Saturday. Congratulations to Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson on 1st Place, Matt Marston and Cheney Brand on 2nd, and Bryan Lee, Annemarije Veenland, and FJ Ritt on 3rd!

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.

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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.