Hello Frostbiters!

It went by quickly, but we are done with the Fall Series! Five weeks went by in no time! Thanks to everyone for coming out and participating, and it was good to see the turnout at Pier 6 for our awards. Thanks so much to Pier 6 for hosting us and continuing to provide a wonderful (and warm) place for us to gather after sailing! We owe them for those wonderful appetizers this past week. Congratulations to our series winners! In 1st place is Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson with a guest appearance this week by Alexander Watson. In 2nd place is Chris Palmieri, Gretchen Curtis, and Amy Fater. And taking 3rd place is Matt Marston, Cheney Brand, and Dan Sexton. A link to the series’ results, as well as the day’s results, can be found below. For those who didn’t make it to Pier 6 after racing, I want to recount a special award that was added to the series.

Continue reading

 

I’m very fortunate to have Jim Watson who is a lifelong racing sailor as my team member. On the ride in from Gloucester we discuss the forecast, the tide, what conditions we expect to see that day, and most importantly what we learned the last time we sailed. This helps us both focus on what we want to do that day and get into a racing mindset. The wind forecast for the day was NNW backing to WNW and increasing from 9 to 14 knots with gusts increasing from 12 to 17 knots over the day. The forecast also showed the overcast sky clearing around midday with temperatures in the upper 30’s. High tide was mid-afternoon.

My experience said that a clearing northwester should shift right before backing into the west, and this turned out to be the case in the second and third races. My experience with tidal current in the harbor is that it flows out most of the time from shortly after high tide until 2 hours before the next high tide and that it runs hardest down the middle with significantly less up close to the shore. We tuned up the boat to get a nice comfortable feel on the helm before the start. I pulled on about 6” of backstay to blade out the top of the main in the puffs and to keep the headstay from sagging too much when I eased the mainsheet. We had to pull really hard on the main halyard to keep the draft forward and the wrinkles out. Finally we pulled just enough on the jib halyard to keep the sags out. We always remind ourselves that tightening the backstay will tighten the jib luff, and these jibs don’t like too much tension. The jib cars were mid-track and we sheeted fairly hard once we were moving. When we were fully hiked the boat had a nice easy weather helm and not too much heel. If the boat felt bound up, I eased the mainsheet just a bit and went for more speed. We were fast upwind all day. I know that my weakest point is getting good starts, partly as a result of spending most of my life sailing dinghies and not allowing enough time to get a heavy keel boat going. I know that I want to be “on the line, going fast, with clear air” and that it takes a good 20 seconds to get a Rhodes 19 up to speed.

Continue reading

Hi Fellow Frost-biters,

 

    Saturday, November 16, offered a challenging array of weather conditions, current, and course setup.  I would like to share with you my experience and insight contributing to my team’s success.  On the 16th, I, Alex Wisch, was co-skippering with Niko Kotsatos.  Both of us are well-accomplished sailors with over 20 years of racing experience and this weekend was our first time sailing together.  During the first weekend we each had personal endeavors and the second weekend I sailed with Amanda Farnham.  I was personally a little nervous about the dynamics in the boat this weekend since both of us were strong-headed skippers.  We had decided that I would start the first race, since I had won the previous weekend.

Continue reading

Saturday was an eventful day to say the least. Four races were completed in variable winds, generally 15-20 knots. The median wind direction in the first two races held at 320 degrees, shifting west in the afternoon. This westerly brought our course directly under BSC and momentarily caused our course to overlap with the BSC course. I apologize for this, our course should have been moved drastically a full race earlier than it was. There was only one barge today, but due to the location of our starting line and our angle across the channel, we were forced to abandon the race underway. 

Race 1 got underway at 12:20. With a big line, nearly every boat was on time and pushing the line well, with no one OCS. The wind increased as the first boats rounded the leeward gate. Race 2 started quickly with another Course 4. This time two boats were over leading into the final seconds of the pre-start. Boat #3 got under the line just in time, boat #5 over but returning quickly. This race saw alternating lefty and righty shifts, with gusts into the mid 20s across the course, making for very interesting racing. 
 
Race 3 started at 1:05 but was abandoned. Reefs were shaken out while the race committee reset the course to be clear of BSC. After finally getting off at 1;40, a strong lefty asserted itself as the new wind direction, causing the course to be adjusted again for the final race. This situation was unfortunate, and the amount of time needed for a second start to get off was regrettable. 
 
To speak to the widespread feedback I have received on the decision to abandon- it was a judgement call. In retrospect, the course should have been shifted before the start, removing the reasons to abandon. It is my opinion that abandonment should only be used when there are serious factors preventing competitors from completing a race in a fair way. Wind oscillations generally do not fall under this. In this case, it was the combination of the major shift and the likelihood of convergence with the BSC fleet during the downwind leg that caused me to abandon the race. This was a judgement call on my part. 
 
With the wind now at 290 degrees, a final race got underway following an abandonment for a barge which would come directly through our course. Originally, Race 4 was posted as a Course 4. However, after a general recall, there was clearly not going to be enough time for fifth race to get off before 3pm. The Course 5 was set and the final race got off. 
 
There were two major collisions during racing, and two break downs from equipment failures.
 
Jake Denney
Courageous Sailing
The Wallace Foundation Summer Learning Demonstration: Boston Public Schools/Boston After School and Beyond

This year, the Courageous Summer Youth Program participated in the Summer Learning Project (SLP) for the second year.  This program is part of a national study to help reduce summer learning loss and Courageous is lucky to be part of a great network of other nonprofits in Boston. Organizations currently participating in SLP include: Tenacity, Thompson Island Outward Bound, Ponkapoag Outdoor Center, Hale Reservation, YMCA Boston, and Boys and Girls Club Boston.

SLP works with rising 4th graders from Boston Public Schools who are identified as being at risk for summer learning loss.  Throughout the five-week program, students study at school in the morning, then join us at our sailing center in Charlestown or Jamaica Pond.  While at the sailing center with us, students learn marine biology in an experiential, hands-on setting before heading out on the water on one of our Rhodes 19 sailboats.  Through investigation based learning, the students explore a range of scientific topics including life cycles, aquatic ecosystems, and damage caused by environmental pollution and oil spills.  Each lesson includes a literary component as well as an engaging activity that employs our surroundings as a living classroom.

The students that participate in our program have been selected because assessments identify them as being in a vulnerable population, academically. For many of our kids, factors including learning challenges, language barriers and behavioral control, significantly impede their access to comprehending and engaging with new material. Unfortunately, these students can eventually become very discouraged by repeated attempts to make progress. Often, they come to internalize this condition, and may even give up trying at all. 

Continue reading