First off, a great big thanks to everyone who came out and participated in our kickoff to Frostbiting last Saturday. After having to cancel Week 1, Week 2 was the perfect start to what is hopefully a great season. There were a few teams that weren’t able to make it, and with two drop in boats joining us, we had twenty boats on the line for each start. As far as conditions go, we don’t get many days like last Saturday. Temperatures were in the upper 40’s. Initially the sun was out and it felt much warmer. But as the day went on, more and more clouds appeared making it seem colder. The only thing consistent with the wind on Saturday was its inconsistency. On average the velocity was between 8 and 15 knots. However there were plenty of puffs to be found on the racecourse. Gusts of 20+ kept happening all day long and required teams to be on their toes.
The course was set with a starting line just off the fuel dock in East Boston. The windward marks were in the vicinity of the entrance to Long Wharf, with enough space to allow for ferry traffic. The wind direction was shifty all day, with 50 degree shifts being not uncommon. But overall, the wind was out of the west.. Our first official race of the 2018-19 season started with a general recall as at least ten boats were OCS at the start. The “I” flag was then flown, enacting the one-minute rule. Remember, any boat that is OCS less than one minute before the start must round one end of the starting line to clear themselves. The wind took a big hard right just as we were about to restart Race 1. A little extra time was needed to adjust the pin and windward marks before we were able to start again. The start was fairly even with no clear winner. With a big righty setting in initially, most boats went to the right side of the course. However as the shifts evened out, so did the distribution of the boats. At the leeward rounding it was Matt Marston and Cheney Brand with a fairly sizeable lead over the rest of the fleet. The left gate was a little favored, and they rounded it about 30 seconds ahead of Bob Coyle and Stephen Brabe who also went left. Rounding in 3rd place was Chip Terry and Dave Lucia who went right. The first three boats that rounded the leewards were also the first three boats to finish. Marston/Brand managed to extend their lead during their second trip around the buoys, and finished more than 90 seconds ahead of the rest of the fleet. Also there was added fun during this race as a random 30′ sailboat decided to sail right through the gate as all the boats were rounding. A big thank you to those of you who were forced to avoid them. Hopefully there won’t be many more instances like that this season.
Race 2 had three boats get off to a great start. Manlio Lopez/Cole Constantineau won the start at the boat end. Niko Kotsatos/Aeron Hurley and Carolyn Marsh/Chris LaRue bot hit the line with speed and clear air ahead of everyone else. The wind was in a right phase at the start, and most boats tried to get themselves to the right side of the course. For the rest of the day it seemed that the overall direction of the wind at the RC boat was much farther right than it was up at the top of the course. However this race in particular saw more right shifts then left, and as boats rounded the leeward mark, pretty much everyone took the right gate. Peter Denham and Conant Brew were the first to round, followed by Marston/Brand, Zack and Mike O’Brien, and Damien Gray/Courtney McGuire. There were no major shakeups the second time around and again the first three boats at the leewards were the first three to finish. This time with Denham/Brewer taking the bullet.
Race 3 had one of the more unique starting scenarios I have seen. A huge lefty settled in with about 2 minutes to go, and most boats were jockeying for position at the pin and middle part of the line. With 30 seconds to go Reade Everett and Dana Robinson were in a tough spot. They were in the 2nd or 3rd row, on port tack, and no clear air in sight. However, they managed to work their way against the fleet and with 5 seconds remaining a giant hole opened up right at the boat. They seemed confused at first as to how all this had happened but they hit it with full speed, on port tack, and with no other boats around them. They zoomed off to a big lead and never looked back the rest of the race. It may have been that moment that set the tone for the rest of the day. In the first two races Everett/Robinson finished in 7th. Those would end up being their worst finishes all day.
Races 3 and 4 saw a slight increase in wind velocity, with more pressure to be found generally on the right side of the course. Lopez/Constantineau had another good start at the boat on Race 4 and found themselves in clear air in a good lane, as did Denham/Brewer. At the leeward marks it was Denham/Brewer and Kotsatos/Hurley rounding at the exact same time. Denham/Brewer went right and Kotsatos/Hurley went left. Ultimately it did not work out for Kotsatos/Hurley. A big right shift and extra pressure on the right side caused Kotsatos to lose out, and gave Denham/Brewer the bullet ahead of Amanda Lyall/AnneMarije Veenland-Lee and Lopez/Constantineau. Their second on the day.
By Race 5 the winds had calmed a little bit, but there were still gusts popping up occasionally. Steve Uhl and Rebecca Mount had a great start but Kotsatos/Hurley did not. They were shut out at the boat, forced to start in the second row, tacked off pretty quickly, and headed for the right side of the course. At the leeward rounding the first three boats were Lopez/Constantineau, Terry/Lucia and Marston/Brand. Kotsatos/Hurley had managed to work their way up to 4th despite the slow start. This time at the gate they went right. The second time around the buoys they were able to pass Terry/Lucia and Marston/Brand, but could not catch Lopez/Constantineau who maintained their lead to take the bullet.
The start of Race 6 was delayed due to an outbound tug and barge. Sometimes these delays can be a little lengthy, but fortunately this was not the case today. In under seven minutes the barge was clear of our race course, and we were able to get the last race started. Kotsatos/Hurley had a great start, were first around the leeward marks, and took the bullet to win the final race of the day. Because of the conditions, consistency was challenging all day long. Only two boats managed to finish in single digits every race, and those two boats finished first and second overall. A lot of teams sailed extremely well all day, but due to “that one race”, saw their scores fall. All in all, it was a terrific day of racing. From the RC perspective, it was very exciting racing to watch. Also exciting is the number of new sailors we had join us! It’s great to see this fleet grow and add new people to its ranks. And after the racing was over, a good chunk of the fleet went over to Pier 6 for drinks and what seemed like 17 servings of French Friends. It was great to catch up with old faces, and meet some new ones too.
The scores are posted and can be found online here
If you need crew or want to add your name to the crew list, you can find it here..
Congrats to our top 5 finishers on the day…
- Reade Everett and Dana Robinson – 27 points
- Peter Denham and Conant Brewer – 29 points
- Niko Kotsatos and Aeron Hurley – 29 points
- Manlio Lopez and Cole Constantineau – 30 points
- Matt Marston and Cheney Brand – 35 points
Don’t forget that on Black Friday, Courageous Sailing has our biggest discounts of the season for next year. If you’re thinking about buying a membership or a course for next year, this is the time to do it. We’re offering new courses including a “Meet the J80’s” and a “First Mate” course, the latter of which is designed for non-skippers and taught by yours truly. Make sure you check out our website (currently offline while we add the new stuff) on Friday for the best deals of the season.
Thanks again to everyone who came out on Week 2. It was great to finally get the boats out racing. Also thank you for rounding up all of our jibs. We will make sure to fix any and all busted windows, and look forward to having you all back for Week 3 on Dec 1st. From everyone here at Courageous Sailing, have a great Thanksgiving and safe travels. We’ll see you in two weeks!
Nate and the Courageous Frostbite Team