Frostbiting Recap Week 5 17/18–End of Series 1

In Frostbiting by Caitlyn Ridgely

This past week the fleet was thrown yet another series of challenges. While last week had snow and freezing rain and limited visibility, this week had mostly clear skies and lots of wind. Sometimes. And only in some places. But those who were able to stay in the pressure and avoid the holes managed to find some success on a challenging day. The temperatures were mostly in the low 30's, although there were unsubstantiated claims of 37 at some point. When the sun was hidden and the wind was up, it was about 18 degrees with the wind chill. However, we were dry.

The line was set with the boat end of the line just off the E. Boston shore next to the Nantucket. The windward marks were at the base of the flag pole at the end of long wharf. Because the wind was up, we were able to make longer legs of the course, forcing the fleet to focus a little more on strategy, and not just the straight tactics of shorter races. The wind was mostly West for the day, coming straight from Long Wharf. Fairly often there would be lefties, slightly lower in velocity, coming from the Fort Point Channel. In the lulls the wind speed would bottom out at about 4 knots, but could pick up in a second to 25, forcing everyone to keep on their toes and the rails. The average was around 14 knots, with overall velocity decreasing as the day went on. However, it always seemed that the breeze would quickly pick up for the start sequence, and then lay down as boats were working their way up the course. The tide was headed out on Saturday, creating a strong current running through the course from top right to bottom left. With 25 knots of breeze, the Rhodes experience significant windage, and that windage, coupled with the current, caused a big line sag most of the day. The boat end of the line was less crowded than usual, with most boats preferring to start middle, or halfway between middle and pin. There were no general recalls on the day, and only two instances of a boat being OCS at the start.  

There were two individual starts that deem worth mentioning. In race 3 the team of Anne Marije Veenland-Lee and Amanda Lyall hit the line with so much speed that they blew by everyone immediately and never looked back, picking up a first place finish.. And in race 6, Luke Leafgren and Conant Brewer had a seemingly impossible and incredibly impressive dip start. With 30 seconds to go, they were about 50 ft upwind of the RC boat heading towards the middle of the line. As they approached the line, the rest of the fleet was lined up about 1-3 feet off the line, leaving no hole in sight. But the breeze picked up, and the current kept pushing boats back, and they managed to find the perfect hole for a great start.  

We were forced to shorten once race due to a tug and barge coming through the course. As the fleet was approaching the windward mark on leg 1, the tug and barge were about 300 yards away. Instead of having to abandon the entire race, we decided to shorten instead. This is isn't uncommon practice if we get unexpected commercial traffic like this. If we are going to shorten, the finish will be downwind between the two leeward gates. There will be a powerboat next to the gate flying code flag S, which is a white field with a blue square in the middle. Once you have gone through the gate you have finished the race and you should head towards wherever the traffic is not. Everyone has been incredibly flexible and patient and understanding which is extremely appreciated.  

There were a few different strategies for being successful on Saturday. Many people tried going left, and would occasionally pick up the lift from Fort Point. However the right side had the velocity, and most times it seemed like whomever went the farthest right, ended up winning the race.Additionally, with the current running right to left, it made it extremely difficult for some boats to make the starboard layline, with many having to throw in a few more tacks than expected.  

The racing was very close all day long,  Ken Deyett and Curtis Johnson took the first race by 20 boat lengths. They consistently played the right side all day, to great success. Race 2 would go to Matt Marston and Cheney Brand, a theme that would reoccur throughout the day. The aforementioned race 3 went to Veenland-Lee and Lyall. Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson had a great day, with only one finish out of the top five, and also winning race 5. But it was Marston and Brand with bullets in races 2, 4, 6 and 7 who walked away with the overall victory, coming in 13 points ahead of the next boat.  

Heading into the day, Marston and Brand were second for the series, behind the three-headed-monster of Reade Everett, Matt Hebert, and Dana Robinson. But with only 15 points over 7 races on the last day, they pulled ahead to not only win the day, but also the series. Third place was also very close with John Pratt and Bob Coyle tied with Jen Bodde and Dylan Callahan at the start of the day. After 4 races the two boats were still tied, but two second place finishes in races 5 and 6 for Pratt/Coyle gave them the edge and the hardware. Make sure to check out all the scores on our website here, and congrats not only to our series winners, but also our top 5 finishers for Day 5 who were...

Matt Marston and Cheney Brand - 15 points

Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson - 28 points

Ken Deyett and Curtis Johnson - 32 points

John Pratt and Bob Coyle - 36 points

Anne Marije Veenland-Lee and Amanda Lyall - 43 points

Thanks to everyone who came out and raced, and to everyone for supporting this great season, and making this fleet what it is. If you haven't checked out our Facebook page in a while, check it out. There are some pretty cool things going on, including some video shorts from the races. Also a special thanks to Courageous rockstars Caitlyn Ridgley and Alexis Kelly for filling in on short notice and braving the elements this week. And finally, it has personally been a pleasure over the last 5 weeks to reacquaint with old friends, and to make new ones. From all of us here at Courageous Sailing we wish you all the best of the holidays and the new year. Since we are not sailing the next two Saturdays we look forward to seeing you back on the pier January 6th, 2018!


Nate and the Courageous Frostbite Team