Week 16 recap- 2020/2021
We did it! The official 2020-21 Courageous Sailing Frostbite season came to an end this past Saturday. It was probably our most challenging day of racing all year, but what else would you expect to happen this year? We've got a few things to talk about today, including announcing our series and overall season winners, and our plan for an extra day of racing this Saturday. Make sure to read all the way to the end for that info. But first, a recap of the soup sandwich that was this past Saturday.
The forecast for Week 16 called for West winds at 5-10. And while at times that may have been the wind speed and direction, it never stayed there for very long. Oftentimes there is a natural rhythm and timing to these wind shifts, and usually after 20 minutes or so you are able to figure out the different phases somewhat. But Saturday was not that day. If you take a look at the graph from WindAlert, it's pretty obvious why most people found this day to be just a little frustrating.
As you can see right around 1030am the wind died completely. At this point we weren't sure if it would even come back. But as we started getting close to 1130 the breeze started to fill in from the SW. The temperature was probably the warmest it had been all season and there was not a could to be found. There was talk amongst some of us that a sea breeze might even develop. But there was definitely enough breeze to go sailing, and so we headed out.
The starting area was set tucked in close to Piers Park, but a little further away from the fuel dock this week. Our windward marks were just to the left of the Fort Point channel. We didn't have to wait very long for the rest of the fleet to make it out there, and our first horn signal sounded right at 12:00.
Somewhere around 12:01 the wind decided that it wanted to go 60 degrees to the right. As a result the entire fleet tried to start as close to the boat as possible, and we were forced to issue a general recall. At this point not only did we have to adjust the line, we had to adjust the entire course as this was a significant shift that seemed to be there to stay. The pin was brought up about 40 degrees, and our windward marks were placed in line near Rowes Wharf instead. The restart was more square and most boats started clearly with only one OCS who was able to clear pretty quickly. The wind continued to be wholly unpredictable, with the left edge at the ICA in S. Boston, and the right edge near the Old North Church in the North End. Legler/Smith rounded the leewards in first and maintained their lead to grab the bullet. Kotsatos/Chudzicki came in 2nd and Pinder/Taylor came in 3rd.
Before the next start we ended up shifting the course significantly further right. Now our windward marks were in line with Long Wharf and our pin and gate were all reset to the new breeze. At the start the wind went even further right up to Courageous and we had another big pile up at the boat end. The fleet got to the line a little too early and quite a few boats were over with 10 seconds to the start. Most were able to clear themselves in time but we still had 3 boats OCS. Pratt/Coyle had a nice start closer to the pin end while Constantineau/Lopez were up close at the boat. Once everyone cleared the wind dropped to almost nothing and numerous holes opened up. The breeze continued to shift as boats made their way around for the first time, but we noticed as boats got a little further up the course the wind tended to be a little more to the left.. Lee/Veenland-Lee were the first to the leeward gats. Pratt/Coyle appeared to be the 4th or 5th boat to round, but passed everybody the second time around and finished with a bullet.
Again before the start of the next race we continued to adjust the windward marks, this time moving them left back towards Rowe's wharf. We decided to keep the pin where it was because we noticed that the bottom edge of the course had a pretty strong right favor. So while it looked a little awkward that the line was skewed right, and windward marks skewed left, it seemed to be the best average of all of the different breezes we were encountering out there. After this point we wouldn't have to adjust much anymore, thankfully. Although the wind continued to be equally shifty for the remainder of the day.
Start of Race 3
A left shift at the start of race three had more boats towards the pin end, but you can see that the fleet was still pretty far from the line at the start. Pratt/Coyle (#11) had another good start towards the boat/middle, and Marston/Brand were the closest at the pin end. Kotsatos/Chudzicki managed to separate themselves from the rest of the fleet and rounded the leewards with about a 6-8 boat length lead over the rest of the fleet. However, on this day there was no amount of lead that was safe. Marston/Brand were the 2nd to round and managed to pass them to take their first bullet of the day. Everett/Robinson finished in 2nd and Kotsatos/Chudzicki finished 3rd.
Start of Race 4
For once it seemed that the line was solidly square to the breeze for the last minute of the sequence, and the fleet was pretty tight to the line at the start. Constantineau/Lopez (#21) were the first to cross the line at the boat end and quickly tacked off to get out to the right side. They were the first boat around the leewards, followed by Pinder/Taylor and Marston/Brand. All three took the left gate, and while they might have traded places a few times during that second lap, they finished in the same order with Constantineau/Lopez grabbing the bullet.
Start of Race 5
Race 5 had two very distinct groups at the start split evenly between the pin end and the boat end. Marston/Brand were OCS with 10 seconds to go but were able to clear without losing speed and hit the line first. Rosen/Miller (#7) had the middle practically all to themselves. Also hitting the line with lots of speed were Courageous representatives Jen Bodde/Sudi Zhao. By the time they reached the leewards, Marston/Brand had 50 yards on the rest of the fleet. They cruised to their 2nd bullet of the day, with Rosen/Miller and Lee/Veenland-Lee in 3rd.
Leeward rounding, race 5
Start of Race 6
Breaking with the tradition of the last few weeks, our final race of the day was a course 4 instead of a 5. The start was all clear, with Kotsatos/Chudzicki at the pin, Kann/Aponowich (#12) at the boat, and Legler/Smith somewhere in the middle. The first boat to round the leewards was Rosen/Miller and they took the right gate. Marston/Brand were about 15 seconds behind them and took the left one. Like many of their decisions on Saturday, it worked in their favor and they finished the last official race of the 2020-21 Frostbite season with their 3rd bullet on the day. Kotsatos/Chudzicki finished in 2nd with Constantineau/Lopez in 3rd.
Our top 5 finishers on the day...
- Matt Marston and Cheney Brand - 13 points
- Niko Kotsatos and David Chudzicki - 20 points
- James Pinder and Ian Taylor - 35 points
- Ken Legler and Emmet Smith - 37 points
- John Pratt and Bob Coyle - 39 points
Saturday also marked the end of Series 3. Although it was a short series, only 3 days, we did manage to get in 18 races total, which is not too shabby. We had 18 teams qualify for prizes and a big kudos to our Series 3 prize winners...
- 1st Place - MB - Matt Marston and Cheney Brand
- 2nd Place - Forgetful Elephants - Ken Legler and Emmet Smith
- 3rd Place - Spitting Camels - James Pinder and Ian Taylor
Looking over the overall season scores, the number that stands out to me the most is that we had 11 teams with 100% attendance this year. Now obviously there have been some circumstances this year that have led to all of us having a little more free time, but this is still an incredible number! We raced 63 total races this year which is 9 fewer than last year. But with all the cancellations we had this year, I'm confident that number will be back up next year. We had 18 out of a total of 27 teams qualify for the overall season prizes.
A big huge congratulations to our 2020-21 Courageous Frostbite Season overall winners Team MB: Matt Marston and Cheney Brand. This is now two years in a row for them, which is tremendously impressive. They finished very strong this season including a walk-off bullet to secure the overall top spot for the day, the series, and the season. As longtime frostbiters in our fleet, they consistently set the standards that Courageous strives for, both on and off the water. Congrats again you two.
Second place overall this season went to team Runaway Bunny with Niko Kotsatos and Carolyn Marsh. The past few seasons they weren't able to join us for a majority of the races, but whenever they did show up, they were one of the fastest boats out there. But this year they were even more impressive. They constantly helped other teams find crew, they ran virtual regattas on days we were not sailing, and were a great addition to the fleet. Fun fact; Niko and I were on the same sailing team in high school! (Niko was way better)
We were so thrilled that our third place team came to join us this season. Although their names were new on our scoresheets, their faces were very familiar. Congrats to the Forgetful Elephants, aka Tufts coaches Ken Legler and Emmet Smith. They were a joy to have on the race course all season long, and a big thanks to Ken for sharing his insights and incredible photos with us all throughout the season.
So I still have a few final thoughts to add, but I'll wait until next week. And that's because WE STILL HAVE ONE MORE WEEK TO RACE!! Yes, we had talked about it casually last week, but we are officially good to go for this coming Saturday. The points will not count towards any other scoring, but the winner of the day will have ultimate bragging rights, and some sort of prize that I am currently figuring out.
I've talked to a lot of you about this Saturday, and some of you have emailed me, but we still need you to register. We've had a few people talk to us about dropping in, and I'm confident we can accommodate everyone who has reached out so far. But please make sure your name is in by Thursday at 5pm to secure your spot. Otherwise we will open it up to other outside participants. I will send a reminder email Thursday lunchtime, but please try to sign up as soon as possible so that we have a good idea of how many people are coming.
Talk to you Thursday,