Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bookend Finishes for Everyone

Despite being 100 yards behind the leaders at the last mark, Bernadette fought back and came in second.

The wind was so fluky at Massapoag that every skipper seemed to have their own personal breeze. No sooner than the course was set that the wind shifted to the right, requiring the course to be reset. Then it shifted to the left, requiring another reset. After re-squaring the line for the third time in two races, everyone involved just decided to leave the course as is and make the best of whatever wind we had.

Sometimes the course was perfectly square, but most of the time, there was a pronounced right shift that made for some interesting tactics.  The conventional wisdom of sailing the long tack first seemed to be the first to go, as skippers who sailed a short port tack immediately after the start found themselves on the starboard layline very quickly making the trip to the mark a drag race.  Skippers who went to the left were often penalized, but the ever changing rewarded them occasionally with a left at the upwind mark.

A betting man would have lost his shirt betting on the races today. The complete and utter inability of the wind to control itself resulted in the finishing order being anybody's guess.  Everyone who raced today got at least one first place and almost everyone got a matching last place finish.

In the nine races run today, Bernadette Levesque finished the day with 3 firsts. Mark Stoughton took 2, and John Houstle, Dan Abram, Harvey Davidson and Alex Sellar each had one.

Full results are here:

Don't forget, it's just 3 more weeks until the Massapoag Annual Regatta. Sign up now!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gary Werden Wins the Double Secret Wednesday Series

This was the finishing order almost all year in the Double Secret Series.
L to R Gary Werden, Mark Stoughton and Bernadette Levesque (you can only see her bow here).

Putting in strong performances week after week, Gary Werden has taken the first Massapoag Yacht Club Double Secret Series Championship.  Massapoag runs a multi class pursuit race on Wednesday nights during June, July and August.  To make things more interesting, The Double Secret Series is a race within a race that uses only the Sunfish class scores.

In  the seven weeks that there were two or more Sunfish skippers racing, Gary took first place all seven times, including two overall 1sts in the pursuit racing, beating the multi-class fleet.  Mark Stoughton followed Gary around the course almost every week, taking five second place finishes and two 3rds.  Bernadette Levesque finished one point ahead of John Houstle to take third.

The Double Secret Wednesday night racing series is over for 2014, but our Saturday series is still going strong, as is the multi-class Sunday series.  Don't forget our Annual Regatta is coming up in just under a month, on September 6-7, the week after Labor Day.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Racers Showed Up. The Wind Didn't

Today's third race downwind leg.  By the end of the race, that blue and yellow striped sail way in the back managed to come in second, just behind Jim Ronan in the blue and green striped sail. (Photo by Dan Abram)

Everyone showed up to race today, except the wind.  It tried to show up a couple of times, so 5 of us raced.

Series regulars John Houstle, Skip Russell and Mark Stoughton all showed up, along with long time Sunfisher Jim Ronan returning to racing after a long absence, plus a guest from Barrington Yacht Club, Alex Sellar, also making his first appearance in our series.

Racing was very close all day, with lots of lead changes and lots of chatter between the boats. Actually there was a lot of time for chatter, because the wind pulled a disappearing act for huge segments of the day.  Usually, one skipper pulled out to a huge insurmountable lead, followed by the other four finishing within a few feet of each other.

Mark Stoughton opened the big lead twice, once out distancing Jim Ronan in the first race, and then running a port tack drag race to the windward mark in the second race, opening up a 50 yard gap. That same race saw all of the other boats finish within one boat length, forcing Dan Abram on the committee boat to call names as they went across because all the sail numbers were blocked.

Jim Ronan ran away with the third race, playing  perfect port tack start, crossing the entire fleet.  John Houstle attempted to block Jim and Mark, who both started on port, but only blocked Mark, who fought his way back from 5th place at the last mark to finish 2nd behind Jim.

John Houstle left everyone in the proverbial dust in the fourth race, finding tiny puffs of wind here and there to beat the rest of the fleet by by a half leg.  After four races, the wind completely disappeared, forcing and end to the day's racing.

Skip Russell did really well, taking a second and a third, nearly taking a second from Mark in the third race, and Alex, who is getting used to the boat again after a long absence, finished closer than the scored showed, finishing competitively in all the races.

Today's results and the series standings are here:

Racing continues next Saturday, and don't forget, our Annual Regatta is under one month away!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Boating Safety Lesson

MYC members Jim Cavenaugh, Greg and Diane Kampf working with the
Sharon Fire Department to corral a wild boat.

This past Sunday, a group of skippers were at the club deciding if there was enough wind to hold the days racing, when Jim Cavenaugh noticed a boat spinning at full throttle in tight circles with nobody aboard.  Several members jumped into the MYC rescue boats and headed for the scene. About 100 yards south of the wayward boat, its operator was in the water unhurt and waving, but tired.  Randy Rubenstein and Mark Stoughton fished him out of the water, while Jim Cavenaugh, Diane and Greg Kampf brought out equipment to attempt to disable and tow the runaway boat.

At that moment, the Sharon Fire Department arrived on the scene and took over the boat recovery operations. Ultimately they opted for the safest alternative, simply waiting for the boat to run out of fuel. The operator was delivered back to shore, none the worse for wear.

Luckily nobody was hurt. This could have been a very serious situation. The operator was not wearing a life jacket (although one was in the boat), and he did not have the ignition kill switch tether attached to him. If he had, the motor would have instantly stopped the moment that he fell out of the boat, he could have climbed back in and gone back on his way.  By the time our boats got to the operator, he was tired and far from shore. If this had happened when nobody was at the club to notice his boat in trouble, we could be reading some very different headlines this morning.

Even though we spend most of our time in sailboats, all MYC members are trained in motorboat operation, and many of our members are experienced in rescue operations. We all know that the water is fun, but it can also be dangerous. We train our members to be aware of the dangers, and to act accordingly.

Unfortunately not everyone on the lake is trained. This is the third rescue performed by alert Massapoag sailors in the past month. We cannot over emphasize the importance of proper safety precautions when operating any boat, be it a sailboat of a motorboat. In the excitement of getting out on the water, it is all too easy to forget safety measures, like putting on a life jacket, or attaching the kill switch tether. Everyone can make mistakes.  Turning boating safety measures into habits makes those mistakes less likely and may save your life someday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

MYC (and Others) @ The Regionals

2014 Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club Sunfish Regional Champions
Drew Buttner, Doug Kaukeinen, MYC's Kevin Buruchian and Dan Hesse

Kevin Burichian, Gary Werden, Bernadette Levesque and Mark Stoughton braved the Cape Code traffic to represent the Massapoag YC in the second round of the 2014 Sunfish Regional Championships at the Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club.

The Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club is located in a picturesque setting at the southern end of Wequaquet Lake in Cernterville. It is a small family supported club very much like Massaopoag, with all of its members chipping in. Commodore Mike Mirtir pulled grill duty, cooking dozens of hamburgers and hot dogs for participants and families alike. (Ok, That's unlike Massapoag, where our Commodore isn't allowed near the grill for the safety of everyone involved) Like our club, WLYC also has a small launch ramp and very limited parking. Most of all, it has swirling winds that come at you from nearly random directions. It felt like a home away from home.

The weather forecast called for thunderstorms on Sunday, so the very capable race committee pushed to get as many races in as possible on Saturday. The stormy weather cooperated and sent its wind in advance. We were greeted with strong breezes right from the get go. By the time the first race was run on Saturday, it was blowing 15 at the starting line, and things built from there.

Day 1 saw Amanda Callahan, who won the round 1 Regionals at Barrington, repeat her winning ways, posting firsts or seconds in every race. A prior commitment kept her from racing on Sunday, and gave someone else a chance to win.  Even with three 30 point DNS's scored, she still came in 10th.

Sunday dawned even windier than Saturday, and the clouds held off, allowing a full slate of races on Sunday too. It didn't begin raining until the awards ceremony was almost complete.  Doug Kaukeinen from the Rochester Canoe Club in upstate New York was able to step up in Amanda's absence and became only the fourth person in the last 10 years to win at Wequaquet.  Drew Buttner, who has won 7 out of the last 11 WLYC regattas, took second, Massapoag's Kevin Buruchian took third and Dan Hesse from the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club took fourth.  MYC's other representatives didn't fare so well.  Bernadette Levesque finished 22nd, Mark Stoughton 23rd and Gary Werden (who was unable to sail on Sunday) finished 25th.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Double Secret Series: All Spread Out

This is next

There wasn't a cloud in the sky as the Double Secret Wednesday Series braved the Thunderstorm forecasts with four boats, including long time Sunfish sailor Harvey Davidson.

The wind was blowing a gusty 15 at the start, easing off to about 12 by the end of the race.  Gary Werden continued his picket fence building, taking the start and building his lead from there. Bernadette Levesque continued her strong performance from last Saturday, finishing just behind Gary.  Harvey took third, about 5 boat lengths behind Bernadette, and Mark took his worst finish of the series in 4th.

Full Double Secret Series results are here.

The boats aren't just spread out all over the course.  They are spread out all over the map this weekend. Gary, Bernadette, Mark and Kevin Buruchian are going to be representing MYC at the Second Sunfish Regional Championships at Wequacket Lake Yacht Club in Hyannis this weekend.  John Houstle is going to be competing at a regatta at Eagles Mere Yacht Club in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. Good luck to all of them!

P.S. We apologize for the late race result postings. MYC Sunfish's state of the art data center has been offline. We will have results posted as soon as the Data Center magicians can recover the files.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Wind Breaks at Massapoag

Sagging Sunfish and Scot Sails

The blustery conditions that have pummeled the Sunfish and Laser fleets since the regatta in June have deserted us in July.  Racing on Saturday was cancelled due to lack of wind, and this week's Wednesday Double Secret series was almost as windy.

The light winds gave both Gary Werden and Mark Stoughton the chance to try out light air rig configurations that they had both heard about recently.  Gary rigged the new "Light Air Jens", while Mark sailed with his sails set as flat as possible with the gooseneck moved back several inches.

Gary, with the Light Air Jens, proved faster on all upwind points of sail. The rigs performed virtually the same downwind, but upwind, Gary just walked away from Mark, who found that the flattened sails improved pointing and eliminated weather helm, but they also stalled very easily, killing boat speed. Gary had no such problems, beating Mark by about 100 yards.

Neither of them were able to counter the huge sail area of the Flying Scots, with their jibs and spinnakers. They had all passed Mark by midway through the third leg and three four of four had passed Gary by the start of the fourth leg.

Double Secret Wednesday Series Results are here: