Sunday, October 12, 2014

"He Came From Out of Nowhere"

John was just one more finish like this short
For the second year in a row, the Saturday Sunfish Championship came down to the final day of racing before a winner was determined.  And for the second year in a row, the winner was determined by a tiebreaker. And for the second year in a row, John Houstle fell just short of claiming the championship on the very last race of the season.

There were 4 sailors on the line for today's racing.  John Houstle, Mark Stoughton, Alex Sellar and Alan Silk. Alan has been sailing a lot on a J29, and this marked only his third or fourth time in the Sunfish this summer. Alex Sellar put in a stellar performance today, which he attributed at various times to either a sudden religious conversion, or a few more colorful alternatives.  More than once, he came out of nowhere on his own private puff to challenge the race leader, gaining three 2nd place finishes along the way.

Going into the final day of racing, John was just 4 points behind series leader Bernadette Levesque. By the rules of the throwout formula, five 1sts would have allowed him to take first place for the series from Bernadette, who was out of town and not able to race today.  John and Mark Stoughton raced neck and neck most of the day, being within touching distance on most legs. John had superior boat speed all day, but Mark had better pointing ability, which made the difference when things were really close.

In the first race, only Mark Stoughton gauged the starting line properly, leading for the entire race. John made up ground by the last leg, and within a few boat lengths of Mark when Alex Sellar came from out of nowhere, riding a puff to pass John and challenge Mark at the finish.

John got a better start in the second race, and led all the way, although Mark put up a fight. John cemented his win on the last leg when he was lifted on starboard tack while Mark was headed, forcing him to tack. John took three more firsts, all closely fought battles.  In the last race of the day (and the season), John was leading as late as the last turning mark and it looked like he was on his way to taking the championship, rounding about a boat length before Mark.  Mark was able to out point John on every tack on the last leg, and took the win by about 4 boat lengths.

John's four 1st place finishes today gives him 40 points for the season, and ties him with Bernadette for first place. Applying the Racing Rules of Sailing Tiebreaker procedure, Bernadette Levesque is the 2014 Saturday Sunfish Series Champion by virtue of her 16 first place finishes to John's 14.

That concludes the 2014 Summer Sunfish Series. Congratulations to Bernadette for winning the series, and to Gary Werden for taking the Double Secret Wednesday Series.

Next week sees Massapoag close the club for the season, and the week after that the Barrington Frostbite Series begins. Again this year, we will be providing our MYC@BYC coverage each week through the entire frostbite season.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

All in The Family

Bernadette is no longer the only Levesque in the series

Due to yesterday's bad weather, the Lasers being done for the year and the lack of big boats on the lake today, the Saturday Sunfish Series took to the water on Sunday this week.

This week we also welcomed Noah Levesque to the Sunfish fleet, and he took to it like a Sunfish to water, taking a first and two thirds, and beating his mom twice, in the five races sailed today.  Today was a Levesque family affair, as Pete stepped in to perform Race Committee duties on short notice.

Gary Werden and Dave Ryan took advantage of the lack of Lasers to race today as well.  Except for losing a race to each of the Levesques, Gary was the skipper to beat, taking three 1sts, with two horizon jobs.

With one week left in the Summer Sunfish Series, Bernadette has what might turn out to be an insurmountable lead with 32 points. John Houstle has 38 and Mark Stoughton has 42.  Full results for the series are here:

Don't forget, in just 3 weeks, the Barrington Frostbiting season begins. You can get the NOR and Registration forms here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Wind Gods At This Place Have Some Serious Issues

Everybody lining up for Chowder and Desert

This past weekend, Bernadette Levesque, John Houstle and Mark Stoughton ventured down to the Orleans Yacht Club for the Yankee Duo, two separate regattas, at the same venue, run by the Sherborn Yacht Club.  First up was Saturday's Chowder Cup. There were 17 boats on the line, and Massapoag was the second most represented club with 3 members represented, outdone only by the Bolton Lake YC in Connecticut, who sent four.

There were a total of 5 races run in winds that were shifty enough to make one pine for the steady consistency of Lake Massapoag. Forty degree plus wind shifts were common. Skippers would sail into holes in the wind and stop dead, while others less than 10 feet away sailed on as if nothing happened.  More than once skippers were heard pleading with or cursing the Wind Gods, while a few gave the fickle Wind Gods credit for the horizon jobs that they pulled on the rest of the fleet.

Sunday saw the Orleans Yacht Club's Just Desserts Regatta pick up right where the Chowder Cup left off.  The winds grew steadily weaker all day, and the no-wind holes got bigger, but the frustration level stayed just as high.  Five more races were run, and the results looked much the same as the day before.

Bill Brangiforte beat out Alan Beckwith for first place on both days, leading Alan to claim that he really wasn't letting Bill win.  Eric Woodman put in stellar performances in the fluky winds, taking third in the Chowder Cup and third in the Just Deserts, beating out Dave Davies, who missed the first race of the day because he was driving up from New Jersey after competing in a SANJL regatta.

As far as MYC skippers go, Mark Stoughton took 11th, John Houstle 12th and Bernadette Levesque took 14th on Saturday. Mark sailed alone on Sunday, taking 9th on Sunday.

The Yankee Duo wraps up the Sunfish Regatta schedule for 2014. Massapoag's Saturday Sunfish Series continues until October 11, and two weeks later, the Barrington Yacht Club Sunfish Frostbiting series begins.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bernadette Extends Her Lead

Bernadette Levesque extended her lead in the 2014 Summer Sunfish series today by beating John Houstle in three out of four races in chilly, blustery conditions. Bernadette was able to get better boatspeed, particularly downwind, and outpointed John almost all day, and he said that it took everything that he had to beat her in the third race.

Full results are on our Results Page.

Next weekend, racing is cancelled as Bernadette and Mark are going to be participating in the Yankee Duo, two regattas hosted by different clubs at the same venue on Cape Cod.

Stormy Weather Skirts Massapoag as Kevin Buruchian takes the Annual Regatta

This was about the only thing that didn't happen while we were racing

A record number of Sunfish turned out for the 65th Massapoag Annual Regatta last weekend.  There were nearly 60 boats on the water in 4 classes, as the race committee more than had their hands full and had trouble keeping up.  A record amount of wind also showed up, with steady wind in the high teens and gusts recorded well into the 30's, making for survival conditions at times.  The shore crew did an outstanding job, handing out over 700 bottles of water to thirsty competitors, keeping the beer, food and ice cream flowing.

In the Sunfish class, a total of 9 races were held over two days. Kevin Buruchian, who outside of his throwout race never finished worse than 4th, took first place. Alan Beckwith (who claims he needs a new boat, but could have fooled us), finished second and Scott Greenbaum took third.

The MYC Saturday Sunfish Series resumes on September 13.  The next Sunfish Regatta is the Yankee Duo, two separate regattas run by two separate yacht clubs at the same venue on Cape Cod.

P.S. Out apologies for the late posting.  We at MYCSunfish HQ have been swamped this week, and are just getting to posting blog entries now.  Our writers have been taken to the woodshed for retraining.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Snap, Crackle, Pop Goes the Wind

Before the snapping and the popping

There's an odd thing that has been happening at out little lake lately. When the wind blows, it has been accompanied by snapping and booming noises, and a sailor has to be towed in.  A couple of weeks ago, Eric Aker was the victim with a mysteriously snapped mast. This week it was John Houstle's boom that made a noise like it's name. John was leading the race, when he was hit by a gust and went into a death roll, which became the death knell for his boom.

John, Rick Schlosser and Mark Stoughton did battle not so much with each other, but with the shifty, oscillating southerly, then easterly, then southwesterly winds on the lake today.  Race Strategy and tactics changed by the minute as the wind shifted.  It wasn't the normal ADHD shifts that the lake normally has, it was more of a sinister south to east back to south oscillation, punctuated by occasional blasts from the southwest.

Mark Stoughton took the first race, going to the left into more pressure after a shift in the last 30 seconds before the start eliminated the heavily favored port tack advantage that had persisted all during the course set up.  Rick Schlosser took the second race after forcing Mark into a bad start and dominating the race from there.

The third race provided an excellent demonstration of the "never give up" principle.  Rick took the start, and the race seemed to be a replay of the second race, until Rick got hit by one of those dreaded blasts from the east that put him into irons at the mark.  Both John and Mark passed him and rounded.  John was leading by about 8 boat lengths midway through the downwind leg, when he too was hit by a gust, sending him onto a death roll that ended with his boom snapping. Mark said past him into first place.  Rick Found a sustained puff on the downwind leg and made up almost all of the ground that he lost at the upwind mark, forcing and almost winning a battle with Mark on the last upwind leg.

For the season so far, Mark leads with 23 points, John is two points behind at 25, and Bernadette Levesque is in third with 28.  Full results are here:

Don't forget, One week from today is the 65th Annual Massapoag Regatta!  Hope to see you all there.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What is it About Sailors and Biking?

Ed Wojtaszek when he's sailing

Ed Wojtaszek when he's not sailing

Now the the Wednesday Night Double Secret Series is over, and the sun is setting earlier on what is left of our lake, filling this space during the week is going to be tough.

But not so this week. It seems that a lot of sailors, including your intrepid reporter, are also bicyclists.  My dry sailing next door neighbor Ed Wojteszek has been pedaling his bicycle, across most of the eastern US. His blog, Edeks Attic, chronicles his self-supported rides in a wonderful travelogue format, peppered with pictures, historical tidbits, anecdotes and riding tips.  When he is on the road, he posts tidbits to FaceBook, letting us all know that another epic story is coming our way soon.

Ed's rides aren't easy. His most recent ride, along the Great Alleghany Pass and the historic C&O Canal from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington DC required him to ride between 45 and 65 miles per day. For the uninitiated, a typical Tour deFrance stage is 90-120 miles with a full support team and no gear to carry. Ed is doing about half a tour stage every day by himself, often on dirt roads, carrying all of his gear, tents, sleeping bags, clothes and food, with him.  That is an impressive accomplishment for a 68 year old retiree!

Please take a look at Ed's blog at  You won't be disappointed.