Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rain Clouds and Blimps

Clouds, Rain and Even Blimps were in the sky on Saturday

Bernadette Levesque and Marta Chlus put on a clinic at the (very) belated and rain delayed start of the Saturday racing series this week, showing everyone else how to master he crazy conditions on the lake.  Bernadette ruled the course, never coming in any worse than second, and except for a rough second race, Marta did the same, making a one-two punch that kept everyone else looking in from outside.

Conditions on the lake were light, heavy, and exceptionally shifty, forcing the Race Committee to set several potential windward marks.  The wind didn't cooperate at all, frequently shifting outside all of them, and confounding matters by coming from different directions on different parts of the course.  Huge leads were gained and lost several times during the course of each race, and a 10 boat length lead frequently meant nothing.  A skipper who was first around the windward mark could, and frequently was, last around the windward mark, after the wind deserted them.  Bernadette and Marta mastered the winds. Mark Stoughton came in 3rd in almost every race, sometimes losing by just inches.  Scott Rosa joined the racing contingent this week, and did surprisingly well, with a third in his first race.  Skip Russell took a 4th in the 1st race, beating Mark, who went right when the rest of the fleet went left.

Racing continues next week.  Full Results are here:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I see Sunfish..... They're Everywhere (The Sequel)

There was a Sunfish invasion at Lake Massapoag

The invasion of the Sunfish continued this week.  Not to be outdone by the 40 boat fleet at WLYC for last week's Regional Championships, 45 Sunfish sailors from 15 states descended on Massapoag for the 2015 North American Masters Championship.

The Masters Championship is open to all Sunfish sailors 40 years of age and above.  Sunfish sailors are a hardy lot. Some of the skippers competing this weekend who were already eligible for the Masters championship when the 40 and 50 something competitors were born.  And on the course they showed some of the youngsters how a Sunfish is sailed!

Competitors were treated to classic Lake Massapoag conditions. Day 1 of the racing brought light southerly winds for the first race, a short break for lunch and a passing thunderstorm, and howling west winds in the afternoon.  An unsteady clocking of the wind challenged PRO Kevin Buruchian and the Race Committee to set a square course long enough for a race to be run.  A course would be set, and the sequence started, then the wind would shift 20 degrees, requiring a reset. One time, there was such a large wind shift that the Race Committee simply flipped the course, turning the leeward mark into the windward mark. By the end of the days racing, they were just about out of lake.

On Day 2 Lake Massapoag showed the fleet just how contrary and irrational its winds can be, bringing much lighter winds and less challenging course conditions.  The very light and shifty winds caused a fair amount of head scratching within the fleet as the fleet as skippers tried to figure out how best to make their way around the course. Upwind, swirling headers forced many boats to the left and right. Downwind legs were not always downwind for the entire run.  Looking at a "downwind" run, one could never be be sure you were looking at, because you could see boats on just about every point of sail.

Doug Kaukienen figured out the lake, and continued his winning streak started at the Regionals last week. By winning the Masters, Doug earns an invitation to the Sunfish World Championship in Peru.  Doug beat out Bill Brangiforte, Scott Greenbaum, Drew Staniar and Andy David, who rounded out the top 5.  Andy David won the Apprentice Master Division (aka. The Junior Division). Doug won the Masters (50-60) Division, Drew Staniar won the Grand Master (60-70) Division, and Dave Davies won the Supreme Master (70+) Division.  Full results are available on the Regatta Network on the MYC website.

Dave not only won his division, he demonstrated the best in sailing sportsmanship when he jumped off his own boat during a race to help a skipper who had capsized and was having trouble righting his boat.

PRO Kevin Buruchian and his Race Committee did an outstanding job in difficult conditions, getting 7 races off over the two day regatta, and managing such a large fleet in such a small lake.  Kevin not only ran the races, after the racing was done for the day, he went around making boat adjustments, lending equipment and giving pointers to the MYC Sunfish sailors and anyone else who could use a hand.

On land, Diane Kampf and her crew outdid themselves once again, making sure that everyone was bandaged, fed and well lubricated.  Their job spread out over several days as a number of skippers made a week of it, racing in the Regionals last week at Wequaquet Lake YC and going straight to "Camp Massapoag" and pitching their tents or parking their RVs for a week's vacation by the lake.

Thanks to all the competitors and to all the MYC members who made this a fantastic regatta!

Monday, July 27, 2015

I See Sunfish... They're Everywhere!

This is just some of the boats at the Sunfish Regional Championships this weekend.
It was impossible to get al of them into one shot.
It was the weekend the Sunfish took over the lake as the Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club hosted part II of the New England Regional Championships.  The club was bursting at the seams as thirty nine boats competed in the open division, while another five took part in the youth division and three in the double-handed division.  It was also the toughest fleet at a Sunfish regatta in a long time, as sailors came from all over the country to compete, with many of them making a double header of Wequaquet this weekend and Massapoag next weekend for the Masters North Americans.

The weather couldn't be any better, as 10-15 knot winds pushed the fleet fast enough to allow for 6 races on day 1 and 3 more on day 2.  Doug Kaukeinen had an unbelievable weekend taking first place with 16 points in 9 races and no finish worse than 3rd for the whole regatta. Dan Hesse took second, 10 points behind Doug, and Amanda Callahan continued her winning ways, taking 3rd in a tiebreaker with Bill Brangiforte.  Massapoag's Kevin Buruchian came in 7th.

Next week is the Master's North American Championships at Massapoag.  It looks to be another strong fleet. Since Kevin Buruchian is too young to compete he is going to serve as PRO. Diane Kampf is once again outdoing herself as Regatta Chair to make it a great time for everyone.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No news here...But in National News

Amanda Callahan (top) and Bill Brangiforte (bottom)
represented our local Sunfish fleet at the North Americans.
Amanda came in 8th and Bill came in 12th

Not much going on at Massapoag this weekend, as racing was preempted for a Laser Team Racing tournament (which was itself cancelled).   Racing resumes next weekend.

Meanwhile, the Sunfish North American championships were held this week at the Rush Creek Yacht Club in Texas.  Joao Hackerott from Brazil took top honors, beating out Greg Gust on the last day of racing.  Local sailors Amanda Callahan and Bill Brangiforte put in very good showings in a tough fleet, taking 8th and 12th place respectively.

Congratulations to Amanda and Bill for their excellent showings!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gentle Breezes?

Bernadette Levesque (4158) showing her son Noah (4062) how to sail a fast downwind leg.

29 boats, and their skippers showed up for an easy sail in the gentle 21-30 knot breezes at the Massapoag Small Boat Rodeo Regatta yesterday. Capsizes were the order of the day in all three fleets. Some of the boats threw their skippers, and others sailed away without them, and there were a couple of breakdowns due to the wind.

The competition in the Championship fleet was fierce. PRO Greg Kampf summed it up perfectly, saying "Tough Fleet" when he found out that one quarter of the fleet was made up of current or former North American Champions. Dan Hesse travelled all the way from Saratoga Springs NY to take the regatta with 8 points in 6 races. He bested Bill Brangiforte, Scott Greenbaum, Alan Beckwith and Ken Charles.

The Sunfish Challenger fleet ended up with a 3-way tie for first place. John Houstle took the tiebreaker and first place, even after sailing upside down most of the day.  Mark Stoughton too 2nd and Noah Levesque took 3rd.

The Levesque family is trying very hard to match the Charles family for the biggest family Sunfish Fleet.  Bernadette was joined by her husband Pete and her son Noah, who are both new to the Sunfish class.

Dwight Escalara of Wakefield, RI took the Laser honors, beating John Eckart, Judy Krimski, Nat Cook and John Dugan.

The regatta also marked the inaugural of RS Aero racing at the club.  It's a new class and they guys in that fleet are generating a lot of interest in the boat.  Eric Aker took first place, winning all six races. Derek Stowe took 2nd and Gary Werden took 3rd.

Thanks to MYC's Scott Rosa for taking a lot of fantastic photos, which are up on our MYCSunfish Flickr site.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Safe and Legal

Mike Goldstein emphasizes some of the finer points of motor boat operation

Two important parts of good racing are safety and good race committees.  Yesterday we ran extensive training sessions for both.  In the morning, several new and returning members took part in Massapoag's start of the year Safety and Race Committee Training program.  

The seminars were put together by MYC's Education Chair, Bernadette Levesque, and featured boat safety presentation by Mark Stoughton and Mike Goldstein, followed by powerboat operating procedures by Mike Goldstein.  Mike took participants through all the aspects of each of the clubs powerboats.  All participants were also actively encouraged to take Bob Gaffney's Powerboat Certification course later on this year. 

Joe Honor, Marta Kovat and Raplph Lambalot
taking charge of the Committee boat
After the safety seminar and lunch, Mark Stoughton and John Houstle took 9 members through that basics of service on a race committee.  Conduct of a race and the responsibilities of each member of the race committee was presented on shore, then everyone headed out onto the lake, where each participant took turns in the crash boats and the committee boat. Each participant got a chance to drop and move marks, set up a course, and run a mock race. 
Dan Abram even provided
the feeling of a real race
To finish out the safety related weekend activities, today, members of the Coast Guard Auxillary were at the club to offer free safety assessments for anyone at the club who wished to have their boats checked out.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Next Week: How to

It's time to go back to school.  Next Saturday is MYC's annual Safety Seminar.  It is a day long seminar focussing on how to stay warm and safe and dry. (Well, except for the Sunfish, Laser and Aero sailors, who are expected to be wet.)

You will learn what needs to be on your boat, and more importantly, on you (Like a lifejacket).  This seminar is mandatory for all new members, and recommended for everyone.

The class starts at 10:00am and runs until approximately 12:00pm, rain or shine.

Immediately after the safety seminar (12:00 noon), there will be a second seminar teaching the rudiments of Race Duty.  You will find out that running a race is more than just pushing the button on the Ollie.  You will learn how to set a race course, how long to make the starting line, how long to make the legs, course choice, mark boat positioning, and more.  We heartily recommend this course for new members, and anyone else who wants to improve their race duty game.