Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bribery Fails!

PRO Frank Hearn signals the 30 mark before today's first race
(Photo by Bill Brangiforte)

Lucky 13 on the 14th.  Thirteen boats showed up in the increasingly chilly air for the second to last week of Barrington Frostbiting.  The venue was much more pleasant than the carnage that was racing last week, and Ken Charles took advantage, taking first place honors for the day.

Frank Hearn and his race committee got of the full slate of six races this week in gently 8-10 mph northeast winds, punctuated by a outgoing current that got stronger as the tide ebbed.  Bill Brangiforte showed up today with an injured wrist, so he served on the Race Committee and also wielded a camera to capture video of each start.  Apparently the curse of the camera continued, as several skippers were worried about how bad their starts looked, and enquired what it would take to ensure that they did not end up on YouTube.

Luckily, their entreaties fell on deaf ears.  The video of the world's most embarrassing starts is proudly presented below:

Don't forget, next week is the last week of Barrington Frostbiting before the long cold winter sets in and racing stops until March 1, when we take to the water for the spring Barrington frostbiting season.

For those of you Extremely hardy and hardcore racers, the Edgewood Sailing School across the Bay in Cranston, Rhode Island, runs their "Frozen Few" frostbiting series all winter long.  In fact, they are hosting their 5th annual "Up from the Ashes" regatta on January 18, so if you need  respite from Old Man Winter, pay them a visit.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Windy Wet, Wild and COLD!

Artist's rendering of the racing yesterday

Twelve brave souls ventured out onto the frosty Barrington River for 4 frostbite races yesterday, where the wind speed very nearly exceeded the temperature.  Temperatures were in the low 30's at race time, and the wind varied between 15 and 25 mph.

Today's report is made vicariously by gleaning tidbits from race results and various emails, as your intrepid reporter was too much of a weenie to actually show up at the race course, so there may be some errors.  Carnage appeared to be the order of the day, as several racers did not complete one or more races during the course of the afternoon.  Capsizes were more frequent than usual, and the race committee was reported to have performed yeoman service helping out several of the less experienced skippers.  Even Ken Charles ran into trouble in the last race.

Scott Greenbaum took 3 firsts and a third to win the day. Bill Brangiforte came in 2nd and Bill Shaw placed 3rd.

Racing continues next week. Early forecasts show that conditions should be warmer and less windy than this week.  Who knows, maybe your intrepid reporter may actually race too.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Words of Wisdom for the off Week

This week's guest blogger, Amanda Callahan

This week we have no racing, but we do have a guest blogger.  Amanda Callahan has shared some of her insights into racing at Barrington (and racing in general).  Originally this was posted to the Barrington email list, but it is too good not so share, and Amanda has graciously allowed us to report her words of wisdom here.

Amanda Callahan's Words of Wisdom

Usually, frostbiting in Barrington is less about good starts and boat speed than it is about playing the shifts and positioning yourself well against the boats around you. But yesterday was a welcome anomaly. First, you could hardly call the weather “frostbite-worthy” with temps in the mid to high 50s – it was beautiful! Secondly, the 5-8 knots of southerly breeze was fairly straight forward, and boat speed seemed to play a bigger role. And as an added bonus, the current was going with us on the way out and the way in!

StartsOn the short course, starts can make or break a race! (Having said that, I had 2 really bad starts – see the bullets for more on those.)
In the first 3 or 4 races, the current was pushing you upwind at more than a knot; it was key to sail downwind for a while before the start so you didn't end up too close to the line or OCS. My race strategy was to ride the elevator of favorable current on the left hand side of the course, but I didn't think I needed to be at the pin in order to execute that plan.  Knowing that I wanted to go left meant that I needed to hold a lane going that way, and my ability to do that would be dictated by my approach to the start. From leeward of the line, I could see where clumps of boats were forming and tried to avoid those clusters.
I completely failed at that in the 3rd race and was sandwiched between Alan Silk to windward and ?? to leeward. I was squirted out the back really quickly and forced to tack on to port early – not part of my plan. The only good thing that came from that is that I was able to find a clean lane after I ducked the rest of fleet on port and patiently tried to pick off boats throughout the rest of the race.

As the afternoon wore on and the current started to switch, the pin end of the line became massively favored to the point where it became difficult to fetch the pin on starboard. In the last two races, the breeze had also gone left by about 20 degrees or more and you could fetch the windward mark from the pin end. Given those conditions, it is critical that you're able to tack immediately after the start, but being at the pin, or pin-most boat, in that situation is a high risk maneuver. The reward is high for the ONE boat who nails the execution (and usually there is only one boat to make it out of the fray). But for the rest of the boats battling it out at the pin, several usually don't make the layline, and are forced to bail out. There is usually a lot of congestion and locking rails with others usually isn’t fast (see example above). The port-tackers who typically set up outside the port layline see success only at the mercy of the starboard-tackers – in other words as a port-tacker, you really don’t control your destiny. A better approach would be to start near the favored end with some room on your windward hip, so you can tack out and not foul the boats who are slow on the uptake.

In the second to last race, I set up on the pin 3rd of the line, above the line, thinking the current was going to bring me down. At the time when I committed to it, most people were still at the boat and struggling to get up to the pin, so it seemed like a good idea. It was a risky approach that depended on boats not being able to get up to the pin 1/3rd. I swooped down to the line in the last 10 seconds because the current had not quite done the job I thought it would do, and as a result ended up closer to the pin than I would have liked. (Scott Greenbaum called it either “assertive” or “aggressive”). Andy David was the pin-most boat, and luckily we were all able to tack out and get on the long tack to the mark. More on that…
Before the last race, I went off the line on port and actually thought you could fetch the WM from the midline. That would have been the conservative approach. But no – sometimes I don’t listen to myself. I found myself at the pin 1/3rd again, though I did set up on the line, rather than above it. But I ended up rafted with Scott Greenbaum who was one of the aforementioned port-tackers.
Missed opportunity - After Andy and I tacked on to port in the second to last race, I was able to sneak up into his lane and pinch him off. Rather than sit in dirty air for the rest of the beat, he did a quick hitch out and back, losing very little on the rest of the leaders. In the last race, I was stuck behind the leaders in a lane that was horrible. Normally, I think staying on the long tack is the right thing to do, but in this case, I was slowly losing the pack to leeward who were sailing in cleaner lanes, and was continuing to get rolled by the train on boats on my hip. In hindsight, I think I should have taken a clearing tack early, and gotten myself on the train high to put me in better touch with the front of the pack. – As I mentioned at the start, if that race had been a one-lapper, I would have been hosed, but thankfully, it was the long sail in and I was able to make up some distance.

The Run 
After the first race, where I sailed almost a straight line to the leeward mark and nervously watched as a big pack of boats gybed to the west side of the Barrington River, Ken Charles asked me, “How did you know that was going to work?” I replied, “I didn’t!” When I rounded the windward mark in first, I thought the breeze looked uniform across the course, and the distance needed to sail out of the adverse current seemed significant to me. So I pointed the bow at the mark and hoped for the best. It worked out for me and I was able to maintain the lead because we might have had some more pressure than those in the current relief. Sometimes you don’t have all the answers!

Boat Speed 
I believe many in the top of the fleet had a similar game plan or strategy for the first beat. I think I had pretty decent speed which allowed me to get to the windward mark at or near the top. Since the North Americans in mid-summer, I’ve been sailing strictly with a version of Forrester rig (I’ve completely abandoned a main halyard) and I’ve been working on developing my boat speed with that system. I think it is working for me, but I don’t think that system will work for everyone. At the recent Worlds, we asked David Mendleblatt, who is on the small side (~145lbs), but is fast in all conditions how he rigged his boat. He had 4 different halyard positions marked on his top boom.
I’ve posted a video about his rig in two parts on YouTube
Part 1:

Part 2: )

There is also a good video about the Gust Adjust, posted by Greg Gust himself: Perhaps that system will be the right system for someone.

When I first started sailing sunfish a few years ago, I was a set it and forget it kind of sailor because the Jens rig was too complicated for me and was very difficult to adjust on the water. These newer rigging systems are a lot more user friendly. Give one a try!

Friday, November 28, 2014

How NOT to make it to the Race Course

After successfully avoiding rocks all summer as the water drained out of lake Massapoag, I find one in the ocean at Barrington!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Standing Room Only

If you didn't make reservations it was hard to find a good seat on the river today
It was Standing Room Only at the Barrington Frostbite Series again this week, as 19 skippers took advantage of the nearly perfect conditions on the river today.  There was excellent racing in both the A and the B fleets, and it seems that everyone got the hang of rounding marks in currents this week, as there was markedly less bumping and shouting at the marks, although a few sailors managed to find out that sailing upside down is slow.

Amanda Callahan (seen standing in the photo) who never finished deeper in the fleet than third,  beat out Bill Brangiforte and Andy David for the first place trophy glass.  Massapoag's Bernadette Levesque turned in a stellar performance to finish 7th in the fleet!

The increased turnout is due to a number of younger sailors discovering the Sunfish.  It is wonderful to see so many younger skippers racing with us.  They charge around the course at full speed,  in boats of various vintages, laughing  and shouting encouragement at each other the whole time.  Like the older folks, their skill levels run the gamut, and the better sailors are always helping out the noobs.  I only wish some of them would take pity on an old fart and let me beat them once in a while.

Some photos from this weeks racing are on the MYCSunfish Flickr Site at:

Don't forget, racing takes a week off for Thanksgiving, and resumes on December 7.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Complete and Utter Lack of Entropy

There wasn't enough wind to get the boats to the racecourse today.
Entropy is the measure of energy in a system.  The more energy there is in a system, the higher the level of entropy.  There was no entropy whatsoever at Barrington today. Everything was calm, cool and collected. Especially calm and abnormally cool.  15 people showed up to race today, but the sun and the wind stayed in bed.  At race time the wind was 0 knots from the South, and the temperature never made it even within 10 degrees of the forecast 48.  So everyone packed up their boats, ate the post race soup, and went home.

After two weeks of extremely light (or in today's case, nonexistent) winds, everyone is hoping that the atmosphere will show up next with it's vigor restored.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Current Events and Traffic Reports

There were a lot more boats that these this week.
This past week saw 50 degree temperatures, a ripping current and an astonishing 20 boats on the water at the Barrington Yacht Club frostbite series.  Almost all of the usual suspects from last year returned, as well as a number of new frostbiters from around the region.

The racers struggled with the current for most of the day, including a starting line that faced upwind, but down current. It was odd to see a number of boats a hundred feet or more behind the line at the 30 second mark.  Races would take about 3 minutes to get to the windward mark, then 15 to get to the leeward mark against the current. The leeward mark proved to be particularly troublesome, with lots of bumping and protests as a number of racers misplayed the mark and instead of rounding, got pushed back into the rest of the fleet.  Sometimes 10 or more boats were caught in the jam ups.  Skippers who rounded well to the outside tended to gain a number of places just by sailing around the traffic.

Barrington newcomer Pete Giuliano beat all comers to finish first for the day, with Bill Brangiforte taking 2nd and Les Johnston taking 3rd.  Barrington newcomers but well known Sunfishers Will Kresic and Bill Shaw rounded out the top 5. We'd also like to welcome Glen Elliot, Marta Chlus, Richard Smith, Max Curry and Adam Klipfel, along with Massapoag's John Houstle to the Barrington fleet.  It's great to see so many new faces in the BYC Frostbite fleet.

Even Massapoag upped their ante a bit. MYC Member John Houstle joined the fray at Barrington for the first time, and beat out Bernadette Levesque and Mark Stoughton to finish first among MYC members.

Racing continues next week. Current forecasts call for another day of light winds, but the current will be flowing towards the club, making the last race to the dock a bit faster.

Monday, November 3, 2014

MYC@BYC: Mother Nature Makes it Hard to Report Race Results

Not only was there no sailing, you couldn't even enjoy a cup of coffee!

I know this sounds whiny, but why did Mother Nature have to have a tantrum on Race Day?  The wind speed nearly exceeded the temperature, and the temperature was in the 30's.  Our reporting staff  sallied out to the local coffee emporium to drown our sorrows, and were greeted by...SNOW!

Anyway, there are no racing recaps to report for this week, because there were no races to recap.  Racing will resume next Sunday, and the early forecasts are calling for 8-10 mph winds and temps in the 50s.

At least the Patriots won.

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.

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:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Races? What Races?

The flag was blowing around like this all day

The wind decided that it would be better to save up all of it's energy for the big boat racing tomorrow.  The three racers who braved the calm were faced with the prospect of paddling out to the race course were disappointed as racing was cancelled. 

Racing resumes with multi-class racing tomorrow, and the Double Secret series on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Lasers Have Returned, Some Thank You's and a Couple of Recommendations

Tillerman - Blogger Extraordinaire

Judy Krimski - Blogger Extraordinaire

We're going to interrupt our usual Sunfish coverage to pay some attention to the other small boat fleet at Massapoag, the Lasers.  After going virtually extinct last season, the Prodigal Son Laser Fleet has returned.  Last week, the Lasers outnumbered the Sunfish by about 2:1, with Massapoag Sailors being joined by sailors coming from as far afield as Duxbury and Aquidneck Island.  They also brought a breath of fresh air, running the infamous "Harry A" course, all the while coordinating starts and sharing the course with us Sunfish.

Among the fleet this weekend were two of the most prominent Laser bloggers on the internet, Judy Krimski, author of the Center of Effort sailing blog, and Derek Stow (better known to the online sailing world as "Tillerman"), author of the "Proper Course" sailing blog. Please take some time to become regular readers of their blogs, you'll be better sailors for it.

Derek posts "Proper Course" entries on a nearly daily basis, offering entertaining, irreverent and always insightful observations about the Laser and small boat world. Judy's "Center of Effort" blog is a bit more technically oriented, highlighting sailing techniques, tips and tricks to make your Laser (or any small boat) go faster. Both blogs are on the required reading list for any small boat sailor. Both Judy and Derek chose to write about their experiences at Massapoag this week.  

Judy offered her take in her post entitled "A Lake Sailing Love Story" She describes her thoughts about sailing at Massapoag, and offers tips for sailing here, and for lake sailing in general.  She beautifully captured what goes on inside the head of just about anyone who sails here at Massapoag: 
"I will not capsize to windward. I will not..." This is a chant lake sailors repeat to themselves. That's because sailing on a lake is akin to running a minefield. Auto tacks are common as the breeze will drop down out of nowhere. Capsizes to windward are common until sailors get the hang of tacking really really fast."
Derek's gave his post the understated title of "10 Reasons Why Massapoag YC Might Be the Best Sailing Club on the Planet. A sampling of his reasons shows among others, 
"They sail Lasers there on Saturdays""They sail Lasers there on Sundays" "They let ME sail there".
We at Massapoag Yacht Club would like to give a big thank you to the entire Laser fleet for coming home, and an especially big THANK YOU to Judy and to Derek for writing such kind words about our club and our lake. We would also like to with Derek a belated happy birthday, a birthday which he chose to spend at our club, sailing with his son.  We hope to see a lot more of you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Double Secret Wednesday Series: Gary Keeps Building his Picket Fence

This is about as close as anyone got to Gary all night
Gary Werden continued building his Double Secret Picket Fence tonight, as he cruised to another first place in the Double Secret Sunfish series.  This week, he established his lead right from the start, sneaking under Mark Stoughton and John Houstle to take the favored end of the line, and he never looked back. By the first mark Gary had a three boat length lead over John, and five over Mark. On the third leg, Gary and Mark went left and John went right...into a hole. It was all over by the end of the third leg, as Gary had an insurmountable lead, and Mark had passed John and then held on to take second place.

Gary has extended his first place finish streak in the Wednesday Night Series to 6. Mark is just behind with 4 second place finishes and 1 third in 5 races sailed.  Next up is the Saturday Sunfish Series, and the weather looks to be a bit less blustery than last weekend.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Harry Anderson + 28mph Wind = Sleigh Rides in Summer

Sleigh ride - Massapoag Style
(Photo by Roger Sharp)

This week's "racing" brought lots of lasers, and a new race course to add to MYCs arsenal. The "racing" was actually more of a survival competition, as winds at race time were from the Northwest at 15, with gusts up to 28 and the course was the infamous "Harry Anderson" course which forces three gybes on each downwind leg.

John Houstle leads Bernadette Levesque
and Mark Stoughton up to the third gybe of the
downwind leg of the infamous "Harry A"
(photo by David Gilman, provided by Eric Aker)
The wind was so strong that it created a 1 foot chop with whitecaps on the lake, which made sure that everyone got thoroughly wet, even if they didn't capsize. The Race Committee managed to get six Sunfish races off, along with two abandonments because too many competitors struggled with hardware problems in the strong breeze. 

John Houstle tuned his boat perfectly for the conditions, and took firsts in 4 of the 6 races, with Mark Stoughton taking the other 2.  Bernadette Levesque took three seconds and 3 thirds in the testing conditions.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Double Secret Series: Nobody Beats the Small Boats!

Not to much in front (Lots of Scots behind though!)

The Wednesday night pursuit race belonged to the small boats tonight, with the Sunfish and Laser classes combining for 5 of the top 6 spots, and relegating the top finishing Flying Scot to 5th place. Sunfish also took three of the top four spots.

Gary Werden, Mark Stoughton, John Houstle waged a close race over five legs in the less shifty than normal conditions right from the start.  Bernadette Levesque was plagued by equipment problems and was out of the running early in the race. By the third mark Gary John and Mark were still within a few boatlengths of each other, and it was anybody's race. After the third mark however, Gary blew the race wide open by going to the right and finding more pressure, while John and Mark went left and found noting but headers. By the fourth mark, Gary's lead was insurmountable and he cruised to a leisurely first place finish.  Mark and John exchanged positions several times on the first four legs, but Mark managed to open up a gap on the final leg to take second, John came in about 30 seconds later in third and Bernadette, 4th.

Overall in the pursuit race, Gary took 1st, Mark 3rd, John 4th and Bernadette 8th. Newcomer Meg Haviland sailed a brilliant race in her Laser to pass Mark on the last leg and take 2nd overall.  Randy Rubenstein was the first Flying Scot skipper to finish, in 5th place, ahead of Dan Abram, sailing is Laser tonight. Harvey Davidson, Wally Leuders and Bernadette Levesque rounded out the fleet.

Double Secret series results are posted here:

Wednesday night Pursuit race results are here:

Next up: The Saturday Sunfish Series 3/5/14 @3:00pm.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Firsts and Food All Around for Summer Sailstice

The longest day of the summer brought a mixing of finishes in the Sunfish fleet today. For the first time in almost a year, the Laser fleet showed up just to make things interesting. There were extreme wind shifts. There was carnage at the starting line as boats were starting and finishing at the same time. There were number scores and letter scores, a disqualification, and almost everyone who showed up took a first.  

Rick Schlosser made his first appearance in the series today, taking a first and 5 seconds. Bernadette Levesque and Mark Stoughton took 3 1sts apiece.  Mark also lost the first ever protest in the series, after breaking Rule 18 at the finish of Race 6.

After the racing the Sunfish and Laser fleets had a cookout at the club. There was plenty of good food and good conversations, rehasing the races and lamenting the extremely low water levels in the lake.
The wreckage after the feast

Next up is next Sturday's Sunfish Series.  The Wednesday night races are cancelled this week, because Massapoag is hosting the Day Sailer North American Championships Tuesday through Friday.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Playing Follow the Leader

Work and vacation schedules made for a depleted Sunfish fleet at last night's Double Secret Wednesday series. Three Sunfish made their way around the course in the dying wind, bobbing and weaving and  a couple of them besting most of the 8 Flying Scots on the water.  Gary Werden and Mark Stoughton played a game of "Follow the Leader" after Gary took the start. The distance between them varied, and was never very large, but Gary never relinquished the lead, taking Sunfish Fleet honors and coming in 3rd overall.  Mark was close behind in 4th. Alan Dimson-Doyle made his first start of the season, and fell victim to the utter lack of wind at the end of the race, coming in 3rd.

Next up is the Saturday Series at 3:00pm this coming Saturday.  We are having a pot luck cookout with the Laser fleet after the race, so bring a contribution and your appetite!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Win Place and Show - MYC Saturday Sunfish Racing Week 1

This was about as far apart as these three got all afternoon

The Massapoag Saturday Sunfish Series got off to an excellent, if belated start this weekend.  Five skippers came to try their luck. Keeping with the normal indecisiveness of the wind on the lake, a prevailing Westerly wind competed with strong gusts from the North all day long, forcing John Ekart and Noah Levesque on the race committee to set up two different courses. Then they would simply choose which course to use at race time depending on which wind was blowing.

Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry as the wind decided to shift mid-race. Lifts and headers were the order of the day, and playing the shifts correctly led to big gains and losses out on the course. In a couple of races, the long downwind run turned into an upwind reach as the wind shifted 90+ degrees to the west.

The racing was with the boats often being less than a boat length apart at the finish.  John Houstle spent a lot of time rehabilitating his Sunfish over the winter and his 1969 vintage boat and it showed. His boat looked brand new, and burned up the course.  John took 3 firsts, 1 second and 1 third on the way to capturing first place for todays racing.  Bernadette Levesque brought her A game today too, running neck and neck with John all day, posting 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a third. Mark Stoughton  was "close, but no cigar" all day long, taking 2 seconds and 3 thirds.  Dan Abram, sailing in the club Sunfish, got 2 fourths and 2 fifths, and he very nearly took a third from Mark in the 4th race with a spectacular downwind run, loosing by just inches.  Skip Russell continued his progress from last year, having excellent upwind legs in every race, and beating Dan Abram twice.  The full results are on the new 2014 Saturday Sunfish Series Results Page.

Racing continues this Wednesday with the Double Secret Series, and again next Saturday with the second week of the Saturday Series.  On the larger circuit, next up is the Wessegussett Regatta is on June 28.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It Started Out Slow, Then it Started to Grow: Barrington Sunfish Regionals 2014

Proper sailing technique when the AP flag is flying
When it came to the wind, the 2014 New England Sunfish Regionals had it all.  29 Sunfish sailors showed up on Saturday to compete. Both days started out with virtually no wind.   Saturday saw one race completed before the morning breeze dies and an two hour delay ensued.  When the sea breeze finally arrived, it decided to make up for lost time, blowing at a steady 15 mph for the rest of the afternoon. The calm seas of the morning also gave way to a pounding 1 foot chop. The booming of hulls pounding on the water sounded like artillery at times.

At teh end of the day, Amand Callihan proved to be the Master of the Wind and Waves, hitting for the cycle, taking a 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st in the first 4 races. Bill Brangiforte and Matt Coughlin sat in 2nd and 3rd after the pounding was finished.

Day two started out to be a repeat of day 1, but with less wind all around.   John Hause commented that it was nearly the first time he had ever seen a wind speed of 0 reported at Conimicut Light (Which can be easily seen from the race course).
Best use of a Sunfish during a delay. Doris Aschman, Bernadette Levesque, Bill Brangiforte, Amanda Callahan, Eric Woodman, Scott Greenbaum and John Hause create their own shade during the delay

A much more mellow sea breeze arrived late Sunday morning, but it too brought the chop, stopping boats dead in the water just when they were starting to make headway.  Again Amanda Callihan ruled the day, taking a 1st and a 2nd to take the Championship.  Youngster Matt Coughlin took second, just 4 points behind Amanda, and Ken Charles roared out of 8th place on Saturday to take 3rd overall.

 Massapoag skippers did not fare so well this time out.  Kevin Buruchian came in 13th, Mark Stoughton came in 26th, and Bernadette Levesque 27th, 3 points behind Mark. Kevin had two races that he said "are the kind you don't want to talk about", and those did him in. Neither Mark or Bernadette had experience with the chop, and it slowed them both down badly.  Mark said that after sailing at Massapoag for so long, that he was confused by the "wind that always came from the same direction".

Massapoag's Mark Stoughton and Bernadette Levesque
racing to a photo finish in the 6th race.

Massapoag Sunfish racing resumes next Wednesday with the Double Secret series, and the regular Sunfish Saturday series starts in earnest next weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This Week the Double Secret Wednesday Series Stayed Secret

This is what the Sunfish Fleet race looked like last night
Work schedules, student stage performances and damage from Saturday's regatta conspired to knock most of the competitors out of this week's Double Secret race.  On a beautiful night for sailing, only two Sunfish showed up.  John Houstle and Mark Stoughton both had boat damage from Saturday, and Bernadette Levesque was on duty at work. Gary Werden, who kept his Sunfish out of harm's way this past Saturday by sailing his Laser, bested new club member Aengus Conghaile.

This coming weekend starts the Sunfish Saturday Series at Massapoag.  Racing starts at 3:00pm and runs until 5:00pm.  Based on reports reaching us over the last few weeks, it looks like the fleet may have even more racers than last year.

This weekend however, conflicts abound.  The Sunfish Regional Championships are being held this weekend at Barrington Yacht Club in Rhode Island. The Regional Championships are a qualifying event for the both the 2014 National and World Championships to be held later this year.  Bernadette Levesque, Mark Stoughton and Gary Werden are going to represent our fleet and club.  We are wishing them all good luck, and hope that Mark finishes his boat repairs before the starting gun goes off.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

MYC Sunfish/Laser Regatta: I Swear the Lake Massapoag Wind has ADHD

Left Side: What the sails looked like before the regatta
Right Side: What they looked like after
(The Sunfish were hiding up top in the woods)
The wind paid its biannual visit to Massapoag just in time for the 7th Annual Sunfish/Laser regatta.  13 Sunfish and 12 Lasers faced the indecisive 15 knot winds that punctuated the 9:30am Skipper's meeting.  The wind displayed true indecisiveness, starting at 15 knots, then building to 20, then puffing to 25 in gusts.  It also couldn't settle on a direction, shifting from due North, to due East, then back to North, before settling on Northeast.  15-20 degree shifts were normal, as were reaches that became runs, and runs that became reaches.  There were also a few pockets of completely calm air in the maelstrom, where skippers could sit and watch all of the other competitors go by them. 

Among the Sunfish fleet, there were surprisingly few capsizes for such challenging conditions, although one Sunfish suffered a mechanical breakdown and had to retire. Racing was close for the most part, and sometimes huge gains or losses could be had on the downwind legs. Boats that were out of it at the windward mark were back in the thick of things at the leeward mark. The Sunfish finishers at Massapoag reversed their season's finish at Barrington.  Scott Greenbaum sailed out of Massapoag in First Place, with Bill Brangiforte in second and Andy David in third.  

Our spy snuck in and got a picture of the results

Next week is both the start of the Saturday Sunfish series and the Sunfish Regional Championships (part 1) at Barrington Yacht Club. Two skippers from MYC, Bernadette Levesque and Mark Stoughton will be representing Massapoag at the regionals.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Winter Makes a Return Appearance Only Three Days Before the Regatta!

Lake Massapoag is starting to look like this

Sunday it seemed like someone put the lake indoors away from the wind. Today it was in the refrigerator. The case of ADHD in the atmosphere is making it hard to go racing. For the second time this week, racing at MYC was cancelled. Sailors are frustrated at being denied additional racing time before the Sunfish/Laser Regatta.

Speaking of the Sunfish/Laser Regatta, it is coming up in only 3 days!  The weathermen are predicting 65 degree temps, 8-10 mph southerly winds on the racecourse. It sounds like a perfect day for racing. Come and show your stuff!

Signups are here:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Regatta is Coming! The Regatta is Coming!

The Sunfish/Laser regatta is Next Weekend!
Photo by Bob Gaffney

The 7th Massapoag Yacht Club Annual Sunfish/Laser Regatta is coming next weekend, May 31, 2014. Come down and pit your racing skills against some of the best Sunfish sailors the region has to offer.  If you are an old pro, or new to racing, please come down. We will be running A and B fleets, so if you are new to racing, you still have a chance to show your stuff. MYC PRO Greg Kampf is famous for knowing the lake and for running excellent regattas, so I know that the racing will be top notch.

The visiting championship Sunfish skippers always provide excellent racing, plus they are gracious enough to share their racing knowledge with everyone, so the regatta often becomes a Sunfish racing clinic as well as a regatta.

Once again this year, we've scheduled this regatta the week before the Regional Championships in Barrington, so it is the last chance to get some racing in before the Sunfish regional Championships.   Come on down and race!

The NOR and Registration forms are Here on the Club Web Site.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Double Secret Race

The events of this racing season so far are like the lyrics to a John Lennon song: "Life happens while you're making other plans".  Over the winter, we got several requests to make the Sunfish racing season longer.  Due to lack of resources, we opted to make the first three races of the season on Sundays. The problem was, the weather didn't cooperate for the first week, and we found out that very few of our avid racers can make it on the other two Sundays.

But like life, racing found a way. It turns out that the Wednesday night pursuit race made for perfect Sunfish racing too.  Wednesdays at Massapoag are ostensibly a multi-fleet handicap race, but this year The Wednesday Night Series has attracted more Sunfish Skippers than the Sunday racing has.  The skippers present all agreed that we should run a race within a race, keep our own scores, and treat it as an unofficial second Sunfish series. And so the Double Secret Sunfish Series is now underway.

Four skippers turned out for last night's racing.  The race was a long, 7 leg race, shortened to 5 when the wind died and the Sun was very low on the horizon. For this race within a race, Gary Werden played the shifts brilliantly and got so far in front that he simply disappeared from view to take the 1st first of the series. He came in third overall in the official pursuit race, which is an outstanding finish for a Sunfish skipper. On the fourth leg, Bernadette Levesque played the contrarian, going right, and ducking under the Flying Scot fleet when the rest of the fleet went left into clear air. When the fleet came back together, she was in second place, and she held on to it all the way to the finish line. Mark Stoughton was in last place going around the last mark, went right when everyone else went left, and ended up in third place at the finish with a comfortable lead over John Houstle and Rick Schlosser.

We will be keeping the results on the blog here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Racing is Underway!

Some of us race sitting down, some of us race standing up

The Sunfish racing season at Massapoag got underway today after a two week delay because Mother Nature didn't cooperate two weeks ago, and the Mother's Day club holiday last week.  Three skippers were able to make it to the race course today. Well, actually four skippers made it, but John Houstle pulled Race Committee duty today and was keeping score.

The wind played hide and seek all day, and skippers who found what little breeze there was were amply rewarded. In the first race, Gary Werden piloted his new Sunfish to a huge lead over Rick Schlosser and Mark Stoughton in the first race, and repeated the feat to a lesser extent in the second.  The third race featured an upset, as Mark Stoughton found some breeze and beat Gary by several boat lengths. He was about to do the same in the fourth race when Gary caught a puff on the downwind leg and crossed the line about a half boat length in front of Mark.

There is one more week of Sunday racing, and two more Wednesday night races before the Sunfish/Laser Regatta on May 31.

Also, don't forget that Sharon High School Sailing Team is still trying to get some newer boats. Please consider donating to help the kids out. Please make you check out to the Sharon High School Sailing Team, and send the check to:

Sharon High School Sailing Team
c/o Massapoag Yacht Club
P.O. Box 18
Sharon, MA  02067

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We Interrupt this Program for an Important Announcement

The Sharon High School Sailing Team at the 2014 State Regional Championships
(Photo by Laura Henze Russell)

We interrupt our usual parade of race results and other Sunfish related news to pass along a request.

Sharon High School has long had a stellar sailing team. In fact, two weeks ago, they came in 4th in the state championships.  They have done all of this with an aging fleet of 420 sailboats, kept afloat through the herculean repair and maintenance efforts of their coach, Gary Werden.  (Gary is also the Race Committee Chair at MYC, and is occasionally known to race Sunfish.)

This year, the sailing team has an opportunity to replace their aging fleet of 420 sailboats.  We received this note today from Gary, which we are passing along to all of you verbatim. Please take a moment and consider donating to this worthy sailing program.

The Sharon High School Athletic Director, Bill Martin, and I are vigorously pursuing the purchase of 6 newer boats (2007) in excellent condition to replace our oldest set of boats (1994) in deteriorating condition. These boats have just come on the market this week. They are in almost new condition, having been professionally maintained and used only nine weeks a year. Boats of this quality are rarely available at this price. It is our expectation that the newer boats would give us 7+ years of trouble free service with first class equipment. This is a far better option than buying new boats at $8,500 each. It is also a better option than buying boats at a lower cost that would likely require serious maintenance and sooner replacement.
The purchase price of the new boats is $20,000. We should net $6,000 from the sale of the old boats. The team has $10,000 in our fundraising account. That leaves us $4,000 short.
The tremendous effort of the kids in fundraising has gotten us this close, but given the meager support from the school and the real costs of a sailing program (even a frugal one), we need a little more to bridge the gap.
Mr. Martin is working every angle within the school system and the town to make this happen, but as of right now, we don’t have any firm commitments to bridge the gap. It is up to the students, parents, coaches, and the community involved in the program to push us over the hump.

Please gather up all your spare change, break into your piggy bank, or just write a check to help build the program that is an important part of your kids’ high school experience. All donations are tax deductible and should be put in a sealed envelope and given to Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin will keep the amount of individual contributions confidential. Checks should be made out to Sharon Sailing Team and will be put in the team account.

Thank you for your support in building a first class program.
Gary Werden, SHS Sailing Team Coach