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.