Saturday, September 28, 2013

If You Set the Course, They Will Come

These guys finished in this order almost all day long

There's a chill in the air, the days are getting shorter, and the water is getting colder, but the Sunfish racing is still hot.  Six intrepid souls showed up to race on a nearly perfect day. Consistency was the order of the day, with the finishing order virtually carved in stone from race to race.  Out of the six races held today, Gary Werden took 5 firsts, Dave Ryan took 5 seconds, Mark Stoughton took 5 thirds, Bernadette Levesque took 4 fourths, John Houstle took 4 fifths (and finished second to last in every race), and Alan Dimson Doyle took a third and 3 sixths in the four races he took part in today.

For the season, ONE point separates first, second and third places overall. Mark Stoughton gets first place via a tiebreaker, because he and Bernadette Levesque are tied for first with 70 points each.  John Houstle is in 3rd with 71 points. Talk about a close series!

After the racing, a bunch of racers stayed on the beach, enthusiastically talking about the races and exchanging stories and tips until dark, and lamenting that the season is soon coming to a close. Or not.  Three of MYC's Sunfish racers have already committed to visiting the Barrington Yacht Club for their frostbite series, which starts on the very day that we are closing up the club for the season. Two more racers are seriously considering racing there in the fall as well.

Thanks to Michael Ganshirt, who served as Race Committee for the day. He set up a perfectly square course that held up for all of the races.  Not bad for a first time out!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The America's Cup comes to Lake Massapoag (Sort of)

Match Racing, America's Cup Style

They say that things in the America's cup eventually make their way down to us average sailors.  Well, the trickling has started.  Our PRO today, Roger Sharp had the terrific idea to honor the America's Cup by running our races on an America's Cup course. Roger set up a course with a reaching start, with the first turning mark in the middle of the course, and gates at the end of each leg. The wind obliged by blowing at the high end of the range, and John Houstle and Mark Stoughton turned the days races into a match race series by being the only two skippers foolhardy enough to sail in the 20+mph breeze.

Keep dreaming Skipper
Like their 72 foot counterparts, leads changed frequently and the racing was close. In Race 1, John took the start,  rounding marks 1 and 2 by only a few seconds, but by the third mark, his lead was insurmountable and he won by about 30 seconds. In Race 2, Mark forced John over the line early, and never looked back. Race 3 proved to be the best race of the day. John took the start, but Mark turned inside him at the 2nd mark to take the lead.  John led again at mark 3, things were pretty much even at mark 4, when the racers split, and Mark took the finish. Race 4, like so many America's Cup races this summer, was decided by an equipment breakdown. Both boats were within inches of each other on a screaming run, when a strong puff hit. John's boat capsized, breaking his halyard cleat and ending the racing for the day.

John's sail isn't supposed to be on the back of Mark's boat!

Thanks to Roger Sharp for coming up with the wonderful idea of running an America's Cup course, and the luck of having only two skippers, making a match racing series possible. It was just like having the America's Cup right here in Sharon!

Mark and PRO Roger Sharp both showed up with GoPro cameras today, so there are a lot of photos and videos that we are still sorting through.  We'll have them posted on the MYCSunfish Flickr page and YouTube channel as soon as we can.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bobbing for Race Committees

Rick wasn't alone for long!

The Extended Saturday Sunfish Season got off to a good start with 4 boats showing up on what proved to be a sunny, if sometimes windless day. Since the Race Committee duty roster was made up in March, and the Sunfish season was extended just two weeks ago, nobody is scheduled to serve RC duty.  That makes it interesting rounding up a Race Committee. A big thank you goes this week to Noah Levesque, who gamely stepped in to act as PRO so that his mom would have more people to race against.

The wind was light to nonexistent. Gusts and lulls combined to create leg length leads only to see them disappear on the next puff, and no lead was safe. In Race 1, Rick Schlosser rounded the windward mark an entire leg behind the rest of the fleet, and clawed his way back, riding the puffs to a second place finish. In Race 2, Mark Stoughton was the first to arrive at the first upwind mark, only to be the last person to complete the rounding.

The day belonged to John Houstle and Bernadette Levesque. John put a lot of work into his boat over the last week, and it showed, taking 3 firsts and 2 seconds. Bernadette continued her consistent series sailing, taking 1 third, 2 seconds and 2 firsts. Rick had mixed results with a second and two thirds. Marks hot streak came to a crashing halt today as he came in dead last in every race.

The leaderboard had some changes this week, as John  Houstle claimed 2nd place, and Mark and Rick are tied for 3rd. Results are on the blog's results page.

Several members of the Sunfish fleet have offered to swap race duties with people who are scheduled for Sunday duties with the Flying Scots, giving Scot skippers the opportunity to race instead of serving race duty. Thanks so far to Roger Sharp and Jay McNeff for offering to swap!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

MYC 4th Annual Regatta - Day 2 "Blow me Down!"

Anyone who has ever sailed on Lake Massapoag knows that it is a mixing bowl for the wind, and gusts can come from any direction at any time. The weather prognosticators called for building gusty winds, so we expected carnage. In the morning it looked like the weathermen were going to be wrong.  It looked like there were going to be gentle breezes  out on the water, making it a light air day. Mother Nature decided to cooperate with the forecast, and the wind rose from a nice 10 mph westerly in the first race to 15 in the second, with gusts coming from random directions, of course, up to 26. Autotacks were in fashion out of the course today, as was a maddening tendency for the wind to decide on occasion to shift seriously to the left at the windward mark, forcing half the fleet to have to overstand the mark in order to make it around, while the others could comfortably ride a starboard tack right up to the mark and sneak by.

This year's regatta turned out to be the Ken Charles show.  Ken got five firsts in the ten race regatta, and his worst finish was a 9.  He beat Alan Beckwith and Kevin Buruchian for first place by 4 points. The rest of the top finishes in every race were spread pretty evenly among Alan Beckwith, Kevin Buruchian, Scott Greenbaum, Gary Werden and Eric Woodman.

Mark Stoughton continued his domination of the B fleet, taking all of the days races. Next year he will be graduating to the A fleet and get his comeuppance.

Full results will be posted on the MYC Web site

Saturday, September 7, 2013

64th MYC Annual Regatta - Day 1 "My God, It's Full of Sunfish"

The whole lake was full of these!

The 64th Massapoag Annual Regatta got off to a roaring start start today, with 24 Sunfish (a new club record), on the line for today's racing. The weather cooperated beautifully with sunny skies and a west wind blowing about 10-12 miles per hour. In the A fleet, there was plenty of pressure on the course, both from the wind and from the competition, as leads changed several times, and top prizes were pretty evenly spread. The winds got squirrely and light as the day wore on, making windward mark roundings a definite challenge, especially since the Sunfish shared the course with the Flying Scots and Day Sailers adding their own special brand of confusion to the mix. Sometimes the lake looked more like an obstacle course than a regatta! At the end of the day, MYC's Gary Werden sat atop the A Fleet leader board, and Mark Stoughton continued his late season hot streak to dominate the B Fleet with 6 firsts in 7 races.