Frostbite Racing Recap – Week Two

Sail Fast!
Sail Fast!

Sailing engenders amazing “community”.  There is outstanding information share that takes place because most competitors truly want to race against the best they can and everyone is mutually invested in getting better.  This is one of my favorite things about our sport.  Interestingly, I am not sure that everyone always recognizes how willing our fellow competitors are to share their information, settings, tips and tricks.  Asking good questions is one of the best ways to get better fast.  Walking around the docks and inquiring as to rig settings, controls and techniques arms you with the information you need to “copy the fast people” and move up the ranks quickly.

Below is a copy of a recent email sent out by one of the J/80 Frostbite competitors to the fleet.  Enjoy!

Good morning everyone in the J/80 fleet,
I wanted to pass along something that we used to do in the Laser fleet in Newport that seemed like a fun, easy learning expereince. Before a days racing, a competitor was selected to give a “days recap” of what they saw worked ( What didn’t) and provide a summary. We did it on Thursday nights as well in the J/22 fleet locally and seemed v helpful to try and paint the picture.
Here goes for this week ( Feed free to delete immediately!) 😉
Frostbiting #2 – AYC
What a fantastic day with temps in the 60s, light to medium wind and 17 (!) J-80s on the line. No doubt this was a great look on the line with more than a few shorts being sported in the Spring like temps. With a southerly wind coming into the harbor, AYC set a D4 course with a set mark to windward, round to port, round 13 to port and back to the finish.
TIP:   Trying to read the SIs, Eric Menzel who joined us today let us know that his way of remembering which is Hartford and which is Triton light,
Hartford (H) is closer to the Harbor. Best advice we got all day.
Race #1 – Course D4
With a strong current coming into the river, it was critical to get right as fast as possible. With righties coming off the right hand shore, this was even more critical. Vayu, Stacked Deck, and Crush got it right and continued to own the right all the way up the beat. Finding a avenue to get over to the right was difificult with a few going early and reaping the rewards.
After the first mark, it got a little dicey as the puffs off the shore (Now on the left ) seemed tempting, but with a strong inflowing current on the right, there needed to be a time to make the step over. Emotional Rescue made the biggest gains in this leg by stepping however lost most of that by going back for more towards the Navy shore. Ken Magano on the other hand did a great job of playing the pressure and was easilly the biggest mover in the leg. Broad reaching seemed fastest with Stacked Deck (With the help of the Church Key contingent) doing a REALLY good job of sailing low in the light air.
Once the fleet reached 13 and the reach for home, it became more of a parade.
Note: Hat Tip to Rich Harrison – After realizing he rounded one of the marks in the improper way, informed the R/C he would be retiring after finish. Good on ya Rich. More than some respect!
Race #2 – Course C4
This looked like a carbon copy of the first race until The Puffinator made the left work on the first beat.(!) The wind did seem more stable yet the fleet still proceeded to option the right side by the shoal pole. Upon approaching the weather mark, it was the Puffinator who contined left and eventually rounded in the top two. I am guessing their were two things at play here. 1) The breeze filled in more so the puffs from the left were not as critical to a boats sucess and B) The current may have slowed down enought to let the left come into play. Either way, it made them look fanastic. Good on ya!
After the first mark (Rounding to starboard) it was a reach back to the harbor and into the finish. Note. With the tightness of the fleet, no one could make the low road work on this reach with the high folks able to drive down in the puffs.

Rules Scenario Question

With the “new” racing rules of sailing about to go into effect, now seems like a fine time to begin discussing the fundamental rules and those that will not change in 2013.  If you are new to racing or feel a little foggy on the rules (we all do at some point) then this will be a fun series of posts to build your knowledge with.

In fact, most of the rules and the spirit of the rules we’ve been sailing with will not be changed in 2013 and having a rock solid understanding of the basic rules will make understanding the more nuanced rules easier.  If you are new to the rules — this will be a great place to start your understanding of the racing rules of sailing.  They aren’t that complicated and it knowing these fundamental rules that govern when boats meet on the race course will help you have more fun and be a more confident racer.

Here is how this will work.  Regularly I will post a racing rules scenario and ask you – the readers – to post your answers and questions in the comment section of this post.  Over the coming weeks and months we will work our way through the rule book in an effort to get a better understanding of the rules.  If you really want to drill down deep, call the office to register for one of our winter racing rules seminars!

Note that while having a rule book is helpful it is not neccesary.  You can download the 2009-2012 rules as well as the 2013-2016 rules here!

Ok… here goes:

A classic port vs starboard scenario. Take a shot at answering the questions by leaving a comment.
A classic port vs starboard scenario. Take a shot at answering the questions by leaving a comment.

Join Us For Strategy and Tactics Discussion December 1st!

While frostbite racing isn’t for everyone, the winter is no time to stop thinking about sailing.  For racers, the cold months are a great time to join J World for one of our winter lectures include Strategy and Tactics.  J World Annapolis will be presenting our unique and engaging Strategy and Tactics Seminar December 1, 2012 from 0900 to 1600.

New and old sailors, high school racers, casual beer can PHRF warriors and one design champions can all benefit from a day of discussing the difference between strategy and tactics, ladder rung theory, five elements of a perfect start, the zen of winning downwind and much more.   In this seminar we’ll discuss how wind velocity and angle along with waves and current make up the strategic “toolbox” that separate the winners from the trailing pack. Space is limited for the December 1st class.  Contact the office today to register.

Consider these three questions:

    1. The wind is blowing 5kts across the left side of the course and slightly stronger on the right – maybe 8kts.  On the left, we’ve discovered a slight 5 degree shift about half way up the course.  Which way should we sail upwind (left/right/middle) in order to get to the windward mark first?
    2. You are sailing on port tack, about 5 boat lengths from the starboard tack lay line, with about 70 boat lengths to go to the windward mark.  A boat tacks directly upwind of you, giving you dirty air.  According to your observations, the wind is shifting into a left phase and a 10 degree left hand shift is eminent – what should you do?
    3. In your pre-start data collection you’ve identified that the 200 meter long starting line has a 5 degree port end bias.  You win the pin, while your closest rival has won the boat end.  How far ahead are you at the start?
Leave your comments and answers in the comment section of this blog post.


Basic Keelboat Third Weekend – Final Class of the Season

J World Annapolis offers several formats for receiving your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.  The “BK” is the cornerstone of the US sailing system and a great course for honing existing skills – even if you are an experienced sailor.  J World offers the course in both a five consecutive day and three weekend format.  For those sailors with busy work lives the three weekend format affords the flexibility to complete the “BK” without needing to take precious vacation time (that you should ultimately spend SAILING!)

Due in part to the fact that the three weekends do not need to be consecutive, but planning to come as often as possible is always a good idea.  Because there are a handful of 2012 sailors that have not completed all three weekends of their BK course, we are offering a final two days of sailing – and we’ve thrown in the added benefit of burning off some turkey and stuffing too.  J World Annapolis is offering a Weekend Three Course November 23 and 24 (Friday/Saturday) for those sailors that have yet to complete their three weekend course.

For BK sailors who have already finished their five day or three weekend course, but would like to get a “refresher” we are offering spaces in this last on-the-water course of the season for just $149!  Join us for some end of season fun!  To learn more or register – contact the office today!

2013 Annapolis NOOD Regatta – Superweek!

It is never too early to start preparing for success.  If you like to win but don’t sail 12 months of the year, it is important to remember the lessons learned last season.  That is not all that easy.  Instead of spending those first few regattas getting back up to speed, you can start your season off with a bang by preparing for a successful season after training and racing with J World Annapolis during the first big event of the season – the 2013 Annapolis NOOD Regatta.

The 2013 Annapolis NOOD regatta is ostensibly the kick off event of racing on the Chesapeake Bay, and for New England or Midwestern racers comes at a time that enables you to get a jump on your competition.  With this in mind, we have designed a proven four day on-the-water racing training and seminar program preceding three days of actual one design racing in the highly competitive and greatly attended J/80 class.  Seven days of racing training – with three days of real racing!  Imagine going to driving school and then racing in the Indy 500!  Our program of thoughtful seminars and on-the-water training will get you back in the fast lane, accelerate your learning curve and provide a truly memorable racing experience.

World Class Coaches and Seminar Leaders

Our world class coaching staff will be supplemented with some of the best sailing professionals in the business who will talk about winning strategies, sail trim and rig tune.  Champion sailors and world class sailing professionals will augment our highly qualified and experienced staff.

Unique Learning Experience

Keelboat racing requires a remarkable amount of crew communication and choreography.  Because of this, we believe strongly that “cross-training” positions is the key to understanding how interdependent each role is and how crucial coordinated efforts are to success in any boat.  Unless you are coming as part of a pre-set crew that will not be rotating positions, each client can plan on helming, trimming and working the bow.  If you are ready to improve your skills and develop new experiences – then this is the program for you.

Huge High Performance One Design Fleet

We use J/80’s as our race training platform because they are the best learning platform around.  Fast, fun and with a great following there is no other class that can provide the teaching and learning opportunities along with the great racing that the J/80 class does.  With J/80 North Americans and World’s coming to Annapolis in 2014 you can bet that there will be teams preparing for the venue by participating in the 2013 Annapolis NOOD Regatta.  With more than 25 boats sailed locally – the NOODs are guaranteed to be a well attended event that will prepare you for big starts and tough fleets anywhere.

Call the office at 410-280-2040 to learn more about this seven day racing program.


Frostbite Racing

J World Annapolis annually participates with students in the Annapolis Yacht Club Frostbite Series.  Thee student racers helm, trim and help call tactics as we race around Annapolis harbor.  Frostbite racing is a fun way to spend time on the water through the winter.  Frostbite Racing is a special discipline that requires a racers to think differently than they normally do in windward/leeward races.  Due in part to the use of fixed government marks and static start lines, downwind and reaching starts are common and overwhelmingly favored sides of the race course are De rigueur.  This makes for fun and interesting racing that is a somewhat different challenge than we face the rest of the racing season.

Annapolis Yacht Club is the host of the annual Frostbite Racing. The official Notice of Race (NOR) has been posted on their racing website, along with the Sailing InstructionsAttachment Aand Amendment 1.
Note that while the updated racing rules of sailing have been released, the AYC Frostbite racing series will be governed by the current rules.  If you are curious, you can download the “new” rules here.

“Just as sunflowers turn their heads to catch every sunbeam, so too have we discovered a simple way to get more from our sun.”

Some would say Daylight Saving Time gives us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings by moving our clocks an hour forward in the spring.  But now that summer has passed it is time to set our clocks back this Sunday. Please factor the time change into your planning for this weekend’s first Frostbite Racing event.

This is a great time to update the batteries in your smoke alarms too!

In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.

Yet, the implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been fraught with controversy since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, regions and countries routinely change their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.

We will see you this Sunday!

US Sailing Releases Report on Newport to Ensenada Race Tragedy

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (October 30, 2012) – US Sailing has released a report of an independent review panel on its investigation of the sailing accident that occurred on April 28 during the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race that resulted in the deaths of four sailors. The crew were victims of an accident aboard Aegean, a 37-foot Hunter 376. The 125-mile Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is held annually, starting from Newport Beach, Calif. and ending at Ensenada, Mexico. The Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA) is the race organizer.

Synopsis of Findings and Recommendations from the Report:

The panel determined that a key element of the accident was likely an inadequate lookout*, and that it is likely that Aegean inadvertently motored beyond a waypoint set before North Coronado Island. Although the inadequate lookout was the proximal cause of the accident, there were additional safety issues that came to light during the inquiry, and improvements in these areas could prevent or reduce the severity of other accidents in the future.

The panel relied on available facts to create this report. There were no survivors and no eyewitnesses to the accident. The facts include the SPOT Connect (GPS tracking device with text capacity) position reports from which vessel course and speed were derived, times of SPOT Connect text transmissions during the race, published material, press reports including accounts of the San Diego Coroner’s report and the results of their toxicology analysis, interviews with race organizers, participants and past crew from Aegean, wreckage found at North Coronado Island and in the debris field and underwater at North Coronado Island.

The panel recommends improvements in the following areas:

1. Always maintain a lookout, with a watch of at least two people, using audible waypoint and radar alarms.
2. Racers need to be made aware of the light obscuration zones in the Coronado Islands.
3. Each watch must understand the operation of the boat’s navigation systems.
4. The use of autopilots while motoring should be reviewed by race organizers.
5. To improve communication, racers should monitor VHF 16 and race organizers should provide a 24-hour emergency contact.
6. US Sailing should create a guide to emergency signaling devices.
7. US Sailing should create a crisis management template for race organizers.

Read the entire US Sailing Report on the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. US Sailing will be making a presentation on the findings and recommendation at the Annual Meeting this Thursday, November 1 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, Calif. at 12:30 pm PT.

“The US Sailing Independent Review Panel members express our sorrow at the loss of four lives in this tragic accident,” said Bruce Brown, US Sailing Panel Chairman. “We offer our condolences to the family members of the victims. This accident was tragic and, we will not know what occurred during the last hours on board Aegean. The panel analyzed the facts and offers recommendations to the sailing community. My thanks go to the members of the panel for their diligent work, and to our sailing community who stepped forward to offer their insights into the events that occurred.”

The objective of this report is to reduce the chance of future similar tragedies by identifying the contributing factors leading up to this incident. This report is not intended to be used in any judicial proceedings whose purpose is to attribute or apportion liability or blame.

The members of the panel are Chairman Bruce Brown (Costa Mesa, Calif.), John Winder (Annisquam, Mass.), Alan Andrews (Corona del Mar, Calif.), Ed Adams (Middletown, R.I.), and Alan McMillan (Pensacola, Fla.). The Offshore Special Regulations Consultant on the panel is Evans Starzinger (Milford, Conn). The Safety at Sea Committee Chairman and Review Panel Liaison is Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz, Calif.). The Medical Advisor was Dr. Steven Shea (Long Beach, Calif.). Jim Wildey (Annapolis, Md.) advised on investigation procedures and formats.

US Sailing is the national organizing body of the sport and is the overall authority for sanctioning sailboat races in the United States. US Sailing follows established policies of reviewing races involving causalities and/or fatalities. Similar reports from races include the 1979 Fastnet Race (Great Britain), 1988 Sydney Hobart Race (Australia) and the 2009 Flinders Islet Race (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia). In 2011, US Sailing independent panels reviewed three accidents beginning with a fatal incident involving a young girl in the Severn River (Severn Sailing Association); the fatal incident in the Chicago To Mackinac Race (WingNuts); and the near fatal accident in the Fastnet Race (Rambler 100). The reviews offer insight for race organizers and sailors of the facts involved in each of these events and offer suggestions to avoid and/or mitigate similar outcomes in the future.

In 2012, US Sailing was invited by the US Coast Guard to establish a panel to review the fatal accident during the Fully Crewed Farallon Island Race (Low Speed Chase) and in May of 2012, US Sailing created a panel to review this accident. In August of 2012, US Sailing released this report.

For more information regarding US Sailing Safety Reports, visit us at

*According to the International Maritime Organization, a lookout’s task is to prevent collision. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (1972) Rule 5 says (in part): Every vessel must at all times keep a proper look-out by sight (day shape or lights by eyes or visual aids), hearing, and all available means in order to judge if risk of collision exists. According to the International Sailing Federation Case 26, all boats, whether or not holding the right of way, should keep a lookout at all times.

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