2021 Albacore North Americans took place at PRSA on Potomac River with a view of Washington D.C. landmarks and next to an airport. Contrary to legends, planes at the airport did not appear to affect wind pattern. Still, sailing on Potomac measured up to its reputation of shifty, gusty, and unpredictable winds with uneven current added to the mix. Even local sailors said that “it never blows like this here.” As a result, sailing strategy proved to be more than an adequate challenge for a championship regatta.
On the first two days of the regatta, North easterly winds prevailed with some significant shifts which caused the race committee to unsuccessfully attempt to change the location of the windward mark, just to see the wind return to its original direction after a few minutes.
The course was set between the airport and the mouth of Anacostia River. The starts tended to be pin favoured and very competitive as the fleet was good and quite evenly matched. Still, because of shifty, difficult to predict winds, starts themselves counted much less than finding good shifts and not ending
up in significant wind holes. The winds ranged between four and fifteen knots (mostly above ten knots), with an occasional drop to a dead calm.
On the last day of the regatta, the wind shifted to a more northerly direction, but became lighter, with few gusts over ten knots and long periods of no more than five knot wind speed. The course was set along the western, airport shore with the windward mark up the Potomac. That day was particularly challenging for me, as I could not devise a successful upwind strategy. Wherever I went, boats on the other side of the course got to the windward mark before me.
In three days we had thirteen races with most boats having mixed results, a sign of an evenly matched fleet. The race committee did a very good job with little delay between races despite challenging conditions. Despite these challenging conditions, the fleet often converged on the marks and a small mistake could cost several boat, as I found out the hard way. Altogether it was a very well organized, challenging event with a good wind range to test a variety of sailing skills. Heavier conditions which are apparently unusual on Potomac, were particularly welcome.
2021 Albacore NAs Results
This year’s President’s Cup had 15 Albacores registered for 2 beautiful days of sailing on the Potomac River. That’s not to say that the winds cooperated. Saturday started with an hour delay from shore due to light winds. The wind speed was up and down throughout the day, but the direction remained surprisingly steady. The race committee managed to get 3 Olympic courses off with the last race being shortened. That worked out well since just kept heading south to WSM for the on-shore after-party. Whoo-hoo! Dan Miller and crew Kaitlyn had a lot to celebrate since they got a bullet in the 3rd race!
Sunday’s winds were slightly higher (though still up and down), and were shifty… painfully shifty. The RC got 4 windward/leewards off. Farley and Celeste Will had a fantastic first in the 6th race, while Jordan Minot and crew Janice blew through the finish in 2nd. Let’s not mention who got 3rd, but it was his throw out.
Speaking of Barney Harris, he and Lee took away the victory beverage holders for first place in the President’s Cup. Lloyd Leonard got a well-deserved 2nd. Greg Jordan got 3rd in a remarkable boat. And special mention is in order for Daphne Byron and crew Jill who fought hard and won 4th, beating out former crew Lars Rathjen by 3 points. If there was an award for the best-looking boat, that would go to Dave Huber, who sailed his work-of-art Woodwind with sons John (on Saturday) and Mark (on Sunday). Congrats to all!
West River Sailing Club hosted the 92 nd Billy Heinz Regatta September 4th and 5th 2021. The Albacore Mid Atlantics was held in conjunction with the Billy Heinz Regatta. Eight albacores registered for the event and raced.
As competitors rigged boats Saturday morning light winds slowly diminished to lighter winds. The AP flag was hoisted. After postponing for three hours racing was canceled for the day. During AP some competitors did boat work, chatted with other competitors, and relaxed on the lawn overlooking West River. The low-pressure system that was supposed to bring better wind Sunday never materialized. The first race had a wind range of 4 to 7 knots. The first race had the beautiful wooden boat 7984 first to the windward mark after getting to the right side of the course. Shifts ranged from 5 to 10 degrees which saw the top boats tacking often while looking for better pressure. Downwind 8258 was able to pass 7984 to leeward finding better wind pressure on the left side of the race course. 8258 was able to hold on to the lead winning the only race of the regatta. A second race was attempted. Due to lack of wind competitors were unable to finish the race in time and it did not count. Congrats to the winners, Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa.
1st Place – 8258 – Barney Harris & Ernest Ayukawa
2nd Place – 8123 – Bob Bear & Michael Tellep
3rd – 7984 – Khin Thein & Thant Thein
2021 Billy Heinz Results
Ware River was another fun regatta this year. We had a nice weekend with low temps and decent breeze. Sadly due to rain and thunderstorms Sunday morning we were only able to race one day. The breeze was shifty with a lot of velocity changes. What seemed to pay off was to go left on the course whenever you could during the shifts. Often the boats that went left would look poorly positioned and then would beat you to the mark out of no where. Sadly the Albacore Fleet was not able to take home the Governor’s Cup this year. With only 8 boats, the cup went to the Hampton Fleet who had 15 boats participate. Hopefully we can get it next year! All in all it was a great event!
2021 Governor’s Cup Final
This year’s Corsica River Yacht Club Regatta was a bit different from normal. Despite being an event on the Chesapeake Bay in late July, we actually had some breeze. Saturday was light when we arrived and began with a postponement, but by 12:30 the breeze had filled in coming up the Corsica river and we were able to get in 3 races with wind mostly in the 10-15 range. The wind persisted through the evening and night which made for a nice evening with no bugs and kept things feeling cool. The dinner was a very tasty chicken dinner and the camping was actually pretty comfortable with the breeze (although those who camped by the river said it was a little noisy there with the wind and waves). There were even free horse carriage rides on Saturday evening! On Sunday the breeze persisted and we sailed an additional 4 races in winds that occasionally pushed into the upper teens. Six Albacores raced overall with 5 out each day. Congrats to the winners Marty and Jordan Minot!
Ware River Yacht Club did a wonderful job hosting the US Albacore Nationals! They showed true southern hospitality which included meals and a surprise tote bag made from sail material and filled with local goodies. The venue was beautiful and the race committee successfully ran 7 races and the wind was good, especially on Sunday. Although it felt a little odd heading down to Ware River Yacht Club this year in July for US Albacore Nationals this year since it was a month before the normal Gov Cup trip. WYRC was a new venue for our Nationals. Ware River is one of my favorite venues with the camping and breakfasting right along the river. It was really great to get down there Friday and have a nice dinner with everyone else that showed up a day early. The team did a great job with sponsorship and we were surprised with a tote bag made from sails material and filled with goodies.
It was great to have the event at WRYC and it helped to include the new WRYC Albacore fleet. We had a strong turnout with 20 boats sailing even without our Candian counterparts. There were 4 boats competing for the Bob Harwood Challenger Trophy which was great to see. It was also fun to see the variety of sailing teams, including several family teams, old friends, and new friends.
Saturday started off light and the wind died after the first race. We proceeded to drift around with zephyrs coming from all directions. After about 3 hours of drifting and swimming, the wind finally filled in and the Race Committee got 3 more races in. On shore, there was the delicious Gumbeaus Gloucester local food truck for dinner that was really good! Sunday also started light but the wind filled in during the second race and ended up being pretty breezy for the last couple races.
Thank you to WRYC and the volunteers who did an amazing job hosting the event and we are excited to go back in a couple weeks for Gov Cup. Special thanks to Barney for hosting a couple clinics at WRYC before the event.
2021 Albacore Nationals WRYC
We had a very nice weekend racing at Miles River Yacht Club. We had 8 boats and got in 10 races.
More to follow!
2021 Albacore and Friends Results
Greetings West River/Dave Irey participants,
I have finally journeyed back across the northern border, into a two week quarantine and an Ontario government that still has us locked down and unable to hold sailing regattas. (Even though the experts tell us two vaccines are safe and outdoor activities are good for physical and mental health). Oh well, we’ll see what the coming weeks bring us.
I’m pleased to provide you with a brief account of a very pleasurable regatta experience over the June 5/6 weekend. Unlike the weekend before – a blustery and cold Potomac sailing club regatta – the weather at West River was ideal. The forecast was for light winds, but uncommonly, the conditions were windier than expected, especially as the sea breeze came up as the days went on. Fortunately the Race Committee moved the course further out into the Chesapeake after a light and shifty race inshore to start off Saturday morning. This quick thinking by the RC, and the fresh breeze, meant that the Albacore fleet of a dozen or so boats got in 11 races over the two days. Well done Constantine and team! Farther out in the Bay the wind was steadier, though borrowed local knowledge led us to favour the right side as it swung right, around the point, as the day went on.
We were fortunate to lead the fleet, though our score didn’t reflect how close the racing really was. The fleet was pretty close together for most of the races and boat speed was remarkably similar. There were many finishes between boats that were within just a few boat lengths. Second place in the regatta went to Eva, in spite of being handicapped with an inexperienced crew (LOL Barney!).
As many of you know, West River is a picturesque location, with a very hospitable club. We had the additional adventure of sleeping in the V berth of Barney’s new megayacht – though facilities were underwhelming as the head wasn’t working and we were provided with a bucket for our nocturnal sojourns. Of course we were very grateful for the accommodations (and the libations).
I’ll end this report with the request I made at the prize giving – let’s make sure all our trophies and score sheets include the crews’ names and recognize their contribution along with the helms’. For me that means congratulating Mia Drake Brandt, who, in addition to crewing with me, agreed to marry me last July ( allowing me to cross the border in the first place and thus permit me to sail at West River this year). Thanks, Mia.
The 2021 PRSA Spring Regatta was held May 29 and 30 from the Washington Sailing Marina. Eleven Albacores registered for the event. With Covid 19 restrictions easing competitors were eager to race the first Albacore regatta of the year. The weather unfortunately deterred some teams from racing Saturday.
Day one sailing conditions were chilly for the time of year and rainy. Teams were in full foul weather gear. Wind ranged from 12 -20 mph NE with gusts in the upper 20s. Two Albacores raced. Race Committee (RC) decided to combine all fleets racing on day one. At the start line was two Albacores, two Buccaneers, two Lasers, and a Lightning. RC held three races. In all three races the RC boat was the favored end of the start line. Having multiple classes on the start line that rate differently made finding a lane off the start important to maintain clear air. The shifts on the racecourse ranged from 10 – 15 degrees throughout the day. Playing the shifts was more important than getting current relief out of the channel. The Olympic course with the wind speed helped the Albacores stretch out leads on other boats on the reach legs. The two Albacores had a dominating performance against the other classes of sailboats.
In the last race, 8122 and 8258 switched the lead several times. On the last downwind leg, 8122 had a two-boat length lead on 8258. At the mark, 8122 went wide. 8258 capitalized on this, and went inside. Both boats raced on port tack to the pin end of the finish line. 8258 tacked four boat lengths early of the lay line and 8122 by going further was able to close to gap and almost overtake 8258 for the win.
Day two sailing conditions were chilly without rain. Wind ranged from 8 – 16 mph from the NW. Five races were sailed with nine Albacores. The left side of the racecourse seemed to be the favored side of the course most of the day with 10-degree shifts. The pin end of the start line was favored most of the day. Boats tacking on to port immediately after the start due to the racecourse bias were able to make early gains on boats that stayed on starboard tack.
Top Three Boats
8258 -7 pts
8122 -14 pts
8259- 41 pts
Albacore Nationals this year was certainly different than in years past. Due to COVID 19, the normal contingent of Canadians were not able to cross the border for the trip which yielded some lower participation. But despite that we still were able to get 8 boats down to race at Norfolk Yacht & Country Club this year. It was very cool to get to race at a new venue! I have not sailed there since college and it was definitely a little different than I expected.
We had lighter breeze for three days of racing which was quite tough with the currents that were ripping through the racing area. One the last day, we were able to make it to the race course by sailing/drifting to the race course. Then while waiting for the wind to fill in, the RC dropped a mark for people to tie up to so that we did not get sucked out into the Cheasapeake Bay. The race committee did a great job getting races in for us despite the light wind. We even had 1 protest which I thought the judges handled really well and did a great job running it.
All in all, I really liked the new venue. with two ramps to launch from, there was basically no hold up and they were able to make room for us to store the boats right next to the ramps! While COVID made the socializing a littler harder, some of us still ate at the Yacht Club restaurant and it felt pretty safe and was good food. I definitely could see the fleet returning to this venue! And I was totally jealous of the people who booked rooms at the yacht club and were able to just wake up to a view of the river and roll right over to their boat so easily!
2020 Albacore National Championship
Photo Credit to Ben Schill of NYCC