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
The VA Governor’s Cup Regatta at Ware River Yacht Club is one of my favorite regattas of the year. I have been heading down there since 2013 and really enjoy camping at the club and hanging out with friends at the club. Despite worries about COVID-19 this year, Celeste and I decided to head down there after getting negative COVID test results and after a summer of cancelled events we were excited for the chance to attend a regatta. While attendance this year was much lower than before and almost no one camped, it was still a fun event. With the addition of the Ware River Fleet members, the Albacores were the largest fleet at 10 boats and won the Governor’s Cup.
The breeze was nice on both days and was even verging in what I would call high wind. We got off a lot of races and most boats were finishing all over the place.
All in all it was a good time as always at Ware River. And while most people left the club by sunset, it did not disappoint. There was a rain storm that passed just south of the river which gave some beautiful views!
2020 Gov Cup Albacore Results
Photo Credit to M Grant at USSCMC
This year’s 2020 Midwinters was beautiful, with weather in the 70s, and wind conditions in the mid-range – around 10 kts a day – and consistent shifts. 2020 is a notable year for Midwinters because it marks a venue change from the Sarasota Sailing Squadron to the US Sailing Center at Martin County in Jensen Beach, FL. The new venue offered many perks, including a race committee, marks, RC boats, and breakfast. Also notable are the expansive beach and lawn for launching boats and hanging out, and the deck at the club, which offered a nice space with lots of tables at which to mingle and enjoy a meal (see photo from deck below). They even have an option for a catered dinner should we go back next year! The race committee itself did a phenomenal job running about 5, hour long races a day in a course area with depths over 5 ft. The 2020 Midwinters also marked my first ever Midwinters as a skipper, as I crewed at the 2019 Midwinters. There were some notable accomplishments surrounding this milestone:
I successfully towed a boat down to Florida!
We did not place last in every race!
I was the highest placing female skipper (even though I placed last overall)!
Since this was the first major regatta in my new boat, I spent the weekend breaking it in. The shifty conditions of the venue highlighted my lack of a compass and my crew and I were forced to make educated guesses regarding when to tack and when to hold. A compass was quickly added to my list of things to add/replace on the boat, along with a cleat I managed to break. (It’s not a good sail if something doesn’t break, right? No? Just me? Okay.) We arrived in time to participate in the second tuning day, and had the rake measured. Then, throughout the tuning-day sail and the ensuing racing days, my crew and I continued to adjust the rake, the vang and the jib sheet cars, to see which settings worked best for my sails. With help from passing sailors yelling tuning suggestions, we were able to keep good point and speed most of the time. I learned a lot from everyone about the boat itself, as well as about general boat-handling. Goal for 2021 Midwinters: boat-handling AND course tactics.
Overall, the 2020 Midwinters was a success. The venue was fantastic, the sailing was even better, and of course, it was wonderful to get out in the warm Florida sunshine to spend time with a great group of people.