by Steve Harris
Team Racing may well be the most exciting of all the sailing disciplines, but it seems that even the most seasoned sailors are not particularly familiar with it. I was fortunate this past fall to be invited by Sam Patterson, Sailing Director for The Foundry in Cleveland to serve as the Principal Race Officer (PRO) for this year’s US Team Racing Championships for the Hinman Trophy held at The Foundry’s new sailing center in Cleveland’s Inner Harbor. The Foundry’s story is, itself an interesting one. Opening in late 2015 as a non-profit rowing and fitness center, The Foundry occupies several buildings of old industrial space in the Flats of Cleveland. They have one of the largest installations of indoor rowing tanks in the United States. The operation soon expanded into sailing as well. The Foundry’s Sailing Center is located in the Historic Coast Guard Station, on a small island just north of Wendy Park. Abandoned by the Coast Guard in the 1970s, there is much work to be done on the facility, but the operation is in full swing and hosts some of the most active community sailing programs in the midwest. This year, they were able to purchase a fleet of 12 brand new Zim 420E sailboats. It was these boats, that we used for the Hinman racing this year.
That brings me back to the racing… Team Racing. Most are familiar with our more “typical” fleet racing discipline… The boats all start at the same time, on the same starting line, sail the same course, and the point is to beat everyone else. Team racing however is a lot more like speed skating – in more ways than one. For starters, teams race against each other in a round-robin format. At this year’s Hinman, we had 12 teams from all over the U.S. In a rather complex format, teams of 3 boats (6 sailors – 3 skippers, 3 crew) race head to head against other teams of 3 boats. Certainly having all three of your boats in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd would mean you win, but there are multiple combinations of finishes. In a three boat format, with each boat getting points equal to their finish position, there are 21 total points in a given heat. The point then, is not to necessarily get 1st place (as in fleet racing) but to get 10 points or less, therefore winning that race and receiving 1 point for your team in the standings. In team standings, the highest point value wins. You could easily win the race with your boats finishing 2, 3, 5 (10 points) as your opponent, while crossing the line first, still earns 11 points (1, 4, 6). This makes team racing much more tactical than almost any other discipline. Keeping your opponent from finishing well is just as important, if not more so, than doing well yourself. Of course, all the same right of way rules apply as in any other sailing discipline, so it can get very interesting. Here’s where the sport is sometimes less like speed skating than it is like roller derby. Generally, these races are umpired on the water. Umpires make nearly instantaneous calls and penalties are given out during the race – no waiting to fight it out in the protest room afterwards. It’s fast paced and exciting. We had a stellar RC crew in Cleveland and, on average started another race about ever 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. For the three day event, we ran an amazing 178 races. If the wind would’ve been a bit more cooperative on Sunday, we would have done that with time leftover and could’ve maybe have gotten even more!
Top to bottom, the Foundry did an amazing job hosting this event and I was very honored to be invited to be a part of it. I’ve had some exposure to team racing before, but nothing like the intensity of this particular championship. It was something else. Team racing is starting to become more popular in High School Sailing and, with the growth of high school sailing in central Ohio, who knows? We might see some of it around here. I’ve included some links below if you’re interested in learning more about the discipline. And… if you happen to be in the Cleveland area, stop by the Historic Coast Guard Station and see what Sam and his team have accomplished there. And, YES… they sail pretty much year-round. It’s frostbiting season and where else but Cleveland would sailing fit that name more aptly.
by David Paligo
“No Name Yet” #1049
So, I need to prep this SLOG with a little background. This is not so much about the Old Fox Regatta, which has been a standing regatta for many years, but about a Catalina Capri 22 and its rookie crew. A few weeks back I was searching the web for Capri 22 for sale and stumbled across one that was for sale out of Newark, Ohio. So, being a fan and owner of Capri 22s, I wanted to know why this one was up for sale. The owners, Jeff and Jen said they wanted to downsize because this sailboat had a spinnaker and they did not know how to fly it. Oh, music to my ears! So, we arranged to meet at Alum Creek and have a spinnaker lesson. The day of this lesson there was no wind at all so we launched the spinnaker and put the o/b motor in reverse to fill the kite. Using this technique, we were able to practice some launches, douses and end-for-end gybes. The owners were excited and this immediately developed into a new friendship.
So now, as Paul Harvey would say “Here is the rest of the story” … I heard about the Old Fox Regatta and called Jeff and asked him if he wanted to enter his Capri 22 in this 2-day regatta. His answer was we’ve never raced before but if you coach, then yes, so I suggested we go for the gusto, enter PHRF Spin Class and not race JAM. Jeff and Jen were hesitant so I told them I would find one more crewmember and let’s just go for it even if we come in DLBF every race. They agreed and submitted their electronic on-line application.
On Saturday the first warning was 1100 hours. As we set up the boat our goal was to stay 5 boat lengths away from EVERYONE. Our first start we were 5 days late to the start line, our second start we were only 6 minutes late to the start line and our third start we were only 1 minute late; what an improvement. We were so slow in that first race that RC sent out the mark boat and told us to motor back to the start line and they would finish us in place. Not bad as RC saw we were really trying, big smiles, having fun and great Corinthian spirit toward the fast and furious sport boats. I’m only going to say that RC saw our enthusiasm and then started ‘helping’ us get around the (shortened for us only) course a little faster.
Sunday met us with more wind and our newly seasoned crew looked forward to this day’s possibilities. We were engaged closer to the start line, we tacked better, had better windward and leeward rounding and our competitors started to cheer for us as we finished the races. BTW, in all our 8 races we finished dead last and had the biggest smiles in the entire fleet.
Below is video of our 3rd race on Sunday and us avoiding the hectic 9 boat scrum start line. Enjoy!
Temperature – 70° mostly cloudy
Wind – NE 7-8 knots, gusting to 10
My mentor has always told me to practice to race and not race to practice so when the rest of the BLYC PHRF fleet said they were unable to race on Sunday, we decided to do as my master and commander had taught me, Go Practice. Our team consisted of our regular crew members Bill and Chad, plus Gloria who had never sailed before, and myself.
First, we got the trimmers to practice tacking & gybing with the jib and main only. This was very successful with the light winds so we decided to fly that dreaded 3-cornered sail called the spinnaker. We furled the jib, set the spinnaker pole for a bare-away launch and hoisted the kite that filled with a pop–what a great sound. We practiced trim, made a few end-for-end gybes, then decided to take down the main so this crew could easily watch the sheet and guy trim and its affects. At one point, we were free flying the kite–what a beautiful sight. We continued to practice a few takedowns and relaunches from the cabin.
It was a beautiful light wind day so we let the trimmers take turns driving, allowing them to see our trimming so they could get a better understanding on how their trim affects the boat’s performance. We were having so much fun doing ring-around-the-Rosie (no wake markers) we lost all sense of time. After we put the boat away, we slid up to the YC bar for a few barley-pops to discuss the day’s adventure. A good time was had by all.
Prep well & sail fast… Dave for “No-Name-Yet”
We started the day off by launching our new Club 420 sailboats for the juniors at Liebs Island. BLYC members joined in to help escort them as they paraded the new boats down the lake to BLYC. Upon their arrival, the PHRF fleet launched along with several of our 2018 sailing camp participants in Optis. All sailed around the front of the Clubhouse where Father Mike blessed the fleet and it was time to race!
We had good wind and the RC set a nice long windward leeward course for the PHRF fleet – the new 420s sailed by Matthew Davis & Bryor Burke and Katy Schroeder & Olivia Smith sailed with PHRF and were handicapped along with them. The Optis were sent on a smaller triangle course and… well they sailed and had fun.
It was a great day as the girls, sailing C420 #8612 were off the line like a shot and took a commanding early lead which they never lost – finishing a full 6 minutes ahead of Big Girl and 7 minutes ahead of the other C420. A promising look ahead to our 2019 BLYC Sailing Team!
Last week’s Rabbit Flag winner Chuck Bendig presented the girls with the the coveted award for this week – a great day of adults and youth sailing together and having a great time on our beloved lake.
Submitted by Dave Paligo for No-Name-Yet
This entire summer has been plagued with light to no wind for our SOS series. This week, we put 3 boats on the line for three races with start #3 being a photo type start with all of us hitting the line almost at the same time.
All in all, we had three good races. Our starts on “Team No-Name-Yet” weren’t the best, but in each race we improved by staying tighter in the start box and closer to the line. After the starts, we knuckled down to the basics, kept working on those tacks, gybes and weight placement and that was what kept us in the hunt and in the race. I want to give big kudos to our team Bill Collinson, Marsha Bendle and to welcome Chad Schrock who is a new crew member and has never sailed or raced before. We will see everyone next week at the starting line.