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News - Lightning Sailing

The “Not So” Frigid Digit

Posted by on 27th Oct 2016

On October 15th & 16th, Severn Sailing Association and Lightning Fleet 329 in Annapolis Maryland hosted the 65th Frigid Digit.

18 teams from up and down the East Coast rolled into town on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning with hopes that the wind gods would abide. The forecast for Saturday was bleak and turned out to be 100% correct. In proper fashion, the event organizers went straight into a shore postponement in hopes that the breeze would fill in.

A few teams took to the streets for a quick run while others gathered on the front porch for storytelling and fun. The organizers pulled the plug around 2:30 and the teams dispersed for a couple of hours before dinner.

Sunday morning brought new hope for the event. The breeze was filling in and predicted to build and move to the south.

The first race was a bit left-side favored with current from behind making the beats really quick. As the day went on, the current switched leaving a strong ebb. The breeze continued to ratchet left throughout the day.

Takeaways from the conditions vs. performance over the four-race series Davis Starck, Mark Sertl and myself:

  • Interesting racing due to two breezes struggling to win over the other, thus big gains and losses – D. Starck
  • RC did a great job of efficiently getting 4 fun races in. – D. Starck
  • When the breeze gets crazy we go back to "sail the favored tack to the mark", if we can do that in pressure all the better. – M. Sertl
  • Since Lightnings go so fast at deep angles on the run, very important to get on the long jibe, with no one on your breeze, as soon as possible. Then work the boat hard in your lane. – M. Sertl
  • We were just below base on the lowers and fast for races 1 and 2. It breezed up 2-3 knots for races 3 and 4. We felt a little under powered in the nasty Annapolis chop in race 3 so we put one half turn on the lowers in race 4 and were fast again. – M. Sertl
  • The port layline is risky. I got hung up on it in the 3rd race on the first beat and it cost us dearly. – M. Sertl
  • Gear Changes – We sailed with the M5 and 5A+. We stayed at our base setting all day. Though we were wishing we had gone up a touch in the last race. That said, we made numerous gear changes though wire, cloth and sheet adjustment to maintain a constant angle of heal. There were times we were in the boat and other times we were fully hiked. Ease, Hike, Trim; this is something that the best sailors preach for a reason. – B. Wiggins

As always, the team at SSA put on a stellar event. Between the continental breakfasts and a delicious taco bar we never went hungry. The organizers even did their best to ensure teams had comfortable housing. Truly a well-run program!

Left to Right, top to bottom: Mark Sertl, Gordon Wolcott, Liz Chambers, Chris Stessing, David Starck, Katie Terhune, Bill Faude, Stephanie Swann, Jarrett Lynn, Bill Bogardus, Bill Wiggins, Justin Copelan, Jody Starck, Cory Sertl, John Guth

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