And They're Off!

We have successfully kicked off the 2017 sailing season with the WRSC Shorthand Classic!

Conditions started out a bit severe, with gusts to 31 knots, causing some skippers to exercise the better part of valor. 8 boats did compete. If you didn't like the conditions, all you had to do was wait a little while and something would change; There was a brief period of cloudy sunshine and too much wind from the southwest. The wind moderated a bit, then the rain came. The wind shifted more to the west, causing the entire race to be "upwind." Then a mist settled in which greatly reduced visibility. The foul weather didn't deter commercial shipping, so AIS was a welcome function for those so equipped.

Most skippers started out with a reef tucked in and reduced headsail but they were letting it all hang out with full sails when the wind reduced to around 15 knots later on. The Annapolis NOODs thoughtfully setup a course near one of our turning marks, which made for interesting driving decisions on the penultimate leg. The final leg was marked by a lot of short tacking to get up the West River to the finish line. Sea Dragon made smart use of his self-tacking staysail to get up the river with less effort than the other skippers. Trimaran Vortex skippered by Colin MacInnes finished 1st overall and 1st in multi-hull. Full results here:

In this race, the skippers made our first use of the RaceQs tracking app. This free smartphone app allows live streaming for real time tracking and the website offers a graphical playback of the entire race with a lot of information such as roll, pitch, yaw, wind speed, boat speed and vector information. I encourage everyone to check it out: You can view my track for a sample of how it works:

CHESSS was very pleased to welcome our first solo and doublehanded female skippers- Eunice Lin, sailing her beautiful Alerion 28 and Lauren Anthone sailing her Perry designed, Nordic 34. We hope they will be active on the race course and Challenges this year.

The survivors gathered at Pirate's Cove restaurant for hot food to shake off the chill, and enjoyed the lively discussion that always follows a challenging race- What went wrong, what went right and what we'd do differently next time. The company was excellent, and the social component was every bit as enjoyable as the race itself.

Due to the initial strong conditions, most skippers didn't have a free hand for photos or video, but our Outreach board member was able to capture the finishes from shore. We'll post those photos in the gallery shortly.

So what's next for CHESSS?

Our goal is 5 more races with at least 6 competitors. Here are the immediate upcoming events:

SCC/GIYS Spring Regatta (High Point): May 20th

Down the Bay Race: (Doublehanded): May 26th

Annapolis to Miles River Race: May 26th

Links to registration are on the CHESSS web page.

It's also important to note: Garner Bennett will be leading the first CHESSS Challenge on Saturday, May 20th.

If the racing doesn't appeal to you but you want to increase your shorthanding experience, the Challenges are for you.

Please sign up by emailing:

See you out there!

Rich A.

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