Monday, April 27, 2015

Carolinas Districts Report 2015

We had 16 boats at our 2015 Thistle Carolina Districts Regatta April 24-25, 2015 near Raleigh, NC, our best turnout yet!

Saturday started off with some breeze and we got off one race with winds at around 5-8 knots but dropped for the second one to a light air race where finding the next puff was most important. Scott Griffin won the first race while Brad Russell tallied an OCS, followed by Mark Gise and John Norton.

Racing was particularly tricky Saturday due to the combination of light air and rain.  The tell tales were stuck and the shifts were large.  Often we had to hunt for the right angle to the breeze with a pure guess and go by feel when it was working or not.  It made steering well a crazy challenge.

The second race saw a massive split with a couple boats going hard left and the majority going hard right.  Left paid and the breeze died.  Brad Russell was followed by John Gilmour and Scott Griffin asthe lake went completely dead.

After day 1, top 5 were Scott Griffin, Mark Gise, John Norton, John Gilmour, and Sara Paisner.

Saturday night the social was held at Sara Paisner and Howard Mendlovitz's house with support from the entire local Thistle Fleet. From what was heard during the party, a fun time was had by all.

Sunday dawned breezy and some teams debated heading out due to the big breeze. Three races were sailed in great conditions. Breeze was 10-20 with big gusts and shifts.  As long as you stayed in phase with the shifts it became a boat speed day.  Everyone was way overpowered and it was technique that seemed to pay the biggest dividends.

With my dad, Andy Russell, crewing for me we focused on staying on the long tack to the mark, getting the next puff we could see and read, and working really hard on straight line speed.  We were fortunate to be very fast in those conditions and the feedback from Andy was that we were playing the mainsheet more often and more aggressively than the other boats around us.

When you’re that overpowered you don’t need any more drive forward, so you’re trying to keep the boat upright to minimize slipping to leeward. We were having to ease the mainsheet out several feet to keep the boat upright.  But we were also very quick to pull it back in as soon as the puff passed.  The technique requires near-constant trimming and easing, but it seems to pay.  

Brad and Andy Russell won all 3 races Sunday.  Racing was very tight and mixed after that with boats 2 through 8 on the day being very tightly bunched.  

After 3 more races top 5 finishers were
1. Scott and Nerissa Griffin and Harry Mendlovitz (age 8)
2.  Mark and Scott Gise
3. Brad and Andy Russell
4. Dan and Tom Russell
5. Sara Paisner, Meg Wannamaker, and Bobby Williams (High School Sailor)

We had lots of family boats and some youth sailors which was great for the fleet. The Carolina Districts is growing as more smart sailors realize just how incredible the Carolinas are!

A great weekend of sailing and camaraderie.

Race #1Race #2Race #3Race #4Race #5
PlaceSkipperSail #FinishFinishFinishFinishFinishTotal
1Scott Griffin39971352415
2Mark Gise39512423617
3Brad Russell3841OCS (17)111121
4Dan Russell382810538228
5Sara Paisner39855894329
6John Norton37253985530
7John Howell384941566839
9Scott Buehler3687131447745
8John Gilmour31411121211945
11Adam Coker39058121091150
10Lincoln Baxter37459613121050
12Steve Cardoze3739611710OCS (17)51
13Clayton Gray1492710DNC (17)DNC (17)DNC (17)68
14Kirk Kitchin3740141314141368
15John Pelosi3602127DNC (17)DNC (17)DNC (17)70
16David Morris153DNC (17)DNC (17)11131270

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