Thursday, January 31, 2013

Words of Wisdom on Sailing Upwind in a Large Fleet

How do you sail the first beat of a race in a large fleet? How do you decide when to tack? How do you manage the groups of boats around you on the course?

This is an aspect of racing that I have always had trouble with. So I was pleased to come across these Words of Wisdom from Bill Brangiforte. Bill is one of the best Sunfish sailors on the planet. He won the North Americans in 2010. But he does show up at Laser regattas in New England from time to time and he's incredibly fast in a Laser too. In any case, the tips below apply to any boat.

Bill prefaced these words of wisdom by saying that on the first day of a major regatta his goal was to be in striking range of the leaders without taking too many chances. Hey, I would be delighted to be in "striking range of the leaders" in any race on any day of a regatta.

So how does he do it? (Bill's tips in bold. My insane ramblings about them not in bold.)

1. Until you are sure there is an advantage to one side, start near the middle of the line. A line sight is very helpful here. I have found that traditional line sights are not that useful in big fleets, because boats at the pin are often over early and block your sight. A better approach is to sight from the transom of the committee boat. This will give you a “safety sight” and a good reference of where you are on the line, and when to pull the trigger. 

Hmmm. I should try that. I hardly ever know which side of the course is advantaged so I should go for the middle of the line more often.

2. Always tack back after you gain on boats to weather. When their bows start to point towards you, tack and consolidate your gain. This especially true right after the start, but generally works for the rest of the race as well. 

Makes sense. Either there has been a header, or (less likely for me than for Bill) you are just sailing higher and faster than the boats to weather. Either way a tack consolidates your lead.

3. Cross boats when you can. 


4. Don’t let a big pack of boats cross you- tack ahead and to leeward of them.  

I guess the logic here is that if you let them cross you, you may never get ahead of them. If you tack ahead and to leeward you have a chance to cross them if you all get headed?

5. When you find yourself heading close to a lay line, start looking for any excuse to get back toward the middle- any small header will do. I like to use more pressure, as it gets you back in faster. 

I do know that I can't make any more gains in lifts and headers after I have reached the layline. But I need to get better at looking for headers or pressure to find excuses to get back towards the middle.

6. If you are heading towards the middle, don’t tack until the boats to leeward tack. 

I guess he is saying that you are minimizing risk by heading towards the middle, and if you tack away from a group to leeward you are giving them a chance to gain on you if they get headed later or they find a gust? Better to stay between them and the windward mark. You will get any puffs before they do. In a lift you will gain. And if there is a header you will all tack together and you will still be ahead of them.

7. Avoid the lay lines, but in big fleets, once you are close to the weather mark, try to over stand slightly. There are often big groups of slow moving boats pinching to get around the mark. By slightly over standing, you can maintain your speed and make a fast transition to downwind.

I do try to do this. Actually it's probably a fault that I do it too well, if that is possible. I have a pathological fear of being trapped below a group of boats at the windward mark and failing to lay the mark, to the extent that I tend not to tack below the starboard layline parade even when they are overstanding. And I have a fault of overstanding too far. It's all about improving my judgment of laylines I guess.

Anyway, much food for thought.

What do you think?

Do you agree with Bill's tips?

Does my rationalization of them make sense - or am I talking utter nonsense as usual?

Do you have any words of wisdom on your own on this topic?

Full text of Bill's random thoughts on the 2010 season (from which the tips above are extracted) at ...

New England Boat Show - Free Tickets

I have two complimentary tickets for the New England Boat Show to give away to some lucky reader.

The New England Boat Show is at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from February 16-24.

All you have to do to have a chance to win two complimentary tickets to the show (valid for any day of the show) is to leave a short comment on this post telling me why you want to go to the New England Boat Show.

Is there a particular exhibit you want to see? Are you shopping for a new yacht? Do you want to do some comparison shopping and need to quiz a number of vendors about their products? Are you aiming to check out one or more of the seminars? Or are you just looking for somewhere interesting to go on a cold winter afternoon in Boston? Whatever the aim of your visit, just explain it in a few words in the comments.

I went to the show with some friends last year and we had a blast. I particularly enjoyed Sailfest and the Remote Control Sailing Pond and checking out all the incredibly cool charts on the Old Charts of New England stand.

But if you're currently not sure what you want to see at the show then check out Features at a Glance or browse the list of Exhibitors or peruse the list of Seminars. You are sure to find something to give you a reason to visit the show.

I will randomly pick the winner from all the entries received by 6pm EST on Wednesday 6th Feb and announce the winners shortly thereafter. So come back on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning to see if you have won.

If you are the winner I will need your snail mail address (via email) ASAP after that so I can mail you the tickets to arrive in time for the first day of the show, Saturday 16 Feb.

Go for it!

PS. Don't leave an Anonymous comment. You won't win that way! Contest not open to relatives of mine. Only one entry per person please. Decision of the judges (me) is final.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scoring Experiment

I see that at the ISAF World Cup racing in Miami this week, the organizers are experimenting with a slightly different scoring system for the Laser and Laser Radial Classes. The winner of each race is given a zero score - instead of one point. All other places are unchanged, i.e. 2nd place boat gets 2 points, 3rd place gets 3 points and so on.

I can only guess that the reason is to give a "bonus" to the sailor who actually wins each race?

Back in the day when I first started racing, the standard system was to give the winner of each race three-quarters of a point. This functioned as a sort of a tie-breaker because, for example, a first and a third place would be a better score (by a quarter of a point) than two second places. Although I think the current tie-breaker system is mathematically equivalent in all realistic scenarios I can imagine.

Any idea why it was decided to experiment in this way?

What do you think of it?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Last week was the coldest week of the winter (so far) here in Rhode Island.

On Thursday morning when we drove over to my son's house to babysit our grandsons, it was 4°F.

I went for a run later that day when the temperature was 19°F with the wind chill making it "feel like" 4°F.

I used to have a rule that I wouldn't run when it was less than 20°F. After that run on Thursday I still think that's a good rule. Brrrrr!

But it's surprising how quickly you acclimatize to the cold weather. When it "warmed up" at the weekend to the high 20's it really did feel warm. Well, comparatively warm.

So I started thinking back to January and February in 2010 when, for reasons I can't explain, I really got hooked on Laser sailing in the middle of a New England winter and wrote posts like Brain Freeze and  I Love Winter (which got me into a lot of trouble with CUSOSPUSSTAG but that's a whole other story.)

The forecast for Sunday was for around 10 knots maybe gusting to 20 knots, and for temps in the high 20's maybe even 30. So on Sunday morning I woke up all excited about going frostbiting again. I hitched up the Laser trailer to my trusty Subaru and headed down to Newport.

It was a gloriously sunny day with a puffy shifty north-westerly. (Is there any other kind of north-westerly.)

It was very reminiscent of that I Love Winter day. Similar conditions. Similar feelings.

When I'm frostbiting on days like this and I am doubtful if I will be able to hang in there for all the races, I always get this feeling of a (small) victory as soon as I have launched. Hey, I went sailing today! If I only sail one race I can count it on the journey to 100 days sailing this year. I am already a winner.

I did get a little pain in my fingertips after the first race. But I soon shook it out.

And I did get a mild attack of the dreaded thumb cramps at the end of the third race. I was going to sail in if I couldn't get rid of them. But after a bit of hand stretching I was fine, and I completed all six races.

The air temperature was 31°F. The water temperature was 35.6°F. I never felt cold all day. But there was ice all over the deck when I sailed back to the beach with a big smile on my face.

I have written before how one bad experience can almost put me off Laser sailing for months. The reverse is also true. Sailing on a spectacular day like Sunday has awoken my enthusiasm for sailing in the coldest months of the year again. There's something very special about dragging your boat across a snow-covered beach to launch and then sailing in sub-freezing temperatures. As I said, I can't explain it. It's one of those things that you just have to experience to understand.

And I didn't feel cold at all.

I love winter!

Ice on foredeck after sailing

Monday, January 28, 2013

Something nice to look at on a cold and dreary day!

It's 43 days since 16 December 2102 2012 which was the day that I sailed in the Sunday races at Bitter End Yacht Club on our vacation there last year.

Nobody was interested in racing Lasers so I sailed a Hobie Wave. There were six Waves and three Getaways (another Hobie beach cat) in the races.

After a week of strongish winds, the winds were light for the weekly racing on Sunday. Such is life.

Over the years I have developed a few key rules for doing well in the cat races at Bitter End...

  1. Give yourself enough room to reach and accelerate at the start.
  2. Do the minimum number of tacks.
  3. Don't get stuck in irons in the tacks.
  4. Sail fast.
  5. Don't hit anybody.

The start line had a strong port bias and I could see that the majority of the fleet were planning to start at the pin end of the line. But, as Tillerman's Five Rules For Doing Well In The Cat Races At Bitter End don't say anything about trying to fight eight other cats to win the pin I chose to start near the starboard end of the line in every race, in clear air, with plenty of room to accelerate, with freedom to tack, and with no chance of getting pinned beyond the port layline, or getting involved in some godawful melee with eight other cats.

It worked out pretty well most of the time.

One race I didn't get such a good start but as all the boats ahead of me were approaching the windward mark the wind died and they all stalled and I managed to sneak a tack inside them and pass most of them.

And in the last race my competitors were so eager to win the pin that one of them hit the pin and the rest were all involved in some godawful melee trying to luff round the pin, thereby infringing Rule 5 of Tillerman's Five Rules For Doing Well In The Cat Races At Bitter End.

I had to laugh. Children can be so cruel at my age.

At the awards ceremony I was awarded the traditional bottle of rum for coming first in the Wave fleet.

And that was the last time I've won a race in 43 days.


You came here because the title said there would be something nice to look at on a cold and dreary day?

OK. Here it is then.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Get Off Your Butt

When I started Lasering... some time during Reagan's first term when Abba and Kenny Rogers were still cool... going downwind in a Laser was pretty simple. Just point the boat at the leeward mark and try not to death roll.

In the intervening years, all sorts of discoveries have been made on how to sail a Laser faster downwind. Now it's all about sailing fast angles by the lee and and on broad reaches, carving, up-turns and down-turns, treating the Laser more like a surfboard than a boat.

For many years I sailed downwind with my weight on my butt and my knees. I had my back leg jammed across the back of the cockpit and my front knee on the floor of the cockpit. I felt linked to the boat. My center of gravity was low. I felt stable.

But "stable" is not necessarily the same as "fast."

Coaches started trying to persuade me to adopt the Knees Up sailing style downwind.

So I spent several years trying to learn to sail downwind with my knees up and my feet on the floor of the cockpit. It felt very strange at first but I am pretty comfortable with it now... except when it blows over 20 knots and then I cower in the bottom of the cockpit just like I used to in the old days.

But most of the time I sail with my knees up and my weight on my butt and my feet. Maybe 90% on the former and 10% on the latter.

But recently I came across this article by Andrew Campbell on the Laser Class website.

Apparently it's been there since 2007.

How did I miss it until now?

Apparently I'm still doing it all wrong.

One of the sections in the article is entitled "Get off your butt." 

Next step to better downwind sailing is to use your legs. 
“What!?!” You may be asking yourself. 
No joke, and I hate to break it to you, but you may start feeling the burn in your legs on the downwind legs now too. And, it is for the better. By concentrating the majority of our body weight in about eight knots or more onto the balls of our feet instead of our butts on the rail we can drastically improve the kinetic power of the boat. Taking the weight off the rail under your butt and putting it into the floor under your feet can make a significant difference in how you feel your boat’s natural rock and turn in the waves and water. 
In lighter wind conditions in may indeed be necessary to hook your leg under the hiking strap in order to heel the boat over. That is fine, but in breeze where the boat will heel itself over just on by-the-lee pressure on the mainsail, it then becomes necessary to actively counter that energy with pressure from your toes and legs into the bottom of the cockpit, and maybe a hand on the leeward rail at times. 
Finn sailors and Laser sailors alike have the same conundrum, and I heard this concept from a Finn sailor, and did not even realize that I was doing it. Whenever you feel as though you are getting slow, often times it coincides with a moment of sloth in your body’s activity level. If we shift the weight off of our rear-ends and into our feet we can then sail deeper and with more pressure against our sails.

This is seriously bad news.

It's bad enough working like hell upwind until your thigh muscles are on fire and the pain becomes intolerable. But at least I can give my legs a rest downwind. Or I thought I could. Now Andrew Campbell says you should "start feeling the burn in your legs on the downwind legs now too." He says I have to put my weight on the balls of my feet.

Damn you, Andrew Campbell.

Now I am going to have to spend another two or three years trying to perfect this technique so that in 2016 or so I will be sailing my Laser according to the most advanced techniques known in 2007.

But god knows what new tortures the fast kids will have discovered by then.

I think I will go and work out on my hiking bench now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's OK to Stay at Home

"Travel is not compulsory. 

Great minds have been fostered entirely by staying close to home. 

Moses never got further than the Promised Land. 

Da Vinci and Beethoven never left Europe. 

Shakespeare hardly went anywhere at all - 
certainly not to Elsinore or the coast of Bohemia."

 - Jan Morris


Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once. 

Protractors may not be used.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Laser Sailing in the BVI

I think I have mentioned before on this blog that Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI is about the only place in the world where my wife will actually come sailing with me. No amount of logic will convince her that sailing with me in Minorca, or even in Rhode Island in the height of summer, would be just as warm and enjoyable. Must be something magical about BEYC.

So it should be no surprise to learn that when we went back to BEYC last December I took every chance I could to go sailing with Tillerwoman on every occasion that she was interested in doing so. More on that in another post perhaps. But I did manage to fit in five half-days of Laser sailing too.

When we first went to BEYC back in the early 90's the Laser seemed to be the small boat of choice for visitors who sailed many different kind of craft back home. There was always a good turnout of Lasers for the Sunday races. But the Hobie Waves and Getaways seem to have taken over that niche at BEYC now. Maybe they are easier to handle for folk who sail keelboats back home? Maybe the clientele is older? Whatever the reason, nobody (except me) was interested in racing Lasers on this trip. So it was an opportunity for some solo practice.

On our first full day I took Tillerwoman out for a spin round the bay on a Hobie Wave in the morning and then went down to the Watersports Center after lunch and said I wanted to take out a Laser. The first member of staff I asked simply told me that it was too windy and they weren't letting clients go out in any "boats with booms" that day. (I later discovered that someone had suffered a nasty head injury from a boom in the previous week.) But it didn't look too windy for me. So I argued. Don't you know who I am? Just Google "best sailing blog on the planet." (No, not really.) Eventually a more senior instructor who remembered me from previous visits relented and allowed me to go out and die on a Laser if I really wanted to.

So I had a blast around the bay for a couple of hours, getting used to sailing a Laser with 1970's vintage rigging. A Classic Laser as I wrote about a few years back.

After a few days of hiking (hills not Lasers) and catamaran sailing with Tillerwoman (all the while thinking how much fun Lasering would be in the relatively heavy winds on those days) I got back into a Laser again one afternoon and did a practice session concentrating on proper hiking style which god knows I need to improve, trying to remember everything covered in the webinar from Coach Rulo a few days before our trip.

The next day the winds were light, so for my 62nd day of Laser sailing in 2012 I went out and practiced light air gybes and tacks and mark roundings, all of which god knows I need to improve too.

Then there was a lazy Saturday of swimming and sunbathing with Tillerwoman, followed by Sunday racing on a Hobie Wave (about which I will have to write about in another post so I can brag a bit.) On Monday morning I even tempted Tillerwoman out for a sail on a Rhodes 19 and then went Lasering in the afternoon. More futile attempts to improve hiking technique and downwind technique. Played around trying to do gybes by crossing the boat before the boom like I saw Brad Funk do in a video somewhere. And more futile attempts to improve how I time the hand swap in tacks.

On our last day we had a good breeze in the morning so I went out for a final blast in a Laser and tried to practice a bit of all of the above. One of the resort photographers came out in a boat and started shooting me so I started posing for the camera and hiking as hard as I could.

"That's impressive. I can't do that!" shouted the photographer over the noise of the wind.

"Neither can I for very long. Hurry up and take the bloody shot."

The least bad photo he took is the one at the top of this post. God knows I need to improve.

And so to the Crawl Pub for a lunch of fish tacos and a few cold draft beers, during which I managed to injure my thumb on a chair.

It was kind of ironic that after 10 days of watersports my worst injury was suffered in a pub.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What am I looking at?

You know the drill.

And I fully expect Baydog to beat everyone to the punch. In fact, I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't. Very. Disappointed. Don't let me down, Baydog.

I took the picture above on Sunday afternoon, around 3pm, not long after high tide.

Where am I?

What am I looking at?

What does this place have geographically in common with the place in Mitch's post today What am I looking at?

Why does this chart explain why I was at that place above on Sunday afternoon, and not somewhere else?

What did Tillerman and Tillerwoman have for dinner?

Extra credit if you name all 8 ingredients (excluding spices, herbs and condiments etc.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Laser Hiking Technique

We had three of our grandkids here for the weekend.

4-year-old Aidan discovered my hiking bench and just had to have a go. He also insisted that I demonstrate that I really could lift the various weights lying around in my basement workout room. And he had a try with some lighter dumbbells himself.

I think we have a potential future Laser sailor here. Although I can see I will have to give him some tips on correct hiking technique.

Note I don't really have my workout room walls painted in rainbow hues. That's some aberration of the camera on my son's phone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Discouraging Words

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am constantly telling readers what a crap sailor I am. I write about my "delusion" that I can become a better sailor. I joke about not needing to know the course because I can "just follow everybody else like I usually do."  I tell readers that I'm only racing for fun, implying that I don't really care about my results. I use phrases like "typically mediocre" to describe my actual results, and talk about being a "mid-fleet mediocrity." And so on. And so on.

I have spent seven years fine tuning the art of self deprecatory blogging. (Although I'm really not very good at it.)

Possibly some people find my style amusing, but I saw a video today that made me question whether I should be doing this.

The video is on a running blog I found recently, Ann's Running Commentary. There are a lot of great running specific tips on it, but yesterday Ann posted a video that could apply to any sport. In the video she discussed why we should not "beat ourselves up" by discounting our accomplishments.

She tells people she's a runner but she doesn't want anyone to think she is a fast runner.

She tells people she's a biker, but she says she's not like the guys she rides with. They ride hundreds of miles.

And she says she swims, but "it's more like not drowning"

Then she goes on to say that when you "down yourself' like this, when you don't give yourself credit for your real achievements, you take away from yourself all the training and effort that you have put in, and you end up not being the person you really should be, the person you really are.

For the record, Ann is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and has run numerous marathons, an Ironman and even a 50-miler. Here is her video...

Think about what you say to yourself.

Do you discount your accomplishments?

Do you fail to give yourself credit for your achievements?

And would you still bother to read this blog if I actually stopped doing so much of the self deprecation nonsense?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Most weeks in our Laser frostbite fleet, the winners (or near winners) offer up Words of Wisdom on the fleet Facebook page. Looking back over the WOW in the last few weeks it is surprising (or maybe it really shouldn't be surprising) how many of the winners attributed their success, at least partly, to their starting tactics and technique.

So without further ado, for your education I offer these words of wisdom from Fleet 413 hotshots on STARTS...

Stuart Streuli 
a. Research: A couple of years ago, in a silent auction, my friend won a clinic with Scott Ferguson. For those of your who don’t know Ferg, he’s one of the great sailors to have sailed with 413. He’s a little busy now designing Oracle’s masts, so he hasn’t sailed with us a few years. But he was always up there when he did. He had a very specific routine he went through before each start. He would always check the breeze, the line bias, and get line sights for both ends. It seems simple, but when Moose is firing off races in quick succession there isn’t a lot of time between races, so it takes some discipline to get it all done. The line sights, or transits [shore based reference points you can line up with either the pin or boat end and which will tell you when you’re on the line] are key, even on a small line. I don’t use them every start, but they’re the only accurate way to know how close to the line you are. The more you use them, the better a feel you get for the line, and the less you actually have to use them. Often times, the best use of a transit is to determine how far off the line you are at 20 seconds.  
b. Set up early: In light air and flat water, it’s possible to hold your position on the line for a while and if you want to start at or near the favored end, you must get there early. I was setting up on starboard near the line right around a minute to go. Make sure to ease off your vang—if it’s tight—once you start luffing. A tight leech makes the boat really hard to control . 
c. Protect your hole, keep the bow out. Aggressively protecting your space to leeward is really important. Put the bow down (ideally without the sail filling, so keep the main sheet loose) when anyone comes on port (or sailing behind the front line on starboard) hoping to poach your space. The doesn’t always work, so then it’s a matter of trying to keep your bow even, or slightly ahead of the people who are around you. The one exception to this rule is if someone comes in with a head to steam and steals my space to leeward. Because we were so close to the line from 30 seconds onward, anyone with some speed would eventually slide forward and then when we got inside of 15 to 20 seconds they would have to peel away early to ensure they were not over, re-opening that space to leeward. In that case, I remained patient and let them slide through and away.  
d. Pull the trigger: This simply takes practice. Make sure all your sail controls are set. Outhaul and Cunningham I set before the start. Vang, I pull on just before I start to sheet in. Then it’s a matter of knowing how much time and space you need to get up to speed and using what you have to get going as fast as possible and as close as possible to the line at the gun. I generally have found that the big swoop down to a reach to accelerate and back up to close-hauled isn’t fast simply because there’s so much rudder involved. Subtle movements are better, especially in flatter water when the boat accelerates so easily.

John Kirkpatrick
I attribute my good starts to a variety of things. Most of all, I use a consistent pattern for every start. I check the wind and favored end of the line, then I set up early, slightly to windward of where I wanted to start. Additionally, I didn't hold back and pressed the line on every start. 

Ed Adams
It is very dangerous to try and win the pin in strong breeze, as you drift sideways so much in the last 30 seconds. It's even more dangerous in a unstable breeze, where a left shift before the start makes it hard for anyone to fetch. In those situations, it is much safer to set up high and early closer the midline, so you don't risk not fetching. The weather end is a relatively easy start when it's windy, and is preferred unless you really want to get left.

Stuart's discussion pretty much says almost everything there is to say about starting technique. I should try and remember all that and do it all more consistently.

John says it in fewer words, but I like his comment about "pressing the line" on every start. I should do better at that.

And Ed's expert insights on a couple of situations when it may not be optimal to go for the pin even if favored are worth remembering.

Do you have anything to add on this topic?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can I Make It To 100?

Back in 2008, I set myself a goal to go Laser sailing on 100 days in the year. I think I had read somewhere that the top young guns in the class sailed their Lasers at least 100 days every year. And I was retired and had recently moved to live by the sea, so I thought I would have a shot at making it to 100.

I failed.

I only made it to 94. The list of my sailing days that year can be found at the over-optimistically titled 100 Days at Sea.

In 2009 I almost gave up sailing. Maybe I was burnt out from that ridiculous attempt to sail 100 days in 2008. I did have other excuses too. I wrote about them at 10 Reasons Why I (Almost) Gave Up Sailing This Year

In the subsequent years I never took a serious shot at making it to 100 again. But I did keep a running tally of my Laser sailing days each year...

Days of Laser Sailing in 2010 - 46 days

Days Laser Sailing 2011 - 43 days

Days Laser Sailing 2012 - 64 days

(For some strange reason I always seem to make it to 43. Can't think why.)

From time to time, I find myself wondering if I will ever make it to 100. Do I really want to? Is it possible? How would I manage it?

So just as an intellectual exercise - not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - I thought I would look back over those four years in which I kept records and see if they told me anything about how I could make it to 100. What would be the keys to success?

This is what I discovered, There are two main keys to making it to 100....

1. Travel
Living as I do in a part of the world where you can theoretically sail Lasers all year round, but in which it's frigging cold for Lasering for at least six months of the year, not to mention that I am a wimp about sailing in the cold, it's clear that if I am ever going to make it to 100 one year, then I am going to have to travel to warmer climes for some of those 100 days.

Luckily I am retired and able to afford to do a bit of travel so this is not a major problem. CabareteBitter End Yacht ClubMinorca SailingSailFit. Even the Laser Masters Worlds some years (if it's somewhere warm and not in a war zone.)

Here are the details on how many days of Lasering each year were out of my home waters and where...

2008 - 18 out of 94 - Cabarete, Masters Worlds and SailFit
2010 - 10 out of 46 - Masters Worlds and BEYC
2011 - 10 out of 43 - Minorca Sailing
2012 - 27 out of 64 - Cabarete, SailFit, Minorca Sailing and BEYC

I am in a bit of a rut though. Keep going back to the same old places. Where else can I go in the winter and get some Laser training?

2. Consistency
It's clear from the historical record that if I am ever going to make it to 100, I am going to have to keep sailing consistently throughout the year. In many years, for one reason or another, I seem to lose the motivation and give up sailing for a month or two. And that's no way to make it to 100.

In 2008 (the year I almost made it to 100) I was doing pretty well all year long. It just needed an extra sail or two in each of the summer months to make it to 100.

But 2010 was pathetic by comparison. Started pretty strong with six days of frostbiting in January and February. But no sailing in March, only two days in April and three days in May. What the hell was I doing? I sailed a lot in August in preparation for the Laser Masters Worlds in Hayling Island in September. But that regatta was such a disaster for me that it pretty well killed my motivation for sailing for the rest of the year. Ugh!

2011 was even worse! Didn't do any frostbiting or travel anywhere in January, February and March, and then only sailed three days total in April and May. I must have been hibernating, I guess. Picked up the pace a bit in the summer and went to Minorca Sailing in September, but then didn't do much of anything in the last three months of the year. Ugh! Ugh!

2012 started well with trips to Cabarete and SailFit. But then only two days of sailing in April and May? Then I hurt my back and that was all she wrote. Never had a chance to make it to 100 last year in spite of trips to Minorca Sailing and BEYC later in the year.

So if I wanted to devise a plan it to make it to 100 in 2013 - just as an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - what would it look like? How can I build on the best experiences of the last few years? How many days would I need to sail each month?

January - 3
February - 3

I don't have any travel planned in January or February this year, but I think it's a reasonable goal to sail six days of frostbiting racing in those two months. I did it in 2012. Alternatively I could make it up with a day or two of practice on milder days.)

March - 6

I'm currently working on putting together a group of friends to go sailing somewhere warm in March. If I can make this happen, six days should be easily achievable.

April - 6

It can still be pretty cool around here in April, but in 2010 I did four days of solo practice and one day of frostbiting. A bit more frostbiting and six days should be in the bag.

May - 10

May is a make or break month for the chance to make it to 100. In 2008 I did ten days of solo practice in local waters. But in 2011 and 2012 I only sailed once (each year) in May. Our district Laser championship is at Wickford on the third weekend of May. I should really get out and train hard for that. May is the key.

June - 13
July - 13
August - 13

The heart of the sailing season. There will be regattas every weekend if I want to do them. There will be warm weather for mid-week practice. Surely I can sail three days a week in these months? Hey, I did thirteen days in August 2010 and July 2011.

September -13

The New England Masters early in the month. Then probably a trip to Minorca Sailing later in the month. Hey, I clocked up fourteen days there last year so thirteen should be a breeze.

October - 10

We have the North American Masters at New York YC in Newport at the end of the month. I really should get out and train hard for that. And I sailed twelve days in October 2010.

November - 4

Hey, I need a break

December - 6

I've signed up for the Laser Masters Worlds in Oman. If I qualify for a place then six days sailing in December should be easy. If I don't qualify then we will go to the BVI again and six should still be doable.

So what does that add up to? 100? Wow! That's a coincidence,

Maybe I could do it?

Maybe I should try for 100 days of Laser sailing this year. (This is just an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand?)


What did Yoda say?

 "Do, or do not. There is no try."


As discussed here before the Laser sailing world has been in a bit of disarray recently with a complex lingering dispute between the builders in North America and Europe, LaserPerformance, and the designer Bruce Kirby about rights and royalties and contracts and all that messy legal stuff.

There have also been persistent stories of shortages of parts for the Laser.

On the forums there have been some suggestions along the lines of "Why doesn't the class association just find some other builder and all our problems will be over?" Unfortunately it doesn't appear that the problems can be solved quite so easily.

LaserPerformance makes a whole range of other sailing dinghies. One of these (at least until recently) was a two man performance dinghy called the Laser 2000. I sailed one when I was trying to learn to sail asymmetric spinnaker boats at Minorca Sailing in 2006.

But according to an article on the Yachts and Yachting website, LDC Sailing is the new 2000 Class builder.
LDC Sailing is delighted to announce our appointment by Phil Morrison, the designer and copyright holder of the successful 2000 dinghy, as the new license holder for the production and distribution of the 2000 dinghy. The 2000 has carved itself a strong position as both a club and circuit racing boat in the UK as well as a popular institution choice in a number of countries for training and racing. This success is in no small way due to the enthusiasm of the 2000 Class Association and their active committee.

LDC Sailing is also the builder of the popular series of RS boats such as the RS100, RS200, RS400 etc. I wrote about the RS100 back in 2009 as a potential Laser Killer.

The former Laser Class 2000 Class Association website has been rebranded as the UK 2000 Class (although currently still at And, at least for now, Laser Performance are listing the Laser 2000 as one of the boats they offer on their European and North American websites.

Don't hold your breath for any similar announcement about the Laser.

But you never know. We live in interesting times.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Preventing Rust

When I lived in England, we raced Lasers all year round (unless the lake froze over.) We didn't have a "frostbite" season as such. As I recall there weren't as many days of racing each week in the winter, and there weren't quite as many people racing, but some of us just kept going all year.

When I moved to New Jersey in 1989 I discovered a different culture. A lot of clubs worked on the principle that the sailing season lasted from Memorial Day to Labor Day, end of May to beginning of September, not much more than three months really. The serious sailors might do some regattas in May and September too, but that still meant they only sailed for about five months of the year.

This all felt very strange to me. Not least because if I didn't sail from October to April I was incredibly clumsy and uncoordinated when I started sailing again in May. I was "rusty."

I tried to prevent the rust forming by sailing on my local lake by myself, or with a few friends, on warmer days in the winter. Some times I even broke the ice at the edge of the lake to reach the open water. But it wasn't the same as real fleet racing every weekend. I couldn't stop the metaphorical rust from forming.

Then I discovered frostbiting. I heard that there was a Laser fleet in Connecticut that raced 10 weeks from October to December, and another 10 weeks from March to May. It was over 75 miles away but it was worth it. It was my rust preventions strategy. If I sailed 20 weekends over the winter I wasn't quite as rusty every year in May as I used to be.

In 2007 I moved to Rhode Island. The Laser frostbiting fleet here in Newport doesn't even take a break in the middle of winter like the the one in Connecticut did. They sail every weekend from the beginning of November to the end of April (except for Easter.)  The perfect rust inhibitor.

It was in the spirit of rust prevention that I headed down to Newport yesterday. The weather was predicted to be cloudy and around 50 degrees F. What we used to call in England "a perfect summer's day."

There were just under 30 Lasers racing. I didn't do all that well. Was just outside the top 20 in three of the races, and just inside the top 20 in the other three. But I was practicing my starts and tacks and gybes and windward mark roundings and leeward mark roundings and upwind speed and downwind speed and strategy and tactics and Rules knowledge... "Starboard... STARBOARD... yes YOU.... WHAT ARE YOU THINKING????"

Sorry. Got carried away a bit there.

During the first race we could see a few wisps of low cloud near the course. During the second race the fog descended, and it stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. You couldn't see the racing marks until you almost ran into them... if you were lucky. Some sailors probably sailed off into the fog and didn't realize they were in trouble until they hit the shore in Jamestown on the other side of the Eastern Passage.

Anyway it was fun. And the fog reminded me of sailing in England.

And maybe it will help with the rust prevention?

Argenteuil, Les Canotiers

Edouard Manet,Argenteuil, les Canotiers, 1874 
(Musee des Beaux-Arts Tournai, Belgium)

When we look at this painting of a couple sitting in front of boats by the water, at first sight it looks like a typical middle class courting couple, out for a day of leisure on the beautiful, blue waters of the Seine. Upon closer inspection, we can see clues which counter this first assumption.

There is a sense of disconnect between the couple. While the man has his arm behind the woman and is turned towards her in a gesture of trying to creep into her space, she seems to be distant in her own world, staring out towards us. Clearly the man is trying to encourage the woman to come boating with him. But he is dressed for boating and she is not.

She has agreed to come with the man on a date. They strolled by the side of the river, but then he made a suggestion that horrified her and shocked her to her very core. He wants to go sailing!!!

What will become of this couple? Will the man persuade the woman to share his passion for sailing? Will they win the French National Cinq O Cinq Championship in a few years time?

Or will she reject his courtship and walk away on her own carrying her parasol and bouquet?

Or will love triumph? Will they marry and live happily ever after for decades and have a brood of grandchildren? Will she stay at home on the weekends and cook delicious meals for them in her French country kitchen while he sails his Laser in the frostbite races?

Here, Manet gives us a small portion of life, a slice of his vision. He has given us a sense of what Argenteuil was like in the 1874 with all its incongruity, the current fashions of the lower-middle classes, the mobility and search for leisure of the petite bourgeois, and the eternal tension between male and female, sailor and non-sailor, horizontal stripes and vertical stripes...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Review of 2012

2012 was another funny old year...

In January I went out racing with the Newport Laser Frostbite fleet early in the month and had a very confusing day which I wrote about at Say What You Like About The Deaf. This was also the month that I accidentally got into one of those stupid Internet fights with some hip, young bloggers selected to cover the Volvo Ocean Race in Abu Dhabi. Why do some people not understand my sense of humor? Anyway I forgot about all that nonsense by jetting off to the Laser Center in Cabarete with a bunch of local Laser sailing friends for Just Another Week in Paradise. Aaah! I feel like I may need another Cabarete break soon.

In February I had a day out in Boston and wrote Two Things about the New England Boat Show. And in the depths of the New England winter I was dreaming about the  Top 9 Sailing Destinations on the Planet. Didn't sail a Laser even once. Ugh!

In early March, I went down to Florida with some sailing friends for a 4 day Laser sailing clinic at Kurt and Meka Taulbee's SailFit. We had a blast and I wrote about it at Mashers Gone Wild. In other news I was philosophizing on 7 Reasons Why Human Beings Love The Beach. March must have been comparatively mild because I did go Laser sailing locally three times too.

For reasons that seem to have slipped my memory, I only sailed my Laser once in April, and even that day was a pretty pathetic attempt as I had to invent 30 Reasons Why I Only Sailed 3 Races Today. On the blog we had a group writing project about sailing destinations and, thanks to some inspiration from Anna Railton I wrote the ultimate, definitive Laser Sailing: The Rules.

Early in May I went out for a Tuesday evening sail in somewhat windy conditions and hurt my back so badly that it basically screwed up the rest of my season. I wrote about it at Scary Play and Playing Hurt.  In fact for some crazy reason I was writing posts on the theme of "play" every day in May. Two of my favorites are Playing with Dad and Playing with Grandkids.

In June I eased rather slowly into Laser sailing again, not wanting to make my back injury any worse. You can read about it at Back. We had a group writing project on photography for bloggers which elicited an amazing response. And Tillerwoman and I had A Nice Day Out In Newport watching some chaps in helmets race catamarans.

In July I sailed my Laser nine times but the highlight of the year was definitely the afternoon when I took my granddaughter sailing for the first time. Read about it at Sailing with Grandkids - The Hook and When Daddy Was a Little Boy. I love my grandkids, of course, but I also wrote about another love of mine in A Love Story.

In August I sailed my Laser nine times too, including the three day Buzzards Bay Regatta which (unusually) had great sailing winds every day. I was working pretty hard - see When I'm 64 - but was still nursing my back injury by skipping some of the later races each day. I also wrote a long rambling post about different ways of Learning concluding that my favorite way is the fish and chips and beer method.

In September I sailed the New England Masters at the start of the month, always one of my favorite regattas. But I was "knackered" as we say in real English after only two races on Day 1, (definitely wasn't fit this summer) but I did manage to complete all the races on Day 2. It's sad to say that my 2012 racing season was so messed up by the slow recovery from my early season back problem, that that was the first day at a regatta that I had been able to finish all the races. Oh well, better late than never. Later in the month Tillerwoman and I headed off on a trip to visit family in England and then on to the Mediterranean for some sailing. Somehow I also managed to find the time to write one of those rambling philosophical posts about Sailing and Luck.

We spent the first half of October at one of my favorite places, Minorca Sailing. I raced a lot and won sometimes. I did gazillions of drills and learned a lot from the instructors. Some days I just had a blast on my own. I actually sailed Lasers on 14 consecutive days, sometimes twice a day. I guess my back was finally better? On my return home I sailed in my last regatta of the season, the Fat Boys in Bristol, completed all the races and actually managed to come 3rd and 5th in the final two races. Wow. I finally got back to form just as the season was ending? Such is life.

In November I did a bit of frostbiting at Duxbury and Newport, and finally worked out, after over 30 years, why I still persist in sailing a Laser even though it's hard and I have never been very good at it.

"If it's amazing, it won't be easy. 
If it's easy, it won't be amazing. 
 If it's worth it, you won't give up. 
If you give up, you're not worthy."

 (with apologies to Bob Marley who almost said this.)

December brought some more frostbiting at Newport and then off for ten days at the Bitter End Yacht Club where I received some very sad news.

When I counted up how many days I had sailed a Laser in 2012 I discovered that the total was 64. Not too shabby (but still a long way from my old aspiration to make it to a 100 days one year.) In spite of the back injury leading to an incredibly below average summer of Laser racing and training for me, I made up a lot of days on our trips to the DR, Florida and the BVI, and especially with that 14 days of consecutive Laser sailing in Menorca.

There were some great days of sailing in 2012, but that day in July when I sailed with my granddaughter for the first time was the best of all...

Happy New Year to all my readers.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Hillary Looks Cool in Helmet

I've campaigned, on and off, on this blog for sailors to wear helmets.

(Not that I set a good example, in that regard, myself.)

You may have heard that the US Secretary of State suffered a concussion and a blood clot near her brain after a fall a few weeks ago.

Today she went back to work.

And her colleagues presented her with a helmet.

Be safe.

Wear your helmet.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

How to Write about Running Races

I ran in another running race today. The second one this week. This may be the start of a trend.

I feel like I should write a blog post about it, and perhaps an article for my running club's newsletter.

But I really don't how to write about running races.

It's easy to write about my sailing races. Weird stuff always happens. Stuff breaking. Collisions with other sailors and buoys. Bad decisions. (Very occasionally) good decisions. Capsizes. Crazy weather. Crazy waves. Crazy other sailors. It's a laugh a minute.

But in a running race, not much happens. You start. You put one foot in front of the other for a certain distance (4.8 miles today.) You finish. How can you write an interesting article about that?

So I decided to do some research. I looked back through some running blogs and newsletter articles to find out what runners write about, which is presumably the same things that other runners are interested in reading about. And I now present for your education (and as a guide for myself)....

Tillerman's 7 Essential Topics in a Running Race Blog Post

1. Why did you run this race?
Tell us in your opening paragraph why you are running this race. I needed a marathon in Alabama to complete all 50 states. It sounded like a good idea at the time to run an obstacle course. I ran the same course in summer when it was 40 degrees warmer. We were going to run the ABC half-marathon but a tornado destroyed the start pavilion and the race was cancelled but we had a hotel booking so we ran the nearest race we could find.

Whatever. Make it interesting. Spice it up. If in doubt, make it up.

2. The course.
If you want you can describe the magnificent scenery, the amazing views, the historical architecture blah blah blah. But that's optional. What you absolutely must do is describe in excruciating detail the running surfaces - asphalt, concrete, dirt, mud etc. - and the hills or lack of them. Runners really need to know this stuff.

Note: It's perfectly acceptable to exaggerate the hilliness of the course in order to make yourself sound like an even more superfit runner than you really are. Use a thesaurus to find lots of synonyms for words like "mountainous" and "gruelling." If you are lucky, the organizers will use some of your choicest phrases like "gut-busting knee-trembling incredibly steep hills for 15 miles of the course" in their pre-race publicity next year.

3. The weather.
If someone else runs the same race next year the weather will, of course, be totally different. But you were out running in this shit for 5 hours so you have to tell others all about it. Make it sound as extreme as you can.

I like, "And the rain fell, and fell, and fell and fell and fell. And then came the wind," which is from the Rhode Hazard's blog. And I also like, "It was the hottest London marathon ever... 5032 runners were treated by the ambulance service on the course and 73 were taken to hospital," because I wrote it and it is true.

4. The food and the drink.
As Dire Straits sang, "If you wanna run cool, you got to run on heavy, heavy fuel." Food and drink are fuel for runners. Tell your readers in ultimate detail about what the organizers provided in the way of pre-race food and drink, and post-race food and drink, and all the refreshments available at every stop around the course. Focus on major issues like whether the bananas were cut in half or not, and what the temperature of the Gatorade was. (Cold or icy cold?) Feel free to be hyper-critical of the organizers if the food ran out, or if it was not as advertised, or if you just didn't like it. If you don't embarrass them publicly, how will they get any better next year?

5. The trinkets.
It's a well known fact that most runners only run races so they can collect more race T-shirts to add to the 874 they already have in their closet. Or maybe it's because of the coffee cups, bags, tape measures, trivets, casino credit coupons, gus, gels, sun-screen, tubes of nipple lube etc. etc. that are always given away at every major run. Compare the value of goodies amassed to the entry fee. Make a big deal about the medals. Runners love to collect medals.

6. Your injuries.
What's the point of doing a running race if you don't have a few injuries to talk about afterwards? Everyone is always interested to hear about your blisters, chafed ankles, frostbitten nose, sunburn, crotch itch, sore nipples (you didn't use the Nipple Lube that they gave you at the previous race did you?) The more embarrassing the injury the better.

If your injury needs the services of a chiropractor or even better an orthopedic surgeon you have hit the jackpot. And people always love to read about how you threw up at the finish line or had to answer the call of nature at the side of the road. (See section 7.)

7. The Porta-Potties
Last, but definitely not least, you need to report on the Porta-Potty situation. Runners will decide whether or not to run, or not to run, any given race purely on what they have heard about the Porta-Potty situation. How many Porta-Potties were available at the start and around the race course? How long were the lines to use them? How disgusting were they by the time you got to the front of the line? Be scatologically graphic.

OK. That's all I can think of for now. What did I miss?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Celebrating the New Year Tillerman Style


I didn't expect to go sailing on Sunday. But I did expect to be on the water.

Encouraged by a friend I had signed up a few weeks ago to be part of the race committee team for the Newport Laser frostbite fleet on Sunday. As I recall it, his logic was that we should do race committee together "before the weather gets really cold." I was all for that. I always find it colder doing RC in the winter than actually sailing. At least when you are sailing a Laser you can usually work up a nice fuggy sweat inside your drysuit.

I kept checking the weather forecast for the weekend all week. It didn't look good. Snow was coming. It was going to be cold. It was going to be windy.

The snowstorm hit on Saturday afternoon dumping several inches of snow. The forecast for Sunday was for 40 mph gusts and mid-teens windchill. Early in the evening an email arrived from the fleet captains...
Weather forecasts are calling for up to 6 inches of snow tonight and then windy and cold tomorrow. If we can safely sail, we will.
Yikes. These guys are serious. Further updates were promised for 9am and 11am on Sunday morning. But they clearly wanted to postpone a decision not to sail to as late as possible, because in the last few weeks the wind forecasts for our sailing areas have not been all that reliable.

I got up on Sunday morning around 7am to make a cup of coffee. I checked the weather forecast. There was a Wind Advisory out for Newport threatening 50 mph gusts. Wind chill was still forecast to be in the mid-teens.

Surely they will cancel sailing, I thought. Certainly if I weren't committed to doing RC I would have decided to skip sailing myself. The wind was already a solid 20 gusting to 30 and forecast to get windier as the day progressed. But I had made a commitment to do RC, so if they sailed I would have to go.

I kept checking my email and Facebook. Nothing by 9am. Nothing by 9:15, 9:30, 9:45... Just before 10 the email arrived...

No sailing today. It might technically be sailable right now, but the breeze is expected to pick up, and the temperature isn't expected to get above freezing. With gusts into the 30s, we're going to err on the side of caution. See you in 2013. Go Pats!

I loved that bit about being "technically" sailable "right now."

With a sense of relief I settled in for a lazy day by the fireside...


I didn't expect to go skiing on New Year's Eve.

I haven't skied since about 2004.

I thought that I was done with skiing.

But my son and his wife had been talking about getting their 7-year-old daughter, Emily, on skis sometime soon. So as I looked out at all the fresh snow on Sunday afternoon and had a glass or two of wine with dinner, or perhaps it was a bottle or two, and perhaps there was something a little stronger too... on an impulse I called my son and asked, "How about we take Emily skiing tomorrow?"

He was way ahead of me.  Not only was he already planning to take Emily skiing, her little brother Aidan (4) also wanted to come. Tillerwoman and I said we would join them.

I then started rummaging around in the back of my closet, looking to see if I had any skiing clothes that still fit me. (I might be a few pounds heavier than I was in 2004.) I found some gear that, while not exactly the height of fashion at St.Moritz for the 2013 season, didn't make me look totally ridiculous.

And on Monday morning we all headed off for Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts.

We checked the children into the "Polar Kids" program which was excellent. The instructors took care of fitting the children out with boots and skis and helmets, looked after them for three hours, gave them skiing lessons in a safe area fenced off from all the other skiers, and gave them a break in the middle of the session with hot chocolate and snacks, all the time making it fun for them.

As for me, I felt totally strange being on skis for the first time in almost nine years. I just walked around on the skis for a while to get the feel for it all again. Then I braved the chair lift and managed to fall off at the end of the ride. I somehow forgot to stand up!

I slid tentatively down the nursery slope doing some ugly turns. But I did get down in one piece.

Then I went over to where my grandkids were and watched them for a while. They seemed to be doing better than me already.


I think she is smiling? 
It's not really a look of terror. 
And no she doesn't actually have three arms.


Actually he wasn't smiling most of the time.
He looked really glum when he was doing the lessons.
But he always looks that way when he is concentrating.

So do I. 
I usually look totally miserable when photographed sailing my Laser.
But I'm not.

Neither was Aidan.

I then went and skied a bit more. Actually started going faster and making not quite so ugly turns. It all started coming back to me. I think I could get back into skiing again. Maybe I should take a refresher lesson?

The kids had a ball. Couldn't stop talking about all the fun they had had and how they definitely wanted to come again. Until they both fell asleep in the car on the way home.

So that was quite an appropriate way to celebrate the last day of 2012 - the year in which we had also taken Emily and Aidan Laser sailing for the first time.


I did expect to go for a run on New Year's Day.

And I did.

Once again I entered for the aptly named Hangover Classic 5 mile road race in Bristol.

I wrote about the 2011 run at The Older I Get The Faster I Was and the 2010 event at Crazy Run Grandad.

As in the previous two times I ran the race, there was snow on the ground making it all the more spectacular.

But it was a lot colder this year. Either that or I am getting older and it felt colder. Whatever the reason I didn't run the race in shorts and T-shirt this year. No sir. Long pants, sweatshirt, hat, gloves, the whole caboodle.

Hurricane Sandy damaged one of the roads on which we normally run, so the course was different this year. The bad news was that this meant that the first and last half mile or so were on a very icy stretch of the East Bay Bike Path. The good news was that the middle three miles or so of the race were on roads in Colt State Park which had been plowed clear of snow this year because they were being used as diversions for the road damaged by the hurricane.

I ran very carefully and slowly on the icy stretches. Didn't want to start the new year by breaking a leg.

But I kept up a pretty good pace (for me) on the middle three miles.

When I checked back in my notes in my running diary (did someone say"anal-retentive"?) I discovered that, in spite of my slow pace on the icy stretches, I actually ran the 5 miles faster than any other 5 miles I ran in 2012, and the middle 3 miles were faster than any other 3 miles I ran in 2012.

So that was quite an appropriate way to start 2013.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Dumb Question

In the winter, we often see these white lines snaking across Mount Hope Bay.

I assume that they are lines of ice crystals but can anyone explain to me why they form in a line like this?

Some basic facts...

The photo was taken at 12:50 pm today looking a few degrees north of west.

The line is about 3/4 mile long.

High tide at Fall River was at 11:01 am.

Fall River (where the Taunton River meets Mount Hope Bay) is about 5 miles to the north (right of the photo.)

The tide is going out right to left and the curve in the line does correspond the to deeper water in the channel going into the Sakonnet River to our left. The line was moving right to left with the outgoing tide. I think I would be correct in saying that the curve in the line was caused by the faster current in the channel?

The Sakonnet River isn't really a river. It is a tidal strait about 14 miles long leading to the open ocean.

The wind was blowing from the west at about 10 knots.

The air temperature was 28 degrees F.

The water temperature at Fall River was 36 degrees F.

I can understand why ice might form on the surface of the water in conditions like these. If I were sailing I would expect to see ice forming on the deck and lines of my Laser.

But why does it form in a line like this?