2016 Frigid Digit

The weekend started out with a lot of rain in the Mid Atlantic on Friday, but at least we knew we wouldn’t get blown out like last year. However, while the wind forecast for Saturday looked pretty good, it promised to be very light on Sunday. There are two conditions that always remind me of the Frigid Digit: Cool, wet, foggy Nor ‘easter-like and bright, brisk, cool northewester after a cold front-like. Both are tricky conditions to sail in with different challenges. This year’s event was no different with the Nor ‘Easter-like version for Saturday.

We delayed on shore for an hour on Saturday morning as the radar map showed a very larger red line heading from the south. Luckily it was just a lot of rain and as soon it passed the 12 (of 16 that registered) set out in 10-15 knots from the Northeast. Unfortunately a number of local sailors all had prior commitments this weekend which kept the turnout a little low. Three windward/leeward (5 leg) races were run by PRO Mark Hasslinger and his crew. According to Carol Cronin, in most beats, staying left until the end of the beat even though your gut told you not to and despite some right shifts, proved to be a winning strategy. It certainly worked for her and Kim Couranz as they jumped out to a good lead by the first weather mark in all three races and easily hung on to the leads even with Kim’s unscheduled “potty break” into the bay (untied hiking strap) in race 2. Behind, the shifts were causing frequent position changes between Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno, Zach Kelchner/Miranda Bakos, Brett Davis/Ashley Love, Gavin/Holly O’Hare, Lisa Pline/Jessica Bennett and Alex Pline/Jill Bennett. In the end Lee/Nikki edged out Alex/Jill for 2nd by a point. One of the nice things about these conditions is the powerboats and the associated Annapolis “washing machine” were nowhere to be seen.

close finish

Squeaking out a 4th in a close  finish in the 3rd race.

We headed back to SSA about 4 pm as the breeze was getting pretty light and the fog and mist was hiding downtown. A nice taco bar was served and the warmth of the clubhouse was much appreciated by the competitors. Afterwards Steve and Sonya Pickel suggested we continue on at the Boatyard Bar and Grill, which a number of us jumped on without any arm twisting. I think we all deep down suspected the chances for any racing on Sunday were slim, so what the heck, might as well continue socializing at one of Annapolis’ fun spots. There were rumors of even a third act over at Davis’ Pub, but too late for this Snipe sailor !

Sunday brought continued light breezes again from the northeast, with cloudy but dry skies. Most of the fleet was late to the starting area as it was a bit farther out than usual, so the start was postponed for about a half hour. Once the race finally got underway, right on schedule the bottom of the breeze fell out quickly about half way up the first beat when the sun poked out from behind the clouds. After 10 minutes of just a few zephyrs, the committee wisely abandoned the race. Even without the postponement is was unlikely the race would have made a complete lap of the course before the wind died. We milled around for another 45 minutes just to confirm everyone suspicions, but it was just not to be so everyone was towed in. At least the sun came out as we were packing up and socializing. In addition to the top three overall, Steve Jahnige/Ryan Jahnige, relatively new Snipe sailors were the top placing boat in the silver fleet. A big thanks to regatta chair Doug Frazee for putting this year’s event together and to Carol Cronin, Andy Klein/Jessica Claflin and Jim Tomassetti/Simon Strauss who braved the dreaded I-95 from north of NY to get to Annapolis.

Full Results: http://results.severnsailing.org/2016/2016-Snipe_Frigid_Digit.html

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