April 24, 2024:

Last Day of Frostbiting / Peter Milnes Noon Start

The 2023-2024 Frostbite season is officially over.

Our last day of racing wrapped up another awesome winter with chilly conditions, and shifty, competitive racing. Mike Zonnenberg was crowned Season Champ, which marks a new era in Fleet 413, but mark my words, Steve K will be back with a vengeance once his ankle heals, and Adrian van der Wal is also out for blood.

We had lots of young sailors this year, and leading that pack in 14th overall for the winter was Oliver Grant.

Once again, Ben Hodgson sailed more days than anyone else.

Next year promises more great competition! Results are on the website.

Thank you to all of you who sailed in the fleet this year, and helped out with race committee. It takes a crowd, and YOU are what makes it awesome.

A special thank you to Kelly Ferro and Cushing Anderson who donated countless hours of time on the water this winter to run RC and often made it possible for volunteers to race.

If you missed the last few weekends, you have one more chance to sail with Fleet 413 this spring in the Peter Milnes Regatta! We could still use some extra hands helping with race committee for the regatta, so if you have a friend or relative who might be interested in helping out, send them our way.

Don’t forget to register, and show up one hour earlier than usual at Sail Newport. The start time is 12:00 instead of our typical 1:00 frostbite start.

See you on the water,

Christine and Scott

April 20, 2024: Last Day of Frostbiting / Peter Milnes

Dear Fleet 413,

Tomorrow is the last day of frostbiting this year! The forecast looks great: Sunshine and an afternoon sea-breeze. Come sailing, and head to the IYAC afterwards for pizza, and end of season awards and a raffle. We have some really nice stuff to include if the raffle thanks to US One-Design.

Sail Newport is having new shell delivered this week. Do you have a trailer hitch? If so, and you want to help out, come to sailing early (around 9:30 or 10) tomorrow to help move boats on trailers off the shells. Many hands make light work.

The Peter Milnes Regatta is next Sunday April 28th at Sail Newport. Register online, and see the NOR/Sailing Instructions on the website. Rumor has is there will be multiple Milne’s sightings, so be there or be square!

See you on the water,

Christine and Scott

April 13, 2024: Spring is here

There are only two days of frostbiting left, and then the Peter Milnes Regatta on April 28. We’ve had great racing the last couple weekends, and temps are warming up, so if you haven’t been sailing, don’t miss out on the end of the season. If you want to help out on RC the next two weekends that’s awesome, AND, we are in particular need for a couple extra hands on the 28th for the Peter Milnes. E-mail us if you can help. Congrats to Mike Zonnenberg who put up a picket fence last Sunday – a rare occurrence in Fleet 413!

See you on the water,

Christine and Scott

Bodhi B sawing ice

March 28, 2024:

March 24 Recap and Easter Sailing

Ted Hood, Cushing Anderson, and Kelly Ferro ran some great races for some hardy sailors on a day that felt more like early February than late March. 11 sailors raced in the cold North wind. Ted kept us on our toes with a H, HM, and Wbeach mixed in with the W’s. Mike Z won the day, Win H was the top junior, and Mark Bear won two races and wrote some Words of Wisdom below.

Two weekends ago (March 17) was a beautiful spring sailing day won by Andy P. There will be more great days like it, and there aren’t too many left! Stay tuned for upcoming info about the P. Milnes Regatta at the end of April.

There will be sailing this Sunday (Easter). If you would like to help out with RC, reply to this email.

See you on the water,

Christine and Scott

W.O.W. for March 24 from Mark Bear:

A few quick thoughts about racing last Sunday.

First and foremost, thanks to Ted, Kelly and Cushing for braving the cold and windy conditions to give us 6 great races, and thanks to Christine for being such an awesome fleet captain. We can’t thank her enough for the devotion she shows for our fleet week in and week out.

Second, congratulations to Mike Z., who schooled us once again. We are lucky to have someone so good to measure ourselves against.

Third, it was nice to see Parker C. sailing with us again on a brief respite from the rigors of coaching at St. Francis Yacht Club.

Finally, a few bullets on what worked for me on Sunday.

• In these polarized times, it is no surprise that we can’t agree on the relative merits of wetsuits vs drysuits. I’m coming down hard on the drysuit. Get a good one that fits well and wear it over your summer sailing gear. You’ll thank me. Of course, the weak link is the hands, and on that score my advice is to work hard to get your core temperature up so warm blood circulates in the extremities. On a really cold day, I get out and tack repeatedly every 10-20 seconds on the way to the course to get the blood pumping. Yes, my hands are blocks of ice at first, but by the time I reach the starting line and stop clutching the sheet, my hands feel fine for the rest of the day.

• Sunday’s condition suited me well because I like sailing in waves. The key adjustment to have speed upwind in those conditions is to pull on as much cunningham as you can, and then pull on it some more. In general the vang setting can be a bit more snug than 2-block, but not much more. Then, play the sheet to keep the boat as flat as possible and driving.

• Because there was a high cost of tacking in the wavy conditions, it was really set up to be a 2 tack beat unless the shift was so large that you could safely consolidate a lead. For the first half of the day we had the tide ebbing, so hitting the left side gave you a current lift on both starboard and port tack. But, the tide switched by 1:40 PM or so, and the effect was dramatic. Now on port tack, I felt no bite at all on my centerboard as the current swept from left to right. The winning move was the opposite of what worked in the beginning of the day. Tack onto port soon after the start and get over to the right lay line. Then coming back on starboard tack yielded a bit of a current lift that took you to the mark.

• Downwind was a blast thanks to the waves. Work it by the lee until you get enough speed to round up and jump over the wave ahead. Of course, there were also some pretty big pressure differences, so don’t forget to look behind to see what is coming.

March 13, 2024: Another beautiful day of frostbiting

Sunday turned out windier than forecast, with gusts in the high teens from the west. Adrian, Avery, and Nick were kept on their toes in the Moose boat adjusting the course to keep up with the shifting breeze coming over the fort. Nick W. took some great pics that will be available to look at on the facebook page – check back later for those.

Mike Z put on a clinic and almost won every race, but Steve K and Mark Bear managed to catch him on a left shift just before the finish of the last race. Win Hodgson and Alice dunning led the youth and female results. It was a really great, hard day of racing, and with a few M’s and a W2 and full hiking, sailors were tired, and hopefully satisfied! Cushing and Christine observed a few capsizes from the whaler. The water is only 42 degrees, so keep that in mind when planning what to wear as the days warm up.

Moose joined us spur of the moment and got out sailing in a fleet boat, and despite a dis-functional mainsheet ratchet and no cleats, managed a 3rd place on a W2 – who does that? He wrote some Words of Wisdom about the day and making sure your boat works. Case in point, Win Hodgson broke his top section on the way in. Perfect timing to be sure, as the aluminum ones all break eventually, and the end of a day is better than the beginning. But, if you have an old one that hasn’t been end-for-ended, now could be a good time to do it, and it could save you a sail.

We’ll need a few RC volunteers for the next few weekends, so if you haven’t yet done RC this year, email us. Note: by popular demand, we have kept Easter Sunday on the calendar as a race day. Apparently church equals sailing for most of us!

See you next Sunday,

Christine and Scott

Words of Wisdom from Moose:

In my case, it could be words of stupidity, which is what I felt like when I finally got back onto dry land. But I’ll admit, what stands out now, more than ever, is to make sure you plan and prepare before you get on the water so you can avoid a day like mine. A series of mistakes in both planning and preparation added up to a less than optimum day on the water.

As a background, I sailed in the fleet since it was formed with a few years off here and there for various reasons. I was never the best but have always enjoyed sailing Lasers more than any other boat, it teaches you to sail correctly and punishes you if you don’t learn from your mistakes. My problem was that it’s been so long since I sailed (the quick couple Monday’s that SN ran during Covid, otherwise not frostbiting since 2013 when I hurt my back) that I forgot all the lessons that used to be second nature. This leads to mistakes.

I wasn’t actually going to sail, I was going to go to Marblehead where I have been sailing Tech dinghies the last year but they called the day early. With nothing to do, and not really feeling like running races, I thought about grabbing a fleet boat. My boat handling is limited to about 8-12 knots without being dangerous, and the forecast was calling for the breeze to settle down to 10-12 so I thought it would be fun.

First lesson: don’t trust forecasts.

I got down to SN around 10:30 and helped Christine put the red Rib in the water, then went about finding a boat to sail. The fleet boats are well organized, but it then occurred to me that a friend had a nearly new boat sitting on the hard, I figured I’d just use that. I uncovered it to find that it had completely unused blades and spars and looked awesome. I admit I drooled just a touch and went about rigging it up. At about the same time most people were showing up but I decided I wanted to get out and get sailing, so I grabbed the boat to spin in the wind to put the sail up when I noticed the rail was dinged up. On closer inspection, there was a major crack in the hull with an 18” gap of open seam between the hull and deck. The boat probably blew off the dolly in one of the storms and pounded a concrete block next to it, but the boat was useless.

Second lesson: check out your borrowed boats before committing.

I now had to put that boat away, and organize a fleet boat, which I should have done in the first place. It was missing a couple small parts and I couldn’t find the blades right away.  While I was checking all this out, people were showing up and launching, as the earliest arrival I was now the latest to hit the water. I felt just like Chris Sheldon.

Third lesson: get there early and get out early, don’t waste time.

After getting the boat rigged I had to get dressed, an arduous task as I hadn’t worn the combination of clothes in a long time, and getting into it all is more aimed at the young and flexible, of which I’m neither. It took me a while to get everything on and it was now 12:50 and I wasn’t in the water yet. When I run races, I start at 1:00 on the dot whether people are on the beach or not. I felt like I was going to be a statistic.

Fourth lesson: keep track of time

I managed to get the boat in and hopped in, I didn’t really check to see if I’d led everything correctly. I was taking a quick look around when the first of several larger than forecast puffs nailed me, I was now on a barely in control full plane headed toward the starting line but too involved in staying upright to look around anymore. I got to the line about a minute before the start but couldn’t get a line sight, I was way off the line and struggled to pull in the main for some reason, the cockpit was full of water and the Cunningham was jammed and I couldn’t pull it on.  Lasers aren’t complicated but there are just enough quirks that it’s easy to lead a line incorrectly. In my case, the Cunningham block caught up on a rivet, the board shockcord was over the vang so I couldn’t release it, and the plug for the bailer was stuck open so water could come in but not go out.

Fifth lesson: check all your controls before getting off the beach, getting it organized on the water means gloves off and cold hands.

I struggled up the first beat as I trailed everyone, I passed some radials downwind and barely held on to the finish with the mainsheet wanting to blow through the ratchet. In looking at it, I saw it was an auto ratchet but not a gripping Harken hexaratchet, it was a friction ratchet that couldn’t hold the thin sheet. With few boats behind me, I only had a minute to straighten out the Cunningham and vang line before we went right into the second race. I didn’t get a chance to address the bailer so the cockpit was still full and I was having a hard time holding the main. I always had cleats on my boat, it would have been nice but a borrowed boat is not your own, you get what you beg for.

Sixth lesson: don’t assume everything is the same as your own boat.

I had another average start as getting the mainsheet in was a major issue. I recognized that I was getting tired fast so I decided on minimum boat handling. One tack on each beat, no gybes but no swimming, dip rather than try to lee bow. I was pretty far behind the lead pack as I went out to the right corner in a big lift that never came back but locked in around 5 or 6, I really wasn’t concentrating on how I was doing so much as avoiding flipping. I finished and immediately went to work getting the last of the control things organized, pulling the plug off the bailer and trying to catch my breath.

Seventh lesson: if you aren’t going to sail hard, why are you out there? My question to myself repeatedly.

For the third race I thought I had the boat organized, I started near the pin and went left. One thing I recognize from running the races, the left pays most of the time, I committed to the left and rounded 3rd which I held to the finish. At this point my arms were burning and I was physically beat. Stupid forecast. I realized I wouldn’t be ale to do any better with Mike and Steve tearing it up, and I was going to flip one way or another, my forearms were useless. For what was the first time in a very long time (except for injuries) I went to the RC and told them I was going in, my arms were shot and I was going to be a hazard on the water.

Eighth lesson: recognize when it’s time to go in, I pride myself on sticking it out but also know when to make sure I’m not a detriment to others on the water.

From here I had the worst part of my day. On the way in I got blown over in a big puff and though a large person, with my arms shot I was unable to get the boat up, or even get on it. I was in the water for about 5-6 minutes when Aleksei came by, he was able to pull me onto his boat and we sailed back to my boat, he jumped in and righted it and we sailed to the beach. A little humiliating.

Ninth lesson: sail the boat hard from start to finish, getting lazy can be fatal.

All in all, not a successful day on the water. I failed in every step of planning, preparation and execution, and my results showed it. As I said, I love sailing Lasers more than anything, and even though the day was a disaster I still enjoyed being on the boat. All of the nine lessons listed are overlooked by the majority of the fleet every day out. If you want to be successful, don’t be like me. I assumed I could just hop in and be fine, that’s not real life. But if you pay attention to the basics, your day will be rewarding, and you’ll be better for it.

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Online Registration for 2022 Peter Milnes Memorial Regatta is available.


Online Registration for 2022 Peter Milnes Memorial Regatta is available.

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This Weekend – Go Pats…Go Sailing


2023 – 24 Season Calendar


Fall – Fat Boys Regatta

Nov 5th, 2023


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Spring – Peter Milnes Regatta