Video highlights of the 2014 Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship held at Fishing Bay Yacht Club October 19-20
Over 40 Lasers were at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship where John MacCausland (Cooper River Yacht Club) had all top 3 finishes in 8 races to win his 2nd Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship in 3 years and the overall Masters ACC title.
The weekend started with 12-17 knot wind out of the west and partly cloudy skies, air temp in the mid 70's and water temperature 69 degrees. The first race was a single lap modified windward-leeward where New Jersey natives MacCausland and Mike Hecky (Riverton Yacht Club) started out 1-2. The 2nd race was two laps on the same course in similar conditions and Severn Sailing Association's Jonathan Phillips got bullet.
By the 3rd race the sailors were getting a little more comfortable with the shifts and the +5 knot puffs rolling down the course. Some were so comfortable they took time out of racing to enjoy a swim in the warm clear waters of the Piankatank River. With another 1st by MacCausland and 2nd by Phillips a two-boat race was beginning to shape up at the top of the leader board.
By the 4 race wind was still up but shifting even more necessitating a course change. And to mix things up late-arriving Rob Halawell from Connecticut Yacht Club put up a bullet after masterfully sailing Ss on the downwinds.
As the 4th race ended the wind nearly shut off and was followed by a 45-minute postponement. Once the wind settled it was back to same strength albeit 60 degrees to the right and Halawell put up another bullet on shortened course to finish out the day.
That evening sailors were treated to another legendary surf-and-turf Alain Vincey dinner followed by sailors doing what they do - telling sailing stories. Some great giveaways were provided by sponsors Dynamic Dollies, Annapolis Performance Sailing and MacCausland Moorehouse Sailing. And at the end of the night the sailors were treated to drone footage of race 1 courtesy of Ned Rennolds. After hours a tent city was erected where many sailors rode out the night in very gusty conditions.
By morning Brad Squires, with cooking from Julia Lee, greeted the wind-wary sailors with hot food and hot coffee as they prepared for what would be a gusty day of sailing. As sailors left the beach the signal boat, Mr. Roberts, was on station reporting a steady 16 knots with gusts into the low 20s. Many sailors wisely took advantage of the rig swap rule to downsize their sails while others elected to 'finish ahead' by staying ashore and not even subjecting themselves to the challenging wind and waves.
The first race Sunday was truly a test of stamina, boat handling and in some cases navigation. Post racing some sailors reported so much spray in their faces on the reach legs that they were having a hard time looking up for more than a few seconds to try and spot the wing mark almost a mile away as they blasted down the reach.
Three more races were sailed as the fleet slowly dwindled with many sailors just trying to survive it. Luke Shingledecker from Severn Sailing Association showed he was the master of the windy races winning the day with a 3-1-1. Dennis Russom of Greater Wildwood Yacht Club also had a great day with top 5 finishes as did Hecky to hold onto 3rd place.
In the end it was MacCausland and Phillips who stayed consistently at the top of the fleet to end up 1-2 in the Masters age bracket and overall. Congratulations to John MacCausland on a well-sailed weekend in some trying conditions!
I want to thank the FBYC Laser Fleet members - Mike Toms, Len Guenther, Frank Murphy, Alain Vincey, Tracy Swarzschild, Steve Sparkman and Brad Squires on all of their help on shore to make this event happen.
On the water the racing was made possible thanks to PRO Rick Klein and his team of (Signal Boat) David Clark, Catherine Clark, Sharon Bauer, Debbie Cycotte, Ruthana Jenkins, Geoff Cahill (Weather Mark) Alex Alvis, David Hinckle, Veronica Hinckle, Doug Stinchum (Leeward Mark) Mike Dale, John Wake, Ric Bauer. Thanks Mike Russom for helping run the safety boat and Ned Rennolds for coming out and getting some aerial photos and video.
And finally - this event wouldn't be what it is without all of the competitors who come back year after year - your camaraderie is great to be a part of and is what makes it fun as a sailor, volunteer or even just a dinner guest. We hope to see you back next year - October 17-18 for the next edition of the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship! And as a bonus - FBYC will be hosting the open Atlantic Coast Championship May 16-17.