Tag Archives: Laser 2

12-Mile Island Results, July 29, 2017

The wind cooperated for our annual 12-Mile Island event, KSC’s longest distance race.  We had a great turn our with 6 boats (3 cats, 3 monohulls) doing the full run, and 2 more opting to do a half-race to Pinhey’s Point and back (one cat, one Byte).  Many thanks to RC Reese for driving the power boat all the way to Pinhey’s to drop the mark.  I didn’t see what happened during the Half race, so the following account mostly covers the full run.

We did things a bit differently this year, with boats setting off “whenever” and timing their run around the island.  After getting back, we adjusted their times against a handicapping factor.

Ellen/Mark and their family were first to set off in a Hobie 18, followed by Denise/Ken S (Laser 2).  We then had 3 boats take off in close proximity — Tony/Devin (Hobie 18), Ken E/Norm (Albacore), and Jason (Laser).  A while later Frank/Jean took a Hobie 16.  Doing the half trip, and leaving significantly later, were Annie/Greg (Hobie 16), Carla (Byte) and a non-racing MG14.

The leg from KSC to Pinhey’s was largely upwind, with a slight starboard tack favour.  Three basic strategies were used:

  • long tacks from one side of the river to the other (favoured by the cats, and Ken S/Denise)
  • sail on the Quebec side where there were fewer waves and more predictable wind (favoured by Norm/Ken E)
  • sail in the middle of the river, tacking on headers as they hit (favoured by Jason)

During that beat, Ken E/Norm were able to constantly extend their lead over Jason.  Both managed to eventually catch up with Ken S/Denise, who happened to be on the Ontario side on port tack when a wind shift caught them and wouldn’t give them a break.  Tony/Devin’s Hobie 18 got caught in the same shift and Jason passed them around the middle of the river just before Pinhey’s.  There may or may not have been some trash talk exchanged, including referring to the cat as “a boat with training wheels”.  Norm/Ken E was by this point well ahead of both and near the Quebec shore, and the shift which penalized the cat and Laser 2 was a lift for the Albacore, which was pointed straight up river.

Past Pinhey’s the wind steadied out a bit, with starboard tack now heavily favoured.  Tony/Devin blasted by Jason (exchanging a few more light-hearted words) and ripped along.  Between Pinhey’s and the island, Jean/Frank’s Hobie 16 also passed Ken S/Denise.  Jason and the H16 rounded 12-Mile Island together, and the cat outpaced the Laser on the downwind.

The downwind leg was a straight run from Port-of-Call to KSC, and the boats had a choice whether to run it, or to make multiple reaches.  The cats and Norm/Ken E reached, while Jason largely ran (focused on surfing the waves, although he would alter course to try to catch wind gusts) and Ken S/Denise got their nice shiny spinnaker flying.

Tony/Devin claimed honours as first back to the club.


The elapsed time (ET) of each boat was recorded, and adjusted according to the Portsmouth Number (PN) handicap for each boat.  The adjusted time (AT) is:

AT = ET * (1000/PN)

Larger Portsmouth numbers mean a boat is usually slower.  For instance, a Hobie 16 has a larger number (809) than a Hobie 18 (740).  This means what a Hobie 16 does in an hour, a Hobie 18 should be able to do in 54 minutes 53 seconds.  If a PN is greater than 1000 then the AT will be smaller than ET.  If PN is less than 1000, then AT will be greater than ET.

So without further ado, here is what we have:

Sailors Boat PN ET AT
Jean/Frank Hobie 16 809 3:51:53 4:46:38
Devin/Tony Hobie 18 740 3:57:33 5:21:01
Norm/Ken E Albacore 1041 4:01:10 3:51:40
Jason Laser 1097 4:11:04 3:48:52
Mark/Ellen/family Hobie 18 740 4:20:57 5:52:38
Denise/Ken S Laser 2 1065 4:26:00 4:09:46

(Note — please double-check my math on the conversions)

The winner, is Jason, in a Laser!  Despite finishing 4th over all in elapsed time, the Laser’s high handicapping mean he just won over Ken E/Norm.  Look at those adjusted times — there’s less than 3 minutes between them over almost 4 hours.  That’s 1.3% difference.  Here’s the other thing… Jason’s Laser was in good shape.  The foils were shiny, the hull was solid, etc.  The Albacore Ken E and Norm were in has probably seen better days, and had scratches, dings, repairs, probably a leak or two.  I’m sure if the Albacore was in as good a shape as the Laser then it would’ve been no contest.

The cats faired poorly overall on the day.  The wind was to blame for that.  Cats LOVE to sail on a reach, and beating into the wind really takes their speed advantage away over monohulls.  The handicapping formula unfortunately considers reaching performance as well as upwind/downwind performance, so the cats were being scored on a scale which assumed they’d be able to use their quick reaches, and conditions were not cooperating.  If the wind was coming directly across river the whole time, there would be no catching the cats.

Similar results were seen on the half-run.

Sailors Boat PN ET AT
Annie/Greg Hobie 16 809 2:15:00 2:28:38
Carla Byte 1147 1:53:00 1:38:31

Carla was able to round the mark in about 20 minutes less time than the Hobie 16 in a Byte (which is supposed to be slower).  The adjusted time was 50 minutes apart.  Again, this was largely due to the leg being “beating upwind, dead run downwind”, where Carla’s Byte could tack on to take advantage of any momentary wind shift, while the cat was going back and forth across the river.

Congrats, Jason and Carla!  You’ve got bragging rights for the year!

I hope everyone had fun, and don’t forget to email Ken Eaves with your “I’ve done a 12-Mile rounding!” story.  For those who don’t know, Ken and Harry founded the “12-Mile Challenge” and there are trophies for those who round the island the most times in the year in a cat, in a single-handed monohull, and a double-handed monohull.

Race Night Report – July 27, 2017

The wind was the big story of the night, with constantly changing (and sometimes challenging) conditions.  Congrats to the brave souls who looked to the water, saw some big air, and said “looks like fun!”  This was also the last race night of the “Summer Series 1” so take a look at the end of the article for a series summary.  Summer Series 2 starts Aug 3, so until then you can say “Yeah, I’m tied with Steve for the top spot…”

Race 1

Big winds meant boats were flying out of the gate.  The start line was long enough that a few skilled sailors (Steve/Carla and Jean/Frank  in Tasars, Tony/Annie in a Hobie 18, Ken/Peter in a Laser 2) could start on the favoured port without being interfered with by those doing starboard tack starts (Chunshu in a Laser, Jason in a Laser, Mark/Ellen/Yona in an Albacore).  The first leg was all about keeping the boat flat in the big winds and big waves, with Carla/Steve rounding the mark first, followed by Jason (although the cat outran him on the reaching legs like he was standing still).  The battle I was watching throughout the race though was Jean/Frank in a Tasar vs Ken/Peter in a Laser 2.  Here were two quick boats, about the same size, designed by the same person (Frank Bethwaite) around the same time and each sailed by competent sailors.  The Laser 2 had the advantage of a trapeze (with Peter hanging off it) but the trap really works best in steady winds while we were experience gusts/lulls.  These two boats were playing leapfrog throughout the race, with Mark/Ellen/Yona able to insert their Albacore into the fray downwind.

Carla/Steve finished 1st, Tony/Annie 2nd, Jason 3rd, Jean/Frank 4th, the Watsons 5th, Peter/Ken 6th, and Chunshu 7th

Race 2

The wind started to die down, but continued its shift.  A couple more boats joined us (Matt/Cameron in an Albacore and Sara/Charlotte in a Laser).  Port tack heavily favoured by this time.  This race was quite processional with the first leg seeing the most movement.  Tony/Devin had a decent start and were able to pass Frank/Jean, Ken/Peter, and Jason.  The two new boats unfortunately didn’t have great starts, and were unable to catch up.  The top 3 finishers were the same, in the same order, but Peter/Ken held on to 4th over Jean/Frank (5th), and Chunshu (6th) was able to beat the Watson Albacore (8th).  Matt/Cameron scored 9th, followed by Charlotte/Sara (10th).

Race 3

So here’s a question for you — in this case, a wind shift make the pin end of the start line (and port track) heavily favoured.  But, the wind is fairly slow at the pin end (6 knots, maybe), and is stronger at the boat end (9 knots).  Where should you start?

Boat A has the favoured end, and the favoured tack, but boat B has right-of-way over boat A.  A has to either tack or bear off and duck B.  B would likely try to force A to make a move (tacking or ducking) and then tack onto port in front of A, but if B does a sloppy tack and loses speed, then A (assuming A ducked) could pass her to leeward and get into clear air.  C meanwhile is starting with more distance to sail upwind.  If the wind continues to shift counterclockwise, C is screwed.  But if the wind shift back to “head on” then C has much more wind to work with and can beat A or B.  Tricky situation indeed.

Race 3 started out slow, the wind built over the course of the race, starting on the right side of the course.  By the end of the race it was over 15 knots all over the course, probably closer to 20 on the Quebec side.  Carla/Steve (who took the “boat A” position in the diagram) won the race, with Devin/Tony second (again).  Jason had a bad start (he had planned to be boat C, but wasn’t paying attention and drifted downwind before the start) so Frank/Jean and Ken/Peter were duking it out for 3rd.  Peter eventually got on the trapeze as the wind built, and the extra leverage meant they could keep their boat flatter that Jean/Frank.  They took 3rd/4th respectivly.  Chunshu showed solid skills as he kept his Laser ahead of the rest of the fleet.  Jason was able to pass Charlotte/Sara and Matt/Cameron and was catching up with Mark/Ellen/Yona, but didn’t get to them in time.  Mark & family finished 6th, Jason 7th, Cameron/Matt 8th, Sara/Charlotte 9th.

Lesson learned: once that class flag goes up, don’t start fiddling with your boat drifting downwind, make sure you’re in a good starting position.

After the race

Remember how I said the wind was building?  Well, some of the braver (or stupider) sailors took advantage of the big air and went to Quebec.  That was fun — planing on a reach the whole way there, hulls screaming, spray flying everywhere, bouncing the boats over whitecaps!  Peter was hanging off the trapeze trying to keep the Laser 2 upright, Carla/Steve and Jean/Frank were practicing steering-for-balance, the Tony/Devin’s Hobie 18 was close to flying a hull.  A couple of capsizes and some aid from kind sailors/RC (thanks Carla, Heidi, Reese!) and everyone made it home safe.

Apres-sail was fun, as always, and may thanks for coming out!

Series/Season Standings

This was the last race of our “Summer Series 1” set of races, with “Summer Series 2” going from Aug 3 – Aug 31.  We got 13 races in over the 5 weeks, which meant you can drop your worst 3 scores.  Steve convincingly won the series, taking 1st place in all but 3 races (a 2nd, a 3rd, and a Did-Not-Start).  Carla finished 2nd with a number of 1st place wins, as well as a handful of 3rd/4th places finishes.  Ken S rounds out the top 3, with a win, and solid 2nd/3rd place finishes.  For the rookies, we have Devin as the victor with some 1st/2nd place finishes, but the weeks he missed (Did-Not-Come-to-Starting-Area) hurt his overall placement among the veterans.  Complete results here.

Season wise, Carla is still in the lead by a couple of points over Steve.  Jason has fallen back to a distant 3rd.  Current standings here