Last Frostbite in the Books

By Mark Ross

Spring is here and just in time! 

The Seattle Laser and Aero fleets wrapped up the frostbite racing season this past Sunday greeted by light wind (varying from 5-12), a mostly sunny sky and warm air temperature. The sailing was very competitive in both the Laser (9 participants) and Aero (11 participants) fleets. Race Committee duo extraordinaire, Mike Johnson and Jacques Garrigues, kept us moving with starts in rapid fire succession; both fleets knocked out 6-7 races. Thanks to Dave Watt for having food and beverages awaiting us in the CYC clubhouse after racing. 

It was particularly fun to have some very competitive youth Laser sailors in the mix….thanks for joining us AnaLucia, Cooper, Kit and Sammy! After racing SYC Coach Cameron had them packing boats on trailers and heading out this week to the Laser MidWinters West Regatta in Santa Barbara. We hope you’ll sail with us more throughout the summer and teach us a thing or two along the way. Best of luck in SB.

Our loaner Lasers were raced by Tate Higgins and Zach Forcade. Both of these guys lead races to the finish line…our loaners are actually pretty good boats but not quite up to what our personal boats are, so for them to bullet races is a testament to their skills. The loaner boats have seen a number of different people trying them through the winter. The boats will continue to be available through the summer if others are interested in trying them or racing with us on Thursday nights.

Some of the masters Lasers are heading to California this month for Laser regattas taking place in San Diego, Santa Barbara (Laser Midwinters West) and San Francisco (Spring Dinghy Regatta).

I hope ALL OF YOU will continue Laser and Aero racing throughout the year. Within a few weeks I’ll be sending out some additional information on racing in the area. Most of the Seattle Laser Fleet will be racing the CYC Thursday night series starting in April and/or Monday nights at Sail Sand Point.  Race registration is handled directly with these organizations, NOT through the Seattle Laser Fleet.

And of course much appreciation to Dan Falk for providing his boat for RC throughout the season, and to Todd Willsie for storing the race marks and anchors and lugging them  to Shilshole for every race day.

Frostbiting Seattle Style January 7

The Golden Gardens Sunday strollers must have wondered what possesses soooo many people to sail such small boats in the middle of winter.

What don’t they get?

It was a not-so-cold January day last Sunday, with the puffy southerlies delivering a few challenges along the way and a bit of a current-vs-shift puzzle. It seemed like we got in about 2500 races, but it was more like 10.

RS Aeros and Lasers both showed up in healthy numbers (8-10), boding well for Frigid Digit and spring and summer sailing.

Race committee Dalton Bergen and Doug Stumberger set great short and long courses utilizing a windward mark close to the breakwater, an open water start/finish line, and a few longer races to the Meadow Point buoy. They even threw in a few downwind starts. All in all it made for really fun racing and a dynamite practice session. 

The downwind starts were a great departure from the usual. What was particular fun was everyone arriving at the first mark together. Generally speaking, it was all very orderly!

Another interesting element was the raft of noisy sea lions that seemed to offer very rude and loud advice to us racers. (Yes, I did look it up and when they’re in the water a group of sea lions is called a “raft.”)

Kudos to Duncan Smith for providing excellent food after the event…he even went all-out with vegan options that all of us enjoyed…not sure if we left any for the vegans. Thanks Duncan! 

Turkey Bowl Feast, Frostbite in full swing

A quick update on what’s happening in the Seattle Laser Fleet. Which of, course, includes RS Aero sailors (and just about everybody of a sailing bent).

Turkey Bowl

So we’re a little late posting this, but it’s still worth noting there was a great Turkey Bowl the weekend before Thanksgiving. The big winner for the weekend Seattle singlehanded sailing, with great Laser, RS Aero, Radial and Opti fleets. It’s great to see the younger sailors out in force. There’s a report on the event on

And here are a few pix of likely future Radial/Laser/Aero sailor Bing Kawasaki, courtesy of Allison McGuire. Bing’s honing his skills on the up-and-coming Mount Baker sailing team. Click to enlarge!


And then there’s what we sometimes-maschistic singlehanded sailors live for – frostbiting. So far it’s been well attended by both Lasers and Aeros. Yesterday there were about 10 (or was it 11) Lasers and about the same number of Aeros. It was light verging on drifting conditions, but RC volunteers Dan Falk and Randy Shuman got off several races, and there were no reports of anyone hitting Dan’s gorgeous Grady-White, something we should definitely continue. Craig Horsfield’s Aero did get hit at one of the crowded mark roundings.

That was the last frostbite of the year. The next one is scheduled for 1/7/18. And don’t forget to reserve 2/24-25 for Frigid Digit!

–Kurt Hoehne

Here are some frostbite photos from yesterday courtesy of Randy Shuman:



First Frostbite Fun

Six Lasers and at least that many Aeros came out on Sunday for a sunny afternoon of practice racing in 8 to 15 knots of southwesterly.  Dan Falk and Andrew Miller did a great job on race committee blasting out half a dozen quick races in two hours over a variety of courses and even threw in some starboard roundings and reaches.  

Both the loaner boats (Laser and Aero) were out and there were some first time frostbiter’s introduced into the hearty club.  By 3:30 the group had their boats put away and were enjoying lasagna, caesar salad and a few cold ones thanks to Jay Leon! 

Along with some lively conversation, we all appreciated Dan Falk’s quick chalk talk covering a variety of boat handling skills and tactics that when put to practice will prove extremely helpful.

We go out again on Sunday, November 12th at Shilshole at noon. This will be  good warm up the week before the Turkey Bowl Regatta at CYC.  Make sure to put an “X” by your name in the 11/12 column if you plan to be there so we can make sure there is enough food for everyone.

Here is a link to the sign up sheet.

Also, make sure to sign up early for Turkey Bowl via the CYC Seattle website

so we can attract a big turn out — maybe even our friends from Canada! (the sign up link is not live yet, but we will send out a notice as soon as we see it).

See you on the water!

Mark Ross and Jay Leon

Get Psyched for Frostbite – It all starts Sunday

Mark your calendars, Save-the-Date, GET PSYCHED

Next Sunday, October 22 is the first day of our FROSTBITE series of races for Aeros and Lasers, winter 2017-2018 season. All singlehanded rigs, sailors young and old, big and small, novice to expert, member of any club or no club at all.

Frostbite style means a bunch of quick start short races in an informal style. It’s all about having fun with your friends, sharpening skills, sharing and learning techniques and staying sharp thru the winter. Simple food and beverages provided afterward makes it a great way to catch up, get to know each other better and hear what tricks work best, whether it be boat handling skills or tactics. Or maybe learn how to suit-up for cooler water and weather.

First race starts at about noon. We’ll run races until either you’re too tired, too cold, too hungry or it’s just too dark. THIS IS SAILING AT ITS BEST! So join in the fun.

REGISTER NOW…here’s how….applies to all Aero and Laser sailors.

Go to 

Go to 2017-2018 Frostbite Registration

Fill out the embedded form so we know who you are, your sail number and email addresses.

As far as registration/payment, the options are….

 BEST DEAL Hit the first “Buy Now” button. It makes you a Seattle Laser Fleet member and automatically enters you in the full series of 6 Frostbite race days only $60* if paid by this Sunday October 22. 

You can also sign up for individual races from the pull-down menu:

> Individual Frostbite race days for $15*

> Student up-thru college level pay only $5* per Frostbite race day

*No charge to attendees for after-racing Food & Beverages

One loaner Laser is available if reserved in advance, no charge.

Please also help one day with race committee or food & beverage…see the sign-up sheet. 

–Mark Ross

Bergan, Bentzen top Good Aero and Laser fleets

Corinthian Yacht Club’s PSSC (Pacific Coast Sailing Championships) is always a chance to take advantage of CYC’s race management and get a refresher coarse on currents. And with big currents, this past weekend’s regatta off Shilshole Bay Marina was a big refresher coarse.

12 RS Aeros and 12 Lasers were registered, and 11 boats sailed in each fleet. We shared the course with those seeming megayachts (to us) the J/24s and Moore 24s, plus some Stars, Snipes and a couple of Tasars. The Cascadia Cup kept the juniors on the freshwater for this series, but we expect to lure them in for Turkey Bowl and Frigid Digit in the coming months.

Here are some photos courtesy of Jan Anderson. Visit her Smugmug page to see the rest. Click to enlarge.

On Saturday we worked with a light southerly and ebbing that had some confounding conditions. Sometimes in worked, sometimes out. Early in the flood,, holding west worked. Then everything went quiet, then a northerly came blasting in along with some rain. For those of us (I was one) thinking that that was it for the day – well, we’d be wrong. The RC scrambled to set a course in the northerly and one more race was sailed in a dying breeze. That brought the total to 5 races for the day and sent home some very tired sailors. CYC also offered a pig roast (after the Pig Parade when said cooked pig was put on display upstairs for all to see. Hmmm.)

On  Sunday those of us who looked out at the glassy Sound and thought, “no racing today,” well – we’d be wrong again. The northerly came down Sound like a champ and 4 races were held. It wasn’t great breeze, but good enough for fair racing. And if one thinks that current always trumps breeze, well, one would be wrong again. On the beat in the last race of the day sticking one’s bow out into the ripping flood paid off.

Dalton Bergan won the Aeros handily, despite choosing a 7 rig for Saturday. His father in law Carl Buchan did the same, no doubt to match up better. (“I felt a little bad” Dalton admitted) The bigger Carl couldn’t quite overcome the sail area issue on Saturday, and ended third. Todd Willsie sailed a strong regatta, winning 2 of the 9 races, to finish second.

In the Lasers a number of young sailors showed up and showed their speed. Blake Bentzen won a close regatta with conistency. I feel lucky to have finished second and Stasi Burzycki finished third despite recording a 9th when his hiking stick took some time off from the tiller.

On a personal note, I was lucky on several accounts: lucky to have raced against such fine young sailors as Blake, Stasi, Luke, Kit and Per. Lucky to be sharing the course with such fine longtime sailors as Jay Winberg and Jim Santroch who still find the Laser a worthwhile challenge, lucky about Stasi’s hiking stick issue and lucky that breeze out in the middle filled in and rescued me from the flood in the last race.

–Kurt Hoehne, 200192

September 19 Meeting

Yesterday (Monday, Sept 18) we had a great meeting of the SLF (both Laser sailors and RS Aero sailors) to plan both our frostbiting schedule and the Frigid Digit Regatta. Several decisions are incubating and we’ll announce them here when they’re finalized. Everything is on track, and it was a face-paced meeting led ably by Mark Ross.

A full 16 people were in attendance, perhaps an all time record for an SLF meeting.

It’s worth noting that both Mary Anne Ward, Executive Director of Sail Sand Point, and Andrew Nelson of The Sailing Foundation made special efforts to attend. It’s safe to say that all are agreed that the SLF, The Sailing Foundation and Sail Sand Point are planning on working together to strengthen the connections between the youth and adult Laser racers and get more kids in Lasers in the years to come.

Seattle Laser Fleet

This is the new Seattle Laser Fleet web site. Look here for all the updates on the SLF, including details on our great frostbiting series, the world famous (well, maybe not world famous, but awesome anyway) Frigid Digit Regatta and our partnership with youth sailing in the region.