RACE INFORMATION AND NEWS
2016 Spring Race Information
Spring Race Dates - June 10 and 11, 2016
Entries for the Spring series are now closed. The deadline was May 19. 129 boats have registered. The classification meeting, which determines the breakout across 13 classes, is scheduled to be held at the Thames Yacht Club at 5 pm on Thursday, May 26.
The post-race activities will be held on the grounds at The Oar Restaurant. The marina associated with The Oar is the Block Island Boat Basin. They are now accepting reservations.
Fall Race Dates - September 16 and 17, 2016
Please make payment to our treasurer by check or use the on-line payment link below.
Please contact our treasurer if you have any questions.
Fall Results - 2015
RESULTS (Fall and Overall)
Spring Results - 2015
Safety Equipment Requirements
In 2014, the US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee conducted an overhaul of ISAF’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR). The USSER is intended to be used by race organizers, owners and boat inspectors. The USSER is being promoted as easier for yacht owners to understand and is self-contained and does not refer to numerous external documents. Race organizers can then add or delete gear requirements based on the nature of their individual races.
Off Soundings has created a committee to review these regulations and determine how best to fit them into the OSC racing model. Draft D below is now available for review and comments. It is the intention that these regulations be adopted starting this year, but only after the membership has had a chance to have their comments satisfactorily addressed.
The committee has provided some answers to frequently asked questions.
Q. Are these requirements or recommendations?
A. Both. Basic items such as: having a boat that is seaworthy and strongly built, an engine, a radio, lifejackets, etc. are requirements. Several other items such as: mainsail reefing, preventer for boom, jack lines, cellphone, etc. are recommendations.
Q. Will these items be inspected?
A. The concept is for each yacht to have a hard copy of the document (downloaded from the OSC website). The expectation being that the OSC-SER would be used as a check list (i.e., a self-inspection) by the owner/skipper prior to sailing in OSC races, and that the document would be kept on the vessel.
Q. What about potential liability?
A. We have consulted with individuals in US Sailing and it is an understanding that what generally protects Organizing Authorities from liability is the "avoidance of negligence", and that is usually achieved by a '"best practices" approach (e.g., having policies and procedures in place to manage potential risk).
Q. Why don't we just rely on good seamanship?
A. Good seamanship is an acquired skill. We learn by our own experience and by the experience of others, and there is never an end to our learning. We would ask that the "old salts" embrace the concept of this checklist, submit ideas to make it better, and to assist in teaching the "up and coming" sailors how to meet those "unanticipated" challenges.
Rules and Sportsmanship
It's no fun being fouled, especially when your competetor takes off without doing any penalty turns. Off Soundings is committed to conducting fair races and has traditionally maintained the highest degree of ethical standards. Please take the time to review ethics and take a refresher webinar on rules.
The schedule for racing rules webinares is posted at the link below.
Fall 2015 Race Highlights
Changing conditions, challenging racing and a solid weekend of racing entertainment was held for nearly 100 boats and their crews. There was even an impromptu diving contest in the 3 hour wait on the calm waters of Gardiner’s Bay . In the end, two races were sailed and trophies were dispersed.race was a simple “2” – all classes rounding mark 2 to port at Plum Gut and to the finish. The shortest distance in light air with a favorable current. The breeze filled in late in the day allowing all but 7 boats to beat the time limit.
On Saturday, the fleet stayed in harbor for an extra hour with an onshore postponement. Again, on the water a two hour delay before the breeze filled. Conflicting forces saw an Easterly at the Start line, while the Southerly slowly moved in and a reaching start for the early classes turned into a solid weather leg by the time the last classes started. Then it was Dead Down Wind to Orient Point, a port rounding and a beat to the finish.
Patience, preparation and persistence paid off for the Race Committee and the racers appeared happy around the crocks during Mainbrace Splicing.
"I wanted to thank you for a great couple of races.
The course on Friday was both prudent and challenging given the conditions. I truly enjoy some new race courses and configurations when participating in Offsoundings.
While I look forward to many of our historical traditions and races, some variety is refreshing, interesting and challenging. The timing of the race Saturday was skillfully managed with the postponement and your crystal ball was clear on the changing wind direction. It was a very good course and made for a very fun day of racing.
Thank you and your team."
The Off Soundings race is composed of two series, one in the spring of each year, the other in the fall. The spring series is a two day regatta featuring a race from Watch Hill, RI to Block Island on day one and around Block Island on day two. The fall series is also a two day regatta featuring a race from New London, CT to Greenport, (LI) NY on day one and in Gardiners Bay on day two.
Spring 2015 Race Highlights
The race committee, Greg Gilmartin and company, along with Henry DuPont's Nor'Easter, did an excellent job in conducting the races on both Friday and Saturday. They deserve a lot of credit sheparding 13 classes and 118 boats.
On Friday, the race committee had to deal with setting a course that could be sailed and completed in a light, shifty southerly, a starting line length adjustment, a crowded finish (see the above video), and finally fog. The course, start to 1BI and then to the channel entrance marker, 2BI, was shortened at 1BI.
On Saturday, the committee was able to start two classes clockwise around the island and then had to postpone when the wind dropped to nothing. The wind came back very suddenly and settled in from the southeast in the mid to high teens allowing the committee to continue to start the rest of the fleet. After the start, the racers enjoyed an ideal day of racing, with near perfect conditions. The tide, for a change, was favorable. Most boats finished by mid afternoon.
The post race parties both days were well attended. The results on Friday weren't available until about 8 pm due to late finishers and a crowded finish that required extra diligence on the part of the RC to ensure all were correctly accounted for. Nate Atwater and his entertainment committee did a great job managing the bar. Seth Olsen, our youth liason, ensured that there were plenty of activities to occupy the younger sailors and awarded the Lockwood Trophy. Paul Jennings, Rear Commodore and awards chairman, selected the trophies and helped distribute them to the winners. Results were read by board members, many of them new to the process. All did a commendable job.
Those who stayed at BIBB overnight on Saturday were greeted with a special treat. Folk music, coming from Moonshine, filled the marina with excellent renditions of hits from the 60s and 70s.
On behalf of the flag officers, board of governors, committee chairs, and liases, I want to thank all who participated. It was a great weekend of sailing and we hope to see all of you again in September.
Gerry Keeler - Commodore
Sea Scouts and Off Soundings
As many of you will recall we invited a contingent of local Sea Scouts to join us at the Charles W. Morgan Rendezvous last summer and they were incredibly grateful for the opportunity. They are very interested in racing with us but don't have vessels suited to Off Soundings racing. If you have an opening in your crew for the Spring Series, please consider bringing along one (or several) of these adventurous scouts as they would revel at the opportunity to come racing with our members. This is a great way to make yourself eligible to compete for the Lockwood Trophy and to help foster the next generation of sailors and future Off Soundings members! If you are interested please contact Seth Olson, the Off Soundings Youth Liaison, who is coordinating this with the Sea Scouts, he can be reached at 203-530-3705 or email Seth Olson
In 2010, the estate of Eileen Ames donated the funds that were used to produce the 2012 OSC video, “Passion to Race”. Our goal is to keep the subject fund active and to replentish it so we can produce another video in the near future. In addition to your viewing enjoyment, these videos are an essential part of documenting the history of the Off Soundings fleet.
Club Out-Of-Office Message for Phones Lost Overboard
Ever lose your phone overboard? Here is the un-officially sanctioned voicemail message indicating to callers that it might be a while before you get back to them.
The Off Soundings Club is a yacht racing organization with a membership of approximately 500 experienced racing sailors. Most of the membership is based in Connecticut, Rhode Island, on Long Island, and elsewhere in southern New England and New York State. The club does not operate a shore facility, but concentrates on managing two high-quality weekend race series per year for its members and their invited guests.
The historical records of the club are housed in the Blunt Library at Mystic Seaport Museum, which we consider to be our traditional home port.
DYER DHOW DERBY
Off Soundings at the Mystic Seaport Dyer Dhow Derby - Saturday, October
The Off Soundings Club was represented by Jay Spalding (Blue Moon) and his daughter, Lisa, and son, Evan, at the annual Dyer Dhow Derby hosted by the Mystic Seaport.
The Seaport has about fifty Dyer Dhows which are used for educating sailors. The boats are donated by various individuals and organizations, one which has been provided by the Off Soundings Club. The Seaport recognizes the donors every fall by inviting them to participate in a derby, which includes multiple races and a post-race party.
The Spaldings were awarded 3rd overall. Evan Spalding was awarded 2nd in the junior division.
Visually experience racing in the 2012 Off Soundings series by watching this thirty minute video, 'Passion to Race'.
Off Soundings in Motion - 2016
In the fall of 2009, the race from New London to Greenport on Friday was abandoned due to a powerful front that had developed that morning. However, boats still had to get to Greenport via Plum Gut so they could race in Gardiners Bay on Saturday. This two minute video was taken from a boat appropriately named ... 'Dark N' Stormy'.
The series conducted in 2008 represented the 75th anniversery of the club and featured two days of excellent racing conditions. These three minute videos are rated 'thumbs-up'!