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Frostbite Sailing


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#1 MWF

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 08:45 PM

Myself and several others are setting up a Frostbite Series at the Oakville Yacht Squadron in Oakville, ON. We have 8 - 10 Lasers that sail regularly and several others who are interested but lack a boat. Our plan so far is to run collegiate style races in the harbour once all of the larger boats and docks have been hauled.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this sort of thing before. Your comments on what works and what doesn't would be much appreciated, in particular any strategies for convincing those without boats to come down and at least give it a try.

Thanks for the input. Cheers.

#2 echak

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 09:28 PM

Unless you can find a RC willing to sit around in the cold, consider doing "rabbit starts"... It keeps short races moving with a quick turnaround in between. We did this at my previous club with Flying Scots, Lightnings, and Buccaneers with good success. Besides, if it's good enough for the 505 class for major events...

Myself and several others are setting up a Frostbite Series at the Oakville Yacht Squadron in Oakville, ON. We have 8 - 10 Lasers that sail regularly and several others who are interested but lack a boat. Our plan so far is to run collegiate style races in the harbour once all of the larger boats and docks have been hauled.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this sort of thing before. Your comments on what works and what doesn't would be much appreciated, in particular any strategies for convincing those without boats to come down and at least give it a try.

Thanks for the input. Cheers.



#3 MacGregor_Lover

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 10:51 PM

We have a fleet that races Lasers and JY's. One of the things you can do what we are working on is putting together a fleet boat for newbies and other people to try it out for the day. As far as race commitee we have a good group of dedicated people that are out there every week. I am sure you will find a similar group around your club just ask around.

#4 Hobie Dog

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 03:08 PM

Good thread, hope we get some more feedback as we are going to start a Laser frostbite series at our club as well. We have about 15 Lasers in our club and I have positive feedback from 5 to 7 so we are going to setup some very informal racing. Have no idea on format or if we will race the entire winter into spring. That all depends on weather. AFA starts we probably will do a combination of rabbit starts, RC from our club dock (if we can find a peep or two) and RC from a boat in the harbor (again if we can find a few for RC and a boat at that point).

We have a fleet/demo boat for non owners/newbies to try out for a sail and that has been really successful. She is an older Laser that is being loaned by a fellow club member for us to use. So if looking for boats for this purpose ask around your club and see if you can find boats that are not being used that your fleet can borrow.

#5 Experimental

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 03:46 PM

If you have an old floating dock and some extra lumber, one popular option among a lot of frostbite clubs in Long Island Sound is to build a "committee barge" with a shack on it. The barge is either moored on the racecourse for the season or towed out each week. Keeps the RC happy and lets you hold races in open water. If you're having trouble finding RC, either set up a rotation of sailors in the fleet from week to week, or some fleets just take volunteers from the fleet each race. Lets everyone a break from racing if they need it and keeps the races going.

#6 Hobie Dog

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 07:36 PM

Oh one more thing, I would not take out newbie dinghy sailors once the water gets cold on windy days. It could be dangerous if they do not have the proper gear and start spending a lot of time in the water. Plus dumping the boat and learning to sail a Laser in warm water is fine but most people are not going to find it fun in cold water.

#7 sailsandsales

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:24 PM

I've been part of 2 frostbite groups. one sails sunfish on the bay and basically goes up till Christmas or when the water turns hard. Beauty of that group is the fun. It's not about the competition it's about screwing around in Sunfish while no one else is out there (at least that was my view of it.) they have a dedicated RC that uses an old aluminum fishing boat.

The other group sails on the river in interclubs. is much more competitive and they go all winter long. That RC is dedicated as well, but they run races from shore so while the race is going they can sit in the heat of their car with a cocktail on the really cold days.

I honestly don't think one group is better then the other. It just depends on what you are looking for. The interclubs pull guys from every fleet and are there to race, while the sunfish guys are mostly sunfishers that want to keep sailing. The Sunfish sail a more traditional course in that they have an RC boat, but the interclubs using the shore as the boat, which makes starts and finishes interesting, keeps a happier RC.

#8 Little Bleck

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:58 PM

In Waukegan we have two to three fleets of El Toros. The B fleet starts the A fleet and so on. Winner finishes the next fleet.

#9 zerothehero

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 03:56 PM

Raced Dyer Dhows in Greenwich, old fleet, very well run. Raced Sunfish at Edgewood Y.C. in R.I. and even thought the fleet wasn't as big and there were more beginners I liked it better. Racing was off the end of the long dock. RC stood there and ran races. A shack would have been great. We all rotated as RC, usually once a season. They split the season into two separate series, fall and winter, with a combined trophy as well as series trophies. There were also a few weekends that were stand alone regattas. This worked out well because you got more people out there. Not all at once, but over the course of the season. The stand alone regattas attracted boats from all over RI and western CT and southern Mass. The series tended to be the locals but sometimes it would shuffle the players a bit. Trophies were informal keepers (jackets, binders, shirts) with perpetual at the club. After racing the bar would be open and football on. Club wasn't open in the winter so it was BYOB and the bar wasn't usually very warm, but always felt warm after being wet and cold. They had a 20/20 rule. No race in over 20 mph winds or under 20 degrees. I thought it was wimpy until we raced one day that was 18 mph and 22 degrees. By the end of racing I had a thick layer of slushy ice on the deck and icicles hanging from the blocks. Drysuit was really a must that day. Although several sailed in wetsuits or foulies. I always thought the foulies was a bad idea. We would have 5 or so races each Sunday. Start time was around 10 I think. Attendance for regular series was 10-20, stand alones was 10-30. For that club the Sunfish was also a JR boat so we had a junior class as well that usually had 4-6 boats sailing including 2 girls. I really liked sailing off the dock. There were a lot of tactical decisions to be made in the prestart The port end was the dock and it was about 100 feet long and the line was always at the north end. If the wind was out of the north that made the start box really cramped. Out of the south and there was no right side. Plus there were pilings, slips and a jetty that came into play often. Courses were often oddly shaped with the windward mark sometimes just a few boat lengths upwind then a really long run and medium beat. We did a downwind start about once a week too. All in all it was much more relaxed than the structure at IHYC and I liked it better. Not right or wrong, I just had more fun. Perhaps in addition to a club boat to get people out a few club dry suits might help too.

#10 Hobie Dog

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 04:49 PM

Thanks all for the great feedback. I guess you guys from Vermont are more hard core but the 20/20 rule sounds brutal to me! I think we will go with the 20 knot limit but if it is below freezing I am not going! I am sure our club will want us to establish a formal number so I probably will propose 32 degrees. Then again our average high temperature is still 42 even in the coldest part of January...

#11 sailsandsales

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 05:20 PM

Thanks all for the great feedback. I guess you guys from Vermont are more hard core but the 20/20 rule sounds brutal to me! I think we will go with the 20 knot limit but if it is below freezing I am not going! I am sure our club will want us to establish a formal number so I probably will propose 32 degrees. Then again our average high temperature is still 42 even in the coldest part of January...


wimp :-)

#12 zerothehero

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 09:36 PM

dont frostbite in VT. Our water gets too hard. That was just south of Providence, RI. Flat water, usually. Temps were normally in the low 40's to high 30s. The day mentioned was an exception, but we had a good turnout so we went. The next week we could go out as the harbor was frozen. You won't have that problem in the Chesapeake. We had one guy go swimming that day. He was wearing a drysuit but it leaked somewhere. He made it to the end of the day but he was hypothermic and we derigged for him as he needed to be helped into the club. I went over that day as well but was able to go over the high side and avoid a swim. My Wife (then GF) used to go down and sit on the dock and watch with a big thermos of spiced cider with mount gay. It was our secret weapon. I used to pull in between races and have a cup. Man by the last race I was feelin good!

#13 BarePoles

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:19 AM

Great thread. When I lived in Atlanta, Ga we'd frostbite Laser's on Lake Lanier, usually had anywhere between 20 and 30 Lasers on the line on a good day. I broke down and bought a drysuit after racing on a 20kt day with air temps just below freezing. I took a couple of dips and felt the stages of hypothermia kicking in REALLY quickly, it actually got pretty scary. RC was always on point and very good at watching people in potentially dangerous situations. With every 30 degree day there'd by a 45 degree day to follow so the temps never got to drastic. I plan to do a bit of frostbiting up this way, I am sure it will be MUCH colder and will have to see how things go. All and all frostbiting is a great way to break up the cold months and some of the best sailors around enjoy sailing in the coldest months of the year.

#14 marmalade

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 01:26 AM

North East River Yacht Club's Frostbite series starts November 7th. Last year was my first year frostbiting and you can check out my blog about our adventures at: http://www.frostbite...g.wordpress.com


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NERYC is located at the top of the Chesapeake Bay

#15 eliboat

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 03:46 AM

Cape Cod Frosties bro.... Season starts this weekend on Nanatucket for the Scallop cup. If you have a boat stuffed in your closet, get it on the ferry before the start by noon on Saturday.

As far as our fleet goes, we've experienced solid growth over the last five years. The formula is good people, good parties every Sunday, extra boats for newbies, extra dry suits for newbies. We've gone from a dying fleet with 9 boats on a great day prob. 4-6 average to a fleet that is pushing 30 boats and growing every season. One thing we have done the last few years is have a summer regatta. This has brought lots of new people into the class because it's far less intimidating to get out there when its warm if you've never done it before.

Seriously....if you have a Frosty and you're near the cape or in New England...get out to Nantucket for the Scallop cup this weekend.

Attached File  _DSC8874.jpg   293K   46 downloads

#16 sailsandsales

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 03:57 AM

Cape Cod Frosties bro.... Season starts this weekend on Nanatucket for the Scallop cup. If you have a boat stuffed in your closet, get it on the ferry before the start by noon on Saturday.

As far as our fleet goes, we've experienced solid growth over the last five years. The formula is good people, good parties every Sunday, extra boats for newbies, extra dry suits for newbies. We've gone from a dying fleet with 9 boats on a great day prob. 4-6 average to a fleet that is pushing 30 boats and growing every season. One thing we have done the last few years is have a summer regatta. This has brought lots of new people into the class because it's far less intimidating to get out there when its warm if you've never done it before.

Seriously....if you have a Frosty and you're near the cape or in New England...get out to Nantucket for the Scallop cup this weekend.

Attached File  _DSC8874.jpg   293K   46 downloads



Now that's hardcore!!! Sailing a boat in the winter that's shorter then you! What the heck is that thing. It looks like it's about 5 feet long.

#17 eliboat

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 12:41 PM

Cape Cod Frosty, referred to as the smallest racing dinghy in the world, though I'm not sure if this is completely accurate or not. It's 6'-4" long, has 25 sq feet of sail and is normally built out of 1/4" plywood. Minimum weight is 34 lbs for a boat. Skipper and boat must weigh 214 lbs combined or else they need to be ballasted with water bottles. It is an extremely fun boat to sail, and pretty difficult as well. Almost all the boats are home built, with a few exceptions. Boats built here in NH are generally higher quality than earlier boats coming out of Cape Cod. Early boats were built quickly with Luan and bondo. Blocks were commonly shower curtain rings. Things have advanced quite a bit since then...more than a couple boats are sporting carbon fiber. Last year we changed to rule to allow local stiffening of the aluminum mast tube. This powered the boat up significantly, and in big wind it planes easily, whereas before it would plane but get really squirrely as the mast bent and spilled wind up top.

#18 eliboat

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 01:05 PM

By the way. I should add that we traditionally used the 20/20 rule for years when most of the boats were not self rescuing. Once people started building boats with tanks and better materials, we moved beyond the 20/20 rule. Since Frosty Sundays are basically sacred around here, there is almost nothing that will stop us until the wind starts getting consistently above 30 kts. We sail in single digits regularly, and honestly we welcome the big winds. One of the keys for heavier conditions has been to have two people on the dock for RC, which makes rescues easier.

#19 zerothehero

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 01:30 PM

love those frosties! Never sailed them but I used to sail Dyer Dhows. Have often though of building a frosty just for the fun of it.

#20 sailsandsales

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 02:01 PM

By the way. I should add that we traditionally used the 20/20 rule for years when most of the boats were not self rescuing. Once people started building boats with tanks and better materials, we moved beyond the 20/20 rule. Since Frosty Sundays are basically sacred around here, there is almost nothing that will stop us until the wind starts getting consistently above 30 kts. We sail in single digits regularly, and honestly we welcome the big winds. One of the keys for heavier conditions has been to have two people on the dock for RC, which makes rescues easier.


That's AWESOME man. I want to try one! Is the Cape the only place they sail?

#21 Hobie Dog

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 06:06 PM

Wow! Hardcore no doubt!

#22 eliboat

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:00 PM

The only really active fleet is actually in Portsmouth/New Castle, NH. There are a bunch of Frosties around on the Cape, but the racing down there died out some years back. A feww boats have become active again in Nantucket, and there is interest in some other places to start fleets. Our fleet here in NH has been steadily growing for a number of reasons. First of all, this is what we have frostbited here for the last 20 odd years. There are no interclubs, and the local laser guys are also Frosty guys, so they move into Frosties in the winter, or head to Newport for the od Laser weekend (now there is a Sat laser thing in Marblehead run by a frosty sailor Greg Wilkinson, so that's an option too). The other thing that is driving growth is the location I think. The boats are pretty cool to see out there when the snow is going sideways. We sail right next to a causeway between Portsmouth and New Castle, so we have good exposure. Lots of people see the action, and the want to get in on it. We have good parties, and we as a group tend to do quite well in all of the other local sailing during the summer, so that attracts other local sailors looking to become active in what has become the hottest fleet. Finally, you can get into a frosty for a few hundred bucks and be having a blast. The boats are all hand made, and some of them are quite nice really. It's always nicer to be in a boat that somebody built with pride rather than with a chopper gun.

#23 Experimental

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:39 PM

I'll second the Frosty. I built one (hull #905) with my dad in our garage over winter break at college. Started on New Years, had it in the water by March just $500 later. It's small enough to fit in most cars and you can carry it down to the water, so logistics before and after racing only take a few minutes. As Eli said the only currently active fleet is in Newcastle, but at one time I believe there were several fleets from Canada to Maryland.

#24 sailsandsales

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:09 PM

http://www.capecodfrosty.org/index.htm

these are them right? that's awesome... how do they sail? would it be a good boat to teach a kid on? I want to build my daughter a boat when she gets a bit older. This may be a fun one.

#25 eliboat

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:47 PM

Yeah, that's the old class site. frostyfleet9.org is more active, but the link you posted does have some good info and background information on the class, which is generally pretty entertaining.

As far as how the boat sails, it is actually a very tricky boat to master. You are so much heavier than the boat, and this is really unique in sailing. Moving your head has a dramatic effect on the trim of the boat, so body mechanics become really important. Obviously the smaller you are, the easier it is to figure this stuff out, but few people are actually sailing the boat to its potential on any given day. The tendency is for people to sail with a little bit of heel, which basically means leeway, which is of course not good. If you keep the boat flat, even heel it to windward slightly, the daggerboard, which is a very high aspect foil in the frosty's case, the boat actually points quite well to weather. In windy conditions it will plane readily, and is quite a lot of fun.

There have been some kids over the years who have gotten into the boat. Two time national champ, Ross Weene, built his first boat when he was 13, and we have a couple of 12 year olds who race actively with us on Sundays. I personally am of the belief that the world does not need another Optimist, so I'm all for juniors sailing Frosties. With any luck, we will go that route locally. I actually came up through the Optis back when the fleet was just starting to develop into what it is today, and the only thing that I think you gain from it is large fleets. Boat for boat... an Opti is pretty lame. One local kid (8) is building a Frosty with his dad, and it makes for a pretty good first boat building project. There is a sailing foundation in Portland Maine that built a fleet of 20 or so a few years back, and they use them to teach sailing.

Boats run the gamut as far as how long they take to build. My last boat I built in a week just prior to the national championship, and that was a decent boat. Back in the day they would literally slap them together in a weekend or less...those particular boats are rarely competitive these days.




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