Road To The Cup – Week 0

Road To The Cup – Week 0

2022 Preview – 5/22/22

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s that time again.  And if you ask me, it couldn’t have come soon enough.  As usual, winter was a slog, and also as usual, spring proved longer and chillier than I’d like.  But that’s all behind us now and it won’t be long before we’re enjoying 85-degree temps, sunny skies, sparkling water and 8-12 from the SE.  I live for that.  Anyway, next Saturday kicks off our annual battle for the Nick Nichols Trophy, aka ‘The Cup,’ and to quote my brother Jim Raisides, “I love opening day!”  So it’s time to buff the bottom, lube the blocks, replace some halyards, step the rig and get this season started.

Before we start, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to our clinic panelists Jim TaylorJoe Fava and Stan Schreyer.  Those guys totally brought their A-games and gave us all some valuable stuff to think about and work on.  Thanks also to Matt Hooks, who had every intention of being there, but was forced to bail at the 11th hour due to a positive test result.  Finally, thanks to everyone who attended and stepped up with so many great questions. 

So we have two items on today’s agenda.  First is to provide a quick overview of the cup, what scores are included, etc., and that will include an update on some changes from MRA.  The second is a Twilight refresher from the Grolsch-loving Mr. Twilight himself, John Casler.  Cup. 

The Nick Nichols Trophy is named in memory of long-time Townie and Rhodes skipper Nathan ‘Nick’ Nichols.  It is among our most coveted prizes because, it’s not just about winning a day or a regatta, but about sustaining a competitive campaign over the entire season.  To win the Cup, you have to sail just about every week and turn in consistently solid results.  You don’t necessarily have to win, but you do have to show up and be competitive.  As you know, we’ll use this soapbox to keep you up to date each week with riveting commentary and the top ten (and maybe a little good-natured ribbing and unsubstantiated gossip sprinkled in).

Cup scoring will continue to include virtually everything, but the series have been restructured.  As you may have heard, MRA changed it up this year by aggregating our racing into fewer series.  We’re sailing the same number of race days but there will be more race days per series.  So the MRA lineup will include four series: Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 and Fall Series.  The two days of the old Spring Series on Memorial Day weekend will be part of MRA 1, and the two days of the old Labor Day regatta will finish up MRA 3.  The Fall Series will consist of three Saturdays in September. 

Cup scoring will include all of that – MRA Series 1-2-3 and Fall Series, plus Race Week, plus the 13 Thursday night Twilights between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  You’ll find all those dates on the MRA schedule.  As usual, we’re splitting twilights into two series, and you’ll find those splits below. 

Twilights have been gaining in popularity over the past few years, as the numbers have steadily increased.  So if you want to compete for the Cup, ignore Twilights at your peril.  You might be able to win without them, but it’s harder.  Think of Twilights, not just as awesome beer can racing, but also as a way to pick up 5-10 points a week on the guys who don’t show up. 

On the subject of Twilights, we’ve heard that folks sometimes can get a little confused about the courses, which marks are which, and in which direction to round them.  So we’ve called on the Twilight oracle, John Casler to help us out.  This week, His Eminence provides a Twilight overview and attempts to demystify mark roundings.  Next week he’ll help us find the marks.

“The Twilight start is between a smallish red ball over toward the fort and a yellow board hung from the CYC Twilight RC Booth.  Courses use government marks, identified on signs hanging from the booth.  The posted numbers correspond to numbers on the chart on the back of the Sailing Instructions.  Almost all Twilight courses are originally posted as twice around, though many are shortened as the evening breeze fades.

“On the first leg of all Twilight courses, all marks are left to port, except if port rounding makes no sense.  As an example, a posted course of ‘22’ ‘21’ twice around means you sail first to nun ‘2MH’ off the Fort, then to the mid-channel can ‘1MH.’  Then you head back in to starting mark ‘O.’  With that pattern you clearly have to leave those marks to starboard.  Mark “O” is not posted, but is part of all laps around the course, as a starting mark, a finish mark, or as a rounding mark on twice around courses.

“A shortened course or change in course will be announced by a horn blast, with any new mark or marks posted.  Changes are also usually announced over the radio.  If the course is shortened, you just cross the starting line in the direction from the last mark, put your boat away, and head to the bar for a Grolsch.  If the race is to continue, the Twilight rules are explicit as to the rounding pattern.  You always round starting mark “O” on the same side that you passed the previous mark, and you continue rounding turning marks in the same direction as the first time around.  The only exception is where the newly posted course has two marks such that it makes no sense to continue the prior rounding direction.”

A few other general observations: 

–       Twilight races start earlier as sunsets come earlier.  The change usually comes after Race Week.

–       The air can die quickly in the evening.  Pre- race, stay close to the starting line unless you are sure the air will hold.

–       The tide at the starting line is really significant, especially in light air.

–       Light air in the evening can be heavily influenced by the land masses, to the point where it can be from one direction off the lighthouse and the opposite off the Fort.

–       Marks “T,” “Y,” and “Z” on the chart are pretty much only used late in September, after the harbor has partially cleared out.

–       There is almost always a post-race gathering at CYC over drinks and usually dinner.  All are welcome. 

Well, there you have it.  Thanks, John.  Next week he’ll tackle the marks.  Hopefully, you’ll find the Twilight SIs and chart showing the marks at the CYC web site.  You also should be able to pick up the hard copy at the CYC front desk. 

One final scoring note.  As you know, our East Coasts will be June 10-12 in Manchester, generously hosted by our friends at the Manchester Yacht Club.  The ECs are always a blast, and we plan to support them by not scoring the races on MRA 1-4, either for MRA or for the Cup.  So there will be no scoring penalty for sailing East Coasts (i.e. no excuse not to go).  MRA will start any boats that do show up, but will not score them.

Well, there it is.  I’m ready, as is your entire RTTC team, which this year includes Twilight reporters John Casler & Steve Uhl, sideline reporters, contributing photographers and of course, my life editor-in-chief Christina Pandapas.  They’re all here and ready to go.  Let the games begin.

So, in Cup competition, we’re all tied up. 

1st722Team Shoreman / Reynolds0.00
1st769 Rob Ferro0.00
1st982Team Pandapas0.00
1st1015Tom Dailey0.00
1st1137 Chris Adam0.00
1st1210Team Frisch / Hourihan0.00
1st1217Timmy Dittrich / Karl Renny0.00
1st1228Team Hoguet0.00
1st1299Team Felton0.00
1st1316Team Fava/Nash0.00
1st1398 Sarah Sheldon / Ann Sousa0.00
1st1466 Team Martini0.00
1st1680 Chris Remeika0.00
1st1683 Team Hooks / Pascal0.00
1st1686Jocelyn Cook0.00
1st1775John Casler0.00
1st1782 Team Noble0.00
1st1790 Stefan Thibodeaux0.00
1st1819Eric Thornton0.00
1st1925 Tim McCaffrey0.00
1st1926Team Taylor0.00
1st1936 Morgan Cuthbertson & Alix Israel00.0
1st1939Team McNamara0.00
1st2003 Rich & Rosy Denton00.0
1st2435Larry Ehrhard0.00
1st2495Team Rubin0.00
1st2561 Walter Colsman0.00
1st2585Steve Uhl0.00
1st2590Team Berliner0.00
1st2623Team Lane / Heffernan0.00
1st2648Team Cooke / Kaznoski0.00
1st2651 Anne Marije Veenland0.00

Week 1 racing will include the first two days MRA Series 1 on Saturday May 28th and Sunday May 29th.  Don’t forget that Twilights start on Thursday May 26th, though we don’t start scoring them until after Memorial Day.  Consider that first one a practice race.  The first scored Twilight will be on Thursday June 2nd.  

Other News, Notices & Miscellaneous Scuttlebutt

Time To Register – If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?  You can register for Fleet 5 here, the Class Association here, and MRA here.

East Coast Championships – The ECs will be hosted by the Manchester Yacht Club and held in Manchester June 10-12.  You’ll find the NOR here, the SIs here, and can register here.

Twilight Series Scoring –Cup scoring includes only the Thursday night Twilights between Memorial Day and Labor Day (with a break for Race Week), which we split into two series.  Here is the 2022 split.

Series 1 – June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23, June 30, July 7,

Series 2 – July 14, July 21, August 4, August 11, August 18, August 25, September 1

There will be one throw-out per series, assuming we get in five races for that series.

First Fleet Party on June 18th – Circle the date.  Fleet 5 will hold its first party of the season after sailing on June 19th.  This will be at the home of Christina & Kim Pandapas.  Keep your eye out for the invite. 

Race Week – The centerpiece of our season, officially called the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series (formerly NOOD), will be held Thursday through Sunday, July 28-31, and that will be here before you know it.  A reminder that your MRA registration fee covers the entry fee, so you don’t have to pay more, but you do have to register.  Unless I missed it, they don’t have the registration page up yet, but you can keep checking here.

Welcome Rich & Rosie – We’re excited to welcome Rich & Rosie Denton, who have had some tough luck getting their Rhodes careers started.  After completely refurbishing their first boat last summer, a tree fell on it in last fall’s big storm.  How unlucky is that?  It took them most of the winter to get over the PTSD, but they did and they recently purchased 2003 from Michael Carpenter & BJ Mansfield.  We couldn’t be more excited for them and excited to have them sail with us.  Welcome.  And as excited as I am to gain Rich & Rosie, I’m deeply saddened that Michael & BJ, both longtime friends and great sailors, finally threw in the towel.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  I’ve never faced a competitor who was more of gentleman than Mike Carpenter.  In my view, he defined winning (and losing) with grace, and remains the standard to which I will always aspire.

If You Spin, Send It In – To promote fair sailing and keeping it on the racecourse, we’re continuing our successful initiative ‘If you spin, send it in.’  It’s worked well the last few years so why not keep it going.  So, if you spin, please send me an email rafter racing with the subject line ‘Circles’ and let me know how many fouls you committed for which you exonerated yourself on the water.  I’ll tally them up, give an appropriately laudatory sportsmanship shout-out, and also keep you apprised of the season totals.  The season winner with the most spins will be appropriately recognized at the awards party this fall, and maybe even get a little swag. 

Mail Bag

No mail this week, but I trust you’ll have plenty to say going forward.  Send your thoughts, observations, complaints, complements, critiques, whines, wise cracks and importantly photos to the email below.

–kp (

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