September 1, 2018

Racing September 2018

Calling all Racers, crew members, and want to be racers/crew members Reminder – The 2018 ECSC Governor’s Cup Regatta has been combined with our famed ECSC Lobster Fest. So why not do both! Go to Regatta Network at this link and register NOW! – Online Governor’s Cup registration closes on Friday, September 7th, 2018 (optional mail in registration at club website) – Your $50 entry gets you racing Saturday and Sunday with awards and prizes for all, continental breakfast both days, specially designed regatta tech shirt, and one LOBSTER or STEAK dinner (Saturday). Note: Additional dinners for family, or friends can be purchased for $20.00. We currently have 6 Catalina 22’s and one J24 registered, and a reminder to everyone, the largest fleet takes the cup! Bob Hickok and John George – Race Committee
August 8, 2018

Racing August 2018

The Racing Committee is pleased to announce the combination of the LOBSTER Fest and GOVERNOR’S CUP REGATTA 9/15-16/2018!!! This will be a fantastic reward for the first day of racing on Saturday September 15th with the selection of your choice: LOBSTER or STEAK! You can’t ask for a better combination. Be sure to get registered for the regatta and fest on US Sailings’ – 2018 Governor’s Cup Regatta and Lobster Fest by the deadline of 9/7/2018 so you don’t miss the chance for a tasty LOBSTER and a chance to win the GOVERNOR’S CUP! 2018 Spring Series Winners Blue/White: 1st Conrad – Seaward 26 2nd Chapman – Ranger 22 3rd Miller – S2 7.9 Green2: 1st Endris – Flying Scott 2nd Lauer- MC Scow Red: 1st Graef – J24 2nd Douglas -J24 3rd Kohne –J22 Congratulations again, to Spring Series Winners, if you didn’t get your award flag we handed out and announced during the Beach Party please check with your crew or see me. ECSC Regatta day and beach party had great wind 10 knots + and great competition, five races total and four fleets of racers. Great to see my son out racing on his NACRA 5.8 and Dennis Robertson on his new Hobie 20! Good job Racers! Blue/White: 1st Conrad – Seaward 26 2nd Chapman – Ranger 22 3rd Merriman – Hunter 240 4th Brickley – S2 7.3 Green1: 1st Hickok, B – Hobie 20 2nd Hickok, K – NACRA 5.8 3rd Robertson – Hobie 20 Green2: 1st Goff, G – Laser Red: 1st Cameron – J24 2nd Schulze -J24 3rd Wishart –J24   Sunday Series has been going well, with racing on the 4th Sunday of the month. Plenty of good eats after racing with the last one being Sausage Fest! Only two more Super Sundays left with plenty of time to score and win!     Bob Hickok and John George – Race Committee
July 4, 2018

Racing July 2018

How to Start Faster Part #2 It’s make or break time out on the racecourse, MARK RUSHALL explains how to get a flying start and what to do when things don’t go quite toplan. Using a Transit Especially in smaller fleets, a transit is a great indicator of where you are relative to the line. Without a transit it is easy to judge a “long line” when close to the pin or the committee boat, but much more difficult in the middle of line. Using a transit in individual practice also helps develop other ways to judge just where the line is. (See fig.1) How to Start – Fig 1 Before the start, sail down an extension of the line. Find a stationery object (in this case the clock tower), which is on the direct line of committee boat and pin end. Wherever you are positioned on the start line, if the clock is directly behind the pin, you are right on the line. If the clock is on the course side of the pin, you are over, and if the clock is on the pre-start side, you are behind. (Note that if you don’t have a bowman standing at the front, you need to allow for the distance to the bow). Some like to try to find a ‘safe transit’ by lining up about two boats lengths behind the committee boat. In the example (fig.1) the Eiffel Tower has been handily relocated to our shoreline. Two boats lengths at the committee boat equates to one boat length at the midpoint, less as you start closer to the pin. The transit frequently becomes obscured close to start time.  Lining up alongside nearby boats (the sheep principle) will give an average start, but if there is a line bulge, an OCS. If there is a sag, we are giving away ground to those at the ends of the line. Line judging skills come with practice. I recently learned a simple trick from Paul Goodison, ‘Point the boat directly at the pin, holding the tiller dead central. Now sight aft straight along the tiller. If you are sighting behind the committee boat, you are behind the line. If you are sighting in front, you are over. On the waterfront, attendance and fun competition on the lake for racing has been great!  Come early on Wednesday if you want a good parking spot! Spring Series is complete for the Wednesday Spring Series.  Super Sundays continue on the 4th Sunday of the month. Summer Wednesday Series begins on July 4th with patriotic party favors and a raft up after racing for those who want to see different fireworks displays from the water (food and snacks provided). The ECSC Regatta in on Saturday July 7th and it FREE for all registered club members!  We will have a light breakfast and sandwiches for on the water.  Dinner at the Beach Party must be reserved by emailing or contacting Nick Mates by July 4th.  We will hand out awards for the ECSC regatta and Wednesday Spring Series at the Beach Party. See you then.  Bob Hickok and John George – Race Committee
July 2, 2018

Racing July 2018

  Coming Soon                     Follow this link for more info on ECSC Ladies Day – ECSC Ladies    
June 5, 2018

Racing June 2018

  The 2018 Mayor’s Cup Regatta is in the books. We did our best with the challenging Eagle Creek wind shifts (you know those) and lack of wind on day 2. Our guest P.R.O. John Palizza from Chicago got in 5 races total. Thank you, John!  Also, great to see Mark Soya and crew in J24 – 2XS make the trip from Chicago’s Wilmette Harbor Club. He invites J24s and one design racers up to the Inshore Verve Cup at Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Harbor, for details go to: The Mayor’s Cup was won by J24 ¡ɔᴉuɐԀ ʇ,uop – skipper/owner Rick Graef  in a six boat fleet. This is Rick’s first Mayor’s Cup win, hard to believe. Second place in the J24 Fleet went to the revived Green Hornet – skipper/owner Jason Hubbard and third place went to yours truly and my fine crew in Spontaneous Combustion. Red Fleet was won by John Kohne on J22 – Special K and Blue/White fleet was won by Kenny Chapman on his new boat, a Ranger 22 – ISIS (The Goddess of Wind). Green fleet was won by Spike Selig on his windsurfer. The Caribbean/Jamaican dinner was catered by Da Blue Lagoon (ox tails yum) and the Band Leslie Red and Friends (featuring Hobie-Joe Burton) was fantastic. Thanks to Sheela Smith Krout for taking some great pictures, which you can find on the Club’s Facebook page. A new ECSC event on Saturday, June 16, starting at 11AM…Blue/White Fleet Day. We will meet at the lower Race Shelter at 11AM, serve sandwiches/chips/water (RSVP below please by 6/12), review basic racing rules, review racing start sequence, discuss rigging tips, do Q&A, then go out and do some practice starts. If you are new to racing, or thought about wanting to race but now sure you have enough knowledge to get started, the Blue/White Fleet Day will be encouraging and perfect for you. New and existing Blue/White Fleet boats (cruising type boats) are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP to Rich Fox ( by Wednesday, June 12 if you plan to attend. Series racing continues with Wednesday evenings bringing out the most boats. We had 21 boats out on Wednesday May 23rd WOW! Also Kudos to the 6 Blue/White fleet boats (they out-numbered the red fleet 3 to 1) that braved the threat of storms and strong winds and came out and raced Wednesday May 30th.  The Wednesday Summer Series starts July 4th at 6:50pm. Spring Series Awards will be given out at the ECSC Regatta Beach Party @ 6:50 lol.  We’ve had two Super Sunday series race days always followed by a fantastic pitch-in meal with club-provided main course, wind or not. All the Super Sunday races will be one series, not spring and summer like Wednesdays(amended Sis). Remember that until you’ve done your race committee duty there’s a seven point hit to your score. We’ve created two slots PRO1 and PRO2 to give you opportunity to remove the hit. Sign up for duty @ We appreciate all the volunteers we’ve had so far! THANK YOU!! Speaking of volunteers, we need all the help you can give in making the race program work. If you volunteer for regatta’s you earn work credits!  John George and I can’t do it all. Check the signup genius,or give us a call we have more work to do. Coming up, we have a traveling keelboat regatta at Indianapolis Sailing Club, the Geist Guzzler on June 9th/10th and the ECSC Flying Scott-J22 Regatta June 30th/July 1st then the ECSC Regatta (a one day $20 club regatta) on July 7th and on June 24th Super Sunday #3. Come on out and have fun, be safe and compete to win or volunteer!   Bob Hickok    
May 7, 2018

Racing May 2018

Racing May 2018!   MAYOR’S CUP UPDATE!! The Mayor’s Cup is just around the corner!!!   May 19th and 20th we will hold our first major regatta of the season. Race Documents and the Registration form can be found online at under the racing tab.  To pre-register, go to or fill out the registration form from our website or on the race shack bulletin board and mail or give to me. Come out for great on- the -water racing, and off- the- water food, music and beverages. Remember, the Mayors Cup party is not just for Racers anymore. All club members are invited to come to the party, hang with the racers, eat some delicious Da Blue Lagoon food, also, enjoy some beer or pop and good music from Leslie Red and Friends. The party starts around 5 with a Rum Pour and snacks. The band will start around 6:00, and dinner at 6.30.  ALL THIS FOR ONLY $15! Mayor’s Cup shirts will also be available (while supplies last) for $20 per shirt (nice tech fabric shirts). Racers, your $50(-$5 US sailing membership) registration fee includes one $20 shirt and one $15 dinner. Wednesday Night Series April has seen some great racing. The numbers are growing each week as the temperature continues to rise. Plan on racing the Super Sunday Series on the forth Sunday of each month with pitch-in dinner following the afternoon’s racing, with a special main dish provided by club. Special Thanks to Chef John George and Chef Janet Hickok for getting the first Super Sunday off to a flying start. Please, sign up for RC duty,  we still need help on the RC boat so come on out and have some fun. Another special thanks to fellow club member and good friend Dan Nicholas who has volunteered for Safety boat duty for the year’s club series racing! The next event after the Mayor’s Cup will be the Super Sunday on May 27th at @ 2pm and a traveling regatta to the Geist Guzzler on June 9th and 10th.   Bob Hickok
April 6, 2018

Racing April 2018

      How to Start Faster In case you missed the last racing seminar: It’s make or break time out on the racecourse, how to get a flying start and what to do when things don’t go quite to plan. When the race officer sounds the starting signal for the Super Sunday races, he can already see which boats are going to compete in the leading pack, which will be fighting with the mid fleet masses, and which crews will consider a recovery to the mid fleet a success. For most racers, the first five minutes set the agenda for the entire race. Yet, unlike sprinters or tennis players, who spend hours and days practicing starting and serving techniques, most of us are content with the 15 minutes or so starting practice we get each weekend in our local club races, compared with the three hours course-racing practice which inevitably follows each start. We all experience elements of a bad start from time to time: no space to leeward so no opportunity to accelerate without being lee-bowed; blanketed by boats to windward; starting at the unfavored end and seeing the fleet crossing boat lengths ahead within minutes of the start; in irons going backwards when the gun goes; or simply being pinned on starboard tack unable to follow any preset strategy. Worse still, sticking out from the crowd in the event of a black flag or individual recall. Consistent good starters avoid these dangers by applying a mix of skills. Many are class specific: the fastest way to learn is by watching your class expert. Sadly, these skills can’t be learned simply from reading. They must be learned just the same way the expert learned them – through time on the water. Strategic Awareness when Sailing A clear race strategy leads to a definite starting objective. A starting objective enables realistic priorities to be set; rather than trying to win the start outright we might aim for a more conservative approach, which achieves these priorities. For example, in light conditions the top priority for a keelboat is generally speed off the line, while in a dinghy it’s clear wind. If there is a wind bend favoring the right-hand side of the course, the priority will be a clear lane to tack onto port.   How to handle the boat Practicing some specific boat handling skills will enable you to accurately position the boat on the start line: Stop quickly by pushing out the boom, keeping the boat’s alignment constant. Learn to maneuver at slow speed, using sails and body weight. Practice holding the boat on station in semi-stalled mode; (between close hauled and head to wind) using rudder and sails; maintaining control all the time. Try bearing away fast without acceleration, then promptly returning to semi-stalled mode. Learn to tack when in semi-stalled mode, using body movement and sails, without gaining forward momentum. Accelerate quickly from semi-stalled mode.   Boat Awareness Things we need to learn about our own class: What wind and wave conditions allow a stable semi-stall mode? (In big waves or wind, a controlled speed approach may be safer). How long does our boat take to accelerate from semi-stall to full speed (through a range of conditions) and what is the minimum space we need to leeward to achieve this? What are the techniques for ‘hanging in’ – maintaining a lane after the start when we haven’t created quite enough room to leeward? How fast does our boat move sideways through the range of conditions? Time on distance – how long does it take to sail five boat lengths in each wind condition? (Sailors who have developed this skill well can judge the distance to the line in time as well as distance.)   Observational Skills Practice measuring the line bias – judging how far you are from the line, observing the trends in the fleet, spotting the gaps and the hot spots.   Know your rules To ensure good starting, we need a clear knowledge of the rules, make sure that our competitors are aware of this, and control close situations before they become incidents. WE HAVE MORE RULES PAMPLETS JUST ASK.   Sailing Routine All good starters have their own favorite routine. As with any complicated task, a checklist, breaking the task into manageable portions, makes the whole procedure less daunting. Starting the first race of the club or world championship becomes as straightforward as eating your cornflakes. If it helps, write it down. Here’s an example: Practice beat Practice run Wind patterns? Is your boat set up for the conditions? Check shrouds, forestay, lowers and jib cars. Tide/current? Course? Beat strategy Which spinnaker/which bag? Line transit Line bias Start objective Identify the relevant starboard lay line Weed check Bias check I flag? Black flag? Where are boats lining up? Final decisions Final line up Check Cunningham, centerboard and vang Now all you need is practice!!!! See you on the water, Bob Hickok Racing Chair  
March 5, 2018

Racing – March 2018

How to Race Your Cruiser: The Boat There’s no reason you can’t be both a cruiser and a racer. Better yet, you don’t need to have a two-boat program either. Quantum’s Jay Sharkey details how to optimize your current boat to make you competitive in the performance cruising circuits. Everyone loves to sail fast, even the hard-core cruiser. When the racing bug bites and it’s time to dip your toe in the local race circuit, there are hundreds of thousands of sailboats marketed as dual-purpose racer/cruisers that fill marinas around the world. These boats tend to be neither overbuilt offshore passage-makers, nor stripped-out high-tech racing machines, but they can fill both roles for most sailors’ needs. However, there’s no need to trade in your trusty cruiser or buy a second boat, there are a number of things you can do to optimize your current boat to be competitive in performance cruising circuits and still be able to enjoy a comfortable sunset sail. Whether it’s your current cruising boat or a new racer/cruiser, they can be optimized for racing or cruising without huge expenses or modifications. In this piece, we’ll examine the racing part of the equation and how to best set up your boat for the racecourse. Optimizing Your Sails The most obvious place to start is with a new set of sails. Many cruiser/racers today come with OEM sails. Being a line item that affects the overall cost of the boat, these OEM sails are usually inexpensively constructed out of cross-cut Dacron panels (the standard since the Nina raced the Pinta and Santa Maria across the Atlantic). Not much consideration is given to their use. These low-tech sails tend to lose their shape after a few years. Even though they appear to be working, they lose efficiency, keeping the boat from performing at its full potential. The most common upgrade is to a radial sail. The design technique allows sail designers to save sail weight by assembling them in a way that orients the sailcloth to the direction of the loads, allowing for less material use in the “unloaded” direction. Radial sails also have more shapeable panels in their construction, giving the designer more room to fine-tune the finished flying shape. At the high-end of the technology scale are Membrane (“string”) sails, such as Quantum’s Fusion M™ product line, where the sails are custom-engineered for the load paths. Fusion M™ sails are built for both racing and cruising applications with options such as double-sided taffetas and light-skin laminates to increase their longevity and long-term shape retention. Once you’ve decided to upgrade your inventory, there are a few things to discuss with your sailmaker, such as the type of racing you’re planning to do (inshore vs. offshore) and whether your sails will be used for both racing and cruising. These details are important because they allow your sailmaker to custom-tailor your inventory for your needs. (Your sailmaker will also be an important ally in tuning your mast and rigging appropriately, as well as helping set up your boat to get the most out of your sails.) Optimizing Your Rigging Upgrading your sail inventory is just the first step. You may need to make other modifications to take full advantage of your new sails’ performance. Higher-tech sails stretch less than the cross-cut Dacron variety, so it’s important to make sure the lines controlling them are as equally stretch resistant. Jerome Sammarcelli, owner of Sailutions, a Marina del Rey-based sailboat optimization company, suggests making the change to Dyneema-cored lines. They’re not only stretch resistant, they’re also lighter aloft. “Owners making the switch should consider going to the smallest diameter lines that will still work with their current deck hardware,” says Jerome. “The weight savings aloft can add up fast, creating the opportunity to take advantage of a righting moment, which was previously not there.”   Optimizing Your Electronics Along with sails and rigging, optimizing your electronics will help you improve your racing performance. The most basic modern electronics package will usually have the essentials: wind speed/direction and boat speed.   Optimizing Your Boat Finally, the boat itself can be optimized for racing with a few tweaks: lightening your boat as much as possible is the cheapest and easiest first step, just make sure not to violate any rules about removing standard equipment like locker doors and cushions. Remove all extra tools, spares, and any other items you won’t need to race (investing in a dock-box will give you a place to store things, like your barbeque and water toys, while you race for the day).   Make sure all water tanks are empty. Stow all gear as close to the middle of the boat and as far down as possible. If you have a fixed propeller, switching to a folding prop will also make a big difference (at the expense of maneuverability under power), as will fairing the keel and rudder. The idea is that the smoother the flow across the bottom, the faster the boat will go.   Ready, Set, Race! Taking the leap from cruising into racing doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following these steps, you’ll see a definite jump in your boat’s performance.   Now comes the fun part – get out there and mix it up! Good luck, and welcome to your new addiction: sailboat racing!   Bob Hickok, Racing