Second Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser Regatta


Wild and windy but sunny and cool conditions greeted sailors for the Second Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser Regatta on Saturday September 24, 2022 in Strafford, NH. Winds were 20-25 with tops blowing off the whitecaps, gusts to 30 or more and waves of 2-3 feet. Regatta Chair Bob Shapiro tried a practice sail with a C-sail but could not tack and it was even incredibly difficult to jibe. Finally managed to retrieve the boat farther downwind along the shore. Then a D-sail (handkerchief) was tried. Now you could jibe, but tacking was still nearly impossible. If you timed it just right the waves might throw you around.

Lots of alternative plans were discussed with the 11 sailors, including sailing Sunday instead (half the people couldn’t make it), sailing with D-sails (we only had 5 so would have to race in heats and it would still be mostly rescuing in conditions not so safe to be out in a kayak), cancelling the regatta (NOOO!!!!) or moving to another venue. We moved to the other end of the lake – a few miles away at the Northwood town beach, across the street from Race Director Ryan Gershuny’s house. So we had a place to park and a bathroom. Launching was now from the water, so Rob Donle grabbed a pair of tall waders and launched, retrieved and rescued the boats, with some help from Nathaniel Hendrickson and Michael Hoydis and some others.

Michael Hoydis set a windward-leeward course; first leg very short given the geography with a good size second leg, start/finish line in between. Some races were twice around and some once. Notice naming them first leg and second leg – not windward leg and leeward leg. This alternate venue was chosen since it was on the windward shore with trees blocking the wind and no opportunity for waves to build up. But this meant that the wind rose over the trees and then smashed down onto the water and fanned out in a very irregular pattern. Every leg had wind from the North, East, West and South, with NE, NW, SW and SE and many other directions thrown in. The wind varied tremendously in velocity as well, with typical speeds 5-10 mph but lots of gusts to 15 or more and many periods of eerie quiet. B-sails were used for the day – sometimes they were too small, sometimes too big but mostly just right. Goldilocks was happy.

11 boats participated. 16 were planning to come but business travel knocked one out, memorial service another, Covid a third, etc. Nobody bailed as we struggled to decide where and how to hold the event. Tim Wright and Paul McBride came down from Wolfeboro, NH to sail. Paul sailed 623 borrowed from Don Cundy and got better as the day went on and he got more used to the RC Laser, while Tim sailed 80 borrowed from Bob Shapiro. At the end of the day, Tim thanked Bob for lending him the fast boat. Sigh…

Mike Rabideau #8 and Lesley Morgan #6 came over from Exeter, NH with their two boats. Lesley had never sailed an RC boat before and did a great job of figuring it out in very trying conditions. Unfortunately, Lesley’s radio battery (a custom battery pack with a weird connector) died after the morning racing and Mike’s died for the last few races of the day. Brothers from Bow Lake John #21 and Jamie Boynton #02 sailed. Jamie won the award for not only being a first time RC boat sailor – but also for coming from Tokyo to attend the event!

Other Bow Lake sailors included Bernie Metzgar in #44, who had big leads in two of the races approaching the second mark, but got lost in mark roundings. Check out some of the videos to watch Bernie smashing and crashing his way around the course. The second mark was quite far away – maybe 100 yards from the top mark and from the beach? Very hard to see it and judge when to round it. Not too far from the mark was an anchored swim platform – the THUNK! when Rob Donle #96 crashed into it the sound could be heard all around the lake. Rob ended up in 5th place less than one point per race out of 3rd.

Nathaniel Hendrickson (no sail number but we put a small B on the top of his sail) was the only No Show in the morning as we were trying to decide what to do given the crazy winds. But an hour after the Skipper’s Meeting time, he called to ask “Where are you guys?” He had gone to Ned’s house, Bob’s house, Mike’s house, John’s house around the lake looking for us. I guess he hadn’t gone far enough around the lake. We told him where to find us and he showed up just in time for the first start. And man did he start fast with 1,2,1 finishes (and a 6th) in the first 4 races. He cooled off after that and ended up in 4th place just 3 points out of a trophy.

Bob Shapiro sailed his #17 (apparently the slow boat, or maybe the slow skipper) getting lots of bad starts, missing numerous marks and having to do several penalty turns. But somehow (I still don’t know how) he ended up capturing 3rd place for the second year in a row. Finishing with a 1,2,4 certainly helped him climb up the standings.

Michael Hoydis #82 was the winner last year and he remains in top form. He had 2 firsts, 6 seconds and 3 thirds in his score line which would normally be enough to win. Michael only kept one score lower than third. But Tim Wright in borrowed #80 was incredibly consistent. After 24 races he only had two scores below third and he threw out those 4 and 5. Tim won nine of the races, including 6 of the last 7. Congratulations Tim!

Huge thanks to all who helped! BB Wright came along to watch Tim sail and quickly got pressed into service as the second Score Keeper. And she selflessly volunteered to stay at the alternate venue and guard all of our boats and gear while everyone else went back to the primary site for lunch! Of course, we did bring her back some lunch. Margo Krukonis cooked up a storm with short rib chili, jalapeno cornbread and guacamole on the lunch menu. Adam Hauerwas pitched in with help in the kitchen including washing ALL of the dishes! Jessica Baker was Score Keeper and also cooked up some great vegetarian hot sandwiches. And Lesley Morgan (and someone else I think) brought cookies for dessert. Race Director Ryan Gershuny ran a tight regatta managing to get in 14 races, calling the finish, calling over-earlies and keeping everything humming. And he loaned use of his house across from the alternate venue for parking and bathrooms, kayak for marks and rescue and Bluetooth speaker for the starting sequence, and and and – he was Awesome! Michael Hoydis set the marks and Jamie Boynton retrieved them – thank you!

Please join us in September 2023 for the Third Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser regatta!

Final results after 14 races with 2 throwouts: (Note: Throwouts did not change any positions in the regatta)

Place Skipper Points
1 Tim Wright 16
2 Michael Hoydis 28
3 Bob Shapiro 46
4 B Nathaniel Hendrickson 49
5 Rob Donle 56
6 Paul McBride 63
7 John Boynton 67
8 Bernhard Metzgar 90
9 Mike Rabideau 99
10 Jamie Boynton 99
11 Lesley Morgan 137

Photo Links:

1180 photos and 59 videos – warning it’s a ton of media not curated but there are lots of great pics and videos. Credits for most photos and videos goes to Media Maven Marisol Shapiro (thereby earning High School Community Service hours) but also some from Margo Krukonis, Bob Shapiro and Ryan Gershuny.

Link to curated album put together by Paul McBride