What a great night! What a great crew! What a great result!
This whole race was tremendous fun. Â There were only two of us in the fleet tonight, so it ended up as a match race between PERSPECTIVE and Battlewagon, and it started out as a tough battle on the upwind leg, but some good decisions, great maneuvers, terrific focus from everyone and a massive lift made all the difference.
Here’s how it went.
At the start, I thought we were in trouble, coming to the line on a beam reach with Battlewagon coming up quickly to leeward to close the door on us at the committee boat. Â Only at the last moments did I realize there was room for us so we hardened up and went for the line, crossing just one boatlength behind Battlewagon, and to windward. Â Not bad timing, but a horrible position as we were stuck with them at our lee-bow, a notorious spot of bad air.
We tacked away quickly to escape the lee-bow, but Battlewagon responded immediately to cover us. Â Even though we put in a crisp tack, they were just as nimble, and we were in their wind shadow again. Â Time to try a page out of all that winter reading: Â we sailed a slightly lower course to go a tiny bit faster and sure enough we pulled forward out of their shadow into clear air when we could harden up again. Â The intensity on the boat was palpable as we tweaked everything to get every last ounce of boat speed. Â But it paid off in spades when we pulled far enough ahead to tack across Battlewagon’s bow. Â I don’t think I’ll ever forget that sequence. Â Full credit to the crew for really crisp tacking with the new big genoa (first time out with the big sail!).
And then something marvelous happened. Â Battlewagon held their line, hoping to tack on the layline for the windward mark, but as we split away from them, we began to notice boats ahead of us getting lifted. Â Sure enough it began to happen to us, and the lift progressed until we could pinch our way to the windward mark, cutting off a huge corner of the course, and avoiding two extra tacks. Â This sequence put Battlewagon quite a way in our rear view mirror as we approached the windward mark.
Still plenty of time to blow it though, and it was time for the spinnaker hoist. Â By now, we were all pretty keyed up, but managed to keep calm and sail on. Â Four hands and Squirrel got the spinnaker bag attached, the pole hoisted, and sure enough, the chute went up clean first time! Â There was certainly a lot of chaos in the cockpit as we fumbled around sorting out which was the guy and which was the sheet, but once the jib was furled and the guy was cleated, we found a good mode, sailing a hotter angle than the other boats heading downwind. Â Soon an end-to-end jibe that was almost flawless, and once again we were on the line to the mark. Â We tweaked the pole position and found ourselves on a broad reach going over six knots.
At the leeward mark we gave ourselves a bit of time to douse, andÂ it all went flawlessly. Â Then we opened up the jib and started gobbling up sharks on the way to the finish line, riding that same awesome lift all the way to the finish line after just one tack. Â The sound of the gun as we crossed the line was a great reward for a great crew, and further confirmation that all the adjustments are paying off.
The spirit on board was ebullient as we cracked a cold one and toasted each other on a job well done, especially up there on the foredeck. And three cheers for the wind and weather: no thunderstorms, only a few drops of rain, and what threatened to be a drifter turned out to be a thrilling night on the water!