Yes it was a twitchy night. Â First the start sequence got bungled and restarted, but by then we were confused and guessing. Â Then a great big ship anchored in the bay made the first part of the downwind leg very strange. Â Add a few lines in odd places on the spinnaker and we had a twitchy night. Â Would I trade it for any other night? Â Never!
In the end we sailed over 6 knots of boat speed both upwind and downwind in winds that rarely got over 7 knots. Â When we found our mode, we were fast!
Final analysis: Â we were fourth out of five boats (ahead of Battlewagon!). Â Both Eclipse and Sandpiper put in great performances to finish ahead of us, as did Top Gun (of course).
Here’s how it went.
We got completely confused during the race start, when the committee boat started blowing extra horns. Â They were following protocol for re-starting the start sequence, but since we didn’t know the protocol it was beguiling. Â Thank goodness Kiwi clued into what was going on, and said “I think we have about two minutes”. That gave us enough presence of mind to put in two quick tacks, avoid a trap and burn some extra time. Â Somehow, we put in an awesome start, about middle of the line in clear air.
But Top Gun had a strong mode well to windward of us, and seemed to be pointing a bit higher, with Sandpiper 5 boatlengths astern. Â After a few minutes, we estimated that we could tack across Sandpiper’s bow — it was a close run thing, but we did clear, and a good thing too because we didn’t have right of way. Â Unfortunately, this wasn’t caught on video — we barely cleared their bow!
So at this point we were in second place, but that didn’t last. Â Eclipse had tacked early and found some wind none of us caught, and just before rounding the windward mark, Sandpiper had made up the distance, coming charging up to leeward of us to round ahead of us. Â Game on!
(We never saw Eclipse again, and they earned the gun. Â And I have a suspicion we were faster on port-tack than on starboard. Â Time to re-measure the mid and lower shrouds to make sure we’re getting enough mast sag to leeward)
But Sandpiper was slick. Â A jibe-set on their first race of the year! Â Our lads had the spinnaker up quicker than them, but our bear-away set sailed us toward the wind shadow of the big freighter in the middle of the bay. Â Final analysis showed that Sandpiper’s decision Â was the better one: Â to jibe first and then hoist. Â Kudos to them….we never caught up.
Our jibes were good opportunities to learn (read: strange things happened), but we kept ourselves ahead of Battlewagon and found a great mode after the second jibe — over six knots of gurgly water speed heading straight to the mark.
A very smooth dowse, jibe while rounding and we were away and flying to the finish line on one tack with a solid lead over Battlewagon. Â For the third race of the year, I’m thrilled with how much went right while we were out there. Â You could hear the gears of everyone’s brains learning!
But of course, with The Cunning Ham on snack duty, we promptly forgot about all that and enjoyed an impressive epicurean spread. Â As Spring has reluctantly begun, none of us were shivering, and we lingered long under a twighlight sky. Â See ya on Thursday!