We began with a sandwich, and ended with Ceviche. Â Yes, folks, whenever The Cunning Ham is on snack duty, you don’t want to miss out. Â And no, he did not provide sandwiches for apres-sail — the sandwich was on me, at the start of the race!
It was a gorgeous night to be out on the water. Â Bright sunny sky, warm, and a nice breeze at the start that tapered gradually. Â We were able to keep PERSPECTIVE fully powered up, and average 4.5 knots of boat speed, peaking at 7.0 knots both upwind and downwind. Â There were a few lulls where we really had to focus to keep up our boat-speed, but we were able to employ our new learning from GHYRA to keep the boat moving by sailing a bit lower during the lulls. Â In fact, at one point we were going nearly four knots in less thanÂ six knots of apparent wind — we were making our own wind, andÂ going faster than the trueÂ wind!
And great to have Bert on board. Â Bert is my neighbour in the marina, and this was his first race. Â You’ve never have guessed it, and he trimmed the mainsail with aplomb. Â Come again, Bert (just bring a blue shirt next time :-))
Here’s how it went:
At the start, I got caught un-prepared. Â We steered toward the boat in some traffic and I focused on Remarkable, who appeared to be on the layline. Â I dipped below their stern and cameÂ up on their leeward side, only to realize that Top Gun was lurking behind them, sailing very high and very slow. Â (I gotta figure out how they do that — a very useful trick at the start). Â So there we were in a sandwich with Top Gun pinching us into the committee boat. Â What to do? Â Remarkable got across Top Gun’s bow and had a great start, but we were caught barging. Â There was no time to turn away — the committee boat was right there — so we carried on with our barge and the folks on Top Gun (grumpily) gave us room. Â I didn’t hear the word protest, but knew we were in the wrong, so we put in a turn as soon as we were clear of traffic and the committee boat. Â The 360 cost us about 45 seconds, enough to be well astern of the J35s with no hope of catching Remarkable or Top Gun. Â What to do? Â Focus on Battlewagon, of course!
Once we were back on course, we built up speed and began to catch up with the fleet — or at least it appeared that way to us! Â Encouraged, we prepared for a jibe-set on the spinnaker, since the wind was coming a bit from the south. Â This was the right call for the conditions strategically, but tactically it may have been better to bear away and jibe soon after the mark. Â All the rejigging of lines up on the pointy end took extra time, and the wind did rotate back further east and wane significantly during the run. Â Remarkable chose to do a bear away set and then a jibe, sailing hotter angles, which really helped them when the wind died down.
Nonetheless, we reeled in Battlewagon who did not fly a spinnaker, and when the wind died down, we headed up to pick up speed and put in a neat jibe to get ourselves back to the leeward mark. Â Dousing was fun with a lot of traffic crossing us, but we found a clear lane and the kite came down without a hitch. I didn’t realize we had an audience on shore until I heard Skootch’s characteristic whistle and spotted them once we were heading back upwind.
On the way to the finish line, there were two holes (big lulls really) that we had to power through. Â In the first one, we eased the genoa, shifted the cars a bit forward, eased both halyards a touch, twisted the mainsail, aimed a little lower and gained about half a knot ofÂ boatspeed while the wind drooped. That felt really good! Â In the second hole, we shifted as much crew weight as we could to leeward and forward until we pushed through and the wind began to fill again. Â Another little victory!
Third place was really uncontested as Top Gun and Remarkable were well ahead and Battlewagon was well astern. Â After the line we tacked over to the committee boat to say hi to Lazy Sheet who was taking photos and video from the committee boat. Â Great to see our buddy out on the water!
And afterwards, our resident gourmand Neil broke out the Sol with fresh lemon and Ceviche with chopped coriander. Â Were we in Mexico? Â All we needed was a Mariachi band! Â Lazy Sheet came to hang out with us, and it was like good old times.