Yep, we were all doing double duty on this great day of sailing. Â Three guys doing the work of five or six, including six spinnaker hoists, two jibes, six douses, five starts (two were general recalls), countless tacks, a bit of confused navigation and some brilliant tactics! Â And it wasn’t that we each did two jobs, we flowed to whatever needed doing and could be reached. Â At times, Lazy Sheet was on the bow, Squirrel was in the pit or trimming the main, and I had spinnaker sheet & guy in hand while steering with my knees, jibing the main and grinding in the genoa (not quite all at once, but it felt like it!)
Three tired guys, glowing with satisfaction after three splendid races. Â And the satisfaction was well earned! Â All the spinnaker work went off without a hitch, and we even stuck our nose in a few times at the leeward mark, maneuvering for the inside lane and mark room in a clump of traffic. Â Confidence was very high. Â So high that we pulled off two port-tack starts among a dozen boats. Â We were rewarded with clear air on the favoured tack each time, but we had to pay for it by dipping a lot of boats. Â Great highlights! Â And once the boat was put away, we enjoyed our apres-sail on the water, the skipper took a swim, and the swell grew into our bones. Â On land, our heads kept swaying with the lake’s chop. Â I can still feel it a day later!
How did we do? Â In a fleet of big, fast boats, we were second or third across the finish line each race, and one of the boats ahead of us was Doug Folsetter in his viper. Â In our wake was Big Yellow, Sapphire (a gorgeous C&C 9.9 that parks at Bronte in the slip across from Blue Nun), Stigaro, and sometimes Don’t Panic, who also had a great day out there. Â When the awards were given out in the evening, we wondered if a third place was possible, but PHRF got us, and the honours went to our friends on Stigaro. Â Don’t panic took second.
But never mind that….check out the highlight reel and judge for yourself — this was some of our best competitive sailing ever.
Its hard to see on camera, but there were some moments of great tactical maneuvers:
- overtaking Big Yellow on the downwind, crossing their bow and maintaining the inside lane through to the leeward mark
- overtaking Sapphire in time to gain mark room at the leeward mark, and passing Cayenne (winner of the next fleet) in the same passage.
- out-pointing all the non-vipers on the upwind legs, which really helped us finish the race well — the last upwind of the day had us out point and out-pace Stigaro to gain the line with two fewer tacks than them… a new experience for us.
And there was a lot of learning!
- Downwind, when sailing quite deep, Cayenne began closing in from behind. Â I noticed they had their spinnaker pole set quite high. Â We imitated them, gained a knot of boat-speed, and pulled away. Â Lesson learned!
- Starting Gear is real. Â I’ve read about it tons, but have never felt it. Â At this regatta, we found it. Â But we learned this one the hard way. Â A few times in the race, the boat felt slow, and we just couldn’t pick up speed. Â Once the main was twisted a bit (sheet out, traveler up), we started to accelerate. Â It happened enough times that I started to get some intuition about when I could feel it happening. Â Let’s hope that translates into better performance in our starts. Â At this regatta, with the boat in the ‘wrong gear’ at the starts, we began each race behind most of the fleet.
- Watching the olympics is helpful! Â Nacras and 470s have retriever lines built into their spinnakers that enable really fast dousing. Â So we created a retriever line of our own and that helped us douse 4-5 boat lengths closer to the leeward mark. Â Brilliant! Â here it is
And we just kept getting better at our spinnaker maneuvers. Â Here’s a sequence of all the Hoists:
And here are our Douses:
And for those of you who want to see it all in sequence, here’s Race 1:
And here’s Race 2:
And the first half of Race 3 (camera ran out of room):