Glorious! Just what we were looking for: a beautiful night, comfortable temperature and a modest breeze that kept us moving. As the sun grew low, it back lit myriad spinnakers glowing on the water, and because we had two laps of a relatively short course, we were always among other boats.
How did we do? A solid second behind Top Gun and well ahead of Battlewagon. A fantastic result, and we overtook many boats from the fleets ahead of us, even finishing before several sharks!
And the combination of the nice weather, the good performance, and the camaraderie on board made for a relaxed crew at the dock, lingering long in the failing light to toast an evening that just reminded us all why we love this so much.
Here’s how it happened:
The triangle course had two upwind legs that were neither straight upwind nor a fetch (something you can sail in one tack from end to end), so there was definitely a favoured tack, but plenty of options for strategy and tactics. The pin end of the start line was strongly favoured.
So I intended to start on starboard at the pin end, sail down to the expected stronger wind at the Hamilton shore and tack from there. But we were about 20 seconds early for the pin end of the line — oops — so we tacked onto port and put in a decent start.
As a result we headed toward the lighter air on the Burlington side of the bay for a while before tacking away. Watching the other boats approach mark #5 (nearly the Burlington shore) helped us avoid going too early, and that saved us precious time since the air up there was shifty and light. As a result we rounded ahead of Battlewagon.
On the next leg, they made up some ground on us, but we were just enough ahead when we met, that we got across their bow even though we were on port!
Our first hoist was a bit slow and messy. I was expecting that we’d be favoured if we had the pole on port, so we planned a Jibe set, but once we got around the mark and hoisted, it was clear this was the wrong move — it sent us back toward the light air at Burlington shore, rather than to the better air in the other direction. No problem, a quick jibe got us on track.
Battelwagon and Top Gun had gone further to the Hamilton shore, sailing hotter angles and chasing better wind, but it didn’t pay for them. We made up ground on Top Gun and kept Battlewagon well astern.
Back up to #5 we were wiser this time and kept to the better air toward the south, and on the approach to #1 several boats from earlier fleets had to dip us, and we slipped through several spinnakers on our way to the mark, rounding with a nice lead on Battlewagon.
This time we were ready with the right setup for the hoist, and gobbled up a few more boats including our friends on Pandora II, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to Top gun.
Just a quick leg from 14 to 15 for the finish — a great result on a stellar night!