No T-shirt today. In fact, no T-shirt for anyone. It was another pursuit race, and a very long one from Stoney Creek to Port Credit. 21 nautical miles of pure unrippled milky water.
They delayed the start, hoping for a breath of wind, and forty minutes later, we were off. But the funny thing was that there was wind — about 2 knots of true wind — and it was perfectly steady for hours on end. Calvin and I had seen this before last year, so we went into “walk like a cat” mode, and all four of us systematically tweaked the genoa and the mainsail one parameter at a time until we were travelling over 4 knots of boat speed in 2.2 knots of true wind. Fantastic — we were sailing mostly in wind that we were creating by sailing in it! Just like a perpetual motion machine.
Along the way, we passed by many boats, staying to leeward of the fleet.
Eventually, we spotted a wind change ahead — some of the boats that started earlier had their spinnakers out, so we were ready for it. And same story. By tweaking everything slowly, one parameter at a time, we got up to 5 knots of speed, heading very high in our own apparent wind.
By the time this breeze ran its course we were among the lead boats, having overtaken nearly all the boats who started earlier. We were having a fantastic race!
Time to consolidate our lead. We dropped the spinnaker, popped out the genoa and optimized again, pointing up to converge with the leaders. It was looking good for us for a while there, but lady luck was not on our side. The boats to windward picked up a fresher breeze sooner than us. By the time it came to us, Battlewagon and a few others had slipped away from us. We hoisted our spinnaker again and made the best of it. But then the wind failed us all.
With 50 minutes left until curfew, 0.3 knots of wind speed, and 7 nautical miles to go, we did the math — we would need to travel straight to the mark at over 8 knots of boat speed — not going to happen.
So we packed it in and enjoyed a gorgeous relaxing motor into the marina. We were among the last few boats to give in — many had already motored by us. And sure enough, we all abandoned Day Four.
No T-shirt for anyone 🙂