A short race today to finish off the series. Going into this finale, we were tied in first with PerryEh (9 points each) and one point ahead of Tardis. Battlewagon wasn’t in contention. The goal was to finish far enough ahead of PerryEh to beat them after PHRF correction. But we owed them a lot of time — we had our work cut out for us.
There was light wind (almost no wind) when we first got out of the marina, but there was a whisper on the water that was promising. The race committee set a short course for this “around the bay” race (6S-1-11-9-8F), and as our start approached, the wind built into a lovely 8 knots, steady from the West. It was building from the Burlington shore line, so our goal was to have room to tack right after the start.
At the start line, our timing was good, but PerryEh offered a dangerous choice. Could we tuck in between them and the committee boat, or was it a trap? After a moment of hesitation, we chose the conservative option, and started with them just ahead and to windward of us. No room to tack! The other option would have been great unless we were early — would have put us ahead and to windward of PerryEh, but they might have been able to push us over the line or — even worse — force us to do a 360 just to avoid the committee boat.
So, we chose the safe option, but had our work cut out for us. As soon as we could, we tacked toward Burlington, nipping under PerryEh’s stern. They tacked to cover. At the Burlington shore, we tacked back, and just made it over their bow. Not on the layline yet, so one more push toward the Burlington shore. Now we had gained nicely on PerryEh, but Battlwagon came up and put a lee bow on us at the layline, slowing us down and we lost a few boat lengths.
Hoist was clean and fast. Which way to go? Battlewagon headed deep down to mark 11. Should we stay on their tail? Should we jibe over to Burlington? Decisions. Indecision!
In the end, we probably fiddled too much. We sailed a hotter angle, jibed over toward Burlington, jibed again and then hunted Battlwagon to the leeward mark. Yes we did finally close the gap on them, but meanwhile PerryEh held their ground on us sailing deep to mark #11. Hmmm. One consolation — by this time, Tardis was well behind.
Around we went. Good air now. A quick reach over to the golf course and then a beat to the finish line. Squirrel read the layline perfectly and we tacked onto it while Battlewagon overstood the mark and got tangled up with Celtic Spirit. Nonetheless, they still finished 30 seconds ahead of us (this has got to stop!). Looking around, we couldn’t pick out PerryEh at the finish. Had we beat them by enough time?
Later at the awards gathering, I chatted with Clarke Perry, and we both thought the other of us had won. He thought we were far enough ahead. I wasn’t convinced. Turns out I was right. Not only did PerryEh beat us, they also beat Battlewagon, so we took third.
It was all over in 75 minutes. I wish we could have gone for another lap, but that was all she wrote. After the race, we hoisted the spinnaker again and enjoyed sandwiches on board. Back at the dock, one final apres-sail and then our band of merry men went our separate ways.
What a blast…can’t wait to do it all again next year!