We often have several Marks on board, and its easy to get confused among them. But tonight, we had a different kind of Mark confusion. All of us had our eyes on a navigation mark near #14 when starting the race, rather than the real mark. With that reference, we timed a perfect start in clear air ahead of the fleet, lot’s of boat speed. And then we got confused, as the race committee honked a horn and hoisted a flag. Was that us? were we over? Strange, we were being so careful, it didn’t seem likely. In our confusion we sailed on, but eventually I radioed the committee boat and inquired if we were over early. Yes we were! And then it clicked. The real #14 was further back, the real start line was further back. Yes, we were over early.
So we turned around, sailed back and exonerated ourselves. Not sure exactly how much time it cost us, but I think somewhere around 5 minutes. OOPS!
But the good news is that there were only three boats in our fleet. We closed the distance, but didn’t really have a solid hope of making up that much time. So, we finished third, behind Top Gun and Eclipse. Notably, the boats closest to us in the standings didn’t turn up, so we sustained our 2nd place on Thursdays, and added a bit of cushion between us and the others. And for that, we can thank the rain!
On the way to the marina it was raining cats and dogs and that kept a lot of boats away. But the rain turned to drizzle, and then it stopped while we raced. Until the last ten minutes, during which we got completely drenched!
How was the race? Great fun!
14 knots or so of wind at the beginning, a bit gusty and shifty, dropping to more like 8 knots or so at the finish. We got good balance with the #2 genoa and the backstay near max, with the mainsail spilling some wind. On the first upwind, the #3 might have been the better choice, but as the wind dropped, we began to ease the backstay and fill the main more to keep us moving fast. Average upwind speed first lap was 7+ knots, about 6.5 on the second lap. Love it!
Even though we weren’t vying for position with any other boats (in fact we were almost the safety boat tonight due to our late start), the race was not without misadventures. First, misreading the layling for the windward mark, pinching badly, getting backwinded and then head to wind before we got around — that was slow! And then our second hoist had an hour-glass that took some time to sort out.
But it was a great night nonetheless — and what an awesome crew, willing to come and play in the rain!