Yep, enough breeze tonight to rip the rust right off an old bolt, wash the topsides of the deck, and power up every line!
Grinding was tough, gusts demanded attention, and that darn spinnaker pole had a mind of its own. We worked for our gun, and PERSPECTIVE didn’t let us down. Here’s how it went…
It was a balmy summer evening, as the 33C heat of the day was mellowed by a thin haze that kept away the twilight chill. By the time we all gathered at the boat a lovely 12 knot breeze from the SW made it even more comfortable and we headed out with full sail. Old #1 Genoa, and cap shrounds a wee bit tighter. Calvin finished the last few bolts in the seat lockers, we stored the tools and prepped the ship.
Out on the water, once we opened up the genoa, we were flying, and each tack got neater as we started to remember last year’s rhythms and Bert found his groove on the foresail trim for the first time. There were more boats out than Tuesday, so the committee boat organized two starts, sending off the boats without spinnakers first, and us 5 minutes later. This time we heard the horn correctly, and timed our start well. We had the chance to push Pandora over the start line, but since this was a practice race, I made a little room for them. Of course, that put us in a slot with bad air between Pandora to windward and Battlewagon to leeward. There was nothing to do but foot off and go for speed, which let Battlewagon climb clear ahead of us and continue to send us bad air.
Approaching the layline on port, Battlewagon was dead ahead and tacked early. Pandora was behind us and to windward. I didn’t think we’d be able to cross them, so we pushed on a bit further, and I tacked expecting to have to duck them. But something magic happened, and we got quickly into a high mode, cleared Pandora and sawed off a corner that also left Battlewagon behind us at the mark rounding!
Our hoist was smooth and it took us a bit to get into good spinnaker trim, but we extended our lead on Battlewagon, who chose to sail higher than us. Pandora took a low course, so the three boats fanned out with us in the middle, pulling slightly ahead. Pandora jibed first and chose a deep line to the leeward mark. We jibed a bit later. The jibe was good, but I turned up to a hot angle before we had our pole firmly set and spinnaker filled. Yep, that was a cobweb that blew away quickly. I think Gil, Calvin and Bert all got longer arms trying to control the power in the sheet, guy and pole. Eventually, I realized I should turn down to a lower angle and the guys got the pole secured (and a few wraps on the sheet).
Then we turned up to the course to the leeward mark and the boat just took off!
We outpaced Pandora, and Battlewagon jibed even later than us, putting them well astern into the approach to the leeward mark. Our douse was great — and we even remembered to harden our halyards and outhaul and backstay and such beforehand! Skootch popped in the hole and gathered in the big kite in a snap. Around we went, got ourselves trimmed up, and then tacked over to find the better breeze away from the Burlington Shore.
A big laker was anchored in our path. I tried to pinch above it, but no dice. We saw a nice slot of pressure close in, so we tacked late and enjoyed some heavier air and gusts (I saw 20 knots apparent wind in one of the lulls, so there was plenty of wind). Battlewagon looked to be coming up strong, and I worried for a while that they might lay the finish line. But just like us, they needed another tack to finish, so when we put in our tack to cross the finish line, it was clear we had closed the door on them.
What a great practice outing for the Thursday crew!