With a chilly gusty breeze coming off the Burlington shore, the race committee set an interesting course, which amounted to a near fetch, a fetch, a reach and a fetch. It’s so fun and pretentious to use all these special words, so I’ll translate:
A beat is when you have to tack back and forth to sail upwind to the mark.
A fetch is when you can get there without tacking.
A reach is when you are sailing across the wind.
I made up the near-fetch…meaning that you spend almost all the time on one tack and just a wee bit on the other.
We did all that in 34 minutes! Add the gusts, and the course made for a lot of action on board for a crew of four. We all had to bounce around between multiple roles with Afterguy on the foredeck (mostly), (un)Lazy Sheet tending just about every line at some point or another. I was mostly on the main, but somehow ended up with the spinnaker sheet in my hand AND in the hole for the douse. Kiwi drove and took care of anything he could reach. Megatasking at its best!
And all that hustle paid off with yet another gun in the match-race with Battlewagon. AND we made all the right sail choice decisions. AND Kiwi was sharp as ever. AND Afterguy was awesome on the foredeck (first time on his own up there).
We left port with the #3 hoisted, and it felt like the right choice as the gusts were strong and shifty, but when we saw the course they had set, we realized there was very little pure upwind sailing, AND if we didn’t hoist the spinnaker (big breeze, short-handed crew), we would want the bigger sail area for the reach. So, with not much time to spare, we changed over to the #2. By the time we had set our cars, we were a good distance from the start line and our sequence had already begun! YIKES.
But check out the beautiful shape that the #2 genoa has. I love that sail!
With a full head of steam, we charged back down to the committee boat, reaching it with just one minute to go. So much for the idea of a port-tack start at the pin end. Battlewagon pulled that off while we were still on Starboard reaching along the line toward the pin.
Never mind, the wind had shifted a bit by this time, so we carried further on starboard and put in a great crisp tack to almost lay the mark. Approaching the layline we were on port, Battlewagon on starboard (with the right of way). Kiwi brought us right in snug, we tacked over hard and made the mark with Battlewagon in our lee bow.
On the next leg, the fetch, Battlewagon was breathing down our neck, but Kiwi pinched a bit now and then to keep them from rolling over us, and eventually we got the boat into a great mode and began to stretch away to the next mark.
All this while, Afterguy was rigging the boat for a jibe-set, and spotted that the halyard was on the wrong side — BRILLIANT! We jibed around the mark, set the pole, and were about to hoist when the wind shifted forward in a gust. Kiwi spotted it and we rode it out with the genoa and only hoisted after the gust had passed. Fantastic.
Ahead of us, boats were broaching, so we eased the boom vang as a precaution, and steered through the puffs. By now, we had extended our lead nicely. A smooth douse, quick tack, and off went to the committee boat to collect another gun!
Feels great to put together such a great race on a breezy night with just four on board. And feels great to know we have depth in the crew with more and more people getting comfortable on the foredeck!