After ferocious winds these last few days, we were prepared for another knock-down battle with mother nature, but the scene at the marina portended a different kind of night. Clear blue skies, warm sunshine, flat water and a solid breeze, but nothing maniacal. With David away, and Calvin on the injured list (sprained finger or something like it), we imported a ringer from the Tuesday crew, and Four-Hands was definitely the difference maker tonight.
Setting a course when the wind is from the NW is always tricky on the bay, but I really like what the RHYC committee decided to do. They dropped a mark south of 14, closer to the Hamilton shore and sent us on two laps of a triangle course. It was a short beat up to mark #6, then a fetch to Mark #1 on a close reach (with plenty of gusts), and then a reach down to the drop mark (just low enough to carry the spinnaker).
Before the race, we sailed with the #3 jib, and really enjoyed great balance in apparent winds up to 18 knots, with 7+ knots of boat speed. No need for more power at all. But then, just as the sharks were starting, a great big lull settled onto the bay. We were half way between changing to the #1 (or the #2, we couldn’t make up our mind) when the wind came howling back, so we stayed with the blade as a headsail. Looking back, the #2 might have been the better choice, as we were a little slow on the beat. But when the gusts came on, we certainly didn’t lack for power.
Our start was okay, timing was good, but somehow we struggled to accelerate, and Top Gun and Battlewagon got away. Approaching the first mark, we were in third and then misjudged the layline (twice in one week — arrrgggghhhh). By the time we threw in two extra tacks, the others were well in front. But the fetch to #1 was a good leg for us on both laps. Bert kept adjusting the jib to get the most out of every gusty shift in wind direction, and Gadget kept us flat and surging forward when the gusts came. Meanwhile, Lazy Sheet and Four Hands got ready for a jibe set. Around we went, up went the kite and we started flying.
PERSPECTIVE loves a hot spinnaker angle in 12 knots of wind. A quick glance over our shoulder, and we had overtaken Battlewagon in the hoist and started adding distance.
After the douse, we got caught in some bad air from slower boats and lost a bit of ground to Battlewagon before we broke free, but they were still astern when we rounded #6 again. This time, we stretched away while they got caught in the bad air from the same slower boats. Once again, we played the gusts well and extended our lead. The next hoist wasn’t quite as quick, but we soon got flying again. Here’s a clip of us overtaking Christephanie on the second spinnaker leg:
By the time we started the final beat to the finish line, we had a generous lead over Battlewagon. Yes Top Gun finished well ahead of us, but we were all very satisfied with our performance.
Back at the dock, Skootch and Stitches greeted us with smiles and snack and we all enjoyed a mellow time on a gorgeous summer evening. Let’s have more of these!