A gusty, breezy night on the bay sent a few home with injuries tonight, and Afterguy is still glad he has all his teeth. From least to most grave:
- Rob Irish got rope burn on a jibe (great job today on the mainsheet — a baptism by fire!)
- Four Hands got massive rope burn on all fingertips when the second douse went sour.
- Lazy Sheet pulled a hamstring. It happened early in the race while reaching for something to tidy up. Nasty. We could tell he was in agony.
And Alvin wins the near-miss award, as he ducked out of the way of a swinging spinnaker pole.
Before the race, Lazy Sheet and I had hardened the shrouds. With gusts in the high teens, we opted for the #3. We got both of these decisions correct.
The committee sent us on two laps that were a short beat, a tight reach with the spinnaker, and a fetch. So it was a bit of a drag race out there. Most of the time, we were under control out there, even managing to hold the chute on a hot spinnaker angle in some pretty big gusts. We were even able to pass two boats by hoisting clean, and a good first douse. But at the second douse, the wheels fell off when the guy got jammed at the end of the pole, the pole came off the mast first, the spinnaker filled up high in a gust, the pole went swinging and the sheets ripped along Les’ fingertips. The guys got everything settled pretty quickly, but we had to sail beyond the mark which opened a window for Remarkable to slip ahead of us. We kept Battlewagon astern, though for a fourth place finish.
Back in port, we talked through what happened and learned a bit of a lesson: When doing a very hot douse, it’s important to do a couple things:
- Bring the pole back to about 1 o’clock. Yes this will destroy the spinnaker trim, but it will keep the guy from jamming in the spinnaker pole
- Blow the sheet early, to take pressure off the guy
- Make sure to keep the pole connected at the mast until after the guy has been released from the pole
- And of course, if possible, steer downwind a bit to depower the douse.
Tonight was a hard way to learn these lessons. I hope everyone heals up quickly and next week gives us 10 knots steady!