From the moment we arrived at the boat, it was apparent that it was going to be a wonderful night. There was a lightness in our bearing, and camaraderie was at an all-time high. We hardly needed to use words to communicate, we were so in sync as a crew. It was we’d been blocked by something, and our untapped potential was finally realized.
All teasing aside, Starport was away, and we’d been given a task. His last words, as he headed to the city of weird popcorn, “Have fun guys, and remember to focus on beating Sandpiper, even if that means Battlewagon slips by”. As requested, our focus was on Sandpiper, and right from the pre-start Kiwi worked to get ahead of them.
We had a good start, not far behind Top Gun, Remarkable, and Battlewagon, and ahead of Sandpiper. On the upwind leg we got a big knock, and Sandpiper crossed just ahead of our bow midway through. Everyone was on the high side, and Kiwi thought it would be fun to give us a scare; he saw them the whole way, and took joy in our shouts of caution as a large navy boat suddenly appeared from behind our big #1.
Heading to the windward mark, I had the bag set, but was slow to get the pole. It made for a rush to get it set before the mark, but Dinghy’s able hands helped get it rigged in record time, and we hoisted quickly as soon as we rounded. Sandpiper may have had a different crew tonight; they rounded first, then took their time getting their spinnaker up. Most boats headed directly for the mark, but Kiwi took us on a hotter angle towards Hamilton. Nonsuch kept the sail full, and the boat fast. After a few smooth jibes, we came screaming down to the mark ahead of Sandpiper.
We agreed to leave the chute until the last moment, and Lazy Sheet’s exemplary wrist action ensured that the pole came down so fast that Nonsuch was left shaking his head in amazement. The douse started well, but then the spinnaker halyard tied itself in knots. The same thing happened to the furling line when we unfurled the jib; not sure what was happening back there in the pit. However, Lazy Sheet and Nonsuch cleared the issues smoothly and quickly, and we were away towards the finish ahead of Sandpiper.
Ken trimmed the mainsail with aplomb, his experience and knowledge coming through as he anticipated every maneuver. He’s been a great addition to the crew, and contributed to some interesting post-race discussion. Lazy Sheet is already trying to rope him in to as many nights as possible. Dinghy packed the spinnaker for the first time, so Thursday crew, you may want to check that…
So our Captain was missed, but we did as we were asked, and had a great race. Maybe next time he should tell us to beat Top Gun?