Like an everything bagel, tonight had all the spice. Mixing it up in the pre-start. A tight drag race upwind with Sandpiper. A tight drag race with Remarkable downwind. Gusts, wind shifts, water over the rail, an averted broach. Crisp tacks. Great teamwork and a respectable result.
It was a night where every gust and every shift needed to be managed. The traveler was barely cleated and the spinnaker pole went forward and back just as much. We had to be on our toes and we certainly were!
Our goal tonight was to beat both Battlewagon and Sandpiper. A tough ask on any night. At the finish line we were 15 seconds behind Sandpiper. It was such a small margin, that it could have gone the other way with the tiniest of tweaks. Alas! So close, yet so far!
And what about Battlewagon? We finished a full 7 minutes ahead. Nice!
Here’s how it went….
Wind was right in the zone where its not clear whether #1 or #2 would be the better choice. We went for #1! Let’s not fool around here :-). Sure, the mainsail was inside out in the worst gusts, but we were able to keep her pointed nice and high and fast in the lulls with the backstay on hard. We started with Sandpiper to leeward in a long drag race — the upwind leg was almost a fetch. We held them off for 2/3 of the leg and then just one moment of distraction on the mainsail controls and we responded slowly to a gust, slowed a bit, giving Sandpiper a chance to get her nose out in front and she made us pay for that. We got bad air and slipped a boat length behind.
Coming into the windward mark, we were not far behind Top Gun and Remarkable. Sandpiper had chosen to tack late and we thought they’d have to duck both of the big J35s, but they pulled off a really gutsy move and threaded between the two of them. As a result, they got around before us. Battlewagon had hugged the Burlington shore and got to the windward mark a bit behind us.
We all jibed around the mark, and took a moment to set our pole and hoist. We lost a bit more ground to the other boats, but PERSPECTIVE loves a hot angle with the kite flying. Kiwi kept it hot and we went for an inside lane on our fleet, catching right up to the leaders!
For quite a while we were breathing down Remarkable’s neck. That was one of the highlights of the season: if we could have slipped past them, we would have been out in front of the fleet. But it was not in the cards — a couple of shifty gusts and we slipped behind.
All of us arrived at the leeward mark in rapid succession. All of us except Battlewagon, who had waited a long time before hoisting, and fallen very far behind. We opted to tack quickly, rather than follow the other boats. They all tacked later. We knew we needed another two tacks to finish, and for a while we thought they were going to make the finish line without tacking again, but an opportunity emerged when they all had to put in two tacks to finish.
No dice. Despite really crisp tacks and great trim, we couldn’t quite real them in. But check out the action: