It was a nice breezy night for the conclusion of the Tuesday night races of 2018. Even though I was trying to master the art of vang sheeting, Kiwi can attest to the fact that I had some learning to do!
I’ve never seen anyone on the boat be actually under water before! Here it is in super-slo-mo:
In the pre-start, we were watching the wind before picking out headsail. It started to lie down a bit and rotate south, so we began to prepare the #1, figuring the race might become a drag race of reaching. But then the force came back and the wind stayed in the SSW, so we switched gears and opted for the #2. Cars a bit forward, shrouds hard and backstay near max. It was a good combo.
We still had eyes on the wind direction, and worked out that port tack pin end was the way to start. Top Gun had the same idea and both of us got away ahead of the rest of the fleet, who began on starboard. Remarkable was near the boat and and tacked quickly, tracking our course but further in toward the Burlington shore.
At first, it appeared that Battlewagon and Sandpiper had fallen way back, but once they tacked we noticed they were coming on strong in a slot of better air. Top Gun tacked over toward it. We held our course. Meanwhile Remarkable ground to a halt. Literally. They were about 100 meters closer to shore than we were, and a bit ahead when they ran aground. It took them quite a while, but they were eventually able to work themselves free. Fortunately the bottom is silty in that area (Skootch and I have been on that same bank once ourselves). By the time they were free, we had all rounded and made it halfway to the leeward mark, so Remarkable retired from the race. Tough strokes.
Our first attempt at the layline to the windward mark was too early, so we had to put in two more tacks, while Sandpiper and Battlewagon slipped by in front of us. Time for some spinnaker magic!
We hoisted and began to close down on Sandpiper, dead ahead of us, with Battlewagon to our right. There was big wind and we got some good warning about gusts as boat after boat ahead began to broach: Coyote & Pandora showed us exactly where the gusts were, so we readied for them, and drove through them without any troubles…each time making ground on our competitors ahead. Christephanie opted to douse early to avoid the worst of the gusts, and so did Battlewagon — both boats finishing the downwind under genoa alone. Sandpiper gave themselves a healthy margin for error by dousing a bit early, but we held on to the last moment. That made all the difference! By the time we brought down the kite, the lads on the foredeck could have hopped from our bow to Sandpiper’s stern.
Then Four Hands and Afterguy pulled off the fastest douse ever and we jibed around the mark right on Sandpiper’s tail.
It wasn’t a fetch to the finish, so we tacked away for better air, with one eye on Sandpiper and the other on Battlewagon. And of course, they both chose different routes: Battlewagon stayed inshore whereas Sandpiper tacked across our bow hunting for that bigger air out toward Hamilton.
But this time the middle paid. We got a few lifts and were on course to the boat end of the line, when we had to dip Pandora II. We shaved it tight, but it still cost us the layline. Sandpiper was charging up the middle from a position to windward and behind. Battlewagon was just off our starboard bow. We were tensed and ready to tack when they moved: as soon as they tacked, they would have right of way, and we didn’t want to dip them or give them control. But at the same time, they can’t tack onto our path, either. It was a really cool situation. The way it played out, we kept them pinned to leeward all the way to the committee boat, though both of us were missing the line. Finally, they tacked, but they had to duck under us, we tacked to cover, passed the boat and shot the line.
All through this, we were checking over our shoulder to see how Sandpiper was making out. We breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that they were still a bit behind, but they crossed ahead of Battlewagon, all three boats finishing in close succession.
What a great finale to a fun season of dueling among the three boats. And of course, it was great to come out on top for the last Tuesday race. A second place finish! And that secured second place for the Fall Tuesday series!
Can’t wait until next year!