Now before any rumours start about what Les and Dave may or may not have been doing during tonight’s race, I need to clarify that a whoopee splice is a technical term for an adjustable rope splice that Calvin implemented when securing the Jackstays on PERSPECTIVE. And Jackstays are lines that we will use during the Susan Hood to attach ourselves securely to the boat. Calvin made some beautiful bright orange jackstays and clipping points for our race on Friday night. And the whoopee splices are ingenious. Except that some aspect of the spinnaker pole was somehow caught up in the jackstay, and Les had to sort out a new puzzle in real time during our hoist tonight. And Dave? Well, he provided moral support and the beer after the race, so we’re really glad he was there!
But none of this happened at the beginning, so I have to rewind the tape. We’ll come back to the whoopee part a bit later on.
It was a chilly night. I mean StarPort in long johns and windbreaker overalls kind of chilly. Long-fingered gloves even. Two guys in toques. That kind of cold. But it was dry and there was wind, so we were happy.
Before the start we could see that Starboard tack and boat end were clearly favoured, but we opted to implement the port-tack approach, choose a slot, tack onto port and go for clear air down the line. It worked like a charm and we had a beautifully timed start with clear air, even well ahead of Top Gun. Good boat speed and pointing and we held our line for quite a while. Eventually we needed to work our way back to the rhumb line and then it became clear that the boats with a strong boat-end start (especially Battlewagon) had an advantage on us. We crossed clear ahead of Sandpiper and Raison d’Etre (aka “raisin eater”). Next cross we were close, but Sandpiper had to dip us. Final cross and we judged the layline well, but by then the others had gotten inside us and we were last to round, but only Top Gun had slipped well away.
And now the whoopee!
Four hands is getting ready to set the pole and notices something amiss — the lines on the pole are somehow caught up in the Jackstay.
He queries for ideas.
I respond “you’ll have to undo the whoopee splice!”
He hears “undo the ??? splice” and calls back
I’m thinking “Boy, Les is really up on his knots”
He’s thinking “What do I do?”
Meanwhile, we hoist without the pole. After a bit of wrestling and fuss we get the kite filled (trick: hold the mainsail at centreline until the spinnaker fills, then slowly turn and ease the main while the lads gingerly adjust guy and sheet). During this time, Les does something magical and the lines are free up there (caught in a bit of tape???). We jibe and then set the pole on port. Jibing is easy when sailing without the spinnaker pole! This is a good trick to practice for jibe-sets!
And the wonder of this whole story is that during all of this we managed to overtake Battlewagon and Sandpiper who had done bear away sets that took them on worse angles. Raison d’Etre did not hoist their spinnaker and I have to applaud their sportsmanship because they steered a course so as not to interfere with those of us hoisting. Well done Morgan, Sir!
Now we enjoyed what PERSPECTIVE does best, sailing hot angles in moderate to light wind and making ground on the fleet. We carried all the way to the Hamilton wall, put in a patient and effective jibe and then enjoyed a nice line to the leeward mark. By the time we doused and rounded, we were on Top Gun’s heals!
The last upwind stretch was crucial — we all remembered being in a similar position last week, but letting Battlewagon slip by us at the end. That was not going to happen again! Still, though we weren’t pointing as well as we ought, and Sandpiper (well astern) was enjoying a much higher line. This was quickly rectified by Afterguy’s adjustment of the genoa and we claimed a solid second place finish.
Spirits were high as we motored back to port