This is the year for trying some new experiences. The Susan Hood was a big one, and coming up in July is the Lake Ontario 300, four times as long as the Susan Hood, and I expect it will feel four times as warm too.
In addition, I’ve registered for the Lake Ontario Short Handed Racing Series (LOSHRS) a set of six different races for double-handed sailing (skipper and one crew). Race #1 was a short one (14 Nautical Miles), and I was joined by Jan Varkevisser (whom we know from Coyote). Jan took the helm and I ran around pulling on ropes. It was great fun.
The contrast from the Susan Hood was night and day (pun intended). Jan and I enjoyed solid wind on the beam, great boat speed, bright sunny skies and — with the wind coming off the land — much warmer temperatures. It was as if we were sailing on a different lake. And nowhere was the distinction more evident than in the same stretch of water where we had been parked within sight of the finish line the day before. Saturday afternoon: no wind. Sunday afternoon: 25 knots! That made flaking the mainsail a bit tricky with just two of us on board 🙂
The race itself was a very simple drag race. Jan put in an excellent start at the pin (upwind) end of the line. We were in the sixth start, so we had clear line of sight to the direction to sail, and time to get ourselves in position. Our fleet had some faster boats in it (Shock Therapy, rated -11, and Suspect, rated -3), but Lively, a J109 has nearly the same handicap, so we had a good yardstick of how we were doing relative to the fleet.
The wind was pretty steady, but it did rise and fall by a few knots and shifted forward & aft a bit. Before the start, and twice on the outbound leg, I got the spinnaker ready for hoist (even got the pole ready once), but just when we would have hoisted, the wind grew and shifted forward. We wouldn’t have been able to hold our line. Only one boat near us hoisted an asymmetrical spinnaker. It helped them go faster, but even they couldn’t hold the line to the rounding mark.
We had two set-backs that affected our results. The first was a challenge in overtaking a slower boat from an earlier start. This cost us a good 50m. And the second came after the rounding. The air was flukey, and by the time we got powered up in a groove, we had slipped to leeward of our fleet. For us this meant a tack at the finish line to finish on port. The extra distance sailed set us back further on our fleet.
We placed 5th in our fleet, beating Shock Therapy on PHRF.
Just before the finish, a new stronger breeze kicked in and we sailed close hauled in 25 knots of wind with the #1 genoa up. Keeping everything flat and feathering the jib, we were not overpowered, but it was a slow mode of sailing. After the finish, there was an hour to go back to PCYC, so we furled the jib to protect it and enjoyed screaming along under mainsail alone.
Thanks Jan, for a great sail! Next LOSHRS race are June 15 & 16. Two chances to climb the leader board.