We had a full crew tonight and what a difference it made! The solid breeze meant all the weight on the rail helped us power up and point, while all the experience working together in synchronicity meant for crisp tacks, smooth jibes, quick recovery from the odd stray line and lots of eyes on wind and competition to make good decisions.
And the weather was absolutely stunning. Warm sunshine, lingering humidity, bright sky — ahhh this is the summer weather we have all been waiting for!
Before the race, the wind was really up. We were reading over 14 knots in the marina. But all the forecasts called for the wind to die down. Sure enough, just after we set the #2 headsail, the wind dropped down into the 10-12 knot range, threatening to drop even more. Headsail change! Neatly done and now we had the right amount of power. Of course, the big sails meant for a busy night for Dinghy on the mainsail trim, but he was right on it.
Port tack and pin end were favoured, so our plan was to start on Starboard down the line somewhere looking for clear air. Unfortunately, our competitors got in our way, so we ended up closer to the boat than we wanted and just behind Battlewagon (who once again put in a great race). We tacked away onto Port and enjoyed the lifted tack, but it appeared that the better wind was down near Hamilton, so we tacked back over. Good move. We pushed in all the way to the wall before tacking and then put in a few more tacks to stay on that side of the course. These choices helped us claw back some distance on Battlewagon, and round ahead of Raison d’Etre and Sandpiper. Remarkable was back out tonight, and rounded just ahead of us.
Even though we had a very short lay line, the hoist was quick and away we went. We chose a hotter angle than our competitors, which brought us out into the better air near the Hamilton shore. The jibes were our best ever this year — great to have both Four Hands and Nonsuch up on the pointy end together. We put in extra jibes to stay out toward the Hamilton shore. This helped us overtake Remarkable (who didn’t hoist) and expand our lead on Sandpiper and Raison d’Etre. And we thought it might just be enough to get the inside lane on Battlewagon at the leeward mark, but we rounded just astern.
For the final beat, we chose not to follow Battlewagon to the Burlington shore. Instead we tacked away, looking for the better wind to the finish. Although we found great wind and sailed fast and high, it wasn’t enough to close the gap on our rivals.
What a fantastic night!