A 14 nm fleet race in 6-8 knots of wind, with Trevor & Mark E from Sandpiper.
This was our favorite kind of lake racing. A solid and steady breeze with a modest swell (waves less than half a meter) that would have been a drag race except for the need to avoid the gun range.
Trevor & Mark E settled into the boat quickly and we spent some time before hoisting any sails making sure Trevor had the details clear for the foredeck. He’d raced with us once before (Peaches and PHRF last summer) and picked up our details in a snap. The wind looked like a white sail day, but twice in a row, having the kite ready made all the difference, so we made sure about that!
Our pre-start was funny as we set our five minute timer on the four minute warning. Simply because I wanted to stay near the committee boat in the start sequence, we heard a horn at “two minutes” that didn’t make sense. I gestured to the committee boat, who could see my confusion and they confirmed: “1 minute”. A quick jibe and we were back at the boat for a pretty good start just behind Perry-Eh and squeezing in beside Lindemere.
The two decisions to make were how high to sail (cracked off a bit because of the swell) and how far to persist on starboard (to avoid the gun range). We tacked earlier than our competitors but were still able to avoid the obstruction without sailing close hauled. Battlewagon began to approach from our windward quarter, but a slight adjustment in our car position and we were able to hold them off and pull away gradually.
The next decision was when to crack off and aim for the destination (we were about 20 degrees high by now). A slight lift gave us a hint that there might be a bigger lift coming. Some quick math and we knew that if we got a bit more of a lift we’d be able to hoist and sail a really hot spinnaker angle. The shift came, we turned down, hoisted and began to stream away. All around us, spinnakers went up, but we overtook Perry-Eh quickly and then pulled well away from the fleet. Our boat speed built to 7+ knots in barely that much wind, and the waves were less of a factor once we settled on a lower course.
After about a third of the race, we were leading everyone!
Lunch was awesome, and the conversation light as we focused on small details to keep ourselves moving fast on course.
After 2/3 of the race, the wind began to shift forward a bit and slacken. Holding our line got harder, and the boat speed suffered. We endured a few light patches and began looking over our shoulders more and more frequently. Eventually we got a 20 degree knock, doused the spinnaker, got back on course with the #1 and got our boat speed back into the 6+ range as the wind filled in. A quick look around and all the spinnakers were gone!
The last hour or so was creamy fast sailing on a most gorgeous summer day, as we secured line honours about 5 minutes ahead of Perry-Eh. Was it enough to beat them on handicap? I don’t think so, but we’ll find out soon!
Thanks Trevor & Mark E for a great sail, a memorable experience and a fantastic result!