It’s not often that we are the boat that goes straight down the middle, but tonight we just found there was more wind, so we spent as much time as we could there and it paid off.
It was yet another perfect summer evening, with warm temperatures and a soft breeze. In fact, there was much more breeze than I expected based on the forecasts, and it was more steady than expected; it even resisted resisted dying down.
And with steady breeze in and around 10 knots it was a night for technical sailing. Small adjustments in trim made a big difference, as did decisions about when to tack and when to jibe. Technically, the crew was right on the money throughout the race, and tacks and jibes grew crisper with each repetition.
Despite a relatively long start line with very little bias, I managed to start us in a bunch of traffic at the boat end of the line. Old habits die hard, I guess. Once we all got flowing, we tacked away out of traffic, across Sandpiper’s bow. We enjoyed the breeze in the middle of the course, and tacked back once it got lighter. Clearly the boats near the Hamilton shore enjoyed a lift, as many crossed well ahead of us. But then it was our turn to get the lift, and things evened out pretty well. After another pair of tacks to the windward mark we were in the hunt. Rounding order was Sabotage, Top Gun, RdE, Legacy, Us, Battlewagon, Sandpiper.
Spinnaker up, and its decision time. Near RHYC, we were able to soak quite deep in good pressure, and then jibed back to the middle of the course while Battlewagon and Sandpiper chose to continue to that shore pursuing RdE. We liked the middle, and overtook Legacy, who sailed hotter angles to both shores.
At the leeward mark, we had the inside lane and were about a boat length ahead of RdE. Douse was perfect and we protected our line, but by the time we had powered up RdE had gone around the outside to overtake us and we were in their bad air. Tack back to the middle with a keen eye on the fleet. RdE didn’t cover. Good pressure in the middle. Another great tack before the layline, hoping for a lift to bring us home, but it didn’t come. We needed one last tack to finish and RdE crossed ahead of us.
A very satisfying race nonetheless, as Legacy crossed 30 seconds after us and then a gap before the others.
And all this time, a threatening sky on the lake never made it into the Bay. We tidied up and enjoyed our snack under balmy summer skies. Only on the drive home did I see evidence that it had indeed rained. We were charmed!