It’s really rare for the wind direction and speed to be this constant. Not only for the entire race, but also across the entire bay. There were no wind shifts, no oscillations, and there was barely hole to fall into, or a favoured side of the course. So the game was technical tonight. Very technical, and every detail mattered: the start, the steering, the trim, clear air, crisp tacks, hoist, jibe, douse. And we put in a clean race with a great start, terrific trim and strong maneuvers.
And the genoa car? all the way back! Without a doubt, this is the key to pointing high with great speed, and it works at 8 knots of wind speed. My guess is that it works all the way down to six knots. We’ll test it first chance we get.
Back to the race….the start was very exciting as we went for the boat end on Starboard. Sandpiper got between us and the start line and we were able to push them up over the line, so they had to restart. This was the first time tonight we had a boat close enough to reach out and touch. Lot’s of “Stay up!” being hollered, but it was all in good fun, and Len & crew kept it safe. Further down the line we noticed Remarkable was also over early. Both boats circled back and restarted a bit behind the fleet. Meanwhile, Battlewagon put in yet another perfect pin end port tack start, and carried across all our bows. They went on to have a flawless evening and get the gun. (Top Gun was away tonight).
Our upwind was strong and we kept our eyes on the rest of the fleet. Sandpiper and Raison d’Etre went the same direction we did toward the Burlington shore whereas Remarkable followed Battlewagon after restarting. When we reached the layline, we tacked to lee-bow Remarkable and were just able to hold them off from rolling over us. Once again, lots of “Stay Up!” being hollered, but Mark & Crew kept it fun and safe. Battlewagon was ahead and the others behind.
Our hoist was just a hair slower than Remarkable and they were able to get over top of us and ahead before we were flying well. Being close on their stern, we had the chance to blanket them, but Sandpiper, behind us, had jibed to the center of the course and were coming on strong, so we jibed to cover. We got some good air there and when we jibed back, we found ourselves with the inside lane on Remarkable at the leeward mark. Douse was crisp and we rounded, hardened up and had Remarkable in our bad air.
Again we had to make a choice: Pandora was ahead and we were getting their bad air. Remarkable began to foot off. Do we cover them, or tack for clear air. We opted for the tack. It felt right as we powered up. But these decisions on the last leg were crucial. We tacked back perhaps a tad early. As it turned out, we weren’t quite able to fetch the committee boat end of the finish line. Oh if only we had gone 3 or 4 boat lengths further before tacking. As it turned out, we met Remarkable near the finish line, crossing dead even with them, but we were on port, so we had to dip them. The next tack was too late to force them to dip us on the next crossing, and too early to fetch the boat end of the line. Instead we tried to shoot the line, but it was too late, Remarkable had crossed ahead.
Thinking back to where we were a few years ago, losing to Remarkable by about nine seconds of real time…we’ve come a long way!
It was great to have nearly everyone back from holidays — just Four Hands was missing, and next week we’ll all be in for the final push of the Spring season.