We continued the fall tradition of Crew Scramble — hey maybe it will become an annual tradition? — with Bert at the helm. It was one of the most beautiful evenings on the water: warm evening sunlight, almost clear skies with just enough cloud to make a glowing sunset and allow the full moon to sneak up on us. It would have been the perfect chance for a night sail after the race. A missed opportunity!
But the race was great fun! The wind was out of the Northwest, which made the course into a bit of a drag race with few passing opportunities, but the wind was full of impish mischief that kept us all on our toes.
We put in a conservative start, at the boat end, just astern of Battlewagon, and a boat length behind the fleet who were spread along the start line. Dirty air from Battlewagon forced us lower and we lost some ground to the fleet. Bert did a great job holding PERSPECTIVE in the groove, and our tacks got more and more crisp with each maneuver.
With the course set this way, there was a short lay-line to the windward mark, and a jibe-set was the preferred maneuver, so we set the bag on starboard and took our time setting the pole after jibing around the mark. Alvin and Mark put together a perfectly clean hoist and we held a nice high line all the way to the leeward mark. No jibes needed tonight. As we sailed into the middle of the bay, the wind built, and we had plenty of boat speed with a nice heel angle. A few gusts hit us and we rounded up a bit, but Bert was the epitome of calm as we recovered well and kept gaining on Sandpiper.
Too soon, it was time to douse, and Sandpiper was still ahead. A nice orderly douse by the gents on the pointy end — was this really their first time working together? And off we went on the drag race to the finish line with the golden sun dead ahead. We made up even more ground on Sandpiper but bad air off Christephanie held us back and we couldn’t overtake. C’est la vie!
Back at the dock, we watched the moon rise and talked a wee bit about what we’ve learned from the crew scramble so far. Some said that it helped to get an idea of what the other people have to do. Others said it showed how everything has to go right to win a race — especially at the beginning of the race. Not much went wrong tonight at all, but the little things add up, and when we are in our regular positions, we get those details right. Some called for us to get back to our regular spots — its more fun to beat Battlewagon!
I’m smiling, because we’ve got a great crew and a great boat. Bert summed it up well when he thanked me “for the keys to the Ferrari”. Let’s keep scrambling this fall. The investment will pay off.