It was a lovely night to be on the water. Plenty of wind (we even contemplated the #3 before the start, but chose the #2, correctly). Good boat speed, and a balmy summertime warmth to remind us that autumn hasn’t begun yet.
Despite the great conditions, good sail trim and boat speed, crisp tacks, a strong hoist and douse, tonight’s finish sequence was determined within one minute of the start: Top Gun, Battlewagon, Perspective, Sandpiper. Raison d’Etre abandoned before starting. We saw the bailing water from their boat with a big bucket, and hope that everything is okay.
The boat end was favoured, but there was clearly much stronger air toward the Hamilton side of the bay. We fought for the boat end of the start line and had it in hand, well timed, except Battlewagon was to leeward, and I didn’t want to give them the chance to push us up. We slowed a bit and then went for the line when the risk was past. In hindsight we could have gone for it. Instead, we were ten seconds late, caught in Battlewagon’s bad air. Rather than tacking away, we footed off (to get into the better wind). As a result, by the time we tacked, we were a good five boat lengths behind them. They covered us to the windward mark and stretched it to ten boats.
By this time Sandpiper was well astern, so rather than follow Battlewagon, we chose a hotter angle downwind, toward the Hamilton shore where we expected to find better wind. At first it looked like it was paying off as we made ground quickly, but then the wind slackened instead of gaining, and it shifted around so that we were sailing in light wind that had shifted behind us, while our rivals on the rhumb line enjoyed great boat speed and 100% VMG. The best choice was to jibe back toward the better wind that our rivals were enjoying — thus consolidating their lead which had grown quite a lot by this time. After the race, people asked why we went so far. What to say? We took the scenic route!
So, with the pressure of the race off, we put in some jibes, practiced free-flying the spinnaker and then enjoyed lovely fast sailing to the finish line. Sometimes you just gotta smile and soak in the fact that your sailing in a fast boat on a beautiful evening with a great bunch of guys.