This year, the Saturday race saw good winds (10-15 kts) and a very sloppy sea. Unfortunately we did not have the participation numbers we had hoped for; only 4 boats made it out including the Canadian entry.
In both of the day's races, LinGin had poor boat speed. The first race we had a good start and felt the wind would go right throughout the day. The fleet went left while we went center of the course, but furthest right of the fleet. What we failed to recognize was a 20 degree shift to the left about half way to the first mark. Had we realized this was a persistent shift, we would have tacked over and maintained a strong lead. We sailed into it and were taken over by 550 and 247.
During the downwind leg, we overtook the Canadian boat (550) while they were having spinnaker trouble. We appeared to maintain our position with 247 during the downwind leg. As a side note, T.C. Williams had C.B. Currier on board and they certainly made a good team. We couldn't make up the difference heading back upwind as 247 smartly covered us.
The second race, we saw 247 line up for a port start and set out to deny it. We did a admirable job of timing the start, coming into the pin on starboard and forcing 247 to duck behind us. I'll admit I enjoyed that. :-)
My joy was short-lived, though. 247 tacked behind and upwind of us and just MOTORED by. We tacked away and they tacked to cover us. We spent the rest of the leg trying anything we could think of to tune the boat in to the conditions, but to no avail. It was very frustrating.
We should have realized, again, that there was a huge shift mid-way up the course again, but I was too frustrated with 247 driving away that I completely missed it. We came around the mark last. Argh.
During the downwind leg we made up on 484 and came close to 550, but in the end took a third.
Day two had much smoother conditions and the boat felt better. We had a great start and made good speed up the upwind leg, but about halfway up we got out of phase with the shifts which put us in third behind 247 and 550. The wind was lightening up as we went downwind, and to mix it up we tried downwind tacking. This is an area that I want to experiment more with. We got smoked on one of the NOOD races by Towney tacking downwind while we took the rhumb line, and I think the angles and windspeed that I would normally start downwind tacking on are perhaps wrong. At present we have to be going less than 2 kts and we use the angle brackets on the masthead fly to determine the angles. I'm going to try higher angles and I'll start downwind tacking under 3 kts. We'll see how it works out.
We rounded the bottom mark behind 550 and went right toward Hackett's Point. 247 went left, and 550 concurred pretty quickly. I liked our speed and the wind seemed to be building on the right side of the course, so to get leverage on the other boats, I went to the lay line. The wind substantially increased and was a huge lift once we tacked. We made out like bandits against 550 and very nearly caught 247.
The race committee was run by Bob Leigh rather than Phil Biegel this year as Phil's house was hit by the tornado that went through
- Thread the Needle. We had a vote at the skippers meeting/potluck dinner and I was the only one that voted against threading the needle. This is a rule that says as you sail up and down the legs, you MUST go through the start/finish line each time. I really don't like this rule as it significantly limits the leverage you can get on your competition. The reasons given for keeping it were that a) it makes it easy for the RC to shorten the course, b) it allowed for better photos (I didn't see anyone with a camera on the RC boat), and c) it was tradition.
- The RC shortened the last race in solid wind. I'll admit that the wind was light during the downwind leg, but that upwind leg things really began to blow. The race was going well and we would have readily made the party afterward. I know the Canadians need to get home, but they made a very long trip to race. Why not give them the full experience?
One last thought on the first day's racing. I spoke with C.B. and T.C. and the rest of our crew. I think perhaps we had things a bit too tight. That while it felt like strong wind, we had things set up a little too strong. If I had it to do again, I'd try a little less jib halyard tension, a little less backstay and a fuller main.
We had a good time overall (anytime out racing is a good time in my book!), and it was nice to finish the season with a second.
I'd really love to organize a 10 hour road trip to
What do you think?
Thanks, Crew, for a great weekend!