The race this past Wednesday was basically a straight shot out and back. Not a lot of tactics involved per se. The wind was out of the NE around 10 kts and we sailed with full sails powered up.
After watching the previous starts, we decided the pin end was favored and gave the best angle for speed and shortest distance to the first mark. Clear air and boat speed are vital for a good Alberg start. 9,000 lbs of momentum takes awhile to develop if you don't have it at the gun.
The first leg we looked to keep in clear air and not mess with the other classes that can easily interfere with our efforts. We then rounded the mark and stayed high of our next course to force the other classes below us and to keep us above the spinnakers coming back.
After rounding the mark, we set the chute and as it was a short leg, took it down quickly. As we came around the next mark, a Melges 24 rounded up and smacked us in the port quarter, about a foot from the transom. It made a big sound, and I remarked that I knew who won that battle! We had a small scratch in our teak toe rail. I kept the pieces of gelcoat the Melges left with us as a prize. After we raised our protest flag, they did their circles and continued on. It looked like they sustained a nice 2" crack in their bow. Ouch.
The rest of the race was a foot race into the harbor. The boats behind caught up a bit as the breeze died down in the harbor, but with the spinnaker up, we took a broad reach toward the Naval Academy sea wall and then went all the way to to the gas station next to AYC. Towney took a direct route almost dead downwind and as we gybed, it became apparent that our higher angle on the wind gave us the speed we needed to keep the lead.
Our crew did a great job with the spinnaker work, especially Brian Palmer who is not our regular foredeckman. We're all looking forward to next week's race.