Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Very Tight WNR

We had a really fun race last Wednesday.

A nice, light and variable breeze out of the west made for a downwind start. We envisioned starting at the pin end of the line on port tack, setting the chute just as the gun went off. It wasn't to be, though, as we came up to the pin on starboard and quickly became trapped between a number of boats from other classes.

We agonized on an action plan. We were blanketed by these other boats and we were unable to gybe and get going the way we planned. After trying to slow LinGin down for a bit we were able to make a large S turn and get out from behind these boats, gybe and set the spinnaker. The bummer was that we were at the end of the A30 fleet at this point.

We put Scott on the hook to help us catch up and by the first mark, we were chasing Laughing Gull and Argo.

After rounding the mark, we were heading upwind and back toward Annapolis. Laughing Gull went left--far left. We felt the wind was better to the right since it had the chance to funnel down the Severn. Argo went right a bit and then tacked left. We went a bit further and tacked before we could become entangled with the big boats coming back in.

The wind lightened up and became very shifty. Luckily we caught a break one shift and caught Argo on our next crossing by less than a boat length. Laughing Gull tacked out from the far left corner and went far right. Argo followed her.

It looked as though Laughing Gull lost almost all wind on the right side. Argo, it appeared, met the same fate. While we didn't have much wind to the left, we kept moving and coming into the next mark we tacked just inside of Laughing Gull and rounding the mark.

It was not clear whether we could carry a chute coming into the harbor and Argo, though behind, was moving as she took a very high course up near the Naval Academy sea wall. After watching Argo continue to move on us, we decided we had to put the chute up. (Much to Scott's delight!)

We slowly picked up speed and did our best to steer the rhumb line to the finish while avoiding being covered by non-Albergs that were steaming through.

We held off Argo. I think they went too high and had to come down to make the finish--very slow.

Coming into the finish we were right next to a Cal 25 that covered us not 3 boat lengths from the finish. Laughing Gull was on our tail and steaming comparatively--especially since they had clear air. Thankfully we found enough wind to hold them off, but only by the skin of our teeth.

It was a nail biter that at times seemed well out of our reach, but we had a great time fighting till the end. We're all bummed that next week is the last WNR of the season.