Last Donzo of the Season
Wind: NW at 8-16 kts
Avg Wind: 268 at 12.7 kts, Baro 28.91" Temp 74 F
Current: flood 1740 NH
Start: offshore of usual "West of GLP"
Course: s/f-DM-L-s/f; Drop Mark 1.3nm at 280 (277)
Race Length: 5.2 nm
Crew: Brian, Dan & RW
Winds in the last few minutes prior to the start were well into the teens, so we stepped the rig up to 14 and cinched in the first reef. A couple pre-start wind checks showed port may have been favored slightly, as did the flags on the RC even more so. So our plan was to start near the committee boat (thinking that the push from the flood would cause a crowd the pin), then extend on starboard till a port tack would weather Horseshoe. We led San Souci into the line with the rest of the class ahead to port down the line. Sans Souci nipping at our heels slightly to leeward hailed to luff us up, but as we headed up they took advantage of their speed to clear us and gain some space to leeward prior to the gun.
We continued out on starboard in good position as the most windward boat. An additional crew member on the rail would have been nice, and would have allowed us to remain powered up better. We were the first to tack to right and found the waves were less punishing on port.
Brian & Dan started looking for the drop-mark hard to find in the sun, none too soon as we nearly overstood. Nearing the mark, we crossed Sans Souci to round half-dozen lengths ahead.
In the bear-away, the chute got caught on the flattening-reef cleat as it went up, creating a delayed hoist and a small tear. About halfway down the course, a jibe to port took us into the rounding a couple boatlengths ahead of Sans Souci. We had a good windward douse and tight rounding. San Souci’s rounding and cleanup did not appear to be as smooth. We tacked to starboard for offshore almost immediately, then back towards shore to parallel our first leg.
I saw a port-starboard situation ahead with a larger boat. A duck would have precluded a cross of Sans Souci trailing a few boatlengths off the larger boats windward quarter, so we tacked back rather than continue into what I felt was more favorable current closer to shore. On our subsequent long port towards the mark, we shook out the reef in a slacking wind. We again crossed ahead of Sans Souci near the mark, though this time on port just as we tacked onto the layline. The layline was crowded requiring slight overstand to prevent some rolls by larger boats.
Again we had a slight problem with the set, yet remained ahead of Sans Souci. Shortly after rounding Sans Souci jibed to port, I assume for less current near shore. We jibed to cover though sailed a deep run all the way to the finish with the spinnaker winged out while heeling to windward. Sans Souci’s fresher course with a jibe to starboard covered the ground slightly faster allowing them to close the gap to cross our stern to finish just nine seconds behind.
We ended up second with Spring penalties, first without and second in class for the season.
We need to work better on easing out the genoa as we bear off for the set around the windward mark. Hopefully the three of us can practice windward mark rounding & sets early next season.
57th Around Island Race
Wind: SW 10
Avg Wind: 240 at 9.6 kts, Baro 29.85" Temp High of 79 F
Current: ebb NH 0738, RP 0803; flood 1414 NP
Start & Finish: West Harbor
Race Length: 14.55 nm
Crew: Brian, Seth & RW
Of the twenty-two Fishers Island Regattas that have taken place since our first in 1992, fourteen have been counter-clock wise about the island, six clockwise and two were inside courses (2006 & 2010). We’ve missed two events, the 2006 inside one due to Hurricane Ernesto and 2004.
We have placed in three of the clockwise races (1,3,3), and won our class in the ill-fate 2010 race (inside-course with a 4th in fleet overall corrected), yet never placed well in the counter-clockwise events, till yesterday.
We had planned on starting near the pin as port was favored. The pin ended up a bit crowded and we had to tack a couple times, yet avoided a foul to finally break free mid-line on port, and were able to weather South Dumpling and extend well beyond the North Hill bell. Most of the boats tacked to starboard around the bell, though we continued much farther west as did Jolly Mon, Ursa Minor and Checkered Demon ahead of us. I think Checkered was the first to tack, then Ursa and Jolly Mon. We continued well beyond their sterns till Race Point bore 195 degrees magnetic then tacked for the long board to the Race. Most if not all the boats were forced to tack out prior to Silver Eel, while we had just a short one-minute current-lifted hitch four minutes or so prior to rounding Race Point.
Passing close to the buoy to avoid the eddy, we bore-off and popped the chute, then freshened up to work offshore for better current. About half-way down the island we winged out the chute and began heeling the boat to windward, prior to jibing about twenty minutes later.
Rounding the MOA, we carried the spinnaker to the top of the pass, doused and rounded tight on Can’7’. A large boat cut inside and rolled us, though passed quickly without harm. We then sailed the usual doglegs in & out around the buoys for current avoidance. Fortunately, the wind held and the current was not ripping! Many times over the years, this is where we fell out of the hunt with our little boat short on the necessary horsepower. The beat to the finish was a well lifted port tack, requiring only two short starboards, one near Brooks Point and the last for the finish line.
In addition winning our class, we took a third in our Island Cup Class (2,3,1).
Most importantly, we were first overall in the fleet on corrected time for the Donzo Memorial Award.
Wind: E at 3 to 7
Avg Wind: 095 at 4.3 kts, Baro 29.89" Temp 72 F
Current: ebb 1715 NH
Start: offshore of usual "West of GLP"
Race Length: 3.3 nm
Crew: Brian, Seth & RW
It had been a low ceiling and foggy day for the most part, though the visibility picked up to 5 miles or more the last hour prior to race time. The RC setup a bit farther offshore than usual to align Intrepid Rock upwind. The race starting five minutes or so later with no guns caused a bit of confusion amongst our crew and did not get positioned as we as I’d liked. Three wind checks showed a slight favor to port. At the horn, we trailed Cosmic & Merganser off the line to the right. Jolly Mon & Breaking Wind fared much better going left toward Groton Long Point. Still trailing and falling into Merganser’s lee, we tacked to starboard about the same time as Cosmic and shortly thereafter Mergnser. Sailing abeam Cosmic, we pulled ahead of Merganser and began making some time on Cosmic as Jolly Mon & Breaking Wind crossed well ahead on port. Had there been more wind near GLP, or did they benefit from more current?
Continuing on starboard, we noticed Jolly Mon & Breaking Wind stalling west of the mark ostensibly on the starboard layline (maybe a wind-hole?). So we stretched on starboard as to come in nearly on the port layline for a tight rounding and quick set. We had a good downwind, passing Cosmic (they went too far north out of the way), and catching Breaking Wind at the mark and passing to windward of them back out. Though, they almost caught as at the finish.
Wind: S 4 to 10 kts
Avg Wind: 187 at 7.3 kts, Baro 30.28" Temp 78 to 74 F
Current: ebb 1350 NH
Start: West of FI
Course: s/f-DM-s/f*2; 195 at 1.3 nm
Race Length: 5.1 nm
Crew: Brian, Seth & RW
After nearly two and a half hours and an abandoned start; the wind which had been all around the clock, up & down from zip to 10ish finally filled in from the south. The RC posted a windward mark at 1.3 nm & 210 degrees.
We got a very good start near the committee boat, as most of the class was clustered down near the pin. We tacked shortly after the gun, as a late minute wind check had shown port as to be favoured, Jolly Mon followed suit shortly there after though most of the class held on to starboard for a good while. About half way to the mark we dug back in for an equally long starboard, then a short port to the layline, for a nice set of the spinnaker. The downwind was good, Seth trimming & Brian calling the shots. The douse at the leeward mark was nearly perfect, and we tacked soon as possible to starboard for a slightly clocked breeze. This time we held starboard nearly to the corner. Had we tacked around 1447 and dug in for three or four minutes, our port tacks would have been phased better with the wind, and we might have shaved a minute or so off our time.
We had a very short layline, yet a smooth fast set, and another good downwind. Brian & Seth are to be commended for the great boatwork, sail trim, strategy & tactics. Reviewing the chart later, I found the windward mark to be 195 degrees from the RC rather than 210 as posted.
We ended up with a third in class, yet a fifth in the 32 boat spinnaker fleet.
Wind: SW 5 to 0 kts, gust 8
Avg Wind: 240 at 4.5 kts, Baro 30.07" Temp 79 F
Current: flood 1830 NH
Start: West of GLP
Course: s/f-DM-s/f, 230 at 1 nm
Race Length: 3.0 nm
Crew: Brian, Dan & RW
Never thought a blue moon would be so orange! Never thought we would get in 14 straight Wednesday night races! A taste of summer drifted over the Mudhead fleet and if you spent too much time looking for the full moon, you might have missed that pocket of air you needed to connect the dots. It was light all night with a building flood current and a dying southwesterly. Course 4 was the call with a one mile windward leg. (Here's a trivia question...can you name the advertisers on our weather mark? Thank them for their support!)
As usual in a dying breeze, the rich got richer and the slow got stopped with a handful of retirements in frustration, a couple of anchor drops and a few accepting their position when all hope was lost and the moon was on the rise. Back up front, a late puff or two, and the right guess on which side to be on, brought the usual suspects to the finish, shortened at the second windward rounding. Jolly Mon, Zig Zag Zoom, Ursa Minor, Glory and Wild Horses took the first five guns in succession. Wild Horses slipping just ahead of Black Ice with a layline tack a hundred yards from the finish. Great show!
Leda held out through the light spots and some talk of a mutiny to grab Class 4 gun and victory. It was a night for patience, picking the right path of zephyrs or painting a mental picture of how you should have done it. And not a night to be doing spins on the water after hitting stuff...like marks and sterns. And kudos for Clockwork and Blind Monkeys. Never give up, battle til the end! The Race Committee will wait for you when there's still hope to advance your place. Now, two more weeks...just two more nights. Looking for enough wham in the wind to get us home in 16.
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