Date: 06/23/2004 Log Entry: Race
Distance: 4.5 Weather: Clear, Wind 270, 5 to 8 Current: ebb 1530 @ RI
Course: mid-course start to NH-RI, 4.8 nm Crew: BB, BF, SR, RW

Wednesday Evening 06/23/04


Finally got our first race of the season under our belt.  With a good breeze well into the teens all afternoon, we were prepared for a brisk evening.   The RC set up just northeast of West Clump off the north shore of Fishers Island, with North Hill R2 as the windward mark 1.75 nm away at 250 degrees magnetic, returning downwind to Ram Island R20 2.7 nm & 071 degrees magnetic.  Starting midway through the ebb to windward of the committee boat, in a wind of about 8 kts and the current against us, I failed to compensate for the current, setting up for the gun too far from the line.  We finally cleared the line nearly two and a half minutes after the gun, with a little hook maneuver at the pin to avoid drifting into it. In retrospect, we should have started on port near the pin, with tack to starboard as we cleared the line.  Starting near the pin would have put us closer to the channel edge reducing the time & distance sailed in the stronger current. 


Our initial strategy was to tack along the north side of West Clump; beat up the east side Flat Hammock then sail westward up the channel along the north shore of Fishers to the windward mark rather than fight the stronger current between the Dumplings. Yet, after clearing the pin, we found ourselves on a starboard heading for Clay Point east of West Clump, with Sanibel & Chaos leading the way.  Following a check by Brian of the chart for depth we proceeded in their wake.  Sanibel cleared Clay Point without a tack and proceeded up into West Harbor.  After tacking to clear the point, Chaos continued towards Flat Hammock.  In light air we thru in a short tack to clear the point, then tacked back to starboard for a good bit deep into West Harbor.  The gusty winds in the harbor paid off as we exited the harbor on port near Hawks Nest Pt and led Chaos up the channel between the shore and South Dumpling.  Approaching the windward mark, I made our second critical mistake and continued into the deep water on port. We should have figured it out seeing Sanibel set down abeam the mark; and taken a tack back toward the North Hill shore to avoid the current.  Yet, we followed suit and suffered likewise.  Here we lost nearly five minutes and our lead over Chaos & Jolly Mon.


After the round, we jibed to port at the first opportunity, and began a long fifty-five minute trek to Ram Island, still ahead of Cosmic, Tumult and Get Fuzzy, fortunately with current in our favor.  In an average wind of 6 knots we worked her downwind in the company of Cosmic for the last twenty minutes. It was nip & tuck, with Cosmic occasionally ahead, yet we setup properly to cross ahead by seven seconds. Thought – while on an up-current jibe, as in the case when we were on port jibe towards the CT shore & Intrepid, we should reach higher than the optimum non-current situation, so we get to the point of the opposite jibe sooner and take advantage of the down-current apparent wind producing jibe.


Though certainly out of practice a third place is a good showing for our first night out. Let's continue to shake off the rust. Thanks to Brian, Bob and Seth for their perseverance.


Thoughts & Comments


•          Three minutes faster would have put us in second place. Four minutes, 37 seconds faster would have put us in first.

•        In light air we need to remember to always check to see if the top batten has cleared the backstay after a tack.  It is difficult to see when we are all down to leeward for heel. 

•        We need a citronella candle for the cockpit following the race.