60th Commodores’s Trophy Race
Crew: Erin, Bob, Seth & RW
Course: Vixen to Drop Mark “W” (225 degrees at 2 nm) to Silver Eel to Vixen to “W” Shortened at Silver Eel, Total distance: 3.9 nm
Winds: W (avg 195 dg), 3.0 kts avg
Average Boat speed: 1.2 kts
Current: ebb 1005, flood 1604 Ram Island Barometer 30.07 to 30.04″ Temp: 78 to 79 F

The Wind-gods were not kind regarding the 60th running of Thames Yacht Club’s Commodore’s Race. The race finally got started, following an hours delay waiting for a breeze to become evident. Our class, the sixth to start crossed the line at 1220 in a five to six kt breeze. Our strategy was to start on port at the pin in clear air and remain on port to lifted by the ebbing current. Ducking both Salud & Rusty Nail (with designs of the same) prior to tacking to port for the pin, we crossed about a minute late, yet in clear air. Five minutes later, the breeze began to fade.

Twenty minutes later, with the wind down to a knot or so and drifting rearward, we began a ten minute experiment with the old ‘drifter’ (which may have been a mistake) in an effort to maintain headway. Though able to maintain steerage and gain westing, the shape of the ‘drifter’ precluded windward progress. Switching back to the genoa, we considered tacking to starboard, thinking to gain some current wind, yet I was reluctant for fear of being swept to the east of “W” and not having enough horsepower to get back against the current. At a quarter past one we began to benefit from a slight increase in breeze over the next ten minutes or so.

Not quite halfway to the Dumping Ground from Vixen, at 1410 the wind quit altogether; drifting backwards, we anchored in 45 feet of water & doused sails, a half-mile from the windward mark. We were among the first, if not the first of approximately a dozen boats to anchor, where we remained for the next fifty-five minutes. Shortly after anchoring, we watched as Gnat and Bad Dog made the mark; eventually Salud struggled past also. Over the next few minutes numerous boats withdrew over the VHF, including our competition Euphoria and Rusty Nail; both much closer to the mark than ourselves.

A half-hour or so later, we noticed a breeze creeping in from the south, agonizingly slow, initially halting short of the mark, yet enough for Glory (USCG) anchored there to ghost around. As 3 o’clock approached, a rippling on the water north of the mark became evident and we prepared to sail, and pulled anchor at 1505. We finally rounded the mark at 1529 for a 1.9 nm fresh air beam reach to the finish at Silver Eel (1552).

My guess, we finished nearly an hour behind Salud.

Link to Chart

Dave Costanzo photo of our Finish

Link to Results