65th Ram Island YC 'Around the Island Regatta'
Crew: Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Winds: ESE 13 kts, gusts high teens
Weather: Overcast, mist/drizzle, occasional showers, Temp 69 F
Current: ebb - North Hill 0955, 1020 Race Point
Start time: 1040
Start/Finish: Groton Long Point / Ram Island
Course: counter-clockwise Fishers Island; Distance: approximately 14.5 nm
Shrouds: +4,+5,+4; #1 Heavy Genoa
While motoring out in the rain, we monitored over the VHF, the RC’s announcement of Course 2 for the PHRF fleet. In assessing the conditions, we pointed the bow numerous times at Race Point to find the TWA averaging between 130 & 140 degrees on port, substantiating our hunch for starting with the spinnaker ‘reacher’ and an offshore course to Race Point.
We had an excellent start near the committee boat with most of the fleet down at the pin. Checkered Demon nearer the boat was over early and peeled around the front for a re-start. As we headed out for a point roughly halfway between North Hill & Seaflower, it seemed the faster spinnaker classes (that had started earlier now approaching or abeam NH) were slowed by the current flowing north along Fishers west shore. With my back to the island, concentrating on steering, I could not see what was going on with the rest of the boats in our class. Seth said Abrabesque put their chute up shortly after the start, then the rest of the class begining with Plain Vanilla started popping theirs in the vicinity of North Hill, though they may not have benefited as much from the wind that close to shore.
Rationale for the offshore course:
· Avoid the north bound current along the shore
· Possibly more pressure offshore
· Appreciate the favorable ebb sooner
We doused and hoisted the genoa short of Race Point as ahead a couple boats were pushing out against the current prior to the round. We wished to continue out for better current and far enough to weather Wilderness Point, yet the chop was severe so we tacked, requiring a subsequent tack as we neared WP, which took us out far enough to lay Lords’.
Nearing the western tip of the island, we pulled in the flattening reef as Brian went below to change spinnakers, and shook it out when he came back up on the rail. On a near reach in 12 to 14 kts of wind we were kicking along near hull speed, occasionally breaking six knots. The wx-helm was tiring even with the crew scooted back.
Beam reaching up Lord’s, we set the chute at the top (C7) and hung tight on to C9 prior to the crossing. Ahead, we could see that many had reached up towards the CT shore for current relief. I considered it too far out of the way. With the wind, now in the mid-teens, we took a more direct course- north of Latimers, a short port jibe south of Eel Grass, back to starboard to near the finish with a final port for the crossing.