Sailing Blog

Donzo WNR 08/16/17

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Wind: average 215 at 6; 3 to 8 kts
Current: flood North Hill 19:40
Start/Finish: near Horseshoe
Course: 2 laps; 1.1 nm at 210
Race Length: 4.4 nm
Crew: Brian, Josh. Dan & RW

Three minutes into the race after a so-so start and about to blanketed by Gimlet, we took a port tack for clear air which turned out to be a lifted one.  The first windward leg worked out nicely, tacking on the headers.

At near slack tide, wind shifts & pressure are a priority, with no current advantage we should avoid the headed tacks as much as possible.  Our port jibe following the rounding of the first windward mark confirmed the rule of thumb: favored jibes are opposite the favored upwind tacks. On the first downwind Thunder Chicken departed from this principle, remaining on starboard till past North Dumpling prior to tacking.  They may have had other issues also contributing to their worst showing in in a long time, a fifth.

The charts & data logs indicate two possibilities for gains on the on the second windward leg.  Tacking to the lifted starboard tack sooner after rounding the leeward mark may have benefited (rule of thumb again).   
The second was near the top of the course on our long headed port tack where we should have tacked to favored after safely clearing North Dumpling, and most certainly covered San Souci with a tack before she crossed our stern. 

Something I’ve often pondered, may be illustrated on the chart.  On the second windward leg, prior to their tack to cross our stern, San Souci paralleled us and appeared to gain on a parallel north of us out of the deeper channel & the remaining ebb (a course similar to ours on the first windward leg), while our track (on the second beat) shows a significant header in the deeper channel (maybe due to current on our nose). 

Merganser has made significant strides in performance the past few races.
SeTherin 6th

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Wind: average 225 at 10.5; 7 to 12, gust 14 
Current: flood North Hill 14:20
Start/Finish: near Horseshoe
Course: 2 laps; 1.2 nm at 220
Race Length: 4.75 nm
Crew: Adam, Brian, Dan & RW

I screwed up the start & we were over early.  In our recovery, I initially worked our way out on port for a clear lane, then continued out on starboard towards North Dumpling and the North Hill Channel.  Jolly Mon also recovering from a starting incident eventually passed us to weather.  Far out ahead was Zallee, Merganser, Avara and Gimlet.  San Souci had a good start, yet went directly to port (right side of course).

We rounded the windward mark just ahead of Sans Souci, yet following the set they passed us to windward to pull ahead for a substantial lead by the leeward mark.  Our second beat was similar to the first, but with San Souci rounding safely ahead. Merganser had a good night finishing fourth to our fifth. Having sailed a similar course, it is a mystery to me how Jolly Mon pulled so far ahead to finish second.

I believe sailing out to the deep water north of the Dumpling like we did is a good thing, and it may have paid to go farther south into even deeper water prior to tacking to port.  Though prior to tacking I took note of the waves and decided to tack as the water was smoother (maybe less current) farther south, and I was also worried about a wind decrease closer to North Dumpling.

Our boat speed seemed to be down for an unknown reason.
On the first long starboard to windward we were lifted on an average of 4 degrees by the flood, yet that diminished to less than one degree on the subsequent long starboard of the second beat. 
In the future we need to tightly cover Sans Souci tightly on the downwind when they are ahead & we are able.  

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Images

Race 1 chart
Race 2 chart

Link to R1_results
Link to R2_results
Link to Cumulative results

 

Wind: 215 at 6 to 12, prior to the big wind shift
GON Wind 3 to 14, gust 23: Baro: 29.91 to 29.94 & 77 to 79
Current: ebb North Hill 13:45
Start/Finish: near Horseshoe
Course: 2 laps; 1.2 nm at 220
Race Length: 4.8 nm
Crew: Adam, Brian, Bob & RW

In the pre-start prior to the 5-minute warning we ventured too far out on the rightside of the course, so far as we were not to prepared for the warning gun, arrived back to the line with the timer out of sync & me also.  I had hoped to lead down the line with speed then tack to port for what we figured was favored.  At less than a minute remaining I had to duck Avara and ended up downspeed for our tack to starboard and the gun. After a small speed build we tacked to a long port.  With Zallee stretching their lead ahead, we were the only other boat that chose the right side of the course. Short of the layline we took a hitch in closer to the mark for quick rounding good set, behind Zallee, Jolly Mon & Cosmic.

Down the run, we saw Zallee, Jolly Mon & Cosmic round the leeward mark and continue out on port. Nearing the mark, it appeared to me their port tacks were headed somewhat from the first. With a timely windward douse, we rounded the leeward mark in close quarters with 3 boats, inside & to windward of Thunder Chicken. Too close for a speed build we tacked to starboard, then favored the left side (where the breeze seemed stronger, maybe not) to the mark. Brian’s call on the layline was good, giving us plenty of time to prepare for the set, another good one.

About a third of the way down to the finish, there was a big wind shift to the north out of a thunder-cell ashore.  Had we recognized it sooner we may benefited from a tight spinnaker reach for a minute or so prior to hoisting the genoa.  As it was, we were behind the 8-ball on both accounts. Once underway with the genoa, we experienced widely variable winds as the two wind fronts contested one another.

Comparison of leg times
1st windward- 0:24:23
2nd windward- 0:25:12
1st downwind- 0:13:24
2nd downwind- 0:21:39

Thunder Chicken finished first in Class 2 & 11th in fleet compared to our 3rd & 16th.
On the chart there is a gap between 1908 & 1910 hours due to the master power switch getting switched off accidently by the spinnaker trimmer standing in the companionway.

Link to chart

Wind: 238 at 6 to 16, gust 14, avg 10 kts
GON Wind avg: 10.4: Baro: 30.65 & 72
Current: ebb North Hill 15:15
Start/Finish: near Horseshoe
Course: 2 laps; 1.2 nm at 240 12
Race Length: 4.8 nm
Crew: Adam, Brian, Dan & RW

We chose the pin end to start as it appeared slightly favored as did Zallee, we ducked a couple sterns as we continued on port thinking there to be less current closer to shore.  We took one short tack offshore to insure a clear lane from the overtaking Class 2 then continued to the layline, which surprisingly was right on the mark.  Approaching the windward mark, I noticed Thunder Chicken approaching the mark on a long port, causing me to wonder which side they favored upwind.

We jibed to port shortly after the round as did Thunder Chicken (leading Class 2) a short distance behind, to pass us to windward/port both of us healed to windward most of the way down to the leeward mark.

Our leeward mark rounding was congested amongst a couple Melges-24s, and after our tack to starboard for a clear lane, I wondered aloud where Thunder Chicken was.  They had rounded just a bit before and I noticed them tack to starboard, yet could not locate them so figured they were back on port.  Our long port tack did not feel reassuring as the wind seemed to be less & the boat did not feel right.  Our second upwind was 3 minutes longer than the first, though the downwinds were nearly the same.

On the second downwind I chose to remain on starboard longer sailing our tgtwa to the port layline & also to the finish.
I tend to think at TWS > 10 kts it pays to sail deep heeled to windward. 

Thunder Chicken finish first in Class 2 & 5th in fleet compared to our 4th & 25th.

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