Saturday - 08/14/10
Crew: Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Winds: SE, avg 4.2 kts, peak 6.5 kts
Weather: Clear, Temp 85 F
Current: flood – 0832 Ram Island
Start time: 1059, finish 1500
Start/Finish: just SE of Stonington Harbor
Course: s/f–G3-N-I–R-s/f; Distance: 11.2 nm
Shrouds: Base

Crossing line (in 3 kts of wind) next to the RC boat at the gun uncontested, with most of the class down near the pin, I later realized (if not less current there) their course to windward took them into the shelter of the breakwater sooner than ours.    We were neck and neck with Salud to the breakwater, where they abeam our windward pulled ahead. 

Sailing as close to the tip of the breakwater as we dared, we barely made the gong (G3) kissing it with the stern corner. A late set resulted due to our  obligatory 360.  Fortunately, the penalty turn was on course downwind.   Having to do it upwind against the current, would have cost us dearly.

After the set, we realized the reacher was more appropriate.  Brian rigged it and we hoisted it “outside” on clearing Eel Grass Reef.  An 'inside' hoist and 'peel' is the correct way, though 'outside' worked. The reacher was much easier to sail to. The switch this late in the game precluded reaching through the ‘Clumps’ to Fishers Island as most of the fleet ahead had.  As a result, we benefited from the favorable current mid-sound and through the Dumplings more than the others.   

Nearing North Hill, we witnessed Salud completing a 360 penalty turn, finding out later, they had hit the buoy in the jibe from port to starboard.  We were able to jibe around the mark and hold the spinnaker well past the Dumplings nearly coming abeam and passing “Irish Lady”.   There (at 1310) we lost any chance of a reasonable finish, as the wind dropped down to 3 kts & less for the next five minutes or more.  Before we knew it, Irish Lady pulled away to round Intrepid 15 minutes ahead of us.  

Had we forsaken the effort of maintaining the range on Intrepid against the current, bore-off instead to a fresher angle, we may have stayed with Irish Lady for the remainder and ended with a respectable finish.  As it was, they finished 14 minutes ahead of us.  The near reach from Intrepid, past Ram to the finish against the current in a meager four knot breeze was long and slow.


Link to chart a
Link to chart

Saturday - 08/13/11
Crew: Brian, Bob & RW
Winds: SSE-SSW, avg 3.2 kts, peak 9.8 kts
Weather: high scattered overcast, Temp 73-78 F
Current: ebb – 1117 Ram Island
Start time: 1045, finish 1555
Start/Finish: just SE of Stonington Harbor
Course: s/f–SE-s/f; (shortened to finish at Silver Eel); Distance: 6.7 nm
Shrouds: Base

The RC chose (over optimistically) a course to Silver Eel and back.  Choosing the pin end for a port start and crept across in the line about 35 seconds late on Ursa Minors stern. At about 1122, when the wind backed to the SE, increasing to 6+, occasionally, we chose to take advantage of the lift and cross over to Fishers’ north shore*.  Nearing Brooks Point (R2A) a little after noon the wind died.  There we spent the next two hours at anchor, with an average boat speed through the water of 1.4 & max of 2.2 kts.

Finally at 1405 (after flying the thirty-year old drifter for a few minutes), enough of southerly arose to weigh anchor and move along the north side of the channel, and allowing to switch back to the genoa. The leg up to North Hill was the fastest of the day.

The wind diminished again upon rounding North Hill, requiring seven tacks in towards shore for slightly more pressure. The final tack nearly paralleling the finish line took two long agonizing minutes or more to cross.

Link to chart

*An alternative could have been flying the small spinnaker and reaching along the CT Shore towards Groton Long Point, (which we may have made before the wind died); and then to creep around the GLP to somewhere beyond Horseshoe, prior to crossing for Silver Eel.