Fishers Island 'Round Island Race'
Crew: BB, JL & RW
Current: ebb 1125 Race Point
Wind NW 5 to 8, gusts to 12 kts
In the last of the flood, our plan was to start near the committee boat on starboard (favored tack) for clean air, even if it meant a late crossing. Our strategy worked requiring only one short tack abeam Flat Hammock, necessary to clear the North Hill, while a number of boats had to tack twice. A smooth bearaway set at R2, and a starboard spinnaker reach took us down the two & quarter mile west side of the island to the point in thirty minutes.
After jibing around Race Point, we decided to stay out, as there appeared to be little wind near shore (the lee side of the island), and maybe more ebb offshore. This worked well to about two-thirds down the backside of the island when we sailed into a major lull. Ahead we could see many boats converging on South Beach, the narrowest and lowest portion of the island. We quickly doused the spinnaker and hoisted the genoa and slowly reached up towards the shore. After nearly thirty minutes, we reached the near shore breeze that carried us down to Lord?s Passage in another half hour, where a good portion of the fleet was mired in the light air and current.
Rounding hard around the MOA, we took a couple of tacks to the west to avoid the current up the passage. The final tack towards Wicopesset Island put us in good position for a tight rounding of C7 at the top of the pass. At C7, I noticed Salud and Jolly Mon northeast of us down current yet making headway (horsepower). Here things quickly unraveled.
Once clear north of the can, a short tack to starboard had us quickly drifting rearward in the two & a-half knot current, where we meandered for the next hour and a-half in alternating twelve knot teezers and four knots lulls, before throwing in the towel and radioing in a withdrawal. Thanks to Brian & Jeff for hanging in there in spite of it all! I know Jeff was looking forward to the party at Fishers.
Lessons: 1. On the back side of the island, with a north wind consider near shore at South Beach for more wind. 2. If the ebb is too strong at C7, continue toward the Connecticut shore prior to tacking to starboard. ** 3. If you have the horsepower to clear C7 on starboard and see wind along the north shore of Fishers, duck down out of the current between Cans 7, 9, 11, 15 & 17 as we saw ?Norwegian Wood - IOD? doing ahead of us. Horsepower helps! 4. Continuing west from the pass, it appeared most to the fleet ducked below East and Middle Clumps then reached up along the north side of West Clump prior to bearing off for the finish, most staying clear of Fishers north shore, except for Jolly Mon & Euphoria. They hugged the north shore of Fishers.
Link to Chart