Fishers Island 'Round the Island Regatta'
Crew: Brian, Seth & RW
Course: 2, Around Fishers Island (cw)
Race length: 15.0 nm
Winds: N to NW, 8 kt avg Barometer: 30.15 Temperature: 72 F
Current: flooding (3.4 kts); ebb 14:18 Ram Island
With the wind out of the north and a significant flood, the RC chose a clockwise course for the 51st Annual Round Island Race, with 85 entrants. With only three of us aboard, I tightened up the rig, expecting winds in the mid to high teens per the NOAA forecast for Fishers. I should have given more credence to the SailFlow forecast, as our average for the day ended up around eight knots.
Concerned about weathering Clay Point, we started on port at the pin in clear air in about six knots of wind. The larger boats starting mid-line had no problem pulling ahead and clearing the point. Nearing the point we were able to bear off slightly and continue down the shore ducking in and out of the coves for current avoidance. This appeared worthwhile. Hardening up to clear the rocks of Hungry Point, we continued out to Young's Rock, and then bore off for the remaining cans towards Lords in the company of the later starting faster boats. In retrospect, we should have hugged Cans 11 & 9 somewhat closer for better current avoidance. In the surging current short of Can'7' we set the spinnaker to port and slowly gained on the can in amongst a crowed of boats and bad air. Passing the can, pinned by traffic to port, we jibed and soon realized it mistake for we were being swept westward. We convinced the J24 For Sail close to our port of the same and were able to slow and jibe across their stern for clearer air. The run down the pass took over ten minutes in the current and waves. After jibing back to starboard, we prepped for a tight spinnaker reach subsequent to rounding the MOA.
We stubbornly carried the spinnaker approximately a quarter of the way up the back side of the island before differing to the genoa, as nearly all the boats did. By that time we were the trailing boat of the fleet other than a Sonar a good bit to our rear. Rounding the MOA, I believe we should have taken a course a bit farther offshore more favorable for the spinnaker prior to posting a course for Race Point. The wind up the back side of the island was a disappointing 6 to 8 knots, with a few moments of 10 and 11 (little teasers).
Had we continued farther (in the favorable flood) after hardening up on starboard at Race Point we may have foregone the brief starboard tack short of North Hill in less favorable current & wind, necessary to clear the nun. Shortly after tacking to starboard, we noticed Euphoria, Salud and Jolly Mon accelerating out of North Hill under spinnakers. We rounded the nun ourselves a half-hour later, for a final spinnaker set and run to the finish as the RC motored over to pull the pin mark.
We finished fourth out of seven in class. It would have been fifth had Rusty Nail not been disqualified for missing a mark, Lords MOA. The results are not posted yet, but I'd guess we were five to ten minutes short of finishing in the money. I thank Brian and Seth for their boat work- good sets, good tacks, a great job all around. We may have gained a couple minutes, had I not cinched the rig tight commensurate the forecast and done things a bit differently at Lords and Race Point. Though I believe the first leg with little wind against the current along Fishers' north shore was too great a deficit to overcome.
Link to Chart