Fishers Island "Around the Island Regatta"
Crew – Brian, Bob, Seth & RW
Winds: NE to SE at 3 to 6 kts
Current: ebb – North Hill 1049, Race Point 1104
Weather – low over cast, occasional light shower
Start time 1105 our class
Start: West Harbor, Finish: Lords MOA
Course: Fishers Island (ccw) – shortened at Lords Passage
Distance 9.85 nm
Shrouds: @ base 

The ebb had just begun as our class (7th to start) beam-reached across the line in a whispering zephyr out of the northeast, all boats struggling to fly their spinnakers.  After experimenting with spinnaker & poling out the genoa wing&wing, we finally got the spinnaker working and reached up between Flat Hammock and South Dumpling, the only boat to take this route.  It worked out well for us, as we arrived at the North Hill bell at noon (wind 4 to 5 kts), on Brer Rabbit, Salud & Euphora’s heels, and ahead of Rusty Nail, Jolly Mon & Street Machine.

Jibing, we continued offshore, Jolly Mon following shortly thereafter, gradually pulling away.  We were the only ones in our class to do so and two of the few in the whole fleets of 90 some boats.  Dousing early as the wind went forward, we rounded Race Point at 1307 (wind down to 2 to 3 kts) in little wind to deal with the confusing currents.  Many boats were having difficulty, appearing to be stalled and swept offshore in an eddy southwest of Race Rock.  We managed it quite well.

In the beat down the backside, we did well tacking on all the headers and light spots. Three quarters the way down the island, we heard the first finish gun at the pass, clear evidence of a suspected shortened race. Nearing the end of the island we could see Jolly Mon offshore back under spinnaker struggling to get back ashore at the finish. We now saw Rusty Nail a little ways in front of us tacking back offshore as we closed on the end of the island. 

Here (1440) I made our fatal mistake and failed to follow Rusty Nail’s example.  Fixated on avoiding being swept offshore, I closed too near East Point and sailed into a hole short of Wicopesset Pass at 1450.  Rusty Nail pulled away to finish as we came to a stop for the better part of an hour and watched Street Machine come from well behind to pass us comfortably offshore.  We finally crossed at 1556 after more than an hour’s struggle.

Following the motor back up the north side of the island, we rafted next to Irish Lady & retired to the yacht club to lick our wounds.

Link to chart