Crew: Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Winds: W-SW S-NE 3 to 6 kts
Current: ebb Race Point 1205
Start time: 1055
Start: West Harbor
Shrouds: at Base
Contrary to the forecast, a few minutes prior to the start, a local wind out of the southwest materialized, so we positioned for a start at the pin (south) end of the line, reasoning to tack and reach down the line, then harden up at the gun windward of the fleet clustered near the committee boat. Jolly Mon must have had a similar plan as they sailed along our port side short of the gun, both of us flying our drifters. Then the wind died to nothing. Jolly Mon continued on starboard drifting towards the Eastern Pt of West Harbor, while we roll tacked, following our plan somewhat, though it was a mistake flying the drifter. It long ago lost any windward ability and we could only reach parallel the line with it. In the future we will use it only as sort of a ‘chicken-chute’! Back under genoa (& sheeted to the outer track) near the north end of the line, we were able to slowly make headway towards North Hill.
Based on past experience we continued, westward beyond the North Hill Buoy a short distance. Still in the channel and witnessing the new ebb on our nose, we tacked to starboard till abeam the North Hill Pt, then tacked back to port for a good distance offshore with less current on the nose. The wind continued backing to the south lifting us into the ebb towards Race Pt. Following an exploratory tack on starboard, another port effort ensued prior to laying Race Point.
Seeing the vast majority of boats ahead flying spinnakers as we neared Race Point, caused us to be too eager. We should have stuck with the genoa and close-reached past the R”2” buoy farther offshore prior setting the spinnaker. A few boats succumbed to the eddy offshore between the buoy and Race Rock, though not as many as last week during the Ram race.
Past the airport we doused the spinnaker and worked offshore to escape the light air under Wilderness Point. Once clear, we bore off and again set the chute for the long reach down island. About a quarter of the way down, Jolly Mon finally caught up and passed.
Bill Mortenson (Wunderdog) told me at the party that Sparky (J24) had taken an inshore route down the backside of the island and arrived at the top of Lord’s, to have a private breeze westward to the finish. I am certainly curious as to their course around the island (?).
Both the wind and the favorable current diminished as we neared the end of the island, and we hoped the Race Committee would have the wisdom to shorten the race at Lords. It was not to be, as ahead we could see the whole ‘Pass’ as one big parking lot, with a few (very few) boats squeaking around the top and escaping.
We rounded the MOA in a close jibe to port and worked up inside towards Wicopesset Island, while listening to the occasional bumping of boats and yelling out in the channel. We must have passed the better part of twenty boats going up the pass, rounded Can 7 real tight, hardened up still under spinnaker and made it half way to Can 9 before it all unraveled. Matador (J80) rolled us to windward just as the wind died for both of us. After working ourselves offshore clear of the rocks, and dilly-dallying around for a half-hour or more, we threw in the towel, dug out the iron-jibe and motored in for the party, picking up a Watch Hill 15 in-tow along the way.