55th Annual Round Island Race - 09/03/11
Crew: Brian, Jeff & RW
Course: Counter- Clockwise around Fishers
Current: flood - 1000 Race Point
Wind: SW 8 kts avg, peak gust 16
On the leg to North Hill, I found it difficult to maintain a clear lane in the light air, traffic and the chop from the flood along the island. Once around North Hill, we continued out a ways as there appeared to be little wind along the shore and stayed out the whole length of the western shore which appeared to be a good choice. It may have paid off to work in a little closer south of Silver Eel, though we chose not to.
Upon rounding Race Point and setting the spinnaker we concentrated on gaining distance from the buoy. Continuing offshore to smoother water on a fresher reach seemed to be the answer. Boats that jibed shortly after Race Pt for the airport shore were dramatically swept westward towards the rocks. Being the go-fasters- Melges, etc., they were never in danger; though I feel it would have not been safe for us to try it. Had I to do it all over again, we should have jibed to sail by the lee towards the current lee of Wilderness Point.
After a few minutes we bore off to sail by the lee on starboard, which seemed to work as we kept pace with Jolly Mon along the shore. This point of sail was closing a bit offshore of Wilderness Point. At 1210 in rough chop, we chose to freshen up towards offshore for smoother water, a fateful decision. We should have continued, and jibed shortly thereafter if not to work in towards shore short of Wilderness, then towards Isabella Beach no later than 1230. In the meantime Jeff did a great job trimming the spinnaker. At late as 1245, we could still have made time on our competition had we jibed for shore. It was a major brain fart on my part.
Closing on the end of the island to breeze picked up into the teens, with occasional gusts in the high teens. We chose conservatively to douse at Lords, I should have delayed until the rounding to put the chute in the lee of the main. In retrospect, we could easily have carried the chute up the pass. Though sailing by the lee as much as possible, we were nearly swept into C7, which we narrowly missed.
The beat back to West Harbor and the finish was uneventful, yet somewhat challenging with the gusts & lulls. Breakin’ Wind passed us about a third of the way only to have her mast come down fifty yards short of the line; a real heart breaker for them. Luckily no one was injured.