Date: 08/16/2003
Weather: High overcast & clearing, temps in the 80’s
Current: flood 0820, ebb 1431 at Ram Island
Course: s/f-DM-s/f (3p), 12 miles
Crew: Brian - bow, Bob -mid, RW -helm
Wind: S 5-14 kts
Start: 1225 hours
Drop mark 240 degrees at 2 nm

There was a delay of nearly an hour waiting for the wind to build. It was evident that a significant gradient was present, as we occasionally registered six to eight knots at the masthead hardly feeling a thing on deck, a good day for tall masted boats.

We started mid-pack amongst 12 boats with a current push and eight knots of wind, then tacked to port at the first opportunity. Half way up the starboard beat, we got a significant lift over the rocks southwest of Seaflower as the wind built to nine and clock 5 to the west.  Following the rounding and set, ahead of us Watercolors split onto a port jibe though we continued on starboard behind Jolly Mon and Just Friends.  We had a very good run, jibing 2/3 down the course (sailing a slightly shorter distance than JM & JF).  Dousing short of the mark and receiving compliments from Bagetelle, we rounded and quickly got up to speed, with a short hitch to starboard to avoid being rolled by Nighthawk. Back on port, we nearly doubled our distance westward over the first leg, tacking for the long starboard as we sailed into an area of light air dropping below 7 kts.  On port for the last hitch to the layline, we tacked ahead of Orion and held high letting them round inside; size matters!

I then made the first of two mistakes, which cost us dearly. Bearing off in the set I saw Jolly Mon & Just Friends in the distance below Orion. Instead of going above Orion as we were in position to do, I bore off and went below, thinking we would get clear as they were having trouble with their whisker pole. Next, we found ourselves pinned dead downwind, maybe slightly by the lee. So we jibed to port and stayed there (second mistake, costing us the most) for half the run, sailing into an expanding area of light air on left side downwind, 4 to 6 knots.  By the time we realized it, we were in too deep to dig out. After two successive legs of light air on the right side of the course, we now knew to stick left for the next beat.

Approaching the leeward mark on a tight starboard jibe, we chose a leeward douse, then had a good rounding directly on MoonCusser's (an Andrews 26 having trouble in the cleanup) stern, built speed outside and tacked to starboard ahead of their wind shadow. With the wind clocking and increasing to 10 and above, now heavily favored starboard, we had our fastest leg of the day back upwind, the breeze increasing to 12 as we neared the mark.  Rounding a couple of minutes behind MoonCusser, and ahead of Scoots, we jibed to favored port for our best run of the day in 12 to 14 knot winds nearly to the finish line.

I'd like to thank Brian and Bob for an outstanding day of boat handling, if only the skipper had gone the right way.

1st windward leg: 33.5 minutes, 1st downwind leg: 32 minutes
2nd windward leg: 36 minutes,  2nd downwind leg: 36.5 minutes
3rd windward leg: 18 minutes,  last downwind leg: 20.2 minutes
Elapsed time: 3 hrs, 6.2 minutes

So we got 11th out of 12 and would have gotten last had Salud not had to restart for being over early. It will be a few days till we get the times and all for better analysis.  I'm also interested to see how we faired against the Class 2 spinnaker boats, MoonCusser, Scoots & Hellfire.