Ram Island YC 'Round Fishers Island Race
flood 1406 Race Pt
Course: ccw, FI Distance: 11.0
Weather: SW 0-6, 8 kts clear & hot 90
Crew: Kim, Mandy, Bob & RW

We arrived at the starting area off Groton Long Point nearly an hour ahead of time. Approximately fifteen minutes before the start while meandering around the outboard overheated and locked up, a good time to stow it.  At 1010, our class was the third to start.  Wind east at 5 to 6 at the start, temperature mid to upper 90's

Got a good start in light air at the starboard upcurrent end of the line of the fleet, 23 boats on the start line.  The scratch boat was Rodney Johnstone's new J42 'Ragtime, and as always we were the slowest rated boat. 

Favoring the up current end of the startline near the committee boat, we had a good start and tacked immediately to the much-favored port tack.

We stuck to our strategy; though knowing what I now know, had we sailed a little free'er so as not to get set (swept) so far east, we may have been a little clearer of the eventual crowd of boats just upstream NW of N. Dumpling. That may have made it easier to break free offshore down the West Side of Fishers Island.

As it was, we sat in a sauna for a couple of hours just on the west side of North Dumpling in a drifter while some crews swam off their boats.  In those couple of hours, we must have jibed the whisker pole a dozen times, and taken it down and reset a half dozen more. With Bob pulling the strings and Kim jibing the pole, they must have been near a point of exasperation. Probably would accomplished as much, had we just left it alone poled out to port.  I am sure Mandy must have thought of many other things she could have been doing instead.  Finally about 1230 we began to creep along the West Side of Fishers about a ½ mile offshore, avoiding the stronger ebb between NH & Silver Eel.  At about 1325 we noticed a SE wind building along the beach between Silver Eel and Race Point and shortly tacked to starboard towards shore then to port along the beach in company of a dozen or more boats and riding the eight knot breeze to Race Point.

Arriving at Race Point at 1350 (current projected to flood at 1406 at Race Pt.), I made two of our greatest errors, allowing Celebration the Morgan 24 to pass and pull ahead.  First, we tacked around the mark and headed towards the beach off the airport. We should have continued offshore a bit on port from Race Pt and rode some of the inertia of the dwindling ebb. Instead we

tacked around the buoy onto starboard and ran into a bit of the new flood in the shallow waters off the Elizabeth Field.  Realizing our mistake we tacked back out but not far enough and settled into a loose starboard reach. A few minutes later, I made the second error tacking out to avoid an overtaker to windward, tacking too late and having to duck him, and lost two minutes according to the log.  That is where we lost the race.  Bob wanted to shoot me.

The remaining six miles to the Lord's Passage MOA was uneventful. With the wind slowly clocking, we had about twenty minutes of a 12+ breeze that subsequently diminished to a 7 knot broad reach as we neared the finish at Lord's Passage MOA where the R/C awaited for a shortened race.

After starting outboard, it appeared the outboard water pump had quit as no water was coming out. Fortunately, the six miles home took us less than an hour in refreshing 12 to 15 kt breeze and favorable current. Where the previous 11 miles took five hours 33 minutes. An elapsed time of 62 seconds faster would have put us in first place.

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