Ram Island YC "Around the Island Race"
Weather: Clear, 80's, Wind NW 10-18, avg 13 kts
Current: ebb  0903 Napatree Pt, 0913 Race Pt
Course: CCW Fishers Island, Distance: 14.5 nm
Crew: Brian-foredeck, George-mid, Bob-aft, RW -helm.
Start: 1005 hours

It was a beautiful clear day motoring out the Horseshoe starting area in a 10 knot northerly; forecast 15 to 20 for the day.  Our entry had been sent in for the spinnaker class, yet somehow RIYC used our default from previous years and put us in the non-spinnaker class.  I drove over to the yacht club early in the morning to get it corrected to no avail; so non-spinnaker class it would be.

We were the second class to go following the Ensigns and got a good reaching start to windward of the fleet right on the gun near the committee boat, though not up the quite the speed as some of those to down the line.  The wind too far forward for wing&wing, led us to experiment with the pole out to leeward some. With gusts into the high teens we often saw 6+ knots through the water.

We jibed around Race Point at 10:45, a forty-minute leg for a 5.7 kt average over the bottom. Now on the opposite jibe we found ourselves nearly on the identical point of sail. We favored offshore till clear of Wilderness Point, then came up for the heading Lord's Passage. Had we come up a bit higher after Wilderness, we might have found a bit more wind closer to the shore. 

Occasional crew member, Jeff Lamothe racing his own boat (Tanzer 22) in their second race, started just behind and to leeward of us stayed hooked up to our lee-quarter and occasionally nearly abeam for the first leg and most of the second, then fell behind as we rounded Lord's for the beat at 11:50, an hour-five minutes from Race Point for a 6.6 kt average.  The fast spinnaker boats were now overtaking us. As the crew prepped for hardening up the channel on port, I glanced aft and saw Greg Dillion (Quantum Leap, Quest 30) s-curving to avoid overrunning us. We rounded tight on the MOA yet there was too much dirty air from the heavy traffic ahead to hold high, as we would have liked. In less dense situation we could have short tacked once or twice to starboard between the MOA and Wicopesset Can "7" to for current relief. As it was, we held as high as possible across the current west of Napatree Pt.

With the whole crew on the rail hiking for all their worth, George fwd took the brunt of the waves; Bobby & Brian occasionally moving around for the dirty work. At one point, I had Bobby & George move aft to the stanchion in an effort to reduce the weather helm. We did a short tack to starboard for water over the Middle Ground Shoal southeast of the Stonington Jetty then back to port thinking we had cleared it. Afterwards looking at our track/chart printout, I see we should have continued north as the short tack put us nearly over the shallowest spot. Luckily we cleared it, continued north prior to tacking leeward of the jetty for the long starboard hitch to the finish.

Between Noyes Shoal & Ellis Reef, for three minutes we ran into largest lull of the whole race, from 14 to 8 knots then back to 18. Abeam Ellis we began to bear off for the finish line for the starboard end alongside the pin-boat, crossing at 12:59:10 for a 174-minute elapsed time, correcting to second place in our class behind Petrel.  A great time on the water was had by all.  Many thanks to the crew, Brian on the foredeck, Bobby on the trimming and especially to George for the last leg current relief strategy along the Connecticut shore. This is the leg that has killed us so many times over the years.

Link to chart

Yacht          Skipper    Type          PHRF   Elapsed   Corrected
1 Petrel        Gibbs       Luders 33   213     155.34   134.49
2 SeTherin    Magner    Catalina 22  293     173.59   134.74
3 Celebration Going       Morgan 24  248     165.41   136.33
4 On Cue      Storrow    Quickstep  290     180.45    140.61
5 Piper Too   Almeida    Tartan 34   209     163.35    142.25  
6 Bamboo     McFadden Luders 36    223    168.15    143.51
7 Irish Lady   St. John    Ranger 26   216    179.16    154.45
8 Fair Wind   Foster       Ranger 28   228    208.27    176.5
9 Sitio          Lamothe   Tanzer 22   278     235.02    186.03

Ram Island 2003 addendum
Class C Non-spinnaker
1-Patriot     Tony Halsey Baltic 39  128 134.54 132.77
   SeTherin        293 171.04 132.74
Two minutes & 33 seconds would have put us 1st overall non-spinnaker;
 as it is we beat all the Class C non-spinnaker boats but Patriot.

Class D spinnaker
Our actual ET would put us in third place Class D spinnaker, Legacy, C&C 34, John Reed

2nd place Class D spinnaker, Jolly Mon, C&C 30 Redwing, G. Lovejoy   137.46
  1.08         1 min 5 sec faster would have put us in second

1st place Class D spinnaker, Just Friends, P. Wanderer 30, Ed Purcell
Where it would have taken 4 minutes 47 seconds fast to win Class D Spinnaker

Link to full results