61st Annual Ram Island YC "Around Island Race" Sunday, August 20, 2006
SeTherin First Place - Class E - Spinnaker
Crew: Brian, Kim, Bob & RW
Winds: SW 12 to 18, gusts 20, (one lull 5 knots)
Current: ebb 0917 Ram Island, flood 1509 Napatree
Considering the forecast, we motored out to the Groton Long Point starting area in our weather gear & pfds. The winds were gusting into the mid to high teens with a medium overcast & a possibilities of thunderstorms forecast. I cinched up the srouds- 2 turns on the afts & uppers, 1.5 turns on the fwd's.
In the half-hour leading up to our 1030 start, the wind dropped down to 8 to 10. We had a so-so start in the upper third of the line on time yet gassed by a few larger boats (14 in our class, 61 in the fleet). In a 10 to 12 knot breeze we took a hitch to port in the current shadow of Horseshoe Reef and a short tack on starboard prior to another hitch to port insuring we could clear the west side of Sea Flower. Reasoning that the current was weaker here than farther down the west side of Fishers where the wind often goes light near Silver Eel. Turns out most of the fleet on starboard were swept east and ended up sailing through the Dumplings.
Back on the long starboard to Race Point we kept her high with the intention of weathering Race Point w/o any further tacks. Our strategy paid off, though the wind did go light (down to 8 kts) for a bit short of Silver Eel. Around the same time a big bennn (pulling a dinghy, not racing) on our windward hip began overtaking us. We were able to convince him otherwise prior to any damage to our headway. 1 hour from the start to Race Point.
Nearing the Point, Brian set the pole as we bore off to be spit out the Race at over 8 kts SOG for the better part of a minute. Continuing out past the waves and chop of the race we submarined once and Brian sitting on the outboard cabin edge forward of the mast, was submerged to mid-chest. Once clear of the waves Kim eased the spinnaker out the hatch in a bearaway as Bob took out over the trimming. We had a minor hour-glass, yet quickly shaken out.
I could see Salud off to our 10 o'clock near Wilderness Point and Euphoria and Jolly Mon in our sites straight ahead off the Pt. As we neared abeam Wilderness Pt. we happened to note Watercolors coming up behind us. Now we began to believe we were in the hunt. With winds in the mid-teens, Bob did a yeoman's job on the spinnaker we were often at or above hull speed. A jibe to port about a third away down the island took us all the way to Lord's. Nearing the end of the island a sustained gust of 20+ took us up above 7 kts for a bit. (Race Point to Lord's MOA, 6.5 nm, 1 hr, 5 min)
A bit concerned a about the strong ebb to the finish We got the genoa up and spinnaker doused for a good tight rounding of the MOA and kept it tight inside the rhumbline on a beam reach up to C"7", where with Kim & Brian on a hard hike we hardened up for the Stonington Gong. After the gong, we beat along Noyes Shoal to weather White Rock in towards Dodge Island. Exiting Dodge on starboard, we saw Jolly Mon run aground near Enders Island.
I wish now we had thrown in another tack in the current shadow of Gates. We did discuss it; would've, should've, could've. Instead we continued out to lay the finish and ran into an agonizing five minute-five knot lull. Elapsed time of 3 hrs, 41 minutes. This was Bob's first day back sailing, also the anniversary of his and Cindy's serious auto accident last August. What a way to come back!
Yet the sailing gods were not done with us, a bit of humbling was due. Following a good sail back to Palmer's Cove, turning into the wind to drop the main we hit the only rock seaward of the mooring field. After cleaning up the boat at the dock I motored out by myself to the mooring in 15 kts of wind and a two foot chop. After snagging the mooring I dropped the boat hook and had a quite a struggle securing the lines.
Jolly Mon's damage is minimal. Bill Canning came out in his power boat following Wild Horses' finish to pull him off. It is a shame though as George had second tied up. 082306 - Today while diving on the boat, I found the damage the keel limited to the last inch of the tip of the leading edge. Brian and I have discussed devising a buoy to mark the rock. We missed "First in Fleet" by 76 seconds.
Link to above 5 knots: Chart
Link to above 6 knots: Chart
Link to finish: Chart
Link to: Results