Crew – Brian, Bob, Seth & RW
Winds: W-SW 6 to 17 kts, 12.2 kt avg.
Current: flood – North Hill 1049
Weather – clear & sunny, beautiful day
Start time 1315 our class
Start/Finish: offshore of Vixen
Course: s/f-Thames River entrance R”2”- Silver Eel – Intrepid – s/f
Distance 8.7 nm
Shrouds: +3, +5, +2
The folks at Thames YC decided on Saturday to postpone the start two hours in the wake of Tropical Storm Hannah, a wise decision. The outcome was an outstanding day of sailing. Our class was fourth to start following two non-spinnakers and the Ensigns. We had a great midline-start at speed in 10 to 12 knots, though within a minute the tiller-extension came off, creating some excitement for a moment or two. A number of boats to starboard of us peeled off on port for clear air while we continued offshore for current; then tacked short of the port layline for the river.
We rounded the windward mark with a good set and were off to the races in a 16 knot reach, just as the spinnaker halyard came uncleated. We lost little time- it dropping only about halfway, as I bore off more downwind as the crew cranked it back up. We then lowered the pole to its lowest position to cope with the tight reach. Two-thirds of the way to Silver Eel with the wind dropping to six knots (the lowest of the day) and backing, we began to worry whether we may need to switch to the genoa prior to the Eel. Yet, it was back to ten when we jibed round Silver Eel for a ten to twelve knot average up to North Hill.
Bearing off around North Hill, we chose to hug the southern shore between the Dumplings, apparently the only boat to do so and made trees on many boats mid-channel. With a timely smooth douse, we rounded inside Irish Lady and another non-spinnaker boat and passed them to windward.
The beat to the finish in 12 to 14 knots with the current was a bit rough at times but fun as we caught a few more of the Ensigns that had started five minutes ahead.
Link to chart