64th Commodore's Trophy Race - 09/11/2011
Current: ebb – 1036 North Hill
Crew: Brian, Seth & RW
Winds: ESE, avg 10 kts, gusts 18, lulls 4
Weather: sunny, occasional clouds
Start/Finish: just south of Vixen
Start time: 1115; Finish: 1426; ET: 191 minutes
Course: s/f-IR-SE-CR-V-IR-s/f; Distance: Distance – 14.4 nm
Shrouds: Base - +4, +7, +3.5; dropped to +3, +6, +3 on last windward leg
Again as in years past, our class start followed the Ensigns by five minutes. Following a clean start (in the upper third of line) at the gun, we continued on starboard towards the shore. Short of Bluff Point, a tack to port took us across Gnat’s stern. We then continued offshore anticipating a more favorable current in the deeper water; and mistakenly overstood just a bit for our starboard into Intrepid, requiring us to bear off slightly. Closing on Intrepid, I noticed Arabesque, Ursa Minor, Plain Vanilla & Gnat had pulled farther ahead than I had anticipated, causing me to think there may have been more wind nearer their shore route.
A small handfull of boats succeeded in flying their spinnakers on the long reach through the Dumplings past North Hill to Silver Eel. Had we had Bob on board and the extra weight to windward, we may have tried it. After rounding Silver Eel in a jibe set, we had a great starboard run to Cormorant Rock catching up to the mid-pack of the Ensigns.
Following the leeward mark, we should have delayed the offshore port till across the river. The difference may have been a current lifted starboard, versus our headed port. Clear of Black Ledge a long starboard took us past Vixen, prior to another long port similar to the first leg to Intrepid.
With the ebb in full swing, I felt more confident with the offshore route this time out, and it paid off compared to the few Ensigns favoring the shore. Though tacking sooner for the long starboard than the last time, we tacked none too soon, for short of rounding we still had to bear off to avoid the buoy. Following another jibe set, we were off and running to the finish. The Ensigns Nightwind & Hibernia were well ahead, yet we were in good position to compare our downwind performance to the Bonanza & Friendship ahead to our port & starboard with Swoose aft. We caught & passed Friendship, yet Swoose overtook us to port, to cross 16 seconds ahead. We made time on all the Ensigns except for Nightwind. I'd like to know what path Ward sailed (?).
Interestingly, this is the third year in a row that we have had an East Wind for this event, though not quite as strong this year as in the past two when we had winds into the low 20's on occassion..