Crew – Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Current: flood 1131 Ram Island; 1156 North Hill
Winds: SW 6 kt avg to Vixen, 12 kt avg return to finish
Start: 1035, near Noyes Rock
Course: s/f to Vixen and back; Distance: 12.1 nm
Shrouds: @ base

As in past Watch Hill events, there was a bit of a mystery at the start. With Aphrodite as the race-committee boat; a much longer than normal starting-line was laid.  Instead of a gun, as described in the sailing directions, the ship’s horn was used leading to some confusion. We were a minute late in the countdown, though positioned well enough and recovered for a reasonable start.  With a fading wind (and an adverse ebb), starboard was nearly parallel the line, so we tacked to port as did nearly the whole fleet. 2nd Chance was farthest down the line & when we all tacked, they ended up abeam to windward of us. A number of boats bore off towards the shore for current reduction.  2nd Chance, along with us stayed high to the benefit of a private breeze.  A noticeable south-southwester began to develop offshore mid-channel and Salud along with a few others extended out on starboard.

Based on past years’ experience, we played the middle-ground so as not to drift north closer towards shore losing our air; and resisted the temptation of greater pressure offshore to the south.  Enticing it was, and eventually the larger boats along shore, tacked to starboard and the channel.  There, they crept abeam, passed and gradually pulled away.

Nearing Ram Island we finally tacked southward, benefitting maybe from an eddy along the Ram’s eastern shore.  Tacking short of R20, we stuck close to shore with the nascent flood.  Closing on on Groton Long Point at noon, we finally chose to continue out into channel for the developing flood, and shortly there after the wind went soft.  Three subsequent tacks later, we rounded Vixen in a bear-away set. 

Reluctant to venture offshore into the current for breeze was evident near Sea Flower and beyond towards the Dumplings, we eased up to the edge of it, then slowly bore off favoring the Connecticut shore. A number of boats again, vied for more pressure on the New York side; though I believe the stronger current offset any gain to be had from the breeze there.

1st in Class
1st in Fleet - Corrected Overall

Link to chart

Link  to Aphrodite article#1

Link  to Aphrodite article#2