Crew: Brian, Bob, Seth & RW
Course: X to Intrepid to Vixen to X Total distance: 4.4 nm
Winds: SE (avg 110 dg), 8 to 14 kts (avg 12)
Average Boat speed: 4.7 kts
Current: ebb 1827 Ram Island Barometer 30.25â€³ Temp: 70 to 69 F
It had been overcast all day, one of those rare flat low ceiling days with 20 miles visibility and 10 knot easterly wind. Over the previous 24 hours, the forecast moderated from winds in the mid to high teens down to 8 to 10 kts.
Following the motor out to the Groton Long Point starting area with occasional gusts to 12, Brian cinched the lowers down two more turns. Iâ€™ve been erroring with the rig on the soft side, and in retrospect we would have faired better with four turns on the lowers and two on the uppers.
The course was .9 mile beat to the southeast against the last of the flood with a starboard rounding of Intrepid, 2.1 nm run with another starboard rounding at Vixen and a final 1.4 mile beat to the start/finish. In the last few minutes prior to the start we did a good back down to clear the weeds off the keel & rudder, a quick head to wind check, got a good range on the pin and on a short tack near the committee learned port was favored. I considered starting down at the pin on port but felt we be overwhelmed with starboard boats. The starting area was deep enough in the cove for us to be clear of any adverse effects from flood. I had a hunch, either it had already begun to ebb in the cove or there was a helpful back eddy pushing us out of the cove.
With a about forty seconds to the gun we led the charge down the line, Cosmic & Tumult to our lee, Noo Problem directly on our stern followed by MiniMaxi, Jolly Mon, Watercolors and Valiant. Rapidly approaching the pin and fearing running out of room, I had the guys luff the sails a bit which slowed us but unfortunately allowed Noo Problem & Mini Maxi to roll us. Foreseeing more of the same and noticing a significant gap between Jolly Mon and Watercolors, we tacked, ducked close astern Jolly Mon and continued offshore in clear air with the current on our tail.
Laying GLP 24, we ducked into the cove between the points, slightly overstood Intrepid and tacked short of the rocks on the beach. Exiting the beach, I noticed for a while we made trees on the boats offshore in the current, not so much on Mini Maxi, but certainly so on Jolly Mon and Watercolors. Nearing Intrepid, with Brian calling the range we began to slowly crack off, gave a slight duck to Jolly Mon, then a greater one to Watercolors, and came back up smooth & tight on the wind, to round second behind Mini Maxi.
We rounded in a starboard jibe set (great work by the crew) and began to work the boat downwind as the faster boats slowly began overtaking us. We had some close crossings on opposite jibes, first with Watercolors, then Noo Problem. Jolly Mon passed well clear farther offshore to port.
Following four jibes, Cosmic began closing, slightly affecting our wind as we neared Vixen. Raising the genoa up in plenty of time, and giving room to Cosmic due to an inside overlap, we had a perfect leeward douse and exited directly on Cosmicâ€™s stern. They appeared to have a bit trouble accelerating so we bore off for clear air and passed them. Halfway to Bluff Point, we sensed a header and noticed Noo Problem directly ahead apparently slowing, so tacked for offshore, ducking a couple boats, Gnat & Hercules in the process.
If we had tacked to windward of Hercules, we may have made a bit more boat speed in the smoother water near shore; though to benefit, this would have required two additional very smooth tacks. Instead we continued into the building waves farther offshore in the possibly greater and more favorable ebb On the last starboard hitch, half way to the finish Cosmic tacked inside of us and we sailed nearly side-by-side for a while. They slowly pulled ahead and lee-bowed us. Tacking away would have taken us the wrong way and caused us to overstand the finish. Instead, we bore off for separation then struggled to the finish in their exhaust crossing thirty seconds behind.
1st in Class, 2nd in Fleet Link to Chart