Crew: Brian, Seth, Megan & RW
Course: s/f to Vixen to s/f, one lap Total distance: 3.0 nm
Winds: W (avg 275 dg), 4 to 16 kts (avg 10) Average Boat speed: 4.1 kts
Current: flood 13:30 Ram Island Barometer 29.61â€³ Temp: 81 F
The forecast was for wind in the mid-teens and gusts to 20. Yet on the motor out to the old Groton Long Point starting area, I began to question whether cinching up the shrouds to their medium setting and reeving the first reef had been necessary.
Our plan was to start near the pin and continue out on starboard to deeper water and more current. It seems everyone had the same idea, or if they did not they were helped along by the flood resulting in a very crowded pin end nearing the gun. Jolly Mon was over early and took a 360 around the pin.
We prevailed and were the last to tack to port as planned. Jolly Mon crossed behind us a couple minutes later. Their subsequent tack placed them on our windward hip, though they never were a problem, catching us inside just short of the layline. The long port hitch to the layline with the current was very choppy yet productive. The twelve knot wind gusting to sixteen was unusually warm, so the flattening reef not necessary as it normally is. Those that had tacked to port earlier did not benefit as much from the current. Also there may not have been as much wind near shore. Ahead, we could see a storm over New London & Groton and over the VHF we heard ZigZagZoom withdraw expressing concern over possible lightening. Short of the layline, we ran into a significant header due to the rain shower ashore. Tacking to starboard, we trailed Cosmic, MiniMaxi & Jolly Mon into the mark. We could have closed the door on Noo Problem coming up from the rear and forced them above, but did not wish to be caught in their lee. They rounded just inside of us at the mark with a jibe-set as did Watercolors a bit behind, while Cosmic, MiniMaxi & Jolly Mon exited the mark high on beareaways. Following a good bearaway set, we swapped to the favored jibe avoiding the current offshore.
Within the next five minutes the wind backed to the west and became very light, so we followed with a jibe to starboard. Along the shore, Noo Problem and Watercolors were becalmed as were most of the fleet still on the windward leg. Our crew worked hard and kept the spinnaker flying in difficult conditions. Halfway down the run Seth noticed Class 6, the last class, starting on starboard pretty much on the rhumbline. So we jibed to port, and sure enough, short of Horseshoe, the wind shifted northeast and increased into the teens for a couple minutes before a light rain began to fall from a shower ashore Groton Long Point. Noo Problem on a better angle tore down from the left & passed us at Horseshore. The reach tightening, we hoisted the genoa in a diminishing wind and crept across the line a few seconds ahead of Watercolors.
First in Class & first in fleet (a first). A great sixty-first birthday present.
Link to Chart