Crew : Brian, Bob, Seth & RW
Winds: SW (250) at 3 to 6 kts
Baro: 30.37, Temp: 64, Water Temp: 47
Current: flood - North Hill 1433
Start time: 1800, 2 ½ hours left of the flood
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: #4, s/f- DM (225 @1.0), Shortened at leeward mark, Distance: 1.9 nm
Shrouds: @ base
We arrived at the starting area in time to stow the motor and sail a half dozen tacks to windward, and found starboard favored. Returning downwind was slow, putting us at the start line with less than three minutes to go. We sailed along the line towards the pin & got a good range on the Fishers Island shore prior to returning towards the committee boat. Other than Cosmic down near the pin there, the rest of the class was still west of the RC. About mid line, running out of time, we returned to starboard and ran down the line for a good start right at the gun, with Cosmic squeaking across our bow on port boosted by the current. Shortly after their cross, they tacked eventually passed us to windward and pulled away.
There appeared to be more wind on the left side of the course, and with starboard heavily favored we took it to just short of the port layline (a two-minute leg), which I figured of little risk as there would be no traffic at the mark. Watercolors was late to the line, though hardening up near the committee boat put them well to windward of us when they passed, and first to round the mark.
We rounded with a good set, but kept it high in the 4 to 5kts of wind, as did Cosmic a good distance out, with Watercolors on a slightly lower course to leeward. Wunderdog (J24) rounded a minute or so after and passed to windward. Once ahead though, they were unsuccessful in pulling away, and about five minutes later they jibed to port (favored), as we had also discussed, yet the wind appeared much lighter in the middle of the course and also to the left looking downwind, so we continued towards North Dumpling where it looked stronger, as Cosmic as doing also. The wind was very light 3 to 5, so we continued high, trying to work down in the few puffs.
Finally reaching the breeze, we jibed in 7 to 8 for a tight reach to the finish (course now shortened at the leeward mark). Two-thirds down the run the wind again went light and we were able to continue our fresh angle across the line for third place, with the newcomers trailing a bit to the rear.
What could we have done differently?
~ Had we favored much our start much closer to the committer boat, we may have shaved 1 minute off our subsequent port leg near the windward mark.
~ Following the rounding of the windward mark, we violated a cardinal rule-of-thumb by not jibing to the favored jibe. We rationalized due the appearance of little to no wind in the middle of the course and to the left looking downwind. Watercolors did not jibe until nearly a third of the way down the course, and we may have faired somewhat better, had we favored a slightly lower course similar to Watercolors. Though we were having difficulty flying the chute as it was in the light air. Watercolors, Cosmic, Wunderdog (J24) & most boats for that matter, seem to do better flying their chutes flying more directly downwind then we in light air.
~ Had we jibed between 1829 to 1830 hrs (see chart), at the point the breeze grew from 4-5 to 6 kts & greater (about 3/4's across the spinnaker reach for fresh-air), we would have faired much greater and may have picked up a couple of minutes downwind. But we got greedy and continued on till it reached 8 kts and overstood.
Link to chart