Crew: Bob & RW
Winds: SE at 1 to 4 kts, (avg 2 kts, max 5)
Current: flood - North Hill 1910
Start time: 1800, 01:10 left of ebb
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f-I-s/f, Distance: 1.4 nm
Another dreary day… When will this crazy weather pattern cease? May 20th, over a month back was the most seasonable weather day yet. “… this month … has been a washout - the second-least-sunny June on record. The summer solstice came and went undetectably, amid cool mist and overcast skies.”* The wind had been southeast all afternoon at Groton Airport varying from 3 to 6 kts and calm. By 1700 I had the boat setup except for sails and held off as it was misting, visibility down to a couple miles and no wind at the airport. Monitoring the VHF for a RC broadcast gave no hint of a cancellation, so Bob & I rigged the sails when he showed at a quarter after and we motored out at 1725 when Brian arrived. It was just the three of us tonight, as Seth was in Florida on business. The turn-out was low, maybe due to the weather, but more likely because of Block Island Race Week - 19 nm southeast.
There was a slight breeze of 2 to 4 kts out of the southeast on our arrival at the starting area for a posted two lapper to southeast o Intrepid Rock. The starboard end of the line appeared favored slightly as we passed abeam the RC with 15 seconds to go tight on Watercolors stern, careful not let the ebb force us over early. After a good start safe to windward of Watercolors and subsequent speed build we tacked to lead the class offshore on port, the favored tack. For a while it was a nearly a reach to Intrepid. As the wind continued to drop Watercolors pulled ahead and Sans Souci tacked back to starboard. Eventually, Watercolors tacked and we tacked shortly thereafter to what proved to be short of the layline. Watercolors made the mark, though not with some pinching it appeared. We were unable and San Souci crossed us to round ahead.
After two more tacks we finally rounded with a slightly delayed bear-away set, and complied with our strategy towards Groton Long Point for current relief as did Watercolors ahead of us. For some reason Sans Souci chose the more direct route downwind against the current. Sailing TWA’s of 145 to 160 (similar to last weeks light air race), allowed us to keep Watercolors in sight. Nearing GLP with little air to keep the kite inflated, the current began to subside as we continued in between nun’s 22 & 24 to eventually jibe out directly downwind temporarily. Now with some nascent flood in our favor and fearing that the jibe would take us back out into the ebb we flopped back to starboard and saw that we were closing on Watercolors- having great difficulty keeping their spinnaker flowing. I can’t remember exactly when the RC signaled a shortened race, but was while we were between to the two GLP nuns. About this time we also noticed a temperature change and shortly thereafter a fresh zephyr; now more northerly to give us a nice reach towards the finish with nearly a half knot of current in our favor.
Strangely the RC signaled the race “Abandoned” as we were about five to six minutes from the finish. We continued and crossed just as they were hoisting anchor (1856:30 hrs). At some point, I hope to discover their reasoning. At the time of the three shotgun blasts, 90% of the fleet had rounded Intrepid and most were making good towards GLP. Shortly after 1900 the whole channel would have been in flood to push to fleet to the finish.
* from Boston Globe Article
Link to chart
Gerry Keeler at 10:30pm June 26 (FaceBook)
We called in, but ultimately decided to hang at the slip and watch the wind speed drop to below 2 knots. The grinders, chips, and beer came out and the seven crew decided to pursue such intellectual discussions as the future of information technology, Polish weddings, and Mythbusters. Another perfect Wednesday night.