Winds: Westerly 11 to 5
Current: ebb - North Hill 1555
Start time: 1800, 01:55 into ebb
Start/Finish: Vicinity of X, Groton Long Point
Course: s/f V-lmk-V(s/f), , shortened at Vixen, Distance: 4.15 nm
Shrouds: +3, +4, +2, at start
It was just three of us tonight as Brian was stuck on a ferry, helping install their new Wi-Fi System.
It had blown all afternoon in the mid-teens with gusts to twenty, leaving swells and a lumpy sea. Arriving to the starting area, I was still anticipating stronger breeze in spite of a 9 to 10 knot breeze and had Seth cinch the rig for 12 to 14, which never materialized.
As a port tack would position us in the current lee of Horseshoe, I elected to start on port rather than fight for a starboard start at the committee boat. Breaking Wind, trailed behind at the start. We crossed Watercolors & Sans Souci, though fell short of Cosmic, tacked kind’ a late in their lee, and wouldn’t you know, fouled up the tack when a sheet got hung up. My clumsiness has been bothering me ever since. Had it been a flood rather than the ebb, we may have crossed successfully.
Tacking along the reef and finally clearing Horseshoe we settled down for a long port tack towards Pin Island. An overstand of Vixen was required, though we tacked sooner than Watercolors and Cosmic and did not have to bear off so much. Short of the mark, we had difficulty setting the pole due to the guy getting caught in the genoa turning block. A late set was the result, though Cosmic did not visibly stretch out from us on the run back to Groton Long Point.
Following a windward douse and descent rounding, and subsequent rounding of Horseshoe we found ourselves on a long port for the second time. A handful of times we considered tacking, though stuck to our course. Had we tacked offshore a slight distance, we may have found more pressure. The data log shows an average wind of 9.2 kts for the first long port, and for the second a clocked 8.4, headed from the first. Again, a preoccupation on current avoidance precluded our consideration of greater pressure slightly offshore.
Halfway up the beat, the RC repositioned to Vixen for a shortened race. We tacked for the layline short of the previous lap could not make the mark and had to throw in a couple of fast tacks amongst a crowd of finishers to cross ourselves.
As a young man, I raced motorcycles over a period of twenty-years, and remember many times overlooking the obvious as it stared me in the face, and have often pondered the mystery of surfacing the subliminal. Tonight was another example.
There were three reoccurring situations this evening where I & we repeated mistakes of the past.
- Crossing on port and delaying a tack or duck till too late.
- Second lap outbound along the airport against the ebb, rarely pays off due to a dying wind.
- Tacking on to a long layline. It is better (as I voiced while on port) to tack well short of the layline then position to come in on port for a short layline- short enough to call the mark more accurately in current and long enough to set up for the rounding. Yes, the short port tack approach requires two extra tacks but it minimizes if not eliminating overstanding.
With a long layline, one tends invest in it trying to make it work.
Link to chart