Crew: Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Winds: SW avg 5 kt avg, (S to NW 8.5 to 0 kts)
Weather: clear, Baro: 30.08, 74 F
Current: ebb - 1330 North Hill
Start/Finish: GLP Starting Area
Course: s/f–E–s/f, Distance: 5.8 nm
Shrouds: +0, +1, +1, then back to +0, +0, +0
When the RC announced a Silver Eel & back course, I was a more than skeptical of finishing based on my understanding of the forecast; and thought maybe they’d shorten it to finish down at Silver Eel.
Our strategy from the get-go was to tack to port and go far right at best opportunity at the start, get up current in the in the weakest flow then maybe benefit from a push towards Silver Eel, and after rounding to favor the Fisher Island shore on the way back.
Cosmic and Sans Souci were the first to tack, so we delayed for a clear lane to windward. A bit later Jolly Mon followed by the rest of the class did the same. When Jolly Mon rolled by, they were well to windward with little effect. For some unknown reason, Sans Souci tacked to starboard ending up near the FI shore to trail us by five or more minutes around Silver Eel.
I had intended to hold on port for much longer, though when it appeared that Loony Tunes would roll us close aboard, we decided to tack, which put us on Jolly Mon’s stern far ahead with Cosmic safely ahead to windward. In retrospect, we should have tacked back once clear of LT to hold on port a bit longer. Later down the course we lost some time when we did tack back out as the wind had diminished some.
Following Silver Eel, we continued on starboard separating from Mayaro (rounding right behind us) for clear air, then continued to work along the shore in light airs of 4 to 5 kts. Far ahead only Jolly Mon and Patriot had taken the shore route, where the majority of the fleet jibed to port around Silver Eel for an offshore middle course. Far ahead, we saw both Patriot and Pursuit split the Dumplings as we worked our way up the shoreline.
I probably sailed a little too close to North Hill and lost a bit of air as it rose over the top. Clearing the Hill, the breeze picked up a knot or so, maybe six at times, as we sailed near to the rocks as we dared.
Jolly Mon had chosen a course west of North Dumpling, but as we came abreast NH the path west looked void of air. So we just followed bread crumbs of wind that could be seen on the water initially favoring the north shore of S. Dumpling.
Clear of the Dumplings the wind continued to diminish. Nearing the Connecticut shore, we finally hoisted the genoa and slowly eked our way to the finish; the last boat to finish and three & a half minutes short of the cutoff. There appeared to be a handful or more boats that did not make it, difficult to tell in the darkness.
Link to chart