Wednesday - 07/25/12
Crew: Brian, Bob & RW
Wind: NW avg 4.3 , then SW avg 6.4, 8.5 for the spinnaker reach
Weather: Clear, 80F, Baro 29.80
Current: ebb 1602 NH
Start: NE of North Dumplin
Course: s/f-DM-Vixen-finish (shortened at N)
The RC delayed the start about fifteen minutes due to a clocking wind shift to the NNW and a course change.
· I distanced myself from the line too far down-current in the starboard box. When the wind went light a couple minutes from gun, we were too far away and ended up crossing a minute (or more) late. Again, I broke a cardinal rule - venturing from the line in a fickle wind.
Jolly Mon crossed clear in front of us on port as we crept across the line. Sans Souci & Cosmic were safely out ahead. And I believe Mayaro & BW tacked to port also to cross behind though I did not notice.
· We should have tacked when Sans Souci did and paralleled in clear air out on port, yet I waited till after she crossed to tack.
Halfway to the windward drop-mark, it became evident that it was no longer anchored, but moving in an east-southeasterly direction. Nearing the mark, I saw Jolly Mon approaching on starboard.
· For the second race in a row (Benefit Cup – Race 2), rather than duck, I tacked inside. I heard Gordy say to his crew as they went by that they were clear. The floating mark causing a slight over stand on their part, but not for us. For three nights following Saturday’s race I laid awake telling myself, I would never tack inside of traffic again, but duck in the future. Even when clear while tacking, if the other boat is likely to roll us prior to the mark. The lost drive not only slows us, most likely cause us miss the mark.
After barely clearing the mark, and doing our turn, we lost all steerage as the wind dropped further. In short order, we found ourselves drifting aft & leeward and deployed the anchor. After fifteen minutes or more, we noticed the beginnings of a new wind, a southwesterly. Initially the rode went slack as it came free; then caught again. As Brian strained to raise the anchor, Bob went forward to assist; it taking the two of them to wrestle it free from a half inch line secured to the bottom.
We eventually made Vixen after numerous tacks out to the fresher southwesterly, rounded and set the spinnaker all by our lonesome for the reach to the finish at North Hill, in what became a nice breeze of 8 to 10 kts.
Link to chart
MOTHER NATURE WINS! AGAIN!
Two APs, 1 drifting mark, 2 moving starting lines and a dying northerly with a building Southwesterly made for a trying night of sailboat racing. Oh, and was the current running out, too? We got the first of the summer series races in, but it wasn't pretty. The keys appeared to be who got the breeze first….and that was the J-24s of Draggin Z Balz and Wonder Dog, and who went the furthers to get to the windward drifting mark. That would be Thunder Chicken. At least everyone could enjoy a long upwind beat in light air and a rushing ebb. Better than going to the dentist! And now you know what an "M" flag looks like.