Wind: NE at mid-teens to low 20's; Baro 30.13" Temp 52 F
Current: flood 1750 Ram Island
Start: Approaches of West Harbour
Race Length: 3.6 nm; WMK 1.8 nm at 034m from s/f
Crew: Brian, Dan, Reid & RW
It was a cold windy day, a far cry from yesterday's launching, when Brain & I were sweating mid-afternoon while rigging the boat.
The Wednesday forecast was for overcast skies, temps of low 50’s, with mid-teen NE gusting into twenties. We’ve found forecasts of NE winds with an overcast to hold true through-out the forecast period. Arriving Spicer’s 0930, I spent the day wearing a jacket while prepping the boat and added another layer for the race.
Motoring out towards the Fishers Island side of the Sound, we debated which headsail to use and decided to stick with the genoa. Many sailors expressed their displeasure with the RC’s initial start line setup just northeast of West Clump, leading to numerous changes- two moves farther northeast for more clearance on the south side of the start line before a final move up into the mouth of West Harbor, in the FIYC starting area. In then meantime, while practicing a few tacks, the grommet in head of our genoa tore out, leaving the #3 jib as the only option (and which should have been our first choice).
In the start, I found us closing on the port end too soon. About mid line, with Cosmic & Watercolors trailing, we spun the boat & came out ahead, but down on speed at the gun, resulting in a sandwich- Cosmic passing to our lee and Watercolors rolling over close to windward. Soon as they were clear we tacked to port as planned, while they and the majority continued across channel. Our starboard tack to the Connecticut shore, took us close abeam the Pulpit Rock. It appeared most of the boats had been swept to the west end of Groton Long near R24 prior to tacking for the windward mark (Mystic Rive C1). Jolly Mon crossed well in front, yet I was some what surprised how close we were to Watercolors and Cosmic as they crossed. Our port tack at the start certainly paid off. Jolly Mon & Watercolors continued on to the starboard layline while Cosmic tacked in to parallel us, as did Ursa Minor well to our lee and Sans Souci directly on our stern. Sans Souci gained and though not pointing as well passed a few boatlengths leeward and continued in. While on the short port tack to the mark we shook out the reef. Brian’s tack calls were right-on!
A jibe-set would have been advantageous, yet we were not setup for it; so shortly after rounding the mark we jibed to port. Not fully sorted out following the jibe, we were hit with a 26 kt gust for a full knockdown. Thinking the chute full of water might hold us down; I may have over-reacted calling for the halyard to be blown. The boat popped right up and Reid was quick in retrieving the chute back to the boat. With the boat moving back downwind, the crew struggled getting the spinnaker reset, yet they did it in short order, while Dan & I steered the boat. Possibly a couple well timed easing (luffs) of the chute may have made the hoist easier for Brian & Reid. A couple of minutes later we were hit with another big gust, yet a good ease and she popped right up. For the remainder of run (a broad reach now), we were cooking, with 7+ kts BSP to finish.
We were fourth boat for boat, correcting to 2nd.